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Cat Grooming: Techniques and Training with Danelle German

Special Guests

Danelle German

Danelle currently serves as President and Certified/Instructor of the National Cat Groomers Institute, which she founded in 2007. Along with her husband, she is the inventor and patent holder of the Catty Shack Vac drying system. She is a sought-after speaker, innovator and entrepreneur within the pet care industry. She is known not only for her exceptional skills as a feline-handler but also for her awesome show-worthy grooming results developed over years of successfully competing in the show ring. Combined with her seemingly unlimited knowledge of the feline-species, her training proves time and time again to be the best that can be found. Danelle is also the author of The Ultimate Cat Groomer Encyclopedia. This encyclopedia focuses on the cat grooming business, CFA-approved cat breeds, feline behavior, grooming and handling techniques, feline health, and case studies on cat grooming. In her talks, she leads people into self-awareness and self-actualization, inspires them to find and pursue their own excellence, motivates humans to reach deeper within themselves as they learn to communicate with another species on a profound level. She espouses several simple truths along the way: never trust a cat; failure is not an option; every cat deserves the best groom and groomer.

Cat Grooming: Techniques and Training with Danelle German

In this episode, Joe Zuccarello is joined by cat-master and feline aficionado, Danelle German, from the National Cat Groomers Institute. They’ll explore ways that dog groomers can build a lucrative cat clientele into their business for an excellent return-on-investment. You’ll also find answers to many questions, including the following:

  • How long does a cat de-shed last?
  • If a cat grooms itself, why should I groom it? (Hint: You wouldn’t hug a person who licked themselves head to toe, would you?)
  • How do you offer services to a cat family struggling with an abundance of cat hair?
  • What does a good groomer have in common with a good mechanic?
  • How do cat and dog grooming prices differ?

Tune in to find out!

Special Offer:

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Transcript

Joe Zuccarello: Welcome to Hey Joe, a podcast answering questions asked by our listeners. Created by pet professionals for pet professionals and now, your host, Hey Joe’s very own Joe Zuccarello.

What’s up everyone? Joe Zuccarello here and welcome to Hey Joe, a podcast brought to you by Paragon School of Pet Grooming. Check out our site at paragonpetschool.com for lots of really cool information on a variety of programs, products, and to connect to educational resources such as webinars, podcasts, current events, special news, certifications, and lots of other helpful information to help you grow yourself, your team, and of course, your business. Let’s get started with this week’s episode.
Hello Hey Joe podcast listeners. Thank you for joining us today on another episode of Hey Joe. This is a podcast where you get to listen in on real coaching calls between myself and subject matter experts in the pet industry. Oftentimes, these questions are being submitted to us by you, the listener audience, but most of them usually start off with the words, hey Joe. Again, thanks for joining us today. Our topic is cat grooming. More specifically, today’s episode will be talking about building a cat grooming clientele and opportunities that will blow your mind and I am joined today by one of my favorite people in the whole world, I’ve often referred to her as one of the bravest people I know and that is Danelle German.
Danelle is the founder of the National Cat Groomers Institute. During our podcast, you’re welcome to take a peek at her website, kind of poke around there, and follow along a little bit as we talk about what it is that Danelle and her organization does. You can visit her website at nationalcatgroomers.com. Maybe pop into there and follow along a little bit. Danelle is also an author of several grooming guides and books for cat grooming and she is a regular speaker and sought after presenter in the world of professional grooming, especially as it has to do with cats. Stick around because at the very end of this, Danelle has a very special offer that she has made exclusive to the Hey Joe podcast listener audience that you are definitely going to be interested in. Without further ado as they say, Danelle German, thank you for being on the Hey Joe podcast. What are you up to and tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.

Danelle German: Well thank you for having me. I am so honored to be here and I really appreciate you tackling this topic of cat grooming because it is just something that people ask about all the time and this is providing such a great venue for them to learn a lot all in a really short period of time. I’m grateful for that and what have I been up to? We are constantly, at national cat groomers institute, working on new content. I’m right now coaching a group of students through the complete cat groomer training syllabus. They are worldwide students. They’re from Australia, Europe, Asia, America, Canada, and I’m coaching them through a 10 week bootcamp, so that’s really fun and we’ve got the new webinar coming up soon, which I’m excited about, from a dog groomer turned almost 100% cat groomer. That’s pretty cool. We are constantly working on stuff. Yeah.

Joe Zuccarello: You’re converting them, one groomer at a time.

Danelle German: I am. Yeah. We’re getting there, ha ha ha. That’s my world domination plan.

Joe Zuccarello: Now don’t go taking all of them. Us at Paragon Pet School, we need all the dog groomers we can get.

Danelle German: Yeah.

Joe Zuccarello: We’ll get them started on dog grooming and then you can have them from cat grooming or vice versa or we could … Your organization is kind of the ying to our yang. You’re the cat side of grooming education.

Danelle German: Yes.

Joe Zuccarello: That is great.

Danelle German: For sure.

Joe Zuccarello: Danelle and I are going to be talking about cat grooming today as it relates specifically to building clientele and pricing but be sure to check out paragonpetschool.com. All of our other podcasts and Danelle has so graciously agreed to do a whole series of podcasts with us about this topic, which is cat grooming. From a basic overview to safety to a topic like today, which is clientele and pricing, all the way to and including a future topic on techniques and training. What she will be talking about today is literally the tip of the iceberg, so you have to go to nationalcatgroomers.com to see what that’s all about and our podcasts here at Hey Joe thrives on questions submitted to us from you, our listener audience, and you can submit your own questions and you can do so by emailing us. It’s very simple. Email us at heyjoequestions@paragonpetschool.com and don’t forget to hit subscribe if you haven’t already to this podcast.

Let’s get started. Danelle, thank you again for joining us today. Today we’re talking about that cat grooming topic and clientele. Very first thing, what if I’m a dog groomer out there, which most of our listeners are dog groomers. Where do I find cats to groom and at what point am I ready to start grooming cats?

Danelle German: Okay, so two different questions here. Very good questions. One, where do you find these people? If you are already a dog groomer, you have people paying you to groom their dogs every month, every six weeks, what have you. You already have built in a cat clientele base you don’t even know about and this is pretty cool. These people already love you, trust you, patronize your business, pay you to care for their dog. Statistically, in America, each one of those dog parents has at least one cat at home. There are, most statistics online will tell you about 20 million more owned cats in American than there are dogs. That’s really awesome news for people like me and what makes it even better is that there are very few cat groomers out there, very few qualified, quality, cat groomers out there and so you’ve got supply and demand at work here. This is really cool.
If you are already a dog groomer, you have a clientele of dogs that you’re grooming, those clients, most likely, have at least one cat at home that has sharp claws, has shedding hair, has hairballs, mattes, fleas, dandruff, you name it, and they don’t know that they need professional cat grooming services and they don’t know that you offer these cat grooming services.

Joe Zuccarello: Wow, so-

Danelle German: What would it take … Yeah. What would it take?

Joe Zuccarello: Yeah, you have a built in clientele.

Danelle German: Yeah, absolutely.

Joe Zuccarello: They’re already existing out there. They just need … They don’t know what they don’t know. I like to use that a lot. They don’t know that you even offer that. How do you get them to know that?

Danelle German: I think one of the first ways we do that is just communicate that we do offer these services and I really like speaking to pain points because these are real issues people have with cats and at the top of the list are sharp claws and shedding hair, hair balls, just shedding hair and all the problems that come out of that. I have yet to meet a cat owner, in all of my decades of doing this, I have yet to meet a cat owner that loves the fact that their cat rips up stuff with their sharp claws and I have yet to meet a cat owner that loves cat hair all over their black pants, all over their sweater, all over their furniture. They don’t like this. If you’re offering solutions to these very real pain points, would this get their attention initially? And so what could you offer? Could you offer a 10, 12, 15 dollar nail trim on a cat initially? Because if you start out real hardcore and just go all the way and say, hey, your cat needs a bath and a blow dry because that’s what I believe.

They’re probably going to go, you’re not going to be able to bathe my cat or the vet said that my cat will die if you give it a bath. I mean yeah. You’re going to have to calm down a lot of things but what if you just tackle, in baby steps like, hey, your cat could benefit from a nail trim and they’re going to nod their head with you. Oh yeah, her nails are terrible and guess what? Most cat owners cannot trim the nails themselves. It doesn’t go well when they try this. You come in and save the day. What if you talk about cutting down on the shedding, eliminating hair balls completely? Would they buy into this stuff and so that’s your foot in the door right there, just communicating that you offer these services. Put this on your website, put this on your social media business pages. Hey, better yet, post some photos of before and afters of this stuff in place, testimonials, or just pictures … If you’ve only ever groomed one cat, put a picture of the cat and make a cute little caption and then say, hey, tired of cat hair all over your house? We have a solution. Call us, email us, drop us a message.

Joe Zuccarello: Nice, nice.

Danelle German: It’s that simple. That gets the ball rolling.

Joe Zuccarello: Now don’t get the ball rolling too fast though until you’re properly trained and that’s why we’re bringing all of … We’re bringing you, all of you, we’re bringing you and all of your information to the Hey Joe listener audience because be careful what you ask for, right? If they did that step first, then they might find themselves in a predicament if they don’t have the proper training. That’s why our previous episode we talked about safety and in an episode before that, about just overview, first kind of questioning, is cat grooming right for me and for my business and I think that is a really great gut check question to have. If the Hey Joe listener audience, if you guys out there have not listened to those first two episodes with Danelle, don’t reach out to customers yet. Hey, you could do whatever you want. It’s your business but I’m going to make a very strong suggestion and Danelle, you’ll probably back me up. Do not ask for cat grooming until you’re ready to be able to do it safety because it might be short lived.

Danelle German: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Number one, we really do have to understand these creatures that we’re working with and know how to handle them but also, right along with that, if you want this to be long term, you want to deliver really good results because the objective of getting this client in for that nail trim is to then, while the cat is in front of you and they’re in front of you, to be able to identify the other problems going on with the cat’s coat and there’s probably going to be some little mattes or tangles in there. There’s going to be a really ripe smelling behind area that’s going to need some shaving and attention, bathing, whatnot, and there may be dandruff and things like this going on and so this is going to give you the opportunity to say, hey, we also offer a full groom that can take care of these problems and these are things we do.
Well, inevitably, well this is always going to involve a bath and a blow dry and inevitably it’s going to involve some type of shaving or trimming with a clipper and these are things you absolutely do not want to get into until you know what you are doing by having some training and that’s of course where the National Cat Groomers Institute comes in. This is exactly what we do, is provide that training.

Joe Zuccarello: Danelle, I think there’s two main areas we can talk to the Hey Joe podcast listener audience about and one is about, obviously, that training is very important but let’s say that you’ve got big fans out there now. You’ve got folks that they’ve listened to both of your previous episodes with us and maybe they are contemplating or have already dug in and started to seek out more information and training from your organization at National Cat Groomers Institute but there’s two big areas and I think one is … One of those areas that they should be concerned with is kind of dispelling the myths or educating the pet parents, right? That’s one big area but the other is, how do they make this a viable business option for the dog groomer, potentially, to add cat grooming? Maybe talking about the first of those two topics which is educating pet parents and you know, I don’t know that I grew up knowing that cats need grooming. Maybe the very first thing to answer is, do cats really need grooming?

Danelle German: Good question, yeah. Absolutely, 100%. It is a common belief that cats groom themselves and if we think about that, cats, what they do is actually they lick themselves and that’s really gross. If you have a cat that … Right? You have a cat that’s six years old and has never been bathed, it is covered in six years worth of saliva, which is disgusting, and then also the cat is frequenting the litter box every day, maybe it’s walking around in the bathroom, the laundry room, whatever, on the floor. It’s dirty. That’s really gross and it’s sleeping on the bed.

Joe Zuccarello: They’re walking on your countertops, right?

Danelle German: Yeah, right? That is gross.

Joe Zuccarello: Hold on, hold on. This six years worth of saliva, that almost didn’t hear anything else you said because I’m starting to kind of picture that but I was always taught that that’s like the cat cleaning itself.

Danelle German: Yeah, right. Okay, so we’re … Hey, this is something I learned very early on when I started my cat grooming business was my definition of the word, groom, was not the same as other people’s definition of the word, groom, and it could mean all kinds of different things. For the pet parent who’s saying, oh my cat grooms itself. It doesn’t need what you do. Well, their definition of groom is, my cat licks itself. That’s their definition of groom. For the dog groomer down the street who has attempted cat grooming, it might mean that they were attempting to hack out matted areas with a clipper and then send the cat home still with urine on it and still greasy and dirty and all of this but now it has holes in it’s coat. That might be their definition. My definition of groom though was a de greasing bath, a thorough de greasing bath, followed by a complete 110% blow dry with a high velocity dryer. Yes, I dry cats with a high velocity dryer.

Joe Zuccarello: All right, we’ll have to come back to that one.

Danelle German: Yeah. Yeah and then combing them out completely and thoroughly to get all that dead coat out, make their coat just have fluff and shine and restore it to it’s glory, you know? And then also a nail trim and cleaning the ears and that’s at a bare minimum. There’s usually also some type of shaving that’s taking place and another thing I learned early on was that, many times, cats are dealing with mattes or pelts on their body, encased in a solid mass of matte and that’s not okay. That is totally preventable. I have never once … You know what? I will, until I die, I will be arguing against people that say cats groom themselves until I see a cat actually pick up a clipper and shave it’s pelt off it’s body or pick up a nail trimmer and trim it’s own nails or jump into the tub and lather up with shampoo. When I see that, I will start to concede that, okay, maybe a cat grooms itself but if we take what a groomer does versus what a cat does, they’re not even on the same planet.

Joe Zuccarello: Danelle, you said something really funny to me once and I’m going to paraphrase it. Maybe I’ll just set it up for you. You said something to the fact of, if licking was cleaning yourself … What did you say that was so funny about that?

Danelle German: Well, okay. This comes from actually talking to potential clients standing in front of me, insisting their cat doesn’t need a bath. Yes people, I have been there. I have heard this conversation. I’ve had this conversation. They’re saying, oh my cat doesn’t need a bath. It just needs this and I … The first time I ever said this to someone, it was so effective, I used it again and again and I said, if I lick myself head to toe, would you give me a hug? And of course they go, no.

Joe Zuccarello: That’s what you said.

Danelle German: Yeah, they wrinkle up their nose and look disgusted, as they should because if someone is okay with that, I have concerns about them but that’s like really what … and this was the response this lady gave me and she goes, well when you put it like that. Well, I’m not putting it like anything but how it is. That’s how it is.

Joe Zuccarello: That’s true. Right.

Danelle German: Right?

Joe Zuccarello: Well it is. It is.

Danelle German: Yeah and you know what?

Joe Zuccarello: To your point, all of that saliva for six years or seven years or one year, how about six days? I don’t care. Now you’ve got me six minutes, I’m questioning how clean a cat is when I touch it but that is part of building your clientele is assuming the role of the expert and that’s what people pay for. I mean any time you pay your hard earned money for somebody to provide a service for you, what you’re probably paying for is something that you cannot do or something that you will not do. That’s the role that professional pet groomers have, right? The role of the expert.

Danelle German: Yep, absolutely.

Joe Zuccarello: With cat grooming, I don’t want to say it’s anymore or less important than dog grooming but it’s just a different type of education and a different type of conversation it sounds like with the pet parent.

Danelle German: Well yes and I’m glad you said it like that because there are two components here to building a cat grooming clientele. One is actually getting clients in the door that first time for that first service. That’s all fine and dandy but that isn’t enough to sustain a business. What we want is that client coming back every four to six weeks for ongoing preventative maintenance care for their cat, for the life of the cat. The only way that will happen is if we deliver on the goods. I talked about the last episode we did, return on investment. If we’re investing in equipment and training and all of that, we want to see a return on that to know it was worth it. I mean why would I invest in adding this cat space and getting the training if I can’t make the money back? That makes no sense but at the same time, we’ve got a cat family here and they’re dealing with hair all over the house, hairballs, matted belly on their cat, whatever. They’ve got all these issues going on and they bring the cat in for that first groom. Do you deliver on the goods where it looks awesome and you solved their problems for some duration of time?

Obviously a de shed doesn’t last forever, so did you communicate, this lasts for four weeks on this cat or six weeks on this cat and we need to repeat this and then these problems will be minimized or completely eliminated and so if you deliver on the goods, then you’ve got a much higher likelihood of a longterm client patronizing your business and not only that, but then these people are telling their friends, their family, their coworkers, their neighbors about your amazing services. This is all about being a service. The reality is, we, as consumers, do not keep paying an expert, a “expert,” to do something for us if it isn’t netting some return on investment and we’ve got to remember that if we want to be successful cat groomers.

Joe Zuccarello: Well and so what you’re saying, just because you might do a great job of educating a cat pet parent of the needs of cat grooming and the worth of cat grooming but unless you do a … and you said, did you educate them to the next step, which is frequency. You may deliver … You’ve got to deliver the goods. I love that. It’s kind of an Italian … I don’t know if you’re part Italian but I’m all Italian-

Danelle German: No, I’m not but yeah.

Joe Zuccarello: That’s kind of one of those things, you’ve got to deliver the goods, you know?

Danelle German: Yeah, right.

Joe Zuccarello: Let’s say you deliver the goods so well that now they’re like, okay, my cat needs groom but it’s every now and then but educate them on, no, it’s often that that cat needs grooming and here’s why.

Danelle German: Yes and I’m actually going to use an analogy because I think it’s so appropriate right now and I’ve used this in so many seminars I’ve done and I see that light bulb moment that people have in the audience and it’s with cars and so this is my analogy. I drive a Nissan Armada SUV. I don’t know anything about cars other than how to put gas in the tank, air in the tires. I don’t want to know any more than that. I have no interest in it. I need my car to work for me when I need it to work and so if I’m driving down the road and I hear a funny noise up under the engine, I’m going straight to the mechanics and I pull in and if the guy strolls out and he lifts up the hood and he says to me, what year is your Toyota? I immediately have a concern because I know the difference between a Nissan and a Toyota and I’m not even a mechanic.

I know more than he does and then if he lifts up the hood and he says, hey, Mrs. German, what do you think is wrong with this? Then I have a really big red flag go up because what the heck do I know? He’s the pro, right? And then if he’s tinkering around underneath my hood and he says, well I think it might be your fan belt, I’m not really sure. I watched a YouTube video on how to do this once but just so you know, sometimes I can’t finish. I’m going to drive away. He’s not touching my Armada.

Joe Zuccarello: What a great point you make. Yep.

Danelle German: I have heard this about cat grooming, like just fill in … It’s just, they put the cat grooming terms in there but they don’t know their breeds and colors. They’re asking the owner what they think is wrong or what’s the solution and they’ve watched a YouTube video on how to do this and guess what? Sometimes they can’t finish. If I go to the other mechanic on the other side of town and I pull in and he walks out and he says, oh, is this a 2014 or 2015 Armada? I’m like, okay, this guy is already starting to gain my trust because he must know that in 2014, 2015 they have the same body style and in 2016, they didn’t make the Armada and in 2017, they changed the body style. This guy knows his breeds and his colors and his coat types and then he lifts up the hood and he says, oh this is definitely your air filter and it’s going to be … I’m just making up a price here because-

Joe Zuccarello: Yeah, you definitely don’t know anything about cars.

Danelle German: Right and so he says … but I do know my years, you know?

Joe Zuccarello: You do.

Danelle German: He says, it’s your air filter and it’s going to be $50 and I’ll have it done at 2 o’clock and he says this with confidence because you know what? He knows his stuff. I leave my car, I come back, but here’s the clincher. I come back at 2 o’clock, my car is ready, like he said it would be and it’s 50 bucks like he said it would be and I fire up the engine and I’m listening for some weird noise and if it’s not there, this guy has won my trust because he solved my problem for the price he said, in the time frame he said, but you see, if he is a really good mechanic, he doesn’t stop there. He says, Mrs. German, you’re actually going to need your oil changed within the next thousand miles, your tires are going to need to be rotated and balanced, otherwise you’re going to have these other big problems that will be very costly to you. Let’s go ahead and set you up on a preventative maintenance program. Preventative maintenance grooming for your car, so that you don’t have these big costly things. You see, that’s what the cat groomer should be doing. Be the experts.

Joe Zuccarello: And one step further, I cleaned your windows and I vacuumed your floor mats.

Danelle German: Oh yeah, that’s … Yeah.

Joe Zuccarello: Exceeding your expectations, right?

Danelle German: Yes.

Joe Zuccarello: This way then, let’s say, for grins, that that mechanic had a mechanic that was a block away doing the same thing he did, that small extra little step that costs him almost nothing, had high face value to you. I can imagine at some point, we can talk about … here in a moment, about some of these extras that can be done either for no charge or you include it in the fee or you actively, what I like to say, recommend with conviction, extra services, right?

Danelle German: Yeah, that’s great. Yeah.

Joe Zuccarello: Not necessarily selling but recommending with conviction. I mean you and I both know and I’m sure our listener audience knows selling is selling but selling is only selling unless you’re recommending with conviction, then you can be successful. You’re talking about frequency, this frequency and this maintenance program, how does that effect then … Again, we’re probably talking to … Most of our listeners are going to be dog groomers out there and we’re probably, by now, have converted some to doing some cat grooming, if we’re successful by now.

Danelle German: I hope so.

Joe Zuccarello: But some of them might still be wondering, okay, am I pricing this right? What’s my profitability look like compared to dog grooming, that sort of thing and just real quick, just a reminder to the Hey Joe podcast listener audience, we’re talking with Danelle German who is the cat guru, if you would. She’s just such an expert in cat grooming. She’s the founder of the national cat groomers institute and you can follow along by jumping into her website, which is nationalcatgroomers.com. Let’s talk about building the business then based on pricing and profitability. You touched on frequency by maintenance and regular visits but we’re dog groomers in some cases, so my average ticket is … I don’t know, 50 bucks. What’s my average ticket and I know we can’t put one label on every cat grooming appointment but tell me about that mix, pricing and profitability.

Danelle German: Yeah, the average ticket for cat grooming across America for the salon is going to be somewhere right around the $95 per cat range and of course this varies so much depending on where you live. Where I live in South Carolina, it’s a very cheap cost of living versus let’s say, New York City or LA or just all of California in general. You’ve got those things to take into consideration but then when we translate this across the mobile grooming type of setup, then we’re looking at the averages there coming out to be around $130 dollars on average ticket per cat groom and so one thing that I want to make sure people understand is that most cats should be groomed in less than an hour with most of them being groomed in 45 minutes or less.

Just for practical purposes, let’s just … I’m going to round this up to $100 average ticket price so I can do the math quick and easy here in my head but if you are able to groom a single cat in 45 minutes or less, as you should be, and that is the goal of our training program, is to get people to that proficiency by themselves, then you in theory, could groom one and a quarter … one plus one quarter of the next cat in an hour’s time and at an average rate of 100 bucks a cat, you’re looking at $125 an hour.

Joe Zuccarello: Wow. That’s pretty incredible. In dog grooming speak, which you are probably very aware, the average kind of rule of thumb is a dog per hour.

Danelle German: And your average ticket is what? 50 bucks you just said I think?

Joe Zuccarello: Yeah, $50. In some salons it’s going to be more.

Danelle German: Okay, okay. Let’s say it’s 60, let’s go on the high side. You’re still double that for cats. Every hour of your work can net you double the revenue and I’m not making this up. I mean this is exactly why the gal joining me as a guest on one of my upcoming webinars called, So Long Puppy Cuts, has transformed her business from almost … Well, at one time, 100% dogs to now, the majority is cat grooms.

Joe Zuccarello: Wow.

Danelle German: It makes more sense, you know?

Joe Zuccarello: Okay now, don’t be going taking all of my dog groomers. We talked about this before.

Danelle German: I know. I know.

Joe Zuccarello: Don’t be going and trying to convert all my dog groomer listener audience out there. You know what? I’ll have to be doing a podcast from your company instead of Paragon at some point soon with that.

Danelle German: Hey, to all you people, you know where to find me, you know what I’m saying?

Joe Zuccarello: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Danelle German: You brought up one thing-

Joe Zuccarello: Well, we’ve always considered your organization as the ying to our yang. I’ve said that before on previous podcasts and such but I think there’s a happy mix between dog groomers and cat groomers and some people are cut out to be one or the other or what we hope is that you can find maybe even a balance to be a little bit of both.

Danelle German: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely and one of the things that I set out to do in the beginning with this organization was I knew I had to have a two fold approach and one was training the groomers to be able to proficiently and beautifully groom cats and get those clients on a regular schedule but also, I was training them to help me get the word out and do the marketing worldwide that cats do need to be groomed and they have been doing their job so well over the past however many years that we can’t keep up with the demand. I actually, this week, when I get off this phone call, I have a letter I have to write to US Immigration and it is to explain the shortage of certified feline master groomers in America because one of our CFMGs in another country is looking to come here. She’s got a job position waiting for her but she’s got to get … and it’s a real thing and the gal that’s wanting to bring her in has been trying to hire somebody for over a year. She’s got cats out the ying yang. She can’t keep up.

Joe Zuccarello: And you bring up such a great point. I’ve been in this business now going … I’m in my 34th year in the pet industry and that entire time, whether it’s year 1 or year 34, the number one complaint that grooming shop owners and managers have is that they can’t find, hire, or keep groomers and I would imagine cat groomers might even be more difficult to find.

Danelle German: Yes, yes. Absolutely.

Joe Zuccarello: Yeah, what a great skill, what a great tool to put in your toolbox.

Danelle German: Oh yeah.

Joe Zuccarello: Going back real quickly then to pricing, obviously you’ve said with the pricing, do you recommend … I touched on recommending with conviction, otherwise known as selling, selling extra services. Do you recommend providing extra services built into the pricing of the cat’s groom and maybe what extra services do you recommend? I’m a huge fan of some form of shed control. I’m a huge fan … with dog grooming. I’m a huge fan of some sort of attention given to the dental hygiene, oral hygiene of pets, whether it is a brushing or water pick or no brushing type service that’s offered. What about cats?

Danelle German: Are you asking about the teeth on cats?

Joe Zuccarello: I’m kind of asking about all of the extra services but I’m extra curious about the teeth.

Danelle German: Okay, so I opt not to do the teeth for, I think, obvious reasons and so the service I focus on regarding the teeth is just stay out of their way but this is … Definitely there’s an add on services for cats and whether you want to charge for those or incorporate those into your packages is just really a personal preference. I have a way that I coach people into doing pricing in a very simple, easy to understand way, that kind of parallels think a McDonald’s meal deal. McDonald’s is brilliant. They know what they’re doing, right? Let’s package these and make them super quick and easy for the busy parent going through the drive through line late at night after soccer practice and with a bunch of hungry kids and they want a number one, a number two, a number three, and two number eights, and then the drive through person says, because they’re trained to do this and what have you, do you want to supersize that?

I do this the same way with the cat grooming. I have a long hair full coat groom price and a short hair full coat groom price and then I have some parameters around that short hair price that the cat must fit into those parameters in order to be considered for that and so then it’s really easy to quote. Those are my meal deals, my number one, my number two, and then everything else is a supersize. Examples of that would be a de shed treatment, whether you … Some people I know, some of my students incorporate that into their meal deals and that’s fine and maybe they compensate for that price by … They build that into the price. I’ve always made it an add on and that’s just what has worked for me.

Adding on soft paw nail caps, those are a hugely popular item and really quick and easy to do and super low cost for me to actually purchase those as a groomer. Great value there. Then I have built in things like or added on things like a belly shave, lion cut is an add on, comb cut is an add on, and there’s just a variety of different things. A flea bath and that would be one of the only things on my add on list that isn’t up to the client to choose if they want that because if the cat’s got fleas, it’s getting the flea bath but they are going to pay extra for that because now I have extra time involved as well as extra product. That’s cost for me-

Joe Zuccarello: You know what I really …

Danelle German: They pay more for that.

Joe Zuccarello: You know what I really love about what you’re recommending, Danelle, is rewarding yourself financially for the time and the skill and the ability that’s required of you to do your job and that is an area where at Paragon Pet School, we are constantly teaching our students to make sure that they remember that we are in a for profit business. We are not a charity business and our work is hard and not to apologize for the type of work we do. We are as necessary as any other service provider and if we can make that impression on any of our students and it sounds like you are as well as your students. So for that, I give you incredible praise for also driving that same point home.

Danelle German: Absolutely.

Joe Zuccarello: And for all of the Paragon School of Pet Grooming students out there and all of you Hey Joe listener audience out there, this will be a topic of several of our upcoming podcasts based on financial reward for time and ability and compensation and growth and personal growth, all of those things and cat grooming is certainly a way to expand your boundaries.

Danelle German: Yes. Oh absolutely. I am such a firm believer in doing the absolute best work we can do, getting, obtaining the training and knowledge to help us do that, and then carrying ourselves with absolute professionalism in how we dialogue with clients, how we present ourselves on social media, on our website, and what have you, and then pricing our services properly and assigning to those services, the value that is real value and then with all of that, on top of all of that, we can carry ourselves with real confidence, stand in front of those clients. I don’t have any qualms about standing in front of a new potential client and saying, look, this is what your cat needs. I know you came to me with these problems, I can fix these problems.

This is the best choice here and this is my price and I’ll get that done for you right now and it will look great and satisfaction is my guarantee and then we’re going to put your cat on a preventative maintenance program so it never has to suffer from this condition again and that’s … and to be able to stand there and say that with absolute conviction and confidence, that is a great selling tool, a great marketing tool for groomers and all to often, I see people that are missing that element in the way that they present themselves and that is picked up on by the potential customer.

Joe Zuccarello: Well and one thing we talked about before and I know that I had it in my show prep to also mention on this call was, I think that dog groomer … I’m sorry, dog pet parents, might not completely understand the work and effort and ability that is involved with grooming a dog and I think a lot of my dog groomer friends out there and Hey Joe listener audience and Paragon graduates can attest to. I think pet parents of dogs don’t necessarily have the clearest understanding of about what it takes. What do you mean, I can’t get my dog done in an hour? I get my own hair cut in an hour and it’s much more complicated, right? There’s something different about cat pet parents that I think they know what type of creature you’re dealing with, especially if it comes to their cat in many cases. They understand.

I would bet that the premium and I only say premium because I think … I say premium because I’m comparing the price to dog grooming and that’s probably not fair, so I’m kind of reeling that back in, kind of retraining … You’re retraining me to think that it’s not a premium, it’s just the price of the service. It’s not a premium because to be a premium, you have to be compared to a lesser valued service and I don’t think dog grooming is lesser valued but cat grooming has a much greater potential of getting injured or injury to the cat and such and I think that that’s why our next episode, when you and I talk about techniques and training, you’re going to be able to take a little bit deeper dive, obviously not even close to as much as what our listeners can get by visiting nationalcatgroomers.com but I’m really looking forward to that next episode so we can kind of peel the layers of the onion back just one layer deeper and take a look at some of those techniques that command this pricing. I’m real excited about that.

Danelle German: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I am too and you know, one thing you said earlier, you mentioned something about exceeding those expectations when we were finishing up about the car analogy and I think one thing that listeners need to keep in mind is I have found it to be very true that cat parents typically have very low expectations that first time they visit a cat grooming salon or visit your cat grooming business and it might not even be their first visit to a salon because the first visit may have not ended well. The first visit may have ended in a very bad haircut with the groomer’s blood on the cat’s ruff and urine down the cat’s back leg. That’s a real thing and so when they come to you, their expectations are extremely low and what a ripe opportunity there is to convert them over, to win them over big time, with that, what I call the wow factor when they come back to pick up their cat and they go-

Joe Zuccarello: Oh wow.

Danelle German: -wow, I have never seen them look like that and then it continues to live on over the next four to six weeks when they live out the benefits of that. That’s out there. It’s available.

Joe Zuccarello: And that grand finale that happens. We used to call it a grand finale in one of my previous businesses and that’s when the pet is reunited with the pet parent and boy, that is just such a special moment and those are the ones we live for and I know our dog groomer listener audience out there, if you have ever contemplated getting started grooming cats, Danelle is about to make that notion in your head a lot easier. Would you mind telling the Hey Joe listener audience about the special exclusive offer that you’re bringing to them?

Danelle German: Oh I would love to tell them. I have put together a $200 off coupon specific for your podcast listeners that they can use by using the coupon code, HEYJOE, and that’s all capitals. Make sure it’s all capitals. HEYJOE and if they go to nationalcatgroomers.com/syllabus, they will find our complete cat groomer training syllabus program there. That is what we now use to train people just like your listeners that are here with us now, all over the world, and to train them with the skills, the knowledge, the pricing structures, the confidence building skills and all of these things, so that they can be successful cat groomers and that step number one is to get the complete cat groomer training syllabus and by entering the coupon code, HEYJOE, there at checkout, they can actually save $200 on that and gain immediate access to the 13 online courses that make up that entire bundle.

Joe Zuccarello: Danelle, that is such a supreme offer and it just speaks to how passionate you are about getting people in our industry the education that they need in order to expand their boundaries as we had said before. For all of you listeners out there to the Hey Joe podcast audience, Danelle is putting forward a huge and wonderful offer to you and as you think about this, not only for yourself, but maybe think about taking advantage of that offer for the team members of your salon or your shop to receive the same amount of training and taking advantage of that promo code, HEYJOE, by visiting nationalcatgroomers.com/syllabus and entering the promo code, HEYJOE, as Danelle described and you can also find more of the podcasts from Danelle and other podcasts from other Hey Joe subject matter experts by visiting paragonpetschool.com. Visit our podcast page and follow the prompts and be sure to also hit subscribe unless you have done so already.

Danelle, again, just a quality time together. I do appreciate it. I appreciate all of the information that you bring to the listener audience and thanks for helping us and our audience today. For all of you Hey Joe listeners out there, remember that our podcast thrives on the questions that you submit to us and the easiest way to do that is emailing us at heyjoequestions@paragonpetschool.com. Email us your questions and you might just hear your topic discussed with an industry expert in the near future. Danelle, thank you again. I can’t say thank you enough and I look forward to our next podcast work together.

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About Joe

Joe Zuccarello is VP of the Paragon School of Pet Grooming, leaders in grooming education on campus and online. He possesses more than three decades of experience in the pet grooming, product development and pet business consulting disciplines.
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