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Melissa’s Tips: New Year’s Resolutions are Dreams with Deadlines

With the Holiday rush just ahead, take a moment right now to fuel a prosperous 2020 and create a dream with a deadline! A recent study divided people who made New Year’s resolutions into two groups.

• Those who made New Year’s resolutions and wrote it down.
• Those who made a New Year’s resolution but neglected to write it down.

You know what? The results were amazing. For the group that did not write down their New Year’s resolution, only 4% of them kept their resolution. However, for the people that wrote down the resolution, a whopping 44% of them had kept their New Year’s resolution.

Increase Your Odds

“You can’t hit a target you can’t see” says motivational speaker Brian Tracy. And he is so right. A dream is a wish. Most people don’t write down their wishes – Thus, most wishes don’t come true.

Another one of his famous quotes is, “Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.”

So have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Have you put pen to paper or your fingers to keyboard? If you’ll just take a few minutes and get your dreams down on paper, your odds for success are going to increase tenfold. Let’s get started!

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Improve Your Speed for the Holiday Rush

Clocking speed is an excellent exercise to help you and your team get ready for the holiday rush. Practice makes perfect, and speed is crucial for the holiday season. Check out Melissa Verplank’s advice on how to get up to speed!

How To Improve Your Speed

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.

We 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 timekeeper, I’m just not so sure that style of timekeeping 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.

Time Chart for Improving Speed in Dog Grooming

Click on the image to Download a FREE Time Chart

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?

Set Time Goals

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.

What 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

Happy trimming,
~Melissa


Melissa’s Top 4 Tips for Getting Through the Holidays

By now, busy salons are bracing for the holiday rush. Thanksgiving. Hanukkah. Christmas. Are you ready?

This isn’t only your busiest season, it’s also the end of the year. It can make or break your earning goals. Will you finish off 2019 with a bang? Will your books be full for January and February of next year?

I love this time year. It forces us to be on top of our game. To be organized. To be ready. To have our days planned. To keep our communications clear with fellow team members and our customers. To know our limitations.

Most of us who are involved with the pet industry are here because of our passion. We simply love working with the pets. However, even the most passionate groomer can feel the pressures of holiday demands.

If you are one of those professionals who feels the pressures of the Thanksgiving and Christmas crunch, take heart. Get in front of it now and review areas that could use some improvement in the salon.

Here are My Top 4 Tips for Getting Through Your Day with Ease:

#1. Mental Control

Stay focused. Pay close attention to what you are doing at all times. You’re working with live animals and sharp instruments. Chatter between your coworkers and pets breaks your focus. You lose time and you make mistakes when you don’t stay focused on the pet.

Always practice the three C’s; stay calm, stay cool, and stay collected. When you’re working with a pet you want to be friendly but aloof. You want to correct any undesirable action before it becomes a major problem. Frustration and anger have no place in a professional salon setting. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, take a break. Breath. Step back to the grooming table when you have regained your composure.

Work methodically with all pets. Don’t get flustered. Set an even and steady pace when it comes to handling, bathing, drying, brushing, clipping, and scissoring. Set time goals for every step of the grooming process and strive to achieve them.

#2. Invest in Yourself and Your Equipment

What is the condition of your equipment? Are you working with top-quality equipment?

It’s amazing how much time you can save when your equipment is in top condition. Or when you splurge on that new pair of blenders that cut like butter. Or you have a high-velocity dryer that has plenty of punch. Oh, and all of your shears and blades have sharp edges on them — correct? There’s nothing more frustrating than working with dull and ineffective equipment when crunch time is on. Right now you’re in crunch time.

#3. Organization in the Salon

Do you have a smooth process for client check-in and checkout? If you’re computerized, is it easy to pull up client records in a flash? If you’re still working with a card file, are all the records pulled the pets that are scheduled for that day?

Most stylists in a salon setting find working in a minimum of three or four hour blocks of time can be highly advantageous to time management. The more you have to stop to check-in or checkout clients the more you lose your focus on the pet that is on the table. By working in blocks of time, you can check multiple pets in and out in tight windows of time when it comes to dealing with customers.

Do you have a method to track all the collars and leads that accompany the pets? This is no time to be looking for that lost collar or lead! Do you have a bright assortment of those pre-made? Do you have festive bandannas cut and ready to go on the dog?

#4 Mental & Nutritional Stamina

When the rush is on, you need to be at your peak — mentally, physically and nutritionally.

You’re not going to be at your peak if you’re not getting enough sleep. I know … I know. With all the demands between work, family and holiday festivities, slumber can be hard to come by. Normally, a professional groomer is so physically exhausted that when your head does hit the pillow — sleep comes easily. Just make sure you’re getting enough hours each night so you can perform at high levels the next day.

With the holidays upon us, most salons find themselves overrun with holiday treats from their clients. Be careful with this one. Personally I learned the hard way you are not good to feel your best if you consume all those goodies all day long!

I learned in my early 20s to pack healthy food options to keep me nourished all day long. I was mobile so in between every client by reward was to eat. If I had healthy options at my fingertips, it was easy to keep my energy level in high gear. In a salon setting, this might be a little bit more challenging. Still, eating healthy small amounts on a regular basis is the best way to keep you both mentally and physically content.

Pack a nutritional lunch plus snacks. (You know your days are going to be long!) Or do a potluck between staff members. We’ve done this for years at the Paragon School of Pet Grooming with great success. The rule is: Healthy, quick food options only. No sweets. No desserts. Our clients do a great job with that. The potluck is set up so everybody can grab a quick bite in between dogs quickly and easily.

If you’re not a cook – have a stack of local takeout menus available. If they deliver – BONUS!

The holidays are a great time to really test your skills. We’ll find out quickly just how successful you are. If you have a full book and struggling to fit into just one more pet each day, you know you have arrived. Be thankful for creating a service that your customers desire. If you take care of them well — they’ll take care of you. That’s what successful customer service is all about!

Happy trimming!

~Melissa

If you need a brush up on any time management lessons, here are a few titles from Learn2GroomDogs.com that could help you.


Create a Culture Employees Don’t Want to Leave

If you’re a salon owner, do you struggle with keeping employees? Have you created a culture that employees don’t want to leave? Paragon VP Joe Zuccerello is a regular speaker on this topic, and shared his insights with Profit Network Members during a private session to launch the @The Dog Gurus Business Breakthrough Workshop. You can download free highlights of his talk at by entering your information below.

Download Your FREE Employee Culture Highlights for Joe’s Talk!






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Paragon’s Online Dog Grooming Program Welcomes Courtney Ramstack to Mentor Team

Paragon People bring passion to the art of grooming instruction to help our students succeed. That’s why we’re delighted to welcome award-winning competitive groomer and instructor Courtney Ramstack, CMG, to our DLP Online Grooming Mentor team! Courtney has trained more than 150 students throughout the midwest, coaching them through grooming competitions and successful salon management. Her own rise from bather to industry-leader came through her strong sense of style, attention to detail and outstanding customer service. We’re delighted to have her on board!

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Plan Now for a Successful Holiday Dog Grooming Season!

Yes, we know it’s still summer, but in a blink of an eye the leaves will turn, snow may fall (if you’re in the northern states) and the sweet jingle of the cash register will ring out across the land. Are you — or your salon — ready for the holiday rush? In this excerpt, CMG Melissa Verplank outlines tips and questions to ask yourself to ensure a smooth holiday season. If you need to hire help, train them now with Paragon’s Distance Learning program, and you’ll be set to ring in the New Year with record profits!

 

Ten Tips & Questions to Help You Get Through the Dogs During the Holiday Season

  1. What are the pros and cons of working extra hours? Do you have enough staff to handle the volume?
  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? (Or adding a bather/stylist who has completed level 1?)
  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?

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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Canine Influenza Revisited – Tips for Salon Management

As summertime approaches, so does the anniversary of the worst outbreak of Canine Influenza the country has seen. In the summer of 2018, numerous pet care facilities in Paragon’s home state of Michigan closed temporarily, required vaccinations and/or orchestrated mass vaccination efforts to slow down the spread of Canine Influenza H3N2 strain, including our own Whiskers Pet Resort and Spa. Is your facility ready for 2019?

By now, you have probably heard about the newest illness threatening our pets. Canine influenza (CI), or dog flu, is a highly contagious infection that can have serious implications not only for our pets, but for your business and our industry.

Read the rest of this entry »


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.


Education is Everything

By Melissa Verplank, CMG

We have a motto within my companies when it comes to learning:

“Education is everything.”

It is at the very core of everything we do. Why?

I see learning as never-ending. It does not matter what stage you are in your career. Or what stage you are in your life. Continued learning offers positive opportunities around every turn.

I was never a great student in school. Traditional academics did not excite me. But once I got into dog grooming, now that was a different story.
I became passionate about learning. About growing my career. I didn’t seek out traditional methods. Most of my learning was self-directed. Something much more challenging before the age of the Internet! I quickly understood the wealth of benefits continued education unleashed.

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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 »


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