Log InCartCall Now: (616) 667-7297

Blog » Pet Salons 101

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.

 

Origin of the “Puppy Cut” Among Professional Dog Groomers

The puppy cut started as a trim style for young Poodles in the dog show world. Once the puppy is a year old, it is put into the elaborate adult haircut for the conformation ring. Today, the term “puppy cut” is used very loosely. It can apply to a wide variety of different breeds. It’s highly adaptable to any size of dog or coat type.

Many owners love this style of trim – and with good reason. It’s cute, easy to care for, and easy for customers to remember by name. In this trim, the dog does not drag in dirt and debris from outdoors. Their ears don’t drag in the food or water dish. The need for brushing between grooming appointments is minimized. On smaller pets, bathing between grooming appointments is a breeze. What’s not to love?

So what is a puppy cut?

Essentially, the puppy cut is one length all over. The most common length is between 1-2 inches over the body, legs, tail, head, and ears. Typically, it’s done with a clipper fitted with a long guard comb over the blade. There should not be any clipper marks, uneven coat, or sharp edges left in the fur. Next to a powerful clipper, high-quality blenders are your best friends when doing this trim. Everything is soft and plush, like a fluffy puppy.

This is where things get tricky. In some circles, the puppy cut can also be known as a teddy bear trim, summer cut, or kennel cut. I’ve even seen some salons turn their version of the trim into their “signature haircut.” Generally, the only things that change between theses trims are the names and the length of coat.

It doesn’t stop there! Others associate the puppy cut with smooth-coated breeds like the Boxer, Pug, or Beagle. Basically, the idea is of a youthful, “puppyish” look. Hence the name.

With all these interpretations, it’s easy to envision things differently. While that’s not a bad thing, not being clear on what the final look will be can definitely affect the result and your relationship with the customer. If an owner is requesting this trim for the first time, be prepared to discuss the trim in detail. DO NOT ASSUME YOU ARE BOTH ON THE SAME PAGE! Communication is the key to a happy customer.

Getting a clear understanding starts with a conversation. Spend a few minutes with the client and the pet before the customer leaves your salon.

Getting the conversation right starts with the 3 L’s:

  • Look – Use those precious moments as your clients walks in to observe the pet. What do you see? These first impressions can be used to guide your conversation.
  • Lead – This is the time to ask for clarity. Ask leading questions about each area of the pet (body, head, ears, legs/feet, and tail):
    • How do you want your pet to look? Smooth and sleek or fluffy and plush?What is the pet’s lifestyle? Is he the life of the party or a designated lap dog?
    • How long should be coat be? Remember, “short” means something different to everyone. Be specific to be sure.
    • How should the head look? The head and face are a big part of the dog’s personality. Getting this part right is very important to your customer.
  • Listen – Listen for details and clues. The customer may not know grooming terminology – that’s one reason they rely on you. Interpret their observations and preferences so you can create a clear mental picture of style options.

Now that you’re clear about what the customer wants, it’s time to put your talent and experience to work. A skilled pet professional will know how to make minor changes to the trim that will enhance the pet’s appeal. If the coat is too tangled to do the longer trim, you’ll be able to suggest alternatives that work best for his current condition. You can then discuss ways the customer can work on the coat at home to make it possible to have a longer, fluffier look as the pet grows out.

Educating clients on proper pet hygiene is a valuable service most salons offer for free to their clients. In order to keep the dog looking its best, you can offer suggestions for maintaining this haircut between grooming appointments. At home brushing and bathing can make a big difference in how they look and smell, too. You can also make suggestions on how often the trim should be done based on the pet’s lifestyle and coat texture. Always remember, your clients are the lifeblood of your business. Taking a little extra time up front for a warm and welcoming pet consultation will go a long way toward building a solid relationship with them.

Try these tips and see if it helps you get closer to your client’s idea of a puppy cut… the first time!

Happy trimming!

Melissa


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. Read the rest of this entry »


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. Read the rest of this entry »


10 Things That Take Zero Talent but Earn 100 Percent Respect

Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses the power of 10 simple best business practices that will command client respect and build your business.

Want more business inspiration to fuel your grooming salon? Check out these articles. MelissaVerplank.com/blog/?s=tips+on+building+repeat+clients&submit=Search

If you’ve mastered the art and want to bone up on your own technical skills, check out Learn2GroomDogs.com

Want to train your staff to perform at the highest skill level? Check out Paragon’s Distance Education program for Grooming Salons. ParagonPetSchool.com/product/studio-enrollment-bundle/

Transcript
Melissa: Hi Guys, Melissa here, and I want to talk to you about something, whether you be an employer or whether you are an employee, it’s not gonna matter, and this is something that doesn’t take any money whatsoever. Totally zero. It’s 10 things, and a lot of you have probably seen this list before, but it’s 10 things that require zero talent, zero money, but it is going to give you 100% respect.

Melissa: And so I just wanted to talk a little bit about these 10 different items and how it applies to what we do as professional pet groomers. The first thing, and this is just such a huge one for me, but being to work on time. Being done with your dog when you tell your customer, when you promised it, and anytime that you can’t uphold that, whether you’re running late to work or whether you’re running behind on a dog, let either your employer know or let your customer know that things might have changed a little bit.

Melissa: If you just can’t get up in the morning because you just can’t get up, change something, get up earlier, see if maybe your employer is willing to have you start on a later time during the day versus first thing in the morning. When I had all of my mobile stylist, I had early birds and I had folks that were just couldn’t get up in the morning, and we customized their schedule for them. I had some of my drivers, they were arriving to base at 6:30 in the morning, sometimes even earlier than that.

Melissa: Sometimes they were on their client’s doorstep at 6:00 AM, but they were also done and they were out at the beach by 2:00 in the afternoon. I had other stylists that were rolling in maybe at 10 o’clock and that was fine. As long as we knew, but whatever the time you set be on time. Number two, have a great work ethic. A work ethic will get you so far and it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, whether you are an employer or an employee, whether you are a coach on some type of a team, whatever it is, wherever it is in your life, a strong work ethic will always earn you respect.

Melissa: The next one would be effort, and effort and work ethic to me go hand in hand. When we’re dealing with brand new students, they’re not going to get it perfect straight out the gate. One of the best teachers is experience, and making mistakes is a fabulous way to learn as long as you can minimize the mistakes and hopefully most mistakes are correctable with a little bit of adjustment, but if somebody comes in with a strong work ethic and effort, oh my gosh, they are going to go so far with me and in their life. Guarantee that is going to get them somewhere in their life.

Melissa: The next thing is body language. If you can smile, the smile totally comes right through, whether you’re working on a dog, whether you’re talking on the phone, whether you’re dealing with a customer, it doesn’t matter, whether you’re dealing with your staff members or the staff members dealing with anybody else on the team. If you’re sitting there going, “Nope, I don’t want to do it,” or “Gosh, I’ve never done it, but let me try it.”

Melissa: There’s different way that that body language came through where one person was workable and the other wasn’t, and body language and energy and positive energy. There’s that phrase out there that says, “Is your attitude contagious?” “Is it worth catching?” And I love that image where there’s a whole bunch of matches lined up and there’s one match and they’re getting ready to ignite just that whole row.

Melissa: Energy is absolutely fabulous. And dogs also, they read energy. So if you come into the salon and you’re in a grumpy, nasty mood and your body language is not positive, you just don’t want to work. You don’t want to be there, you don’t want to put forth the effort. Well, you know what, your day is going to get even worse because that energy is transferred right over to those dogs. And so it’s really important to have positive energy and have that great attitude coming in.

Melissa: Not only is your day going to go smoother, but every coworker that you have, their day is going to go smoother and the dogs are gonna respond in a much more favorable way when you’ve got that positive attitude, the positive energy coming into work, and you’re going to get that respect from your coworkers and your customers and also from the dogs. Passion is right in there.

Melissa: I still remember my high school teacher, and I was definitely not the best student. I mean if I was pulling a C average, I was lucky and if it was Spanish, it was something else altogether. But I had a counselor at this little tiny high school that I went to in Colorado, and I’m still in touch with her today and she believed in me so much and she said, “Melissa, when you find what you’re passionate about, nobody is going to be able to stop you.”

Melissa: And so passion is critical. If you want to succeed in your job and in your life, you’ve got to be passionate about what you’re dealing with. And again, it’s just gonna make your life be a lot more fun, a lot more enjoyable. Be coachable. If I sat there and said, “Nope, I know it all. I don’t need to learn anything,” I’m just not gonna get anywhere. And that’s one of the things with this particular industry, with professional pet grooming, you can never know it all. So always stay open, always stay coachable, always think about what you can learn more and be humble at the same time.

Melissa: That’s not on the list, but humble to me is be coachable and be humble and that will gain you respect, hands down, over and over again. Another thing is do something extra, go a little bit more. No one is going to criticize you for doing something a little bit up and beyond what they expected, and that’s what makes people talk about you.

Melissa: With a service space business, if you want to really go far, you want to be able to do something extra to get people talking about you because people don’t talk about boring services, they talk about things that excite them and referrals are the number one way that grooming salons grow. And so you want to do something a little bit extra to get those customers talking. They will love you for it and you will earn the respect.

Melissa: And the last thing on the list of 10 is be prepared. Be prepared for whatever you’re going to be dealing with. If you come skidding into work at the last minute, you’re running late and your workstation isn’t set up. If your stuff isn’t ready to go, you’re not prepared for your day, your day is going to tumble in a downward fashion pretty quickly. And so it really pulls all of the 10 together, is be prepared.

Melissa: If you do these 10 things, you are going to earn the respect of your employer, of your clients, of your boss, all the way around you’re going to earn respect and you will also have respect for yourself. And so I really encourage you to think about these items that absolutely cost zero intake, zero talent to just do.


Selling a Service Equals Selling a Relationship

In this video, Master Groomer and savvy entrepreneur Melissa Verplank discusses the importance of building a trusting relationship with your clientele as the foundation of a thriving salon.

Want more tips on increasing your client retention rate? Check out another article on this topic here.

Would you like to train new staff with Melissa’s curriculum? Check out Paragon’s Salon Distance Learning packages here.

Want access to hundreds of grooming business and technique videos for busy professionals? Visit Learn2GroomDogs.com

Transcript
Melissa: Hi guys. Melissa here, and today I want to talk to you about what we do every single day, and that’s grooming. And grooming is a service based business, and it’s a little bit different than if you were able to pick up a widget and test it and look at it and try it out, and then make the decision whether you’re going to buy it or not. When we are grooming dogs, we’re selling a service. And a client isn’t going to know whether they like that service or not, most of the time until after you have finished. And so people that are calling us as a professional pet groomer, they are assuming that we’re talented, that we’re skilled, that we’re trained.

Melissa: It’s the same thing if you need to hire an attorney. Unless you have a great referral, you don’t know whether you’re hiring the best attorney for your particular situation. You don’t know when you go to the doctor whether you truly have the best doctor for the situation, whether you’re getting the correct diagnosis for what is ailing you. Taxes, shoot. How do you pick somebody to do your taxes? And if you have a complicated return, how do you know whether somebody is really doing a good job for you? You don’t. You don’t know it until after the fact. And that’s the same thing with dog grooming.

Melissa: Our customers don’t know whether they’re going to get an excellent grooming, or they’re not, until after it is done. But you know the one thing that customers can really tell, and you think about the services that you go to, they can tell whether they feel valued, whether they feel like it’s a good relationship. You just get that gut feeling that you like that person. And clients can tell when phone calls are returned, when they’re treated politely, when their pets are being treated with compassion, they can tell that.

Melissa: And so bottom line, when you’re selling services, you’re basically dealing with a popularity competition. And the winners of that competition are the ones that make those customers feel valued. That is absolutely key with what you’re dealing with. Just remember when clients and prospective clients call to see what you offer, they are going to assume that you know what you’re doing, that you know how to trim their dog the way that they think it should be trimmed. And so it’s really important that you get at least to that first base, and you’re being able to communicate with that customer and make them feel amazing.

Melissa: And you know through years and years of experience, I have found the stylists that have full books sometimes aren’t the most talented stylist. But they are the groomers and the stylists that make that customer feel important. They are the ones that make up with that dog, and that client feels comfortable leaving their beloved little fluffy with you for the day. And so that’s really, really critical, is make that customer feel valued, feel important, and build that trust so that customer keeps coming back to you over and over again.


Bubble Baths and the Holiday Grooming Rush?

If you have a reasonably busy salon and have been at this for a few years, you know the holidays mean crunch time. You’ll be grooming most of your regular clients in days instead of weeks. Do you have control of your schedule?

You may find yourself racing to juggle the demands of your business and your family. Keeping your customers happy is crucial to the health of your salon, but not at the expense of those you love. Don’t let the insanity of the holiday season put a damper on your festive mood.

I learned the hard way. Grooming super long hours up to 14 days straight before Christmas left me totally exhausted and spent. I was definitely a Scrooge throughout the entire holiday season. I knew I had to make a change when one Christmas I literally slept through the entire day.

Here are a few ideas from myself and my team of seasoned grooming pros to help you make the most of the holiday rush. Read the rest of this entry »


Thinning Shears are the Pet Stylist’s Eraser

Are you thinking about upgrading any of your pet grooming tools? For many dog groomers, The Groom Expo in Hershey, PA that is coming up later this month is a perfect time to see and test new items for your tool kit. If you are saving your tip money to buy new thinning shears, this blog is for you!

pencilThinning shears (or blending shears) are the best-kept secrets in the grooming world. Used properly, they can make mistakes much less noticeable. For a new stylist, this is one of the first shears I always recommend upgrading in your toolbox.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been grooming or how talented you are as a pet stylist – sometimes you just need a little help. An “oops” can occur at any time. Mistakes happen.

Maybe there is a spot on the coat that you just can’t get smooth. Maybe there is tracking in the coat from the clippers or guard comb. You may have left scissor marks in the coat – or a hole in the coat you accidentally made with clippers or scissors. You might even be working with a dog that will not hold still long enough to work safely with clippers or scissors – leaving the coat rough and jagged.

Thinning shears can be your savior. They erase rough spots. They blend out jagged edges. They smooth out transition areas. They fix mistakes.

The difference between a good stylist and a great stylist can be determined by how much value they place on their blending shears.

ToolboxStylists that understand the value of this type of shear will invest in multiple pairs. Just like straight edge shears, there are wide varieties from which to choose. Some are for more general use while others have more specific usage. The key is to know how you want to use the shear. Do you need it for light wispy coats? Drop coats? Terrier styling? Working around the head or eye area or dealing with large surface areas? There is a blender to fit every single one of these needs.

I always suggest you personally try out thinning shears before you purchase them. Just like Colin Taylor says, shears are like shoes. You need to find the ones that fit you! They have to fit properly as well as cut smoothly and run effortlessly in your hands.

So how do you narrow down your choices? Ask. Find out what other groomers and stylists are using. Determine which thinning shears they rely on every day in their salons. Believe me, they have opinions! There are lots of fabulous thinning shears out there – but there’s also a lot of junk.

Most high quality blending shears will have an average cost of $150 – $350. Of course, you can spend more if you like. Your equipment is an investment in your career. You may not need the Rolls-Royce when you first start out – but you do need something that is reliable and dependable. Luckily, there are many styles and varieties from which to choose.

royale-double-teeth-thinning-shear-bladesThe difference between a good stylist and a great stylist is that they know how to fix mistakes. Every one of us makes them. Having a nice collection of thinning and blending shears will be the erasers you need when that “oops!” happens.

What are your favorite shears? What do you look forward to shopping for when you go to Hershey? Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us about it!

Happy trimming!

~ Melissa


Surviving the Holiday Rush

After working professional in the pet grooming industry over 35 years, the only time I worry about dealing with clients is the Christmas holiday season.

christmas-dog-wallpaperThe two weeks preceding the actual day can be a chaotic mess.  With Christmas shopping, decorating, baking, family gatherings, holiday socials to attend, and every regular client you have wanting to be booked as close to Christmas as possible . . . phew!  December can be an exhausting month!

But, wait – t doesn’t have to be!  Christmas organizing all year round will let you create that picture perfect holiday without nearly the stress.

Getting Organized & Ready

The Salon

  1. Is it clean – really clean? Floors, walls, kennels?
  2. Is the lighting up to snuff?
  3. Are your laundry machines working properly?
  4. Are the tubs draining?
  5. What are the conditions of your pet dryers?
  6. Are your blowing fuses on a regular basis in one outlet?
  7. Does your computer need to be de-bugged for a glitch free running machine?
  8. Do you have a stock pile of all the office supplies you’ll need?
  9. Are your blades shears all sharp and ready to go?
  10. Are your clippers operating smoothly?
  11. What is your stock level of all your dispensable products? Shampoos, conditioners, cologne, flea foggers, cotton balls, ear cleaner, etc.
  12. Are there plenty of towels on the shelves?

The Holiday Image

  1. Are your holiday decorations fresh and up-to date for your salon?  Keep it simple and easy… pick a simple theme and work with it.
  2. Do you have your client’s gifts ready to go so they can easily be passed out when the client is having their pet groomed?  Remember, expense isn’t the key, packaging is. Pay attention to the details.
  3. Have fun with festive accessories.  Head gear, costume jewelry – anything that can bring a smile to someone else is a good thing.
  4. Are all your holiday bows special and pre-tied?  Are bandanas ready to be attached to the pet?
  5. Do you have red and green nail polish that is actually usable?  What about other colors?
  6. Do you have plenty of air freshener to lend a sparkle to the air without being overly powering?
  7. Music is everywhere – is your holiday collection handy or is there an ‘all Christmas’ station you can tune into?
  8. Have you brought extra clothing or makeup to freshen up after work before heading out?
  9. If you’re worried that you’ll be slow after the holiday season, do you have any grooming promotions for January and February that you can be handing out now?
$$ Saving Tip: Buy all your holiday items the day after the holiday to save up to 50% the retail price;
fabric for bandanas, decorations, Christmas cards…

Getting Through the Dogs

  1. What are the pros and cons of working extra hours?
  2. Should you take on new clients?
  3. Make sure all your regular clients have their holiday appointments BEFORE taking on new clients or ‘non- regulars.’
  4. Hiring extra help – is there something you can easily delegate with some basic training that would free you up to deal with clients?  Cleaning? Answering the phone?  Taking out the trash?
  5. Have you worked out a system to maximize the types of pets you take per stylist?
  6. Work out a drop-off and pick-up schedule that allows you to stay focused on grooming pets.
  7. Stay calm, cool, and collected no matter what happens during the course of the day.
  8. Set realistic time goals that push you, but stay on target.  Use an egg timer if necessary or place a clock where you can’t miss it – no matter what.
  9. Use every speed trick in the book from prepping – to bathing – to drying – to trimming.
  10. When clients pick up their pet, are you offering a promotion to assist in re-booking 6 weeks down the road when it can traditionally be really slow?

Organization on a Personal Level

  1. Do you have a master list of all the things you need to do for the holidays?  Is it broken down into smaller do-able chunks?  What about a master gift list that’s simply updated year to year?  Master Christmas card list?  Weekly meal planner? Regular shopping tick-sheet list?  For great inspiration go to www.organizedchristmas.com
  2. Are you are a store, catalog, or Internet shopper?  Are you prepared to have ALL your holiday gift shopping done by December 15?  What about the wrapping?
  3. As time gets closer, demands get greater and healthy meals go by the wayside…  If you are in a city, do you have a full selection of menus at your fingertips?  Who has great take-out that you quickly sweep in and grab on the way home or while you are at the shop?  If you are a country dweller, is your freezer packed with great frozen meals that only require reheating whether homemade or store-bought.
  4. Does a messy house stress you out?  Before is gets really busy, clean and organize the house or hire someone to help you… (or if you have kids, enlist their help.)  Also think about having carpets cleaned, windows washed, or dropping you heaping laundry off at a laundromat, letting them do it for you.
  5. Do you need a masseuse or chiropractor to help you stay loose and limber ? If you do, book your appointment early.

After the Holiday?

  1. Take the week off! Trust me – your clients don’t need you for the week between Christmas and New Year’s!  Take that time and spend it on yourself and your loved ones!  You’ve earned it.

With a little bit of pre-planning, you’ll be breezing through the holiday.  It’s so much more enjoyable for everyone to be in a festive spirit instead of being the Grinch.  Put some effort into setting yourself up to enjoy the best of the season – it makes the time fly by.  And you might even get a few moments to relish this time of year!

Always remember, to be successful – to thrive – you need to put forth effort today so that your future will be bright.

Happy trimming !

~Melissa


Clocks Are Your Score Keepers – It’s time to revisit an important topic!

We once asked a salon owner about her biggest challenge. The answer was simple – speed.

Most of her staff struggled to get even the simplest trims done in under an hour. That included bath, blow dry, and haircut. Even a basic #7F all trim on a smaller drop coated breed was daunting to some of them.

clockWe walked in and saw a well-organized salon. It was bright. It was clean. The layout allowed for efficiency. The equipment was all top-notch.  Hmmm, we wondered. Why was turning a small to mid-sized dog such a challenge for them?

Then it hit us. There were hardly any clocks around. We only spotted one clock in the main room. It was a smaller digital wall clock set on military time. The owner of the salon was a career military gal who is now retired. I understand why she opted for that style of time keeper, I’m just not so sure that style of time keeping is the right one for a staff of non-military groomers.  Plus, when I was across the room, I could barely read it clearly. The clock was just too small!

If you want to be a successful groomer who can pay your bills while bringing customers back again and again – you need to embrace time.

Watch the time.

Track the time.

Race against the time.

Everything we do with professional pet grooming involves time. You need to be highly aware of every hour, minute, and second. Ideally, a professional groomer should be able to turn a small- to medium-sized simple trim in an hour or less. That includes the bath, the dry, and the trim.

The first thing we suggested to this team was: GET CLOCKS! Nothing fancy, they just needed to be large enough to be easily seen from across the room. The simpler, the better. Every room in the salon needed one hung on the wall. By having a clock in every room, it makes it easy for the groomers to track their own time with just a quick glance. But clocks aren’t enough. Every person working on the pets needs to have a watch on, too.

For those individuals that are really looking to increase their speed, having a timer at their stations can be really beneficial. Before you can start timing yourself, it’s helpful to know what your starting point is.

Break the groom down into sections. Bathing. Drying. Clipping the body. Trimming the feet. Rounding the feet. Scissoring the legs. Styling the head. If you don’t know how long it takes you to do each one of these items, you’ll never be able to improve upon your “best time.”

And it’s far easier to break it down into segments than to look at the dog as a whole. After all, who doesn’t want the opportunity to win at even one or two smaller segments than to get frustrated when they don’t hit the time goal with the overall trim?

Once you know how long it takes you to do each segment, you can set goals and objectives to beat your “best time.” Push yourself. Make a game out of it. The clock will be your score-keeper. Each time you gain even a few seconds, you’ve won a mini victory!  But you’ll never be able to do that unless you can easily watch the clock. Even with all the clock watching, always remember, speed and efficiency can never come at the sacrifice of quality or safety.

2015-10-28_1529rrWhat are your time saving tricks? Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us.  You can even click here for a quick lesson in how to use the site.

FREE TIME SAVING LECTURE HANDOUT

Click here for a complete video list to make searching even easier!
 

Happy trimming,
~Melissa


Tricks to Keep Your Appointment Book Full – Great Ideas to Stay Busy All Year Long

When your appointment book is totally full, how does that make you feel? For most of us, it’s a sense of security. It’s a source of pride. It’s a guarantee that you are satisfying your customers’ needs. You are doing a good job.

But how do you feel when that appointment book has empty slots? Maybe you are just starting out on your own and have an open book. Maybe you are new to the salon and need to build a fresh clientele. Or maybe you have been at your salon for a while, yet you’re just not getting traction with repeat customers.

Long-time pet stylists know this unspoken rule: a full appointment book offers job security.

So if your appointment book is lighter than what you would like, how are you going to fix it?

Here are a few ideas to help you boost your number of daily grooming appointments.

SERVICE MENU

If you went to a restaurant and the server did not hand you a menu, how would you know what to order? Pet grooming is very similar. Owners know they’re coming to you to get their dog cleaned up, but they probably don’t know all the services that you offer. Services that could help them keep their pet looking and feeling great.

A well-organized service menu makes it easy for the client to select a service. As a bonus, it also makes it very easy for you discuss optional services such as de-shedding treatments, shampoo upgrades, skin conditioning treatments, tooth brushing, nail filing, or other add-on services.

A service menu allows you to quickly summarize maintenance grooming services. Use it to  highlight the benefits of regular professional grooming appointments. This is a great place to outline the suggested frequency of appointments. Depending on a number of factors, most pets benefit from being groomed every 3 to 6 weeks.  Others may benefit from weekly or biweekly appointments. Having a comprehensive service menu makes it easy to rebook clients on a regular basis.

DEVELOP A RESCHEDULE FILE

Actively encouraging clients to reschedule on a regular basis ensures that a salon will have a steady stream of clients. Plus, the pets will be in the best possible condition.<

Rebooking and rescheduling is all about helping your clients keep their pet looking and feeling its best. It’s about helping them understand the hygienic needs of their dog or cat, such as why it’s important to properly brush and bathe their pet between visits. Those are the goals. You are a problem solver. If they do not want to do the tasks necessary to maintain their pets at home, they will turn to you to do the job for them. Education is the key.

There are number of ways to rebook that next appointment:

  • on the spot.
  • reminder calls.
  • wake-up calls.
  • e-mail blasts.

Rebooking on the Spot

Referral card example.

Referral card example.

Offering to schedule an appointment at checkout is the best way to get a client to rebook. Develop a couple different scripts and use the one that best fits the needs of that client. For best results, use the tips below.

  • Ask every time. Think of fast food chains. They ask you every time if you would like something else with your order – every time. When the client checks out, offer to rebook their next appointment to ensure their pet continues to look amazing.
  • For the busy or in demand pet stylist, reschedule a number of appointments at once or book the entire year. This will guarantee the client will get the premiere dates they are looking for.
  • In areas that are price sensitive, offer incentives. Maybe it’s $5 off their next grooming if they book within six weeks or less. Or maybe you offer them free upsells like tooth brushing or a spa package upgrade.

Reminder Calls – If the Client Does Not Rebook on the Spot

Discount card example.

Discount card example.

Ask the client if they’d like a Reminder Call a week before “Buffy” would be due for his next appointment. This could be done via phone, e-mail, or text message.

Wake-Up Calls

Actively call clients that have not returned to the salon in 8-12 weeks.

E-mail Blasts

This is a great way to market to existing clients. If you are going into a slow day or week, offer an incentive to get clients in the door for those days.

IMPLEMENTATION

Incentive coupon example.

Incentive coupon example.

Rebooking is something you must do regularly – the same way – every time. Make it a habit to ask if they want to rebook at check-out. If they don’t, make sure to call and remind them one week prior to the preferred grooming time for their pet and don’t forget to do the Wake-Up calls once a month for any client you haven’t seen in 8-12 weeks.

Referrals

People are physiologically wired to make referrals. Many businesses can grow and flourish just by tapping into this business building strategy.

Referrals come from a number of different sources:

  • existing clients.
  • other service providers.
  • pet professionals.
Welcome flyer example.

Welcome flyer example.

Existing Clients

  • Encourage them to pass out your business cards. Let them know you are looking for more great clients like them. Always keep a supply within easy reach and generously hand them out to clients.
  • Use an incentive-based referral program. Offer a discount for first time clients PLUS give the same discount to the client that referred them. You give them even more reason to pass your name around – plus – it’s a great way to thank them for the referral!

Other Service Providers

  • hairdresser
  • local pizza joint
  • coffee shop
  • anywhere people gather and talk

Leave a stack of Discount Incentive cards with the owner or someone that is happy to pass them out. Code the back so you know where they came from – that way you don’t have to ask the customer when they turn them in. You do want to track where the cards are coming from so you can thank the service provider in an appropriate fashion.

Pet Professionals

  • vets
  • pet supply businesses
  • rescue organizations
  • trainers
  • pet sitters

Leave them with a basic welcome package they can hand out to clients that would benefit from your service. Participate in and support their events. They are more like to refer and support you in return. Offer a thoughtful thank you gift to those that refer you on a regular basis. Food or flowers never go out of style but there are many options.

Did we miss anything? Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us. You can even see a video on Learn2GroomDogs.com on this topic!

Happy trimming,

~Melissa


error: Content is protected !!