Log InCartCall Now: (616) 667-7297

Blog » Pet Grooming -Productivity

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.


5 Steps to Visualize a Goal

By Melissa Verplank, CMG

Reaching your goals, especially if they are lofty, is always easier said than done. It does not matter whether they are personal goals. Career goals. Health goals. Financial goals. Or goals in any other area in your life. Achieving goals is hard work. It takes planning, focus and action.

What if I told you there’s a shortcut when it comes to achieving goals?

What is it?

Visualization.

Personally, I’ve used this technique repeatedly to achieve my goals. I first started hearing about it in the mid-1980s. Since then, I’ve used it for both large and small goals in all areas of my life with great success. Read the rest of this entry »


Learning is a 50-50 Responsibility

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses the importance of “bringing your game to the table” when you’re learning to groom dogs. Selecting the best program, instructors, and mentors is half the task. The other half comes from focusing on the instruction you’re given and committing to ongoing improvement. Education is everything! It’s the key to building a successful career in the pet grooming business.

Want to enhance your techniques? Even experienced groom techs and groomers can “level up” at Paragon with an advanced level course through its Distance Learning Program. Get $100 off Tuition with code LUCKYDOG.

Want to sharpen your skills with access to detailed “how-to” videos every day, all year? Join our Learn2GroomDogs.com pro membership community for unlimited access to more than 600 in-depth videos on every breed in the book. Use code LUCKYDOG to get 50% off your first month.

Transcript
Melissa V: Hi guys, Melissa here. Today I want to talk about how to grow your career, or how to learn. Learning, there’s a lot to it. I don’t care whether you go to the best school available to you, or whether you are self taught, learning takes focus, and it takes dedication.

I always say you can only be as good as who your instructors are. If you are self taught, you’re going to be looking at books, today you’re going to be looking at videos. You can teach yourself. You can learn on YouTube. I mean, how many of us jump onto YouTube when we have a question about something, and we need to figure it out? Yeah, we jump on YouTube.

But I’m going to tell you when it comes to dog grooming, that can be a little bit dangerous because what is out there and available on the Internet, come on, everything is the truth and everything is right on the Internet, right?

Be careful what you look for, and who you follow. It’s not to say that free education isn’t good, but more than likely you’re going to have to pay a little bit of money to get the best teaching, to get the best coaching, whether it be through videos or books or programs, or maybe you go to a formal educational type school. Be careful. Check out your schools that you’re attending, look at what the instructors are because you will only be as good as what your instruction is.

But there’s another side of this, because learning is a 50/50 gig. It doesn’t matter how good your instructors are if you, the learner, don’t bring your full game to the table. If you aren’t dedicated, if you aren’t focused, there is no way that even the best teacher can teach you. You’ve got to be in the game. You’ve got to be there and focus on what you’re dealing with, and learn and absorb it.

Everybody learns at a little different pace. Dog grooming isn’t for everybody, but if it is for you, it’s really a rewarding career, but you’re going have to work at it. There are very few people out there that are just naturally talented, that can just pick up the clippers and sheers and go to town, and do a really good job straight out the gate.

Every school system, every training program has it’s A, B, C, D, and what do we do with those other type students, you know? Even if maybe you weren’t the strongest student in school, it doesn’t mean that you can’t go on and continue your education and get better.

One of our top trainers that we have at the school, and she’s been with me on and off since the early ’90s, I still remember when she was in school and she was … It was a 600 Clock-Hour program she had signed up for, and she was really close to graduating. I happen to walk through the bathing room, and she had a golden retriever on the table. As I walk by, I noticed that the dog was still really sopping wet.

I have always had a phrase that I want the towels to do a large portion of the work before you even begin to turn on the high velocity dryer. So what it told me is that she hadn’t listened throughout the course of the lessons. I mean, here she is close to graduating and as I walk by the golden retriever, I just run my hand down the dog’s leg and I pick up the foot and I give it a soft squeeze and the water literally just runs off the foot into a pool on the table.

I didn’t have to say a word. I know, and she shared with me later, that that was a really hard blow. That was something that she remembers still to this day, years and years later, and she remembered that.

We fast forward another year or two down the road, and I’m looking for an instructor and she comes in and she applies, and I’m thinking to myself, “Oh yeah, she could barely even graduate and here she is applying for an instructor position.” I got to tell you, during her working interview, she blew me away. She worked on a little black and white Shih Tzu in a fuller guard comb type trim, and she absolutely crushed it. That dog was so cute, so well done, that I was amazed. I said to her, “What has happened, what has changed?”

She realized that when she was in school, she really didn’t focus as much as she should have. And when she got out there into the real world, that’s when her real learning started.

Whether you do it in school, which is actually where I would suggest you try because you’ve got your trainers right there, but no matter what, learning is a 50/50 choice. It’s going to 50% be where your instruction comes from, and 50% of what you bring to the table.

Just because you’re at the best school or have the best books or have the best videos, you still have to put it together. It comes from here. It comes from what you bring to the table and what you can do for the dog, how you apply what you have learned.

Gang, I’m going to tell you, it does take practice, practice, practice. And it never stops, you can continue to learn, and it doesn’t necessarily mean just dog grooming. I continue to grow my career. I have books like crazy. I highlight, I tag them. If I flip open my books, they’re all marked up.

No matter what you’re dealing with, mark your books up. I personally am not a fan of the digital books because I can’t mark them up, I can’t write in the margins, I can’t tag the pages.

To really cement something in your mind, one of the best things you can do is write it out longhand for yourself. They say, if you ink it, you think it, and that is so true. For me, that really helps sink a thought, sink the idea in. But I’m always reading with highlighters, I’m always making notes in margins. It doesn’t matter whether I was reading a grooming book, or whether I am working on some other aspect of what I need to learn to run my businesses.

Focus, focus, focus, and always remember, the learner brings half of it to the table. So just think about that when you go in and you learn and realize that some people, learning comes easier than others. And if you’re one of those folks, kind of like what I am, I’m not the fastest study out there, and I really have to work at learning and work at getting it embedded into my brain.

But stick with it, you can do it. But just know, half of it is going to be from the instruction that you receive, and the other half is going to be what you bring to the game to make that lesson stick in your mind.


How To Improve Your Speed with Focused Goal Setting

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses ways to improve your speed by tracking your time and starting with the end in mind. She shares her own personal challenge in improving speed on Poodle feet. Learn how to increase your productivity by measuring your progress and celebrating your milestones.

Want great tutorials on grooming Poodles (and their feet) along with hundreds of other instructional videos? Check out www.Learn2GroomDogs.com. Use Code LUCKYDOG to get 50% off your first month.

Want to master Poodle feet (and much more!)? Notes from the Grooming table has a detailed section. Purchase it here: Paragon Book Shop

Transcript
Melissa: Hi guys. Melissa here, and today I want to talk to you a little bit about ways to improve your speed. When we are grooming, every single day, when we’re at a grooming table, it is all about being efficient with our time. It doesn’t necessarily mean to be fast, to be rough, to be abrupt. That’s not what this is about. It’s about being efficient so that we can get the most done in the least amount of time while yielding the best result.

The best result is in the quality of the product that we put out in the way that we handle and interact with the pets that we deal with, as well as dealing with our clients. So, I just really want to emphasize that improving your speed is not about sacrificing anything. It’s about maintaining and actually enjoying what you’re doing even more so because you’re efficient. You’ve got confidence with what you’re doing, and every time you do it, you get consistent results that are yielding quality.

So, the first thing to help you improve speed is you got to know what the end result should look like. What does a quality round head look like? What does a clean well-fluffed dog look like? You’ve got to start with a clear picture of what does it look like when it’s done right. So, whatever technique you’re trying to improve, whatever thing you’re looking at, improving your speed, improving your quality, improving your confidence with, know what it looks like when it’s done right.

Then the next thing that I want you to really think about is clocks, timers. I still remember being in a salon that they were saying, “The entire salon had a problem staying on task, on time, getting dogs done when they were promised.” When I looked around, there was very few clocks, so clocks are going to be really, really critical. Wherever you’re at, you want to be able to quickly just glance up and see that clock.

You want to have a watch on that’s going to be able to stand up to the abuse of what a busy grooming salon is going to be. I find water-resistant, waterproof watches are great. All of us have our phones with us today. So, right on your phone, there’s generally going to be an app that’s got a timer on it. If you don’t want to use your phone, get an old-fashioned egg timer. It doesn’t matter. But you’ve got to be able to measure and know every second of your day, where you’re at, and what you’re doing.

Then to start improving on your speed, you got to measure it. So, if you are struggling to get a dog, a small-to-medium simple trim done in an hour or less, start measuring how long does it take you from the time you put that dog on the table to the time it gets to the tub, and from the tub to the drying area, and from the drawing area back onto the finish table, and how long does that finish take you? You need to break up your grooms, so that you know where you’re spending your time and how much time you’re spending in each one of those areas. Then start improving in each one of those.

I’ll give you a hint. Most of the time, the real trouble, the time waster is in the wet area. It’s in the bath and the dry. So, if you’re struggling to get a small-to-medium simple trim done in an hour or less, double check what your times are in there. I’ve got material out there on learntogroomdogs.com and also in my blogs that you can see a time sheet that tells you exactly where you should be.

So, research that a little bit. There’s a lot of material out there to help you improve your speed, but always have those clocks, those timers handy, and measure it. Know where you’re at. Then set yourself a goal. Set yourself a target. You want to beat it by one minute, by 30 seconds. You’re not looking to make big huge sweeping improvements at first. What you want to do is make very small incremental changes as you improve, as you focus on whatever task it is that you’re trying to improve your efficiency with, and celebrate the small wins.

Celebrating means just sometimes just giving your own self a pat on the back for hitting a target like, “Yeah, I did it.” Those types of things, those successes help you move forward, and if you don’t hit the target, if you don’t make it, don’t beat yourself up too bad. You got another chance, another time. Just keep measuring and keep tracking where you’re at.

When I first started grooming, I didn’t have any instruction. The groomer was fired. I was kennel help, and I got a call from my boss, and they said, “You’re it. You have a new role. You are now the groomer.” Gang, I didn’t know what I was doing. There wasn’t material out there. The internet didn’t even exist. There was very little material for me to teach myself how to groom dogs. My first day, I had six dogs on my table that I had to get done.

I didn’t know what I was doing. So, fast-forwarded, it got to the point that, yes, I was grooming dogs, and I always thought I was being pretty efficient and pretty good at what I was doing. But I will tell you there was one breed of dog that I hated. When I saw it, when it came across my roster, I just cringed because I knew that I was going to totally lose it on time and efficiency, and that was poodles, and it was poodle feet.

I didn’t mind anything else about the poodle, but the foot. When I first started grooming, when I had a poodle, each foot would take me five minutes, five minutes to do a foot, one foot. Down the road, it was always a struggle. I always made a mess out of it. All the dogs jerked. They pulled. They didn’t want me to handle their feet. I was making hamburger out of their feet because the blades were cutting them. I just didn’t know how to do it right.

So, poodle feet were just a huge struggle for me. I really dislike doing poodle feet. As my career grew and I got more experience, I started to understand what does it look like when it’s done right. I started to see the techniques that were being used that I wasn’t using, and I could improve upon what I was doing. Then at one point, I had the challenge. Somebody said, “Can you do four feet in three minutes?” I thought, “Ugh, are they kidding? There is no way. It takes me five minutes, four minutes to do a poodle foot.”

I’d gotten a little bit better over time, but it was still a huge time crunch for me to be efficient in that area. So, when I heard that four feet in three minutes, I thought, “All right, somebody is being able to do it. I’m going to figure it out,” so I did. It took me quite a while. I’m not saying I nailed it right out the gate, but at some point down the road, I did at height of my career, figure out how to do four feet in three minutes, and they were done well.

So, it can be done, but you’ve got to focus on it, and you’ve got to pay attention to what you’re doing. If you pay attention, if you set time goals for yourself, if you measure what you’re doing, and you celebrate your successes when you do it right, when you make an improvement, I guarantee each incremental little step will get you closer to being able to do a dog in an hour, and that’s basically what we look at is turning a dog an hour.

I’m not talking an elaborate trim or a big, hairy audacious, crazy thing. Not a doodle, but your small-to-medium size simple trims. You want to get those turned in at least an hour or less. So measure, track, and celebrate your success when you nail it.


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.
Read the rest of this entry »


Simplifying Dog Grooming with The Theory of Five

Certified Master Groomer and author Melissa Verplank talks about the evolution of The Theory of Five – a method of grooming she developed to create reproducible results and systematic communication with team groomers and clients. From it’s early inception to the foundation it has become for dog grooming instruction, the Theory of Five has helped groomers around the world save time and make money.

If you’d like to purchase The Theory of Five, Click Here.

Want to learn to groom dogs on campus or online? Learn more about our Distance Learning Program and get $100 off tuition with code LUCKYDOG.

Want to keep your skills sharp? Subscribe to Learn2GroomDogs.com for access to hundreds of videos from top stylists. Use code LUCKYDOG to get 50% off your first month.

Transcript
Melissa V: Hi, guys, Melissa here. I want to talk to you a little bit about my newly revised The Theory Of 5 book. Some of you guys don’t necessarily know the history of why The Theory Of 5 was even created and, to me, understanding the “why” of anything is really important.

So when I first started to think about The Theory Of 5, it wasn’t because it was just this great concept that I had; it was because I had a problem. It was back in the mid 80s. I was running a fleet of mobile dog grooming units. And this is way before mobile dog grooming was even remotely cool; I was definitely a forerunner with that. I had a team of groomers and stylists and we were kind of off in our own little island. You know? Keep in mind this was in the 80s. It was before the age of cellphones and we worked with two-way radios, because that was our only way to really communicate and there wasn’t a whole lot of good training for groomers out at that time.

So here I’ve got a whole fleet of mobile vans out there with groomers in them, and no consistent training. So I’m having to do a lot of training to bring everybody onto the same page because when I’ve got a customer that was calling Four Paws Mobile Grooming – which was the name of my company back in the day – I wanted to be able to send a groomer to their doorstep that could offer very consistent styling within the entire team. So it didn’t necessarily matter if we sent Anna, or we sent Melissa, or we sent Kim, to the client’s driveway, that we could all groom somewhat similarly, and the client could be satisfied with a number of different groomers and know that they were going to get a consistent result every single time they called my company to book an appointment.

Well in reality that wasn’t the case. Everybody was off doing their own thing. I was doing, at the time, a lot of competition-level grooming. I was working on my certification to get my master’s status and so I was really focused on the higher level of grooming. And my team? Meh, not so much. They were just interested in making a dollar, and paying their bills, and they weren’t as focused on the upper level of grooming. And so I really had to figure out a way to simplify the very complicated process of breed profile, trimming, and corrective grooming, so that they could duplicate what I was doing out there in the field.

So that’s really how The Theory Of 5 got started was it was a loose, kind of a raw concept that I started to work on and work on, and over the years I’ve really been able to fine tune it. And once I started introducing it, it started to simplify the entire grooming process and my team was being able to create a very consistent result for my clients – which is exactly what I wanted. I wanted to bring unity to what we were doing as we serviced the customers. The Theory Of 5 was able to do that, utilizing pet grooming techniques and tools, and so we were really working a lot with our clippers, with different lengths of blades, and guard combs, and minimizing the amount of hand scissoring that we were doing, really looking at anatomy closely, and working on how to bring out the best features of the pet, and then looking at how to simplify that so that we could use it very easily and very simply.

And so, bottom line, The Theory Of 5 deals with there are five different areas that we work with every single day. And within those five different areas, there are five things. So basically you’re looking at five different types of jobs that we do every single day. And within that there’s five different body styles, five different head styles, five different ear styles, five different feet and leg styles, and five different tail styles.

So it takes and it compartmentalizes the grooming so that you know exactly what area you’re talking about. And as I have developed The Theory Of 5, and there’s been clarity with the whole concept, I have been able to apply it in so many different areas of working within the professional pet grooming field.

So one of the things that I love about it is not only is it really flexible, but if offers unique styling for each dog – not because the trims are different, but because the dogs are all a little bit different. Each pet is going to be unique. They’re going to have different physical size and shape. They’re going to have different coat textures. They’re going to be different colors. And so when you start combining all of those things together, you end up with a very unique trim for each and every dog. And like I said, it takes the complicated method of grooming and simplifies it and refines it down to an application that is super easy to apply out in the field for each individual groomer to be thorough with what they’re doing, to give great direction. It’s super easy to communicate with a client because now you have a system that you can talk with them and get a very consistent result over and over again. Also, it’s really easy to teach it. That’s the beauty of The Theory Of 5.

Over the years, it hasn’t stayed a very simple concept. It has certainly expanded and there’s lots of different ways that we’ve been able to use it. I’ve been using this theory for well over 30 years and every time that we apply it into a new category, a new way, it seems to work really well for us. Whether it’s just giving grooming direction or whether it’s for mobile, it works. In a salon setting, it works. If you’re dealing with training students, it works. When you’re communicating with customers, it works. Over and over again, The Theory Of 5 is an application that you can use in many, many different ways.

So those are just some of the things that I really love about The Theory Of 5. The book is simple. Notes From the Grooming Table, that is the big … kind of the grooming bible is what a lot of people call it. I think of Theory Of 5 as just the simple book that you can sit down, you can pick up, there’s lots of images in there, there’s drawings, there’s photographs. There’s not a whole lot of reading involved and so you can just pick it up and get through it really quickly. It’s very simple to understand, which kind of goes along with the whole concept of simplifying the complicated; that’s exactly what I’ve been able to do in The Theory Of 5.

And just as Notes From the Grooming Table went through a revision a few years ago, we did the same exact thing with The Theory Of 5. And so we have updated it with some new images. We’ve added some new tools that maybe when I first wrote the book they weren’t available to us, and now they are and they’re just tools that we work with all the time. We’ve even added a few new breeds into the book and changed the front cover. And, heavens, one of the most popular breeds that we’re all dealing with every single day is the doodle. So we show how to utilize The Theory Of 5 and apply it to a mixed breed, a doodle-type dog, and the doodle even made the front cover of the newly revised Theory Of 5.

So if you haven’t seen the book, definitely check it out. There’s going to be links down below so check it out.


7 Speedy Grooming Tips for a Happier Pet

header
Speedy pet grooming is one of many ways we show compassion for the animals in our care. Grooming efficiently doesn’t mean you care less about their needs. You can groom a pet quickly while still being gentle, respectful, and without sacrificing quality and thoroughness.

I understand this not only as a groomer, but from personal experience with my own fur family. I have Maremma Sheepdogs, two of which are over 10 years old. They are heavy, double-coated, large dogs. At one time, they had the physical strength to endure longer grooming sessions. However, as they’ve aged, grooming has become more uncomfortable to tolerate.
Read the rest of this entry »


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.


The Importance Of Setting Goals and Planning

Time is money. How long does it take to dry a small dog? How long should you budget for a full groom on a Shih Tzu? Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank talks about the importance of setting goals and planning to improve efficiency without compromising quality. Focus and a methodical tracking of time will help you improve your workflow and increase your profitability.

Want to learn time-saving tips from the pros? Join https://www.Learn2GroomDogs.com today for access to hundreds of videos from top groomers. Use code word “LUCKYDOG” to get 50% off your first month!

Do you have staff or friends who would like to train the Paragon way, using Melissa’s cutting edge curriculum? Check out Paragon’s new Distance Learning Program. Refer someone and get a free Pocket Pal. New students who signup this month using “LUCKYDOG” get $100 off.

Transcript

Transcription

Melissa: Hi, guys. Melissa here, again. I want to talk to you about one of my time saving tips. That is setting time goals and objectives. If you don’t know how long something takes there is no way you are going to be able to improve your best times on anything. So it’s important, first, to know where you’re at, where you’re going to start. If you’re a brand new newbie you are not going to be as quick as somebody who’s got 14, 15 years of experience underneath their belt. So be a little bit patient with yourself but know that’s an area that you’ve got to work on. Let’s start with where you’re at.

Melissa: Now, my personal objective is always to turn a pretty normal groom, an everyday, simple groom, small to medium-sized dog, nothing fancy, no scissoring, not a whole lot of styling, just no-nonsense everyday groom. I want to turn one of those types of dogs, generally about one an hour, maybe a little bit less. I’ll tell you what, if you’ve got a bather working for you, half of the time is in the bath and the dry area. So if you’ve got a bather you might be turning those dogs a lot quicker than one dog an hour. But let’s say you’re doing the full thing. You’re doing the bath, the dry, and the finish trim.

Melissa: My general rule of thumb is if water can penetrate the coat and the dog is coming in on a regular basis, it doesn’t had anything done to it, it just goes directly to the bathtub. With that type of dog, that’s where I’m saying the bath, the dry, and the haircut should all take roughly about an hour. If you’re not hitting those time goals, let’s take a look and see what you can do to improve upon your time. The first thing I want you to do if figure out where you’re at. Know how long does it take you to bathe a small, simple-type haircut. Know how long it takes to dry a simple-type haircut. Know how long it takes to finish a basic haircut. Once you establish the ground rules, now you’ve broken it up into chunks. Now you can take a look and start working on improving those times and those particular areas. So break it apart in chunks, into steps.

Melissa: Get yourself a timer. It doesn’t matter whether it be a kitchen egg timer, one of those types with a dial and it turns and you hear it ticking off and bing it goes off and you need to be done or whether it’s a digital timer. Or you can even use your phone and set the timer on your phone. But time yourself. Break it in chunks and time yourself. Always try to beat your best. So know how long it’s going to take to do any procedure and then work really, really hard to beat your best time. Whenever you’re working on beating your best time, you don’t ever want to sacrifice quality or safety. Those are going to be really critical areas that you’re not going to want to shave off five or 10 minutes. That’s not what we’re looking for.

Melissa: We’re looking for just really small incremental steps to get better. Because once you start adding all of those little minutes and those seconds up, it’s amazing how fast it adds up. In no time, you’re going to be able to be doing and turning those dogs in an hour. If it’s a bigger dog, if it’s a fuzzy dog, no, you’re not going to turn it in an hour. There’s no way, or it’s hard, to turn a Doodle, a big, fuzzy Doodle, in an hour, big Standard Poodle, in an hour. It’s not going to happen. So I’m not talking about the big fuzzies. I am talking about your small, everyday, your Lhasas, your Shih Tzus, your mixed breeds, the dogs that are getting really basic, simple haircuts where you’re being able to do most of it with clippers or guard work. You can knock those dogs off pretty quickly.

Melissa: That just means more time for yourself, more time for your family, more time doing more things that you want to do. Or maybe it’s putting more money in your pocket. If you can do six dogs versus four dogs you’re going to be making more money. If you can do eight dogs versus six. When you first start out from grooming school or when you’re first learning or you’re apprenticing or whatever, I mean, your success might be finishing four dogs a day. That might be great for you. But know that as you work down the road, most professional pet stylists are working at a much quicker rate than that.

Melissa: We have seasoned stylists at one of my organizations over at Whiskers Resort, and they do anywhere between 10 and 16 dogs a day. Now, granted, a lot of times they’re working with assistants so they’ve got bathers that are helping them get through those dogs. But the bottom line is they are focused, they know how long it takes them to do a particular job, and they’re being able to work through their day very methodically, and they’re getting through it without killing themselves. When they leave, they’re still smiling at the end of the day.

Melissa: So working faster isn’t necessarily about killing yourself. It is about being efficient with what you’re doing and having the confidence to do it well. The only way that you’re going to be able to build speed is to be able to know where you’re at, where you’re starting from, and to get better from that point and move forward. So good luck getting through those dogs in the most efficient manner that you possibly can.


Get Ready for the Westminster Dog Show

Master Groomer Melissa Verplank explains why you should save the date to watch the Westminster Dog Show, America’s oldest institution for purebred conformation. Spawned in 1877, Westminster’s all-breed show is a source of inspiration for great grooms as breeders and owners show their top dogs.

See the “stack” of the 204 eligible breeds across every group and variety as the best-in-breed and best-in-show are selected Monday, Feb. 11 and Tuesday, Feb. 12. Check out the Masters’ Agility competition starting on Saturday, Feb.9 and Sunday, Feb. 10. Visit Westminster for the full schedule to tune-in: https://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/plan-your-visit/general-info

Whether you’re just learning to groom or striving to improve your repertoire, don’t miss this chance to study top dogs!

Want to brush up on your AKC standards? Look into our advanced education opportunities at https://www.paragonpetschool.com/home-study.

Want to pick up new tips on the fly? Check out https://www.Learn2GroomDogs.com, where our library of great grooming videos can help you level-up.

Transcript
Melissa: Hi guys. Melissa here. I want to talk to you about the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. That is coming up pretty soon here. It is going to be February 11th and 12th. For us in America, this is definitely our premiere dog show. There’s a lot of really high end dog shows but what I love about this one is that it’s actually televised, and they do a really nice job with it being televised. If you’re a little bit like me, I just don’t get out to dog shows the way that I did at one point in time. Now, some of you guys, you’re dog show junkies. Hey, have at it. I’m sure not only do you watch it but more than likely, you’re immersed in it. You might even be exhibiting, which is wonderful, and I know a lot of my friends are definitely there and get really caught up with the excitement.

Melissa: For me, I would really prefer to watch it from the comfort of my living room, cuddled up on my couch. Even though I might be in the comfort of my own living room watching it, I am learning so much. Each year when the dog show is aired, I get to see the new breeds that are being introduced. There have been so many new breed introduced since even I wrote Notes from the Grooming Table, or way in the back in the day when I first got my certification, there’s been a lot of new breeds have been introduced. This is my way to stay current and up to date with what’s going on in the dog show world.

Melissa: Everything that we do in the pet grooming world, it literally transfers from the confirmation ring to our grooming salons, and so even though we’re working on every day pet dogs, and they’re not getting these high show style trims, it doesn’t matter. We are visual. If you show me a nice representation of any single breed, I can turn around with my skillset and my knowledge and transfer it into a very functional pet trim for my clients. That’s what I love to be able to do, is to be able to pull the best attributes of the dog and be able to turn it into something that the owners are going to really enjoy, and be able to live with it.

Melissa: But, you know what, I couldn’t do that if I didn’t know what it should look like. Being able to watch the Westminster Dog Club, the dog show, that is absolutely the best way for me to stay current with those trends. When we look back at it, dog styles have changed over the years. Not only are there new breeds, and a lot of the breeds aren’t necessarily new, they’re very ancient breeds, they’re just new to the United States, but when we start looking at how those haircuts have changed over the years on different breeds, it’s pretty astounding.

Melissa: Not only does the breed itself kind of change and morph into something else based on what it needs to be doing today versus what it did when it actually had a real job, but also the haircuts are also changing. When you look at Bichons from 20 years ago, it’s a very, very different haircut today than what it was back then. Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers are gonna be the same type of thing. There’s a lot of breeds that are like that. Being able to watch these top dogs being shown really gives me that edge to know what to do, or what not to do.

Melissa: There’s so many, again, with those new breeds coming in. If all of a sudden you’ve got a Pumi that a client calls and they want you to groom their Pumi, more than likely when it comes in, it might just be a shave off. But, if all of a sudden you know exactly what that breed is supposed to look like, and you know it’s got these funky cute little ears and it’s got this little wedge head, and it’s got this rustic kind of coat that is a little bit different, it’s not supposed to be blown out and straight. It’s supposed to be messy looking and curly. But, if a client calls and you don’t know visually, you can’t see what that dog is supposed to look like, you are gonna have a really hard time making that dog, or even pulling components of what that breed is supposed to look like onto your pet dog when it comes through your door.

Melissa: Again, I really encourage you to watch the show. It was one of our favorite things to do back in the day when I had a whole team of stylists, and actually a lot of our stylists still do this, is they watch the dog show either online or on TV. They talk about it. It’s just a really great way to open up communications within your own salon, and within your own team members.

Melissa: Definitely check it out. Like I said, it’s gonna be airing this year February 11th and 12th. It airs normally in the evening on TV, but you can catch it streaming online at a lot of different time points, and you can actually see a lot of the classes as well. Go to, I think it is the WestminsterKennelClub.org, and check out all of the schedule of events. You go to their website, everything is there that you need to find out what’s going on and how you can best check out the show yourself, so, enjoy.


error: Content is protected !!