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Correcting Behavior During Grooming

Correcting Behavior During Grooming – Learn the 4 Keys to Successful Pet Handling

If you are a long time pet professional, you’ve probably mastered today’s topic. If you are fresh to the industry, you are probably struggling with it. How do you handle the dog that does not want to cooperate with the grooming procedure?

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Managing Your Schedule

How is your summer going? Busy?? Overworked? Feeling stressed? Not being able to ENJOY your summer because you are too busy?

Having too much work can be just as frustrating and scary as not having ENOUGH work. I get it. As groomers and service providers, we want to keep people happy. That’s how you build a thriving business. However, if the business is thriving – and you are not – how can that honestly be good for your business? How can that be good for your customers and pets in the long run?

We all have the same number of days, hours and minutes each year. Everyone wants to maximize their time to make the most out their lives. How you schedule appointments, how many hours and days you work each week and how much time you allot for yourself will contribute to how you feel at the end of the day.

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Doodles are Job Security

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank celebrates the business-building blessing of the Doodle. These coat-carrying mixed breeds might be controversial creations among breed purists, but they provide an excellent opportunity to educate pet parents and help them understand the not-insignificant hygiene demands to make Doodles look and feel their best.

Want to learn more Doodle-Dos, like how to make them look like a Portuguese Water Dog? Join Learn2GroomDogs.com, the internet’s best groom instruction video resource and community. Use code LUCKYDOG to get 50% off!

Want to advance your Doodlin’ skills? Level 3 of Paragon’s Distance Learning Program will help you kick it up a notch! Use code LUCKYDOG for $100 off Tuition.

Transcript
Melissa V: Hi guys, Melissa here. I want to talk to you a little bit today about the Doodles. There are so many Doodles. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, coat types. There isn’t a whole lot of consistency with a Doodle other than it is almost any purebred mixed with a Poodle. You can have the Labradoodles, the Goldendoodles, the Aussiedoodles, the Bernedoodles. Anything can be mixed with a poodle and it comes out as a Doodle, and with the Poodles, we’ve got such a variety of sizes with the Poodles, we are seeing the Doodles coming out now being small, medium, large. So, they really are running a gamut. But, what I want you to stop and think about, because I know a lot of time when people mention the word Doodle in a professional setting, it brings out probably not the best qualities of us as professionals. I see a lot of frustration, a lot of anger coming out when we start talking about Doodles. And I kind of take a little different stance on it, because I’m really thankful that the Doodle has become some popular. Because, gang, it’s a groomable breed. They require regular maintenance to keep the dogs looking and feeling their best.

If you take a look at the top breeds for the past number of years in the AKC in the United States, folks, most of the dogs that are in the top 10 don’t carry a lot of coat. They aren’t necessarily groomable breeds that require regular haircuts. Yes, the Poodle is in there. Thank heavens the Poodle is in the top 10. The Yorkie is also in the top 10, but I mean, come on. The Yorkie is a little tiny guy. At least the Poodle we’ve got the toy, the miniature, and the standard so we’ve got some variety going on there. But, the point is that, when we’re looking at purebred dogs and when you’re seeing so many in the top 10 that are short coated, and that is also transferring over to many of the mixed breeds. They’re short coated. They don’t require a whole lot of professional grooming in the form of haircuts. So, to have such a wide variety of Doodles with a lot of coat, it’s a blessing to us. I mean, honestly gang, it’s job security. Thank heavens we have these dogs.

But, what I will say is, where the frustration is coming in, at least this is my take on it, is the frustration is coming from the fact that breeders are really preying upon owners being gullible. They’re mixing anything with a Poodle and calling it a Doodle and they’re just riding this wave of this popularity craze, and that drives us crazy. Especially if you are used to dealing with purebreds and very conscious breeders that are trying to improve and enhance a breed. And breeders of Doodles just really don’t seem to ride that same wave. So, to me, that definitely is a frustration point. And I get it. You know, that part drives me a little crazy. It drives me crazy that owners are going to be so gullible and so naïve and they’re just going out and they’re not really researching what they’re getting. You know, you almost have to do more research, because not only do you need to research the Poodle, but you need to research whatever other breed these dogs are being mixed with because now you’ve got that combination of personalities. What are you really getting, and is it going to fit into a family lifestyle that the owners need it to fit into?

To me, that’s where some of the frustration points are. But, I also see it as being an opportunity, because the other thing that breeders don’t seem to do a really great job with consistently, and I’m not saying all breeders, but come on, we see it enough that it poses frustration from a professional standpoint, is breeders aren’t being totally honest with the new pet parent of what kind of maintenance that dog is going to take from a hygienic standpoint. From a brushing, a bathing, and a grooming standpoint. All of a sudden, they’re saying oh, they only need to be groomed once a year or twice a year and we know as pros that are dealing with coat that that is so far from the truth. So, now we’ve got a situation where who does the owner truly trust? The breeder that they just purchased the dog from or the groomer who’s telling them this dog is going to need to be groomed on a very frequent basis? And most of the time, a lot of the Doodles are good size, so this isn’t a small price point for them. And these dogs really need to be groomed every four to six weeks.

So, you got a little bit of an uphill battle, but if you approach it properly and with compassion with the owner and towards the dog, many times you can re-educate and you have an opportunity to turn the Doodle owners into phenomenal clients. Because, come on, these guys are furry. And, whether it be a wire coated type Doodle or a Doodle, I mean, the breeders are saying hey, they’re hypoallergenic. But, come on. You know, they don’t shed. Yeah, how many times have you heard that? Yeah, depending again what they’re mixed with, that’s not necessarily true. So, you’ve got to go in and really be open and honest and caring with the owner and make sure that they understand that you are looking out for the best interest of the pet and the best interest of the owner based on what their lifestyle is and how much they are willing to do in between groomings. I mean, this is no different than any other haircut breed that we do. So, take the time to educate those owners. Turn your frustration into an opportunity to help the pet, to help the pet parent, and be thankful that we are seeing so many Doodles coming through, because almost all of them truly need professional grooming to look and feel their best. And honestly gang, it is job security, number one, for all of us.


How to Build your Bath and Brush Business

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank talks about ways you can be proactive in maintaining the volume of pets in your grooming business. In order to keep your business volume consistent and growing you need to deliver a service that goes beyond what customers can do at home or at a self-wash. Learn ways to set your service apart!

Get more great grooming business tips from www.Learn2GroomDogs.com – Sign up with Code LUCKYDOG and get 50% off your first month!

Want to advance your training? Check out our advanced levels at Paragon Pet School’s Distance Learning Program. Use Code LUCKYDOG to get $100 off tuition!

Transcript
Melissa V: Definitely this type of breed, even though people don’t think of it as needing a whole lot of grooming, they definitely need grooming. When I’m working with those tight-coated breeds, one of the tools that I really love to get them squeaky, squeaky clean and to help eliminate the shedding, because even though they’re a tight-coated breed, and whether it be a tight-coated breed like the pointer, or whether it’s going to be more a short-coated breed like your labs, they still shed. And that kind of coat can really weave into fabric, and it’s hard for a roller tape to get that picked up because that coat is tight. It’s hard, and it just weaves into the fabric.

It’s our job as the professional pet groomer to be able to minimize that for the client, and one of the tools that I really love is these types of rubber curries. They actually have an incense cone type tooth on them, and they’re super flexible. You can really take these to the bathtub and really scrub with them. They do a good job getting right down to the skin. They do a great job releasing a loose coat, pulling that debris right up to the surface, and it feels good. It’s like a massage. You just can’t hurt them.

That’s one of the things that I would really encourage you to utilize and pay attention to those details, is get them squeaky, squeaky clean. Use a great shampoo that has a nice fragrance to it, not overly heavy, but fragrance so that when that dog goes home, they know it’s clean. It smells good. It smells fresh, and when you pull that dog out of the tub, you want it to squeak, squeaky, squeaky clean. Whether it be the really tight-coated breeds, or whether you’re dealing with a lab, or the French bulldogs. You know, they’ve got a little bit more coat. Get them squeaky, squeaky clean.

Now, the other thing to look at is, like with the shepherds and the golden’s and any breed that has got that type of coat is, are you providing a shed-less type program? I live with Maremma sheepdogs. Maremma sheepdogs are like oversized white golden retrievers, and they shed. And we have instituted a shed-less program, and it has been amazing. The revenue generation that we have been able to come up with just by providing a service like that. So think about what types of services you can do. What are the problems that the clients have at home?

With these breeds, even though they don’t have a lot of coat, they don’t require haircuts, they definitely shed. And they get dirty, so figure out things that you can do to help solve that problem easily for the client. Again, like I said, pay attention to details. Make sure those ears are super clean. Not only trim nails, but what about utilizing a Dremel to file those nails so that they’re nice and smooth and they don’t have sharp edges on them. A client’s not going to be able to, number one, generally trim dog’s nails at home, nor will they file them. That’s a great service that you can offer. For many salons, they might trim nails and offer the filing as an upsell. We personally do a buck a paw, so it’s a four dollar upsell. Super easy to do.

Another thing that you can do with these dogs that don’t require full haircuts, and you can do it with full haircut dogs as well, but do you have any kind of breath freshener or teeth brushing or something that you can add orally to enhance the client’s experience with their dog at home? Again, it’s an easy upsell, and it’s something that generally clients don’t do for themselves at home with their dog. Being able to offer those types of things, just really pay attention to it.

With that doberman that we had years ago, most of the time she would come home not only with her nails filed, but they’d also be painted. And okay, every once in a while they were a crazy color, especially around the holidays, that would happen, but most of the time they were just painted black. It just gave a nice shine to the nail. It was a part of the detail that the client isn’t going to do for themselves. Did it make or break the groom? No, but it was just one of the those things that you noticed. It was in those details. Bows on collars, bandanas, the collar frills that you can get. Bardel Bows has got all kinds of really fun things. If you don’t like dealing with bows and bandanas, there’s companies out there like Bardel Bows that are going to have those things.

And my goal with a customer is always to bring the dog in, to treat it with respect and love and compassion, but when that client picks up their dog, when that dog goes home, what I aim for is to see a smile. When that client sees their dog, and not only a smile because they’re happy to see their dog, but a smile because the dog looks amazing. And again, if you’re dealing with a short and tight-coated dogs, you’re not going to see that big transformation that you see when you’re dealing with a haircut type dog. But there’s subtle differences that you can do to make that client go, “Wow. That was the best he’s looked. It’s the best he’s smelled. It’s the best he’s felt.” Those are the types of things that you’re going for.

What you want to do is bring those bath and brush dogs in on a really regular basis. Ideally, I love to see them every two or three weeks. That really helps keep the shedding under control. It keeps the film, the dirt on their coat down, and it keeps them smelling great. If you can encourage those customers to come in on a really regular basis and provide those services that they are not going to do themselves, if they bathe the dog in their driveway or in their bathtub, or they take that pet to a self-service facility. You are going to be able to do such a better job, and it goes without saying too, you’ve got the high velocity dryer. They don’t, and we all know how important that tool is.

And again, whether you’re dealing with a tight-coated dog, a short-coated dog, or a bath and brush type dog like the shepherd or the golden retriever, the high velocity dryers are going to be absolutely critical to doing a really knockout job on those dogs. Get those bath and brush dogs coming in. They are massive to what you can do with your bottom line, with a revenue generation. They are some of the easiest dogs that you’re going to do, but they really have a huge impact on your bottom line. And that’s what we’re in business for. We are in business to make a profit, to provide a service for our customers that they’re going to appreciate. So pay attention to the details and get those bath and brush dogs coming back in on a regular basis to you.


There’s No Black and White in Dog Grooming

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses a concept that Lisa Leady shared during a www.Learn2GroomDogs.com video shoot: There’s no black and white in grooming, but there’s a lot of gray. In this context, how do you evaluate techniques and products? Melissa suggests answering these questions:
Is it safe for the pet? Is it safe for the groomer? Will it yield a quality product? Will it be efficient?

Get more great grooming business tips from www.Learn2GroomDogs.com – Sign up with Code LUCKYDOG and get 50% off your first month!
Want to advance your training? Check out our advanced levels at Paragon Pet School’s Distance Learning Program. Use Code LUCKYDOG to get $100 off tuition!

Transcript
Melissa V: Melissa here, and I want to share with you a thought process that is kind of a combination of both my thought process and a thought that Lisa Leady shared on one of her Learn to Groom video shoots years ago. And the thought that Lisa shared with me and to our Learn to Groom audience was that there is no black and white in dog grooming. If you’ve ever followed Lisa, you’ve probably heard her say that.

Over the years you’ve heard me say it that there is absolutely no black and white, there is no right or wrong in dog grooming, but what there is, is a lot of shades of gray. So, what you want to think about, and this is where I kind of took her thought process and applied my line of questioning to that. Before I test out any new product, test out any new technique, think about doing something different than what I might have done in the past is I always ask these four questions.

Question number one is, will whatever I’m going to use or do be safe for the pet? Number two is, is it safe for me? Is it safe for the groomer? Is it going to be ergonomically safe for me long term, or is it going to be safe for me from a physical standpoint? So stop and think about that. Number one, is it safe for the pet. Number two, is it safe for you? Number three, will it yield a quality product because if you can’t yield a quality product, you’re not going to have customers coming back for your services. So, number three is going to be, does it yield a quality product? Number four is the question I always, always ask is, will it be efficient? Now, maybe it won’t be efficient the first time I try out a new technique or a new product. I might have to get the feel of it a little bit better, but down the road, will it be efficient if I utilize this product or this technique?

So, there you have it. Those are the four questions that I always ask whenever I’m dealing with the multiple shades of gray that we have with professional pet grooming. It’s:

1. Is it safe for the pet?

2. Is it safe for you?

3. Will it yield a quality product?

4. Will it be efficient?

So, I want you to ask that question every time that you’re thinking about testing out a new technique, looking at a new product, or doing anything a little bit different than what you have normally done before. Sometimes little switched in what you’re doing can make a big impact in your bottom line, but you always want to make sure that it’s safe, that it is going to be efficient, and that it’s going to yield a quality result. If you can answer all four of the questions and get a “yes” answer, try it. That’s one of the beauties of professional pet grooming is there’s lots of ways to do the same thing based on the situation that you’re dealing with on that particular moment.


What Do Clients Mean When They Ask for a Puppy Cut?

“Give my dog a puppy cut.”

Ask 10 customers or groomers to describe this style and I bet you get 10 different answers. One one hand, it’s a great conversation starter! On the other, it’s a quick way to discover how easy it is to misunderstand one another.

The puppy cut is popular because it works well on a wide variety of pets. Almost any breed that grows longer coat can be done in this easy-to-care-for style. Yet, the puppy cut is also the most misunderstood haircut in grooming salons around the country. Why? There are no clear directions of what this trim actually is or how it should be done. It’s left up to individual personal interpretation by owners, groomers, or talented pet stylists.
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Remember: Clients Have Options

In this video, Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses the importance of remembering that clients have options. Thinking about this from your client’s perspective helps build your relationship. A dissatisfied customer might decide to DIY or call your competitor, or simply not have their dog professionally groomed. Each of these scenarios can affect your salon, and possibly the health and safety of the pet.

Want more great grooming business tips? Sign up to www.Learn2GroomDogs.com to access hundreds of videos on any device. Use code LUCKYDOG to get 50% Off your first month.

Interested in training staff or learning to become a professional dog groomer online? Check out Paragon’s Distance Learning Program. Use code LUCKYDOG to get $100 off tuition.

Transcript
Melissa: Hey guys, Melissa here, and with this session, I want to talk to you a little bit about what your clients’ options are as far as it comes to having their dog groomed professionally, and hopefully having it groomed professionally by you. But even if you are the only game in town, you’re the only salon, just always remember that clients still have options. To me it’s really important to not only provide a quality service that is warm, compassionate, friendly, and it’s going to yield a quality product, but it is to build a relationship with that customer so that they never even remotely think about exercising any of their other options.

But have you ever thought about what options your clients actually have? I mean, sure, they can use you, which is what you’re hoping for, but you know, they could also, if your service slips a little bit, if they have a bad experience with you, they’re going to pick up the phone and they’re going to call a competitor. You certainly don’t want that to happen.

Another option that they have is maybe they start wanting to groom the dog themselves. Boy, how many of us have had that happen to us, and then all of a sudden the client realizes that it’s a lot harder to groom their own dog than what they thought, and they ultimately end up coming back to us. But others, maybe they find they enjoy grooming their own dog, but no matter what, you’ve lost that client and so that is revenue not coming into your pocket, so you don’t want that to happen either. You don’t want them grooming their dog themselves.

Then the final option, the fourth option that clients have is they just don’t do anything. They don’t have the dog professionally groomed, and we all know for the hygienics side of things and for the pet’s well-being, it’s really important to have the dog groomed. Not only are we giving them a bath and probably a skin conditioning treatment, a haircut or maybe just a really good brush-out, but we’re also trimming nails and we’re also cleaning ears. We go over that dog from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tail, so we are very experienced, almost trained observers, and we’re going to notice anything unusual.

One of the things that I always think about as a pet professional is that I want to work in harmony with the owner, with the veterinarian to keep that dog in the best condition and the healthiest and happiest that it can be. So I want to see that client on a very regular basis, and I just don’t ever want to give that client the option to look for something else, to exercise one of those three other options. I mean, they’ve got the four options: use you, use your competitor, do it themselves, or not do it at all. I certainly hope that you are looking to really cement that relationship with that client so that they never exercise those other three options, because if they’re exercising those other three options, you’re not going to be in business very long.

So always think about how you can work in harmony with your clients to maintain that positive relationship and to do a great job on every dog that walks into your salon, or cat, dogs and cats. Make sure that you do everything in your power to make your clients come back because that’s the name of the game, repeat business.


Make Time For Yourself

In this video, Master Groomer Melissa Verplank talks about the importance of taking time for yourself to maintain and improve your performance. From focus to stress-reduction, she discusses six ways that time off the job makes you better on the job.

Want more tips to supercharge your grooming business? Join www.Learn2Groom.com and access hundreds of videos on any device. Use code LUCKYDOG to get 50% Off your first month!

Need to train staff, or looking to become a professional dog groomer? Check out Paragon’s Distance Learning Program for a curriculum built on Melissa’s award-winning material, and delivered by top industry professionals. Use code LUCKYDOG to get $100 off tuition.

Transcript
Melissa V: Hi guys, Melissa here. I’ve just come back from an amazing vacation, and I want to talk to you guys a little bit about that. Not necessarily my vacation, but do you take a vacation? Vacations are so important to your overall wellbeing, they are almost to me as important as a well-balanced diet and getting exercise. I want to kind of talk to you about that.

You don’t necessarily need to take a wild, exotic, expensive vacation to get the benefits of it. Some of the best vacations, and I’ve done a lot of these myself, is stay at home vacations where you don’t necessarily go anywhere but you do different things, you plan it out. That’s the key to any vacation is that you want to plan it out so that everything goes the way that it should, and you’re going to get a break from your everyday routine because that’s what makes a vacation really wonderful and special, is that you’re taking a break from your routine.

What are some of the benefits? Why should you stop? The daily grind? Why should you really invest in yourself, and why should you invest in that downtime? Here are some six different things that I really see when I take time for myself, what it helps me achieve. Number one, it really helps minimize stress. Stress, as everybody has it, it doesn’t matter where you’re at, what stage of life, what stage of your business you’re in, I think everybody today has to manage stress and to do it well. Vacations can really help that.

Focus. I get so distracted when I get overloaded with too much work. To take a break from that allows me to maintain that focus and it makes me a lot happier when I come back. My team is going to notice that I come back with a totally different attitude. I’m just a much better person to be around than somebody who’s just having to deal with the daily grind.

Years ago, it was not uncommon for me to put in 60 plus hours a week, I mean that was just, that was normal operating procedure for me. When I tell you that it really makes me happier, trust me, it does make me happier. Also, I don’t get nearly as sick as often when I take time for myself. Again, it’s just giving you that time to reboot yourself and to take time to reenergize. I think a lot of illnesses brought on definitely just from your mental state of mind, and so a vacation is going to help boost that area.

If you’re in any kind of a relationship with your family, with your friends, with your partners, husbands, wives, what a great way to rekindle and to reconnect with those that we love the most, is just taking time and taking your focus off of work and spending it with those people that you really love and care about.

Finally, when you do come back from vacation, the payback sometimes can be a little challenging, it takes a lot to get back into the groove, but ultimately, you’re going to be so much more productive. I come back, I am energized, I am ready to hit the ground running. During that downtime, maybe I was doing some different things but I was still thinking about business, and I was still thinking about what I could do. When I come back I am just that much more productive and ready to hit the ground running.

I asked you guys, when was the last time that you took a vacation for yourself where you could just decompress, that you could just be, that you could take care of yourself, your heart, your mind, your physical being. I really, really encourage you to think about it and think about it for your staff too. If you’re an employer out there and asking your team to put in the same type of crazy hours that you might put in, I would rethink that.

I have gotten to be a real component of making sure that my team takes time for themselves because I really understand the value that it puts on every single team member. Think about where you want to go, what you want to do. If you don’t have a big budget, do a stay at home vacation, they can be wonderful, they can be just as energizing, and knock some things off your bucket list.

You guys, if you don’t have a bucket list of things that you’ve never tried before and you want to try, create that list. I know the last vacation that I just got back from, I had two things on my bucket list, crazy, but I’d never done them before. I had never done an airboat ride through the everglades, I was able to do that. I had never been out deep sea fishing, I was able to do that. Those are just some of the things that I was able to do that got me excited, and jazzed up, and who knows, I might have a new hobby, might be fishing, like I need another hobby.

Bottom line, take that time. I encourage you to find and schedule the downtime. It doesn’t have to be a big, long two-week vacation, it can be a day, two days, whatever amount of time that you can squeeze out of your schedule. Do it for yourself, you really, really deserve it.


Staffing to Scale Your Business

Are you trying to grow your grooming business? Master Groomer Melissa Verplank shares her tips for selecting the right team members to scale your business. She also discusses staff turnover and positive ways to think about and manage the lifecycle of relationships with team members.

Want to train staff to grow your business? Check out our Distance Learning Program and leverage Melissa’s outstanding educational curriculum.

Want to help your staff get a specific breed groom just right? Check out www.Learn2GroomDogs.com, where members have more than 600 grooming tutorials at their fingertips.

Transcript
Melissa: Hi guys, Melissa here, and I want to talk to you about staff. Staff is a necessary situation if you want to grow and scale your business. And over the years, I have had absolutely amazing staff members, staff members that I never wanted to see them leave. And I have also had really, really challenging staff members. And so if you are looking to scale your business, to grow your business because you’re successful, and with success comes more opportunities, but also more challenges. And number one, you’ve got to … if you want to scale your business, you’ve got to find those staff members, but then once you find them, you’ve got to cultivate them. And over the years what I have honestly learned is one of the easiest ways when we’re dealing with grooming staff members is training them myself. And that’s really the entire reason why I started the Paragon School of Pet Grooming was because I couldn’t find enough groomers to support my mobile grooming business. I had six vans out on the road, and it was … there was times that I would let vans sit for a year, idle, and no one was in them because I couldn’t staff them.

Melissa: So this is going back into the 80s, and it was the number one problem back when I was first starting my business, and it continues to be really the number one problem today, is finding qualified staff members to join your team. And before I started the Paragon School of Pet Grooming, I ultimately had opened a salon based operation and I used that as a training center for my fleet of mobile vans, and that was really the only way that I could find team members that could groom up to the caliber that I needed them to groom to.

Melissa: So as you’re growing your business, when you’re looking for people, what I say to folks now is look for somebody with that attitude that you know that they have a great work ethic. They smile, they take direction well, those are the types of folks that are moldable, and you’re going to be able to work together with some systems, get the systems in place, and you’re going to have people that mirror what you’re thinking and how you want to treat the customers. But don’t totally put your heart and soul into them, because just when you think everything is going really well, they’re going to up and they’re going to leave, and that’s just the nature of the beast.

Melissa: And so I would never be angry with somebody as long as they were honest with me, told me up front what they wanted to do, what their dreams, what their aspirations were, and I want to help them get there. And if they want to stay with me for seven, 10, 15 years, great, and I’ve had staff members do that and stay with me for that long. But I’ve also had staff members that have only stayed with me for a few years, and I was a little bit … just, you know, like a stepping stone for them. And as long as they were honest with me, I would help them however I could, because we all have dreams, we all have things that we want to do. But what I want each and every one of you to think about, whether you be the owner of the salon, or whether you be the employee, is that do the best that you can do, and be up front and be honest. If you want to move ahead in your life, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you want to open up your own salon, there’s nothing wrong with that. But be fair about it. Don’t open up three blocks, or a couple doors down from your existing salon, move into a different area and start your own business.

Melissa: But as the business owner, I also want to encourage you to always, always be looking for somebody else to come on board. And it’s not necessarily that you’re going to replace somebody, but you have got to cover your hind end. You’ve got to be able to continue to grow your business forward, to move it forward, and it’s great always to have somebody in training, always coming up the ranks so that when that day comes that somebody does leave, that it’s not as painful for you. There’s nothing worse than relying so heavily on somebody else that when a team member does leave, it’s devastating to your business.

Melissa: And so now, today, what we are always doing is we are always cross training our team members so that if somebody leaves, if somebody moves on, that somebody can step in. Will they do the job beautifully just like the former person? Maybe not, but they have already got a head start. And right now, between the different companies that I have … we’ve got probably approaching 80 employees, between Whiskers Resort, and that’s the one that has the most employees, and the educational companies. So I’ve got a pretty good sized team, and I’ve got to tell you, I have had good days, and I have had really, really bad days based on how well the leadership was going at the companies, and probably the days that were some of my darkest days probably a team member caused that, and I let that get to me. But I will also say some of the most rewarding things that I’ve ever done has been based on a team. And to be able to see dogs walk out that look amazing, to see team members get certified, or to go into the ring, or just to be able to pay their bills and not have to look over their shoulder. Those types of things make it really worthwhile and I love being an employer, because I can expand somebody’s horizons, and I can help somebody succeed.

Melissa: And so for me, having team members works really well. But I will tell you, it isn’t always glorious, it’s not always fun. But I love what we’re able to do, and I love being able to help as many dogs in our community as we do, and I love helping people expand their career. And I couldn’t do it at the scale that we do today if I didn’t have an amazing, an amazing team behind me.

Melissa: So don’t be afraid of it. But just know, you’re going to have to buckle down, and you’re going to have to do some work, and if you are one of those team members, I certainly hope your boss, your employee is holding you accountable to a higher level.


Maintaining Focus

Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses one of her favorite keys to success: focus. Focus during a grooming session is critical for safety, technique, and style. Maintaining focus will also help improve your efficiency.

Read more on this topic here: MelissaVerplank.com.

If you want to hone your skill level — and your focus — check out Paragon’s opportunities for continuing education here, or visit Learn2GroomDogs.com for video tutorials to help you groom like the masters!

Transcript
Melissa V: Hi, gang. Melissa here again and I want to talk to you today about another one of my favorite time-saving tips. This one today is about Focus. Focus is so critical as a professional pet groomer whether it be to keep the pet safe, or to enhance your own skill set. Focus absolutely has to be maintained at all times whether that dog is first walking into your salon, whether it’s on the grooming table, in the bathtub, in a drying process, or whether it’s even in the holding area. You’ve got to be aware of what is going on around it, and be able to keep it safe at all times.

Melissa V: The other thing is if you’re not focused on your skill set as you are doing a particular job more than likely it’s not gonna be the best that you could do for the given day, so pay attention when you’re brushing those big furies out. Pay attention to your brushing technique and what’s happening with the skin whether you be scissoring, clipping, bathing a dog, making sure all that shampoo residue is out. You have got to stay focused on what you’re doing.

Melissa V: One of the things is you really can’t stay focused if you’re chattering to your co-workers, so I really encourage folks to minimize the chatter that’s going on out on the floor as you’re working with these dogs. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have a little bit of communication. You don’t want to be totally antisocial and anti-friendly, but you can’t focus if you’re totally engrossed in a conversation about what you did last weekend, or what your kids are doing, or what you’re going to be doing next weekend. You have to be able to focus on the task at hand, and that is the pet that is in front of you right there and then. And then what is going on the surrounding areas to keep the rest of the animals that are in your facility safe, so really pay attention and stay focused.

Melissa V: The other thing is if you aren’t constantly working at it, or thinking about it you’re never going to be able to enhance your skill set if you don’t stay focused, so whether you’re trying to shave a few minutes off of your groom job, whether you’re trying to improve your clipper skills, or your scissor skills, or whatever it might be the only way that you’re gonna be able to do that is to stay focused on the task at hand. You always want to look for ways that you can do something better, something … You always want to look for ways that you can do it faster. You always, always, want to maintain the safety aspect of what you’re dealing with at all times because the pets that are in your care they’re your responsibility. It’s up to you to keep them safe, so I encourage you stay focused on the most important thing that you’ve got in your salon and that would be your clients, and those are the four-legged clients that are coming in to see you.


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