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Vlog

Check out Melissa Verplank’s latest vlogs!

Spend a few minutes to get inspired by Melissa’s tips on how to be a better groomer. From canine anatomy to time-saving tips, Melissa lends her years of experience to help power up your grooming career, whether you’re independent, and employee or own your own salon.

Happy Feet Make Happy Groomers

Join Melissa Verplank for some great tips about grooming footwear! Just like finding the right pair of shears, good shoes are crucial when in the dog grooming industry. Melissa shares some of her favorites.

Want more inspiration? Check out our Online Dog Groomer Training courses or the ALL NEW community at Learn2GroomDogs.com, where you can find hundreds of instructional videos by industry experts, all organized by Skill Level. While you’re there, sign up to be notified when enrollment opens.

Transcript
Melissa: Hey guys. Melissa here, and today I want to talk to you a little bit about one of the really important parts of our body, and that is our feet. You’re going, “Yeah right. Feet, Melissa. What about our hands?” I know. As groomers, our hands are so critical to what we do, but I’m going to tell you what. I have had hand problems throughout my career, and I’ve also now having feet problems for the past couple of years, and I will take a hand problem any day over a foot problem, because if you don’t have your feet feeling good, you can’t do much else. You can’t be active, and you certainly can’t stand for long periods of time with any type of comfort.

So I want to talk to you a little bit about maybe how to better take care of your feet. This is definitely a situation where do as I say, not as I did, because way back in the day when I was standing for hours at a grooming table, I was in Mobile in the summertime, didn’t have good air conditioners, and one of the most comfortable things for me was to just be barefoot. So I was grooming barefoot. I know. Crazy. Luckily I never had clippers or scissors drop on my feet, and I never had a problem with embedded hairs.

But bottom line, down the road, as I’ve aged, and now I’m in my mid to late fifties, my feet are taking a beating. I’m sure it doesn’t help that I play with horses as well quite a bit, and over the years I’ve been stepped on more than I care to admit, and probably had more broken bones in my feet, due to the horses. But it adds up to now I definitely have foot problems, and today I really battle plantar fasciitis. I’ve had it in both feet, I’ve been able to get over it, but it is a bear, it’s frustrating, and it’s extremely painful to the point when you first get out of bed, and anybody that’s had plantar fasciitis knows this, that it hurts the worst in the morning and getting out of bed can be really, really painful. For a time period, I’ve even had crutches right beside my bed because I absolutely could not put weight on my foot.

So I want to talk to you a little bit about taking care of your feet, getting those good shoes, good support shoes on your feet and using them. But just like shears, there’s a big difference between what’s going to feel good to me and what’s going to feel good to you. And just as with shears, I always encourage you to try shears on at trade shows, find out how they’re working, because there’s a lot of different styles of shears, there’s different shears for different purposes, shoes are no different. So I really encourage you to get into those shoe stores and try shoes on, take them for a test spin around the store, around the mall, whatever it may be, and find something that is a good fit for you.

And because I say something is a great shoe, it might be a great shoe for me and really comfortable and solve my problems, but it might not work necessarily for you. So get out there and take a look at what’s out there, but today I just want to share with you some of the shoes and some of the things that I have found that have really helped support me and allow me to maintain an active lifestyle. And it is between shoes and inserts, and back when I was first dealing with all of this, I went to the specialist and he said, “No more cute shoes for you.” Well, he was right, and I was certainly not looking forward to dealing with strictly orthopedic style shoes, and over the years I’ve been able to find some things that, okay, I can’t wear high heels anymore, but they’re still relatively attractive and they’re really comfortable and offer great support.

So I do have a very wide foot, and as I said, I deal with plantar fasciitis. I don’t have the longest foot. I wear about a seven, seven and a half shoe size, and like I said, I’ve been dealing a lot with plantar fasciitis, so I am looking for a lot of arch support with the shoes that I look for. One of the first shoes that really solved a lot of my problems was Vionic. And the Vionic, I have these slippers, and this is what I will get into first thing in the morning.

What I love about it is it has a really deep heel cushion. It has good arch support. I like the fact that, it’s black so you really can’t see very well, but it’s a slide on shoe, so you can wear it with socks or barefoot. It also has a rubber sole on it, so if I am running outside real quick, I can wear these if I’m just going out for short amount of times, but for the most part these are what I wear in the house and they are super comfortable. I wear them for when I first step out of bed, and if I’m working in the house, they are what are on my feet all day.

I am definitely a sandals kind of a gal in the summertime. Vionic also has a great sandal type shoe. These are my old ones. I’ve almost worn them out. I’m really due for a new one, but I mean, relatively stylish for a orthopedic type shoe. Again, a really deep heel bed, good arch support, great cushion all the way through the shoe. Good treads on the underside. I have walked long, long days in these shoes. Ann Arbor Art Fair. Anybody that’s in Michigan knows, the Ann Arbor Art Fair, knows how much walking on concrete that is. These shoes have gotten me through that.

Another sandal that I really love is the OluKai, I think is what you call it, and these come in a lot of different colors. Again, a good supportive heel bed, nice arch support, good cushion all the way through the shoe. Love this shoe. Can walk for hours with this shoe, and again, comes in a lot of different styles.

Now for work, you’re going to be looking at something that’s probably going to cover your toe. These are a clog that I actually got at a dog grooming trade show, and I love this shoe. It’s got really nice support all the way through. It’s got a little bit of a heel, but not too much of a rise, so I can actually wear them and not feel like I’m going to fall off the shoe. One of the things that I love about their clogs, and they’ve got good tread resistance here, and they have an insert that you can either, use their insert, which has got pretty nice support in it, great cush, or you can put in your own insert, whatever’s going to work well for you.

Most of the time what I see groomers working in is tennis shoes of some sort, and I was at a trade show recently, and one of my followers, Martin, you know who you are, suggested this after he watched me speaking and he knew that I was having some issues with my feet. He could tell that I hurt. And he said, “Melissa, have you ever tried Ohka?” I’m not sure if I’m saying that right. It is O-H-K-A and it is actually a running shoe. And right after that trade show I went out, I searched out a shoe store that had these and I bought myself a pair. Definitely a little on the pricey side, but so worth it. Oh my gosh. I feel like my feet are on pillows or on clouds. It is a running shoe, but for anybody that’s standing for long hours at a time and needs some good support, I cannot wait to get up in the morning and put these shoes on. I love them. I can’t believe how much they have helped me.

And some of the other tennis shoes that people really like, New Balance puts out a nice one. Vionic also puts out a nice tennis shoe with great support. There’s a lot of different ones out there. Merrell, some people like Merrells. Other people like Keens. Again, you’ve got a lot of different styles and brands out there that are going to help you and give your foot the stability that you need to be able to stand for a long period of time and not break your foot down. It’s also going to play up through your back as well. If your feet are comfortable, your back is comfortable.

A couple other things that I just want to say before I close this out is if you don’t want to go for the full shoe, sometimes inserts work really well, and I’m going to tell you I started with these. These are Power Steps, and there are two different types of inserts. What I am finding with my inserts is I like something that’s got a little bit more solid on the underside and it’s a little bit more molded. There’s still some flexibility in this, but it’s pretty solid. I look for inserts now that have got the great arch support. I also look for inserts that have got heel cushion and a lot of times, I have another one here, these two are Power Steps and this one is a Walk hero, and the Walk Hero has got not only some heel cushion but also has cushion here and good cushion through this part as well.

And these are going to fit into any shoe. So here, just beat up tennis shoes, but this is just a cheap shoe. I’m not even sure what the brand is, but it’s been used a lot, and I have worked with the insole, the Power Step in these tennis shoes. It’s worked really, really well. The New Balance, somebody suggested this shoe to me. I tried it, didn’t particularly care for the inserts, put in one of my power step inserts, and this shoe has worked really well for me. I do live on a large acreage and it gets muddy. It’s nasty. And so I have my Muck Boots that I love, and I’ve ended up putting my Walk Hero insert into this boot, and it has allowed me to walk all over the property with relative comfort.

So those are just some ideas. But take care of your feet. Like I said, I have had hand issues. I’m just really prone to any kind of inflamed tendon, tendonitis, whether it be my feet, my hands, my elbows. I don’t know why. I work with that through diet, and that’s a whole nother issue or topic to talk about, but take care of your feet, because if your feet feel good, you’re going to feel good. You’re going to be able to do a better job. You’re going to be able to focus on what you’re doing at the grooming table, and longterm, if you want to be at this for quite a while, you need to learn to start taking care of yourself a lot earlier than probably I did. But even if you hurt now, there’s definitely some solutions. Get out there. Find something that works for you and stick with it. So good luck finding something that allows you to stand all day on your feet and do what you love to do, which hopefully is grooming a whole lot of puppies.


Wellness – Make Time for It!

Melissa Verplank is back with some advice on how to make time for your own wellness. Groomers are occupational athletes — take care of yourself and invest in your well-being!

Want more inspiration? Check out our Online Dog Groomer Training courses or the ALL NEW community at Learn2GroomDogs.com, where you can find hundreds of instructional videos by industry experts, all organized by Skill Level. While you’re there, sign up to be notified when enrollment opens.

Transcript
Melissa: Hi guys, Melissa here. And recently I just read something that really resinated with me and I don’t know whether it’s because I’m getting older or whether the folks that I’m hanging around, we’re all kind of aging at the same point and we’ve got some ailments that I know that if I were to go back and talk to my 20 year old self, I’d be like, are you crazy? Why are you doing these types of things? There’s better ways. There’s easier ways and you’re going to be really sorry if you don’t start taking care of yourself early on instead of waiting, and all of a sudden you’ve got pains that now you’ve got to deal with. And so the phrase that I just read and it just really rung so true, was if you do not make time for wellness, then you will be forced to make time for illness.

And I can’t tell you how true that phrase is. Stop and think about it. And from a grooming standpoint, Dr. Matt, who’s my chiropractor, he told me years ago, Melissa, you are an occupational athlete. That’s what you do. I’ve been in your salons, I’ve seen what students do, I’ve seen what your professionals do, and you guys, you’re getting a workout every single day that you stand at that grooming table. You’re bending, you’re twisting, you’re lifting. So true. And so what are some things that you can do today? If I were to go back and talk to myself 30 years ago, what would I be saying to myself? And it’s not that I would listen necessarily, but I just want to kind of plant a seed. If you’re younger and you’re invincible, like I was when I was in my twenties, you might just want to think twice about certain things that you’re doing.

And the first thing I would say is know your limitations. Know your limitations from a physical standpoint. How much can you lift comfortably? How much can you pull and how much can you physically deal with? Know what those limitations are. And again, like I said, when we’re in our twenties, we’re invincible. When we’re in our thirties, we’re starting to go, hmm, I’m not so sure about that. When we’re in our forties it starts to catch up with us. By the time we’re in our 50s and our 60s, oh yeah, we’re starting to pay for it. Just think about longterm, what you’re doing today and how it’s going to affect you. For me, my biggest thing is I probably shouldn’t have been out lifting my own weight. I was really proud of the fact I was strong enough that I could do that. Today, I’d be like … Either I’d be … I was running mobile at the time, so I really, I didn’t have a whole lot of help, but I would either ask owners to help or if I was in a salon situation, I’d be asking for team lifts.

I wouldn’t be so proud of the fact that I could out lift my own weight in a dog to get it up under the grooming table or into a tub. The other thing is know your limitations with the personality types that you can deal with, whether it be dogs or whether it be cats. Some people really gravitate to the challenging pets. Other people don’t, but know what your limitations are, because our hands are our livelihood and if you are uncomfortable working with a challenging pet, they sense that. They can read that energy and they’re going to be even more naughty for you.

And yet other people can go in and they have just got that calm, cool demeanor and it just settles that pet right down and they can work with really challenging pets and do it safely. And so again, just know what your limitations are and don’t push beyond what you’re comfortable with. The other thing I would say is invest in yourself from an equipment standpoint. If you have the ability to make sure that you are working with tables that go up and down, whether they’re hydraulic or electric. If you have choices of bathing stations so that you’re not having to bend over as much, depending on again what size of a dog you’re dealing with or a cat that you’re dealing with. Cats are pretty much all one size fits all kind of thing, but dogs, oh my goodness, you’re running the gamut from the little tiny three pounders all the way up to 150 to even 200 pounds.

I still remember trying to get a Bullmastiff into the tub by myself and that was a tough feat. Luckily the dog was relatively well trained and he would get into the tub by himself, but you still had to help and he was a big dog. I mean, when I put a four foot kennel lead on him, I had less than a foot left. That’s how big his neck was. Different pieces of equipment allow you to handle those variances, whether you’re dealing with a teeny tiny Yorkie or that big Mastiff, your equipment is going to allow you to deal with it the most ergonomically way possible so that you’re not putting undue strain on your back. And again, lift with your knees, not so much with your back. That was another thing I was really guilty of.

I would just bend over and pick a dog up. I wouldn’t bother lifting with my knees. Well, I’ll tell you, years and years of doing that and I now have a fair amount of lower back discomfort unless I’m really careful about what I’m doing. Think about the equipment, think about sheers. Being able to have a really nice pair of shears allows you to minimize how many scissor strokes you’re going to have to take, or flip over to those guard combs. Oh my goodness, they make it so much easier to get the more elaborate type trims done on a dog without nearly the amount of work. Or a really powerful, high velocity dryer. Your dryers will, the high velocity dryers will not only dry a coat, but they will also de-shed and de-matte a coat as well.

If you’ve got a really high powered one, you’ve just minimize the amount of brushing that you’re going to have to do. Invest in the equipment that’s going to make your job easier. And number three, support a healthy lifestyle. And there’s going to be a couple of different areas that you really need to think about. I learned again early on that I love food, and it shows. It lands on most of my hips, but I also learned that food is not only your fuel, but it can also be your medicine. And as I was dealing with some of my ailments, and again, back when I was in my twenties, I was invincible. Didn’t need health insurance. Didn’t have it. And I was diagnosed early on with rheumatoid arthritis, which that was hogwash way back then. And I’ve learned, I don’t have rheumatoid arthritis, but what I am prone to is any type of tendinitis, and it’s going to flare up all over, whether it be in my elbow, in my hands, in my feet. It’s a problem.

And so I have had to learn to eat a very anti-inflammatory type diet. And the second that I start to eat foods that trigger that inflammation, I start having a lot of problems and pain. Right now, I am on a keto type diet, which is very, very low carbs. And not only did I want to try it to help reduce weight, but it also almost instantly reduced the pain and discomfort that I had with inflammation. But it had been a journey. I didn’t just like one day flip a switch and go, oh, I’m going to keep my carbs at under 20. I’ve been on a journey for a long time and it took a long time to build up to this, to the point that I went, I could do this. I can eat this way and be happy about it. And that’s where I’m at right now.

But again, it took a long time, and I started playing with this way back in my late twenties and early thirties and so that’s when I really realized that food is not only fuel, but it can also be used as medicine. And then the other thing is get exercise. Now I know as we’re standing at the grooming table, we’re exercising every single day, but you know what? It’s not balanced exercise. Everything that we do is in front of us. And so we’re reaching, we’re pulling, we’re lifting and everything is reaching forward. And a lot of times you’re looking down, so your eye level is looking down. It’s not looking straight forward and it’s not looking up. It’s looking down. And so that ends up putting some problems with your neck. It can … And then all of the reaching forward will have some issues with your shoulders.

It could also have problems with your elbows and with your wrists. A lot of folks have found that if they work with a physical therapist and they figure out exercises and stretches that they can do to counter balance the overuse of the forward motion that we have and really strengthen their back and their shoulders utilizing different moving methods, has made a huge impact on their comfort level when they are standing at the grooming table. And then, it goes without saying get enough rest, get enough sleep, and I know I get it. When you’re running and gunning, it’s darn hard sometimes to get enough rest, to get enough sleep, but it is so critical to your overall wellness so that you can perform at peak levels. And then do yourself some personal maintenance. And today, chiropractic care, massage therapy, I do kinetic massage therapy, which has really helped tremendously and has freed up muscles.

I just get really knotted and really tight. And by going in and having this type of massage therapy done, I can keep myself limber, I can keep myself moving and being active. And life isn’t very fun if you are just totally sedentary. I mean, most of us that are in the grooming world, we’re relatively active folks and we like to do things and there’s nothing worse than getting sidelined, because you just can’t move. And so being able to work with personal maintenance, whether it be going and working out on a regular basis, doing yoga, I don’t care what it is, but take time for that personal maintenance to keep yourself in peak condition. And if you’re not in peak condition, the personal maintenance will allow you to just to keep moving and help slow down the aging effects, because again, when you’re in your 20s and your 30s, you are going.

But once you hit your 40s, your 50s and then you get into your 60s, you’ve got to be really conscious about what you’re doing, and a lot of times your formal lifestyle is going to affect your later years. Again, like I said, if I were to talk to myself, and go back to when I was in my 20s, I would really have some pretty harsh words to tell myself. Take care of yourself. Take a look at … If you’ve got issues today, take a look at what those root causes are. And there is so much that you can do from a holistic level that don’t require medication, that doesn’t require surgery to fix those problems. And medicine is great and for many, in many situations, the medicine that we take is lifesaving.

But for those things that are more just a bandaid, I would much rather get to the root cause and find a solution to it and fix it at the root cause than constantly reaching for a bottle of pain reliever just to get through the day. Figure out what the root cause is and figure out a way to heal yourself, and take the time, invest in yourself. Take the time to learn the different things that you can do to help yourself so that you are not forced to take time to deal with an illness. Be proactive and take care of yourself now so that when you get into your later years, you can really enjoy them.


The Importance of Rebooking Clients

Rebooking can get complicated, but Melissa Verplank’s latest vlog covers the best systems for keeping your grooming schedule on track! Tune in for tips about maintenance programs, client communication, and available tools.

Want more inspiration? Check out our Online Dog Groomer Training courses or the ALL NEW community at Learn2GroomDogs.com, where you can find hundreds of instructional videos by industry experts, all organized by Skill Level. While you’re there, sign up to be notified when enrollment opens.

Transcript
Melissa: Hi guys. Melissa here, and today I want to talk a little bit about rebooking clients. Now if you guys have followed me for any amount of time, you know that I am a huge advocate of rebooking clients on a really regular basis. I love to see dogs come in every four to six weeks if they’re coming in for full service grooming or bathroom brush. But even better, I love to be able to help clients really keep their dogs in peak condition and getting them onto maintenance type programs, whether it be weekly, every two weeks or every three weeks. But bottom line is you’ve got to educate your customers as to the needs of the individual pet. Some pets really will benefit by being on a coat maintenance program and others not so much. So you have to kind of play it by ear.

But I really love being able to ask that client if they’d like to rebook their appointment at checkout. It gives you a great opportunity to communicate with that customer. And you’ve got to build a couple of different scripts based on the needs of the dog. You know a dog that’s just come in and maybe it hasn’t been groomed in months and you had to totally shave it off. Their needs for rebooking are going to be really, really different than somebody who’s brought in a new puppy. Maybe it’s a Bichon puppy and you’re going to need to educate that client as to the needs of that dog down the road. What’s going to happen with his coat? How often should it be groomed? What is the lifestyle of that pet? So there’s a lot of different things that you need to communicate with that customer to help keep that dog in peak condition.

And it makes sure that it is living up to what the client wants. If they’ve got a whole lot of kids and the dog is out ramming around in a rural setting, it’s probably not going to have a really, really fancy haircut. It’s going to need something that’s a little bit more easier to care for, lower maintenance for the owner. At the same token, if you have an upper echelon type clientele and the dog is going on walks on leashes and it’s on manicured yards, their grooming needs are going to be really different.

So build a couple different scripts, figure out what is going to work best for each individual client based on the lifestyle. And then think about what will help incentivize that client to rebook. At one of my companies, they are very, very price sensitive, so offering a bit of a discount when we ask them if they would like to rebook between six weeks or less. That generally works really well for that clientele.

I have another set of clients that could care less about discounts. They are more concerned about getting what they want when they want it. So the other thing you’ve heard me talk about is it takes well under 200 clients to keep one stylist busy all year round. So if you have a stylist or if you’re one of those stylists that is really in demand, and your appointment book is totally full or it’s hard to get in, that’s a really great way to help incentivize those clients to rebook before they leave so that they get the appointment time when they want it with the stylist that they also want. So those are two different ways to kind of help motivate rebooking at checkout.

Now if the client doesn’t rebook at checkout, then you do what I would call a courtesy call. A reminder call. You’re not being a telemarketer. You’re not being a solicitor. You’re just looking out for the best interest for the client and for the pet. And so if you haven’t seen that dog in five weeks, you don’t have an appointment on the books anytime coming up real soon, those are the clients that you’re going to want to call. So maybe it’s been five weeks and you’re just trying to make sure they stay on a six-week schedule or maybe they’re clients that you haven’t seen for seven or eight weeks. Those are prime candidates to do these courtesy calls and you’re just doing a quick checkup. Just making sure that the pet is doing okay and you were thinking about them and you want to help that client maintain the dog’s coat and keep it in peak condition. And you’d like to be able to get an appointment set so that you can do that for them.

And there’s a lot of different ways. You can either pick up a phone and make a phone call or you can send an email or you can send a text message. It really depends on how you best interact and communicate with your customers. There’s a lot of different ways to do it. But no matter what happens, you really want to encourage those rebook appointments and ideally rebooking six weeks or less. But you’re never going to be able to get clients trained to rebook their appointments if you don’t consistently ask for it. So it’s really important every single time that that client has their dog groomed, at checkout you always ask if you can rebook that client right then and there. And if they don’t rebook, make a note in your computer system, on your client file, however you maintain it. Have some type of a system so that you automatically rebook and implement the rebooking situation.

Way back when, in Mobile, we had to do this because we had to route our trucks and we wanted to make sure that our stylist were grooming and not driving. And so we wanted to be very efficient with our routing. And so we always, we maintained a list, and it was sorted by the number of weeks that we last saw the client and then also by the map coordinates. And we were able to book clients very, very efficiently, keep them on that rotation, keep them with the stylist that they really preferred at the time that they wanted.

And you know what, for a lot of people in the northern hemisphere, normally, especially if you are in a snowbelt area, January and February can be really, really slow. Everything slows down. And what we did is we were very, very efficient between the holiday offering rebooking and making sure that we touched base with those customers, and we were able to get those clients that all had their dogs booked over that holiday season to rebook in January and February. And amazingly we weren’t even that slow, because we were so efficient with rebooking.

So I certainly challenge you. If you don’t have a rebook system in place, a system to be automatic with your rebooking to make sure that you’re asking every single client and that you’re implementing the system every single time, I challenge you to do so because it is the best way to stay full. And when you’re asking those clients if they want to rebook, that you don’t ask them if. You’re asking them when would you like your next appointment, or your calling to book the dogs or cats next appointment. Just assume that they’re going to take that appointment. And you know what? Even if they don’t, you’ve planted a seed and that seed has, it’ll start to fester. They’ll start thinking about it, and even if on our courtesy calls, they don’t book when we call or when we leave a message, most of the time, I would say well over half of those clients will end up calling us in the next week or two to rebook that appointment simply because we planted the seed.

So definitely implement a rebooking system for your clientele, and I guarantee you’re going to build your clientele faster and you’re going to have more consistent bookings down the road.


The Value of Repeat Clientele

How often do you see your clients? Melissa Verplank has a new vlog about how to educate your customers and create the best rebooking schedule possible.

Want more inspiration? Check out our Online Dog Groomer Training courses or the ALL NEW community at Learn2GroomDogs.com, where you can find hundreds of instructional videos by industry experts, all organized by Skill Level. While you’re there, sign up to be notified when enrollment opens.

Transcript
Melissa: Hi, guys. Melissa here, and today I want to talk about the importance of the frequency that you’re seeing your clients and the impact that it’s going to have on your bottom line. We’re going to be looking at it from how often you see that client in between groomings and how many times a year you’re going to see that client, and then again taking a look at on an annual basis what the income potential is and over the lifespan of the pet, what the income potential is. So if you don’t have a pencil and paper handy, I certainly going to encourage you to have something that you can jot these numbers down as I’m talking because I want you to be able to go back and plug in your own numbers into this formula. I’m going to use some really basic numbers just to get you going, but you can plug in your own numbers. So go ahead, grab that pencil and paper. If you don’t have it, I’ll wait for you. Got it? Cool. So let’s go ahead and get started.

Now, I want you to take a look at … we’re just going to start with a frequency level. So if you’re dealing with a client every eight weeks, it doesn’t get groomed on a real high frequency level but it does get groomed regularly, you’re going to see that client about six, six and a half times a year, and the revenue that that’s going to generate over the course of one year at a $50 ticket price. Again, I certainly hope you’re charging a little bit more than that, but we’re keeping it simple. So $50 average ticket price, that client is going to bring you about $300 over an annual basis or about $3,000 if you’re dealing with that client for about 10 years, the lifespan of a dog or a cat. And now if we bump it up and you’re seeing that client every seven weeks, now you’re going to be seeing that client about seven times a year. Again, at that average ticket price of $50, it’s going to earn you about $350 annually or about $3,500 on a 10-year rotation.

If you see that client every six weeks, and I think every six weeks is probably the most common rebook appointment that we have, and if you are rebooking every six weeks, it works out to you’re going to see that client about 8.6 times a year. But generally speaking, if you’re working in the holidays, you can get one more appointment out of the client. And so let’s just say you’re going to see that client nine times year. Again, average ticket price $50, it’s going to earn you about $450 annually or about $4,500 over the lifespan of the pet.

Now, if we start bumping it up a little bit again, again, just going week by week, so every five weeks, you’re going to see that client about 10 times a year, so that client is going to earn you about $500 annually or $5,000 over the lifespan of the pet. And if you can get that client to go every four weeks, awesome. That is really helping your bottom line, and you’re going to see that client about 13 times a year and that client is going to bring in about $650 into your business every single year or about $6,500 over the lifespan of the pet.

Now, I want to take this one step further. Let’s say maybe you think about a coat maintenance program, and if you’re doing a coat maintenance program, you’re seeing them even more frequently, and so let’s just say you’re seeing them every two weeks. Well, a lot of times if you’re seeing them that frequently, you’re also going to offer them a bit of a discount to the grooming. What we’ve done, and this has worked really well for us, is we drop the price pretty substantially. Let’s just say we’re going to $28 every two weeks. Now I want you to figure, I want you to see what happens here.

If you drop to a two-week rotation, you’re seeing that dog about 26 times a year. The dog is in phenomenal shape. You’re not, lot of times you’re not always doing a groom on it. You can rotate it around and make it work into your schedule so that sometimes you’re just doing a bath and a brush and a heavy neaten on it, sometimes you’re doing a full haircut or whatever. You can mix it up because you’re seeing it so frequently, but at 28 bucks, now on an annual basis at $50, that client is going to, or not $50, at $28, that client is going to bring in about $728 annually. That’s a big jump.

I mean, even if we’re looking at the four-week client, they’re bringing in about $650, so you’ve just reduced the price so that the client is more encouraged to bring the dog in on a really regular basis. The dog is in phenomenal shape and you get to kind of adjust it based on your needs on your schedule. Sometimes you just get really, really busy and maybe you don’t have time to do a full trim. That’s where these dogs, you can juggle them around and put them where you need to. But bottom line is they’re going to bring in a higher revenue even at a reduced price, so $728 on an annual basis. And if you look at it over the lifespan of the pet, you’re looking at $7,280 is what that client represents to you on a regular basis.

So I want you to think about how rebooking your clients and educating the customer as to the importance of rebooking can really impact your bottom line. And today with the products and the tools that we have, dogs can even be done weekly or even more so. The best coat is a well-maintained coat, and so use gentle products. The more frequently you’re seeing the dogs, you use a really, really general product. But that dog is going to be, or cat is going to be in really great shape. The more frequently you can see them, the better you can service that customer. So take a look. Do the math for yourself. Figure out what it means to you to see those clients on a super regular basis.


Invest In Yourself & Your Equipment

Your equipment makes an impact! CMG Melissa Verplank discusses why investing in yourself shouldn’t be an afterthought, and how even her clients noticed when she invested in top-shelf shears.

Want more inspiration? Check out our Online Dog Groomer Training courses or the ALL NEW community at Learn2GroomDogs.com, where you can find hundreds of instructional videos by industry experts, all organized by Skill Level. While you’re there, sign up to be notified when enrollment opens.

Transcript
Melissa: Hi everybody, Melissa here and today I want to ask you a question and that question is, when was the last time that you invested in yourself or invested in your equipment that would help move your career ahead? I learned early, early on, and I’m really thankful that I did, but I had heard a phrase somewhere that said something like, “Knowledge is going to lead you to success, but having the best equipment certainly is going to give you the edge to get there faster.” Very early in my career I realized that I always needed to invest in myself and invest in my equipment. When I was first starting out, just like all of you, shoot, I measured everything in dog numbers. How many dogs was it going to take to get that pair of shears or that clipper or that high velocity dryer or that table … Whatever it might be.

I measured everything in dog numbers and I’m sure I bet a lot of you guys can relate. But the first time that I got that super high end pair of shears, I think it might’ve been a pair of Guides, they were some of the forerunners to the high end sheers that are just beautiful and we have a lot of choices today, but Guide was one of the first ones. And I got that first pair of shears and I still remember working on a Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier. And it was a Guard Comb on the body and the legs were scissored. And I felt really good when I finished that dog and I felt I had done it quite quickly too, which was really surprising. But the legs looked amazing and I didn’t do anything different other than use a different pair of shears.

I was feeling really good about the dog. And when I brought the dog in, I didn’t say a word, I just presented the dog like normal. And the client just was stood back and looked and was like, “Wow, Melissa, I don’t know what you’ve done today, but I’ve never seen him look so good. And you did it quicker than you’ve ever done it. Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.” Well man, I’ll tell you that just sent me right through the roof there I was on cloud nine somewhere. But it really validated the importance of … And what kind of an impact your equipment can have and the type of quality that a nice piece of equipment can do for you. So stop and think about it. And if you have not invested in yourself recently and treated yourself to a new … Whatever it might be, something to help move your career forward, whether it be a piece of equipment, whether it be a piece of software, maybe it’s a course, maybe it’s a book, maybe it’s just taking time for you to learn a little something, anything to help move your career forward.

But I cannot encourage you enough to invest in yourself and invest in the equipment that makes it easy for you to do your job. You are going to be so much happier every single day that you step up to that grooming table with every dog that you do. Having the best equipment to select from and to choose from to make that dog look amazing, is also going to make you look amazing and it’s going to move your career ahead a lot faster as well.


The Number One Time-Waster in Grooming Salons

How can you speed up the bathing and drying process? CMG Melissa Verplank explains how to master the bath & dry step to save time and improve the groom. Get your towels ready and tune in!

Want more inspiration? Check out our Online Dog Groomer Training courses or the ALL NEW community at Learn2GroomDogs.com, where you can find hundreds of instructional videos by industry experts, all organized by Skill Level. While you’re there, sign up to be notified when enrollment opens.

Transcript
Melissa: Hey, everybody. Melissa here, and today I want to talk to you a little bit about speed efficiency. A lot of folks come to myself, a lot of folks come to Paragon, our training center, and ask us all the time and want training on how can they speed up their grooming process. They just feel like they’re slow. They’re not hitting the mark. They’re not being able to do a small- to medium-sized dog an hour. They really struggle with that. It might take them two hours to do it. So they’re always coming in and seeking out training trying to improve on their speed. Whenever we’re dealing with those folks, especially in a hands-on setting, that’s where we can really identify where the true problems are. The majority of time, when somebody comes to us for speed enhancement training, the problem lies in some of the most basic area of what we do, and that is in the bathing and the drying area. Almost always, that’s where the majority of the time suck is.

I want to talk a little bit about how to improve your area and improve your times in those areas. First, let me say that everything is in your foundation skills. Everything is in the bath and dry. If you do not absolutely perfect your bath and your dry, I don’t care how talented of a stylist you are, you will never ever get the best finish on a dog. You will never be able to do your most efficient work because you just … The coat isn’t prepared for it. You just cannot get quality if you don’t have quality in that bath and dry area. So again, and that’s also where most people really lose time, is in that bath and dry area.

I want to take a look at one of the … probably the number one problem area in that bath and dry section, and that is with getting the dog out of the tub and to the drying, or getting it dry. What I am always surprised is how many people either skip towel drying all together … They just don’t use towels. They don’t use moisture magnets. They just use their high velocity dryer or they use their blasters, depending on what part of the world you’re in. They’re called by both things, high velocity dryers or blasters. Or maybe they just basically lightly hit him with a towel and throw him into a kennel dryer.

Those scenarios are not … Number one, they’re not going to yield you a quality result. And number two, they’re not going to be efficient. It’s not going to happen. So, I really encourage folks to towel dry, towel dry, towel dry. And that’s using your moisture magnets if you like those or using more than one towel to get those dogs really, really dry. And always what my goal is when I am working with towel drying, and I can’t always get it, but it’s always in the back of my mind, this is always my goal, is that I towel dry well enough so that when I first turn on that high velocity dryer, and I’ve got the condenser going on, and I’m actually running that dryer over the dog that there is no spray coming off that dog’s coat. That’s the goal. I won’t say that it happens all the time.

And if it’s not happening, there’s not a lot of spray coming off, but what spray is coming off I have a towel behind my hand so that as I’m working over the coat and the spray is coming off I’m catching it in that towel so it’s not rewetting the dog or it’s not going down onto the table and the dog is sitting in it. Now, another thing you can do is put a damp towel. You’ve toweled dried the dog really well. You’ve got a towel that’s not really absorbing a whole lot more moisture, so you can put it underneath the dog, and it will help so that the dog isn’t sitting in puddles. But, that’s always my goal, is no spray coming off that dog.

Now, there’s another trick that works really, really well. And it doesn’t matter whether you are a mobile groomer or whether you’re in a busy salon, this technique will work no matter where you’re at, whether you’re dealing with one or two dogs at a time, or whether you’re dealing with 30 dogs at a time. It’s easier when you’re first learning how to do it to work with just a few dogs, not the 30. But, this is the routine. It’s basically, to me, it’s a game. It’s a really, really fun game.

Bottom line is you take a look at the dogs that you have and you are going to bathe your largest dog and your heaviest-coated dog first. So if you have a heavy-coated golden retriever, he is your biggest, heaviest coated, furriest dog out of your roster for that time period, he’s hitting the tub first. You’re going to get him bathed, you’re going to get him towel dried, and then you’re going to literally wrap him in a couple towels. I love using big bulldog clips or some kind of a clip that’s going to actually hold those towels right onto the dog’s coat. But, you’re going to wrap them in a towel and then set him off in a quiet spot. It can be in a holding area. It can be tethered off to the side, but just put him somewhere where he’s comfortable, he can relax, and let those towels do the work for him, or for you.

Then, my second dog is going to be my next largest and next heaviest coated. So maybe I’ve got a doodle. He’s going to hit the tub next, same thing. Towel dry him, wrap him into towel, set him off to the side. Then I just keep working down the line to I get to my smallest and my lightest coated dog.

Basically, what I’m doing is it’s the same concept that us gals or guys, if you’ve got a lot of hair, a lot of … My husband happens to be bald, so he doesn’t use this technique. But every morning when I jump out of the shower, the first thing I do is I wrap my hair in a towel, and I’m letting that towel absorb the moisture of my hair. I go on with my morning routine, and I do my makeup, or do my face, or whatever I’m going to be dealing with that morning. I just take a few minutes, let the towel do the job. And one of the last things that I do before I’m ready for the day is I dry my hair with a blow dryer. But that towel has taken a lot of the moisture already out of my hair, so it doesn’t take me very long to finish my hair.

Basically, we’re doing the same thing with the dogs. So you’re dealing with those heavy coats first, going on down the line to your lightest coated dog, and you’re towel drying him, and wrapping them in a towel, and setting him off to the side. Now then when you turn around and you get to the end of your dogs that you have for that session, you reverse the order for the drying because those light-coated dogs … Maybe you’ve got a Yorkie with a guard comb-type haircut, and he’s kind of light-coated, sparse-coated anyhow. It doesn’t take any time at all for the towel to absorb the moisture, and he’s going to be dry. Sometimes if you let him sit too long, he’ll actually be so dry that you have to rewet them down in order to get the volume out of that coat so that you can put a good finish on the dog.

So, you just reverse your order. The first dog up on the drying table is going to be that Yorkie, and then it’s going to be the next largest dog. And it’s going to take you all the way up to that large, heavy-coated golden retriever. He’s going to be your last one that you’re going to dry. But if you work in an order like that, and even if you’re mobile, even if … or you’re working on one dog at a time, you know you’ve got other things that you can do while that dog sits for a minute.

When I was mobile, I would use the same technique. I would wash my dog, wrap them, towel dry them well, wrap them in a towel, and then I would do out my invoice. I would make my bows. I would quick do a cleanup on my van. Whatever I could do to save me time at the end, I would do that in the middle so that the towel could do the work for me and then it would take a lot less time to blow that dog out. But you’ve got to have that hand dry finish in order to yield the most top-quality result.

And I’m not talking about every single dog. If you’ve got a Dalmatian, probably doesn’t need a whole lot of time with a high velocity dryer. If you have a lab, doesn’t need a whole lot of time with a high velocity dryer. But every dog is going to benefit by having a hand dry. And the longer the coat, the denser the coat, the heavier, the curlier the coat is, the better result you’re going to get for your finish. And if you set that coat up so that it is absolutely perfect … Curly coats are dead straight. Shedding dogs have very little coat left. If dogs have been matted, you’re actually pushing those mats out of the coat and you’re giving a little bump with a brush before you leave the drying area. That is going to not only facilitate speed in the drawing area by utilizing towels and the high velocity dryer, but also it is going to make your finish go that much faster.

So if I had to isolate an area where people lose time the most, it is definitely going to be that time period from that towel dry, that very beginning stages of the drying. That is the number one time suck, time problem area. So take a look. If you’re struggling with time, if you’re having a hard time getting dogs finished efficiently and you know you could improve, take a look in that area. And like I said, that game that I was telling you, it works whether you’re dealing with one dog or whether you’re dealing with 30. Now, you’re dealing with 30 or more, it’s a real game, and hopefully you’ve got some practice. But it is very efficient, and you can get through an awful lot of dogs in a very short amount of time by being efficient and having a method to your drying madness to get through all the dogs in the shortest amount of time possible.


Don’t Pre-Groom Before the Bath!

CMG Melissa Verplank has some crucial advice for saving time this holiday season! Find out how you and your grooming team can speed things up by skipping the pre-groom and letting your dryer do the work.

Want more inspiration? Check out our Online Dog Groomer Training courses or the ALL NEW community at Learn2GroomDogs.com, where you can find hundreds of instructional videos by industry experts, all organized by Skill Level. While you’re there, sign up to be notified when enrollment opens.

Transcript
Melissa: Hi guys, Melissa here. Today I want to talk a little bit about how to bathe and dry a dog so that it can be the most efficient possible. As we’re coming into the holidays, it gets really crazy. And any of you that have been in business for any amount of time know that, boy, the holidays can make or break you. And I really want you to think about how you can be the most efficient possible. And maybe you’re efficient, but maybe you’ve got a team member that is struggling a little bit.

So one of my rules of thumb is never pre-trim a dog before it goes to the tub if water can penetrate that coat. And that would also go for your bathroom brush type dogs as well. I don’t want to pre-brush that dog out before it’s cleaned, before it’s dry. And with today, there are so many products and tools that we can use to make that coat do what we really want it to do and to do it very efficiently. But you know, every once in a while I still run into folks that are pre-clipping and pre-brushing those dogs before they hit the tub. And my big question is why? Why would you do that? So again, my general rule of thumb is if water can penetrate the coat, definitely get it to the tub first.

Now if you are looking at a dog that’s got rock solid mats and water just can’t penetrate those mats, then yeah you’ve got to pre-clip that dog before you bathe it. But for most of your regular customers that are coming in every four to six weeks, shoot, get them right to the tub. And even if the dog has got some mats and tangles in the coat, again, if water can penetrate it, get it to the tub. Because let’s stop and think about it. When you have a ring on your finger and it’s so tight that you can’t get it off … this one’s really stuck. How do you get it off? With soap and water, right? You make it slippery.

Well, mats and tangles and that type of thing are going to work the same way when you get that coat clean and you apply the shampoo. And a lot of times once that coat is clean, it’s the dirt and the debris and the gunk that’s in that coat that are holding those mats and tangles kind of together. So once you get the coat clean, then your brushes and your high velocity dryers, especially your high velocity dryers, can do a lot of the work for you. And they’ll literally move that dead coat, those mats, those tangles away from the skin so that when you do go in with a brush, you can literally just pat and gently pull, pat and gently pull. And you’re not going to be scraping against the skin at any point. And it’s a very gentle, methodical process.

The other thing you can do for a dog that is possibly in really tough shape is bathe them. And before you rinse out your second shampoo, take a high velocity dryer right to the tub. And a lot of times when that coat is clean and it’s slippery and it’s got the shampoo in it, just like a ring will come off your finger a lot easier when the shampoo is there or the soap is there, the high velocity dryer will literally just blow those mats and tangles right out of that coat. So really think about how you can use your tools and your products to efficiently get the job done. And I mean, come on. Who wants to work on a gross, nasty, dirty, icky dog? Isn’t it a whole lot better to be working on a dog that’s clean and that smells good and feels good?

And yeah, sure there’s times that you do have to pre-clip. If you haven’t seen that dog in eight weeks or more, more than likely it’s going to be more efficient to do a really fast pre-clip before the dog hits the tub. But again, for those regular clients, shoot, just get them right to the tub. And for a lot of those dogs, I have even seen stylists do this very, very effectively. And I had never even seen it done until I watched Sue Watson and Lisa Leady bathing dogs. And if you’re working with pre-diluted shampoo, heck, they’re not even wetting a dog down. They’re just applying the solution to the dog’s coat and starting that way.

And again, just every little bit saves time and it saves on product, yet it’s going to yield a really quality result. So think about how you’re bathing these dogs when they hit the tub. And if you can bypass a step and not bypass quality, by all means, go for it. Give it a try. Try it maybe just before the … if you’re not used to it, try it just a little bit before the last couple of days of the holiday really sink in, but give it a shot. I bet you’re going to be surprised.


An Eye for Grooming with Melissa Verplank

CMG Melissa Verplank is back with tips on how to develop your “eye” for dog grooming! Tune in to learn about crucial dog anatomy, key resources, and where to begin when honing your skills.

Want more inspiration? Check out our Online Dog Groomer Training courses or the ALL NEW community at Learn2GroomDogs.com, where you can find hundreds of instructional videos by industry experts, all organized by Skill Level. While you’re there, sign up to be notified when enrollment opens.

Transcript
Melissa V.: Hi, guys, Melissa here. Last week I was seeing a thread coming up that was talking about people were wondering how they could develop an eye for the dog. They were really frustrated, especially if they were beginners. They just didn’t know where to turn or how to develop their own eye. I wanted to address that a little bit.

Now, like a lot of the topics that I talk about, you can go really, really deep with this topic. There’s so much to learn and so much to share. I just want to hit the top layer, especially to give those of you who are questioning, where do you even begin, where do you start to develop that eye for the dog? Like anything else, there’s going to be beginners, intermediate, advanced, and highly advanced people in this particular skill level.

If you’re just starting, that’s where we all started at one time, at the very, very beginning. I learned how to grow not because I wanted to, not because I came from a family of groomers or show people. I got my job because the groomer was let go, and the next day I was a groomer with absolutely no knowledge whatsoever.

So I had to learn, and it can be done. I learned it way before the age of the internet and a lot of the learning tools that are available to us now. I had to do it in a really different way than what you guys have to do. But I’m going to tell you, sometimes going back old school works really, really well.

I just want to share some of the things that I did and some of the things that you can do to change it up today to maybe accelerate your pace a little bit. Always remember, every single one of us started at the very beginning. If you’re looking to develop your eye for the dog, you’re going to have to start at the beginning just like all of us. There is no shortcuts.

Where is that beginning? Well, you know what? It all starts with anatomy. When you first start out, you are not going to understand the finer details of advanced anatomy. You’ve got to start at the very beginning.

And so, one of the things that I did to help people who are just starting in their careers is in notes from the grooming table, which yep, my book, but in notes from the grooming table, right in the very, very front. We’re not even 25 pages into the book yet, and I’m already to talk about anatomy.

This is not high level anatomy. This is the basics that you need to get started. You’ve got to be able to understand the muscle structure. You’ve got to understand topographical anatomy. Topographical anatomy is the parts of the dog, so that when we’re communicating to one another and you’re learning, when I say the croup, you know where the croup is. If I say the stop, you know where the stop is. Those are really many, many important parts working around the dog. You’ve got to understand the terminology so we can communicate to one another.

Also the bones, and that the knowing the names of the bones aren’t as important as knowing how they fit together with the rest of the dog. That’s what you really, really have to know. Once you understand the muscles, the bones, and the topographical anatomy, now we can start to work, and how to put it together when we start actually grooming a dog.

When we’re grooming the dogs, we’re going to use reference points on the dog. We’re going to be working with the bones and the muscles to set all the different patterns to work in harmony with a dog, but everything is going to be based off of structure. It doesn’t matter whether you’re dealing with a mixed breed or whether you’re dealing with a purebred dog. All of them are going to have certain components that make up the structure of the dog, whether it’s a square dog or a rectangular dog in outline. Those are going to be really important parts when you’re working with the grooming portion of that dog, and how to get it to balance.

Always people go, “How do you make things balance out?” Well, again, it’s just looking at how shapes fit within the box and whether they’re in balance with one another.

If this dog had a skirt way down to here, and so all of a sudden this part of the dog is really thick and he’s got these little stubby legs, that dog isn’t going to be in balance. And so, understanding these parts is important. Again, it’s not advanced. It’s just really basic, the basic ground rules of solid anatomy and structure.

And then, again, you’re going to be using those parts of the dog, the muscles, the bones, the reference points, the outline, and how those parts all fit together, and that you’re going to be using them as landmarks when you’re setting the patterns on the dog.

If you don’t have notes from the grooming table, this is a really great place to start your study of anatomy. And again, this is just the very, very beginning of your learning stages.

The next book that I would really recommend … This a biggie, don’t let it scare you. There’s a lot of pictures in it. This is covers all the breed standards for the American breeds, but whatever country you’re in, you are going to have a similar book with all the purebreds recognized by your country. It’s going to have all of the standards that are created by the parent club.

When we’re looking at this book in the American Kennel Club, they really do a great job detailing the dog. They’ve got great color images. When I studied one of these breeds and I was helping somebody with a legato understand how to study for this breed and and figure out how to groom it, I always read and work with a highlighter. I’m going to highlight key components of this dog.

If there’s any part that I don’t understand, if there’s a word I don’t understand, I’m going to run. And I’m going to look it up in the back of the book. They’ve got a glossary, and there’s other places that you can also look things up. If you don’t understand what a rustic coat is, you’re not going to know what kind of a coat this particular breed should have. It has a rustic coat. If you don’t know what a broad skull is, you need to look those things up so that you can visually put it in your head so that you can start putting this breed together so that you can understand the why’s behind how to groom this particular breed.

And then, the next book that I would really suggest, let me flip this over, is Canine Terminology. Canine Terminology is like a visual reference guide of body parts. It’s going to help you understand if you read a part in one of the standards that you don’t really firmly understand what it should look like, you can go to this book and it’s going to describe it, and more than likely it’s also going to give you a visual reference of it.

Shoot, I still go to this book for reference. There’s parts of dogs and things that I hear that maybe I didn’t hear before. I’m going to dig into this book just so that I have a firm understanding of what something looks like. If you don’t understand what a well-let-down hock looks like, jump into canine terminology. Look it up. Go to the hock section, and it’s going to tell you what a well-let-down hock is. That’s great. This is just a great tool, great reference guide to have on your bookshelf as you’re trying to understand and and picture what these parts of the dog look like.

And then, if you are moving forward in your career and your you want to go beyond just everyday pet grooming and working in harmony with a dog and trying to make it look its best, if you are looking to go into certification testing, or maybe you are thinking about going into the competition ring, the pet grooming competition ring, or into the dog show world, this is going to be a really great reference guide for you.

For me, when I went to this book, I had already … I was pretty confident with this information here, but I still didn’t really understand the why. I understood what it looked like, but I didn’t understand the why behind why things were designed the way they were. There are certain elements to a breed that are put together to make it be efficient at what it was designed to do. This book gave me the why. It takes the canine structure and terminology, and it really does a great job to describe why the layback to shoulder should be in a certain angle, why the rear assembly should have the angles that it has.

It’s all based on movement. It’s designed for what that dog’s original job was supposed to do. And so, this was absolutely a light bulb book for me as I was coming up the ranks. It made a huge difference in my everyday grooming just because now I understood the more advanced parts and the reasons why I needed to do what I wanted to do with the dog’s coat.

Whether the dog had the right structure or it didn’t, I now knew what I was going for when I was trying to trim that dog and bring out the strongest features of it.

If you are trying to develop your eye for a dog, the first place that you need to start is with canine anatomy. Study it, and be passionate. But more importantly, be curious. Remember, every single one of us, no matter how talented and how far we have advanced our careers today, we all started exactly in the same place that all of you did, which was at the very beginning. And so, we had to learn. We needed to be curious. We needed to seek out the information. These are some great reference books that you can use to start building your career and take it to whatever level you want to take it to.


What’s Your WOW Factor?

How can you drive referral business in the grooming industry? In this video, CMG Melissa Verplank explains the crucial art of the WOW factor — and why “wowing” your customers is the key to growing your client network. Tune in!

Want more inspiration? Check out our Online Dog Groomer Training courses or the ALL NEW community at Learn2GroomDogs.com, where you can find hundreds of instructional videos by industry experts, all organized by Skill Level. While you’re there, sign up to be notified when enrollment opens.

Transcript
Melissa: Hey guys, Melissa here and I’m coming to you today from inside my horse trailer. We are down riding and it is today cold and wet and nasty and just an ugly day out. So unfortunately we’re not in the saddle, we’re all kind of holed up into our campers and in our rigs. And so last night we were up and we were kind of going through our Facebook feeds and we saw a comment come through that I really wanted to address with all of you guys today. There’s so many different avenues that we could go down with this particular topic, but I just wanted to share one idea that has worked really well for me and who knows, maybe I’ll come back and share a few other ideas as well. But this is one that really helps build a new clientele and a new business get up on its feet and it’s a way to foster referral-based business and referral based business for our businesses is absolutely the number one and the best way to get customers.

And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a mobile grooming service, a grooming salon, a pet care facility. All of it is service based. And so I want you to kind of think about what I’m going to say here and how can you apply something to your business to make it work. Because all of us are unique, all of us are different. But the biggest thing that you need to do to help really cultivate that referral based business is create that wow factor, that factor that people just go, “Wow, I cannot believe they did that” or “They have a facility like this” or “They did this for my pet,” or “They did this for me,” or whatever it might be. You stop and you think about it and whenever something happens to you that is really positive, that is kind of out of the ordinary, don’t you go to your friends and family and say, “Wow, I just cannot believe what I just experienced.” “Susie, you got to see this. You got to go check it out.”

You’re telling people that you care about and you’re referring that business to someone else. And so I really want you to think about how can you cultivate that. And again, it’s not just in your facility or your van or whatever it might be. It’s in how you interact with those customers as well. And it’s not just you, it’s your entire staff. And so I really want you to think about what can you do today to wow those customers. And I want to, you know, when I first had mobile, I had a fleet of six mobiles at one point in time and that company grew so fast and it’s because we wowed them, we wowed them with way that we handled their dogs. We were right there, we were one of the first mobiles out there. So that was new and that was different.

And we built that business really, really quickly. And another one is Whiskers Resort, which is my full service pet resort. It has boarding, overnight lodging, doggy daycare, grooming, and that one I started it in 2007 and it has grown beyond my wildest dreams. And it’s all done based on referral services by the wow factor, by making clients come in and just go, “Wow,” they can’t believe the facility, they walk in, they don’t smell anything doggy. It’s relatively quiet for a boarding facility. And when I first started it only had 45 rooms and then we were able to easily expand it to 90 rooms, and now we’re up to over 180 rooms and we’re doing another expansion and clients are just waiting. We have a waiting list to get in. Our occupancy rate for the rooms is always over a hundred percent even in our downtime.

And it’s not because there aren’t any other games in town. There are. But it’s because we have been able to have that wow factor and the staff, we’ve got up to 60 staff member maybe a little bit more now, and all of them treat the customers like gold and they all understand the wow factor. They have to make that customer want to go back and tell their friends, their family, have the conversation around the water cooler. They’re always doing small things. And a lot of times it’s not anything expensive. It’s not anything big. It’s just treating people with dignity and respect and making them smile.

And when we first started that business, we had no clientele whatsoever. And so one of the things that we did is the limited staff that we had. I think we started out with, I don’t know, 10 employees or something. All of us brought our dogs into the facility and we literally staged it. We put them in the rooms and all the rooms were designed to look a little bit like a room in a house. So they were already pretty cool. They had all glass fronts. They had flat screen TVs, they had beds, wallpaper, pictures hanging on the wall. So it was a really homey feeling. So we really got the wow factor just from the facility.

But we had to do something to get people into the facility because we knew once we got them there, we could wow them. And so we did postcards. I think we did radio ads, we did little business cards with $10 off their first service. We went everywhere. We passed out those $10 off coupons. I think I even made a cache buck. One of my dog’s name was Cache at the time. And so her little face was on the center of the cache buck. And here it is. We started that business in 2007 and Rebecca, who is now my partner with Whiskers and the president of that organization, she said she had a cache buck just come in last week. It’s been floating out there for well over 10 years and somebody turned it in and we honored it. Hey, why not?

So I want you to think about what you can do for your business, your service to make those clients smile, to make them go wow and want to tell their friends and their family and their coworkers what an amazing experience they just had it your business because that’s what’s going to build your referrals. That’s what’s going to build your clientele. So that you can have success with your business in a very short amount of time. Hey, good luck with it.


Finding Your Success

How do you define success? Where do you want to be a year, five years from now? In this video, CMG Melissa Verplank discusses ways to find, and define, your success. She’ll help you explore and discover what you’re most passionate about so you can make a plan, start building your knowledge and achieve your dreams.

Success looks different to everyone, and it changes over time. Whatever kind of grooming success is driving you, we have the tools to help. Further your dog grooming education with our Online Pet Groomer Training courses, or visit our huge library of expert dog grooming training videos at Learn2GroomDogs.com!

Transcript
Melissa V.: Hi guys, Melissa here, and today I want to talk to you about one of my favorite things, and that is helping others find their own success, and in the world of professional pet grooming, there’s a lot of different ways to define success, and the one thing about the word itself is it is highly personal. How I define success and how you define success could be totally different, and that’s fine, and the other thing about success is that it’s elusive, it moves.

How I defined success in my 20s and how I define it now in my mid 50s, totally different, and that’s okay, but what I will tell you is that with every layer of success that you achieve, it opens up another level for you to aim for, to strive for, and so just because you think you’re successful at one point in your career, more than likely there’s a lot more things that you can achieve, but you’ve got to be able to know what you’re looking for. You’ve got to have some kind of an idea of what kind of a path you want to take, and so you’ve got to ask yourself some questions, and some of the questions are things like, what does truly matters to you? What do you think about? What do you want to achieve with your life, with your career? And how can professional pet grooming get you to that point?

And then the next thing is to be passionate about whatever you’re doing. Now, obviously if you are in the world of professional pet grooming, I’m certainly hoping that you’re already passionate about pets, but even within that passion, find your own personal superpower. Some folks love to do just the small dogs, others love the big furries that they make huge transformations in what they look like, others love to do just low maintenance, every day salon trims, making their customers happy as they walk out the door, other people love to do the show dogs or the more fancy trims, while still others maybe don’t want to do dogs at all. Maybe they just want to do cats. Maybe they want to be a feline exclusive.

Whatever your superpower is, whatever breed, haircut, type of animal you like to work on, all of those are fine. Find your superpower and work to be the best that you can be, and the one thing that I find with success is that normally it doesn’t come with just fall in your lap. You generally have to be really focused, really dedicated, and you’ve got to work at it and you’ve got to build your knowledge base because if you don’t have the knowledge, then you’re not going to have the confidence to be able to communicate with your clients, to be able to execute the skills with ease, with safely and to do it efficiently, and so you’ve got to build up that knowledge base.

You’ve got to be really focused and really diligent about learning, and then stop and think about things like, where do you want to be a year from now, 5 years from now, 10 years from now? Don’t just think about tomorrow or next week. Take it out further than that. Where do you want to be and how can the career take you there? Think about, what does success look like? Do you want to spend more time with your family doing what you love or doing things that you love to do? Or do you want to build … have a wealth play going on? What does it look like and what is it going to take to achieve that success? Write it down, think about it and make a plan to get there, and how are you going to achieve it?

And like I said, success looks different to everybody and not only does it look different to everybody, it’s going to change as you change with your own life and your own career. So the one thing I will tell you is that for those of us that have achieved some success, most of the time, especially in our field, we love to help others achieve their own personal success, and so we’re going to reach out and I don’t care whether you reach out to myself or my team or the companies that we have, but what I will tell you is that people that have succeeded love to help others also achieve success.

So reach out, look for that knowledge, figure out how to gain the confidence so that you can have your own success, and if we can help you in any way on your own personal journey, we would love to help you out.


Student Transforms to Teacher: The Josh Morales Story

In this episode, Joe Zuccarello interviews dog grooming training expert Josh Morales to hear the compelling story of his rise in the grooming world. Learn how Josh leveraged his membership in Learn2GroomDogs.com to get better, to grow, and to step outside his comfort zone.

“Learn2GroomDogs.com allowed me to transform from a regular, everyday groomer behind the grooming table to a public figure and nationally ranked competitor. I’ve been able to reach the top six in the country in hand stripping and number 11 on the national ranking charts as a professional grooming competitor. It has allowed me to become a worldwide speaker and judge, as well as a sought-out inspirational figure for the average everyday groomer to the inspiring competitor. So Learn2GroomDogs has played not only the most major role, but is still allowing me to continue my path as being the best I can be,” Josh Morales.

Watch now to what drove Josh to join the team and share his knowledge with us!

See more of Josh’s work on Learn2GroomDogs.com.

Transcript
Joe Zuccarello: You go through Learn2GroomDogs.com, you’ve obviously had lots of training experts as your influence and obviously to your point, people that are credible, people that raise the bar, people that are established and proven as top of their game. So after … well and maybe not after, you’re still a member of Learn2GroomDogs.com and still enjoying the membership benefits that way. But you shifted, and you were invited to become one of those experts. How did that feel?

Josh Morales: Out of all my accomplishments, for me it was the biggest one. I still to this day, I believe that cannot be surpassed. It’s something extremely honorable for me. Something extremely valuable for me and something no one can ever take away from I’m extremely, extremely proud to be the perfect example of what pet grooming can take you, where Learn2GroomDogs can take you, where the enterprise can take you as far as opportunity and future opportunities. It’s almost surreal. It’s that one validation that I kind of always sought out for. That one validation that means the very utmost to me is to be a part of Learn2GroomDogs. It’s incredible because I can still to this day put myself right back into that position to where I had no idea of really what I was talking about, and Learn2GroomDogs allowed me to not only know certain direction where I wanted to go, but know some information I didn’t know and I couldn’t get from anywhere else.

Josh Morales: And then you kind of use this information and piece it with other experiences or maybe lessons in life. Maybe you take a private lesson, maybe you go to a dog show and you see the way the dog is supposed to look. All these things kind of piece together very, very ironically, and it’s a very fulfilling feeling when you see and you understand something. You know exactly why. And it’s, yeah, get the experience, yes, I network, yes, this and that. But really the key to everything was Learn2GroomDogs.

Josh Morales: It’s mind-boggling to be a member and now not only a member, but an educated partner or expert. Someone who’s now … I’m able to give back to that one person. It might be one, even if it’s as few as one, that has that same mentality I did. Someone who is probably out of anyone, the hardest one to tap into. You have three different kinds of people, the ones that jump right in, the ones that are a little hesitant and then the ones that kind of refuse. And those are the hardest to tap into and those are kind of what I realized to blossom.

Josh Morales: Joining Learn2GroomDogs will allow you to grow, to step outside of your comfort zone. The only way you can grow is by stepping out of your comfort zone. Learn2GroomDogs is going to allow you to understand what it is that we truly do, how professional it really is. And like I stated earlier, how many ways is there to achieve that task or goal you’re trying to look for? And you might think that one already works for you, but when you see two or three other different ways to get there, you might figure out the third option for you is a lot easier than the option you were using to begin with. So even with the person who thinks they don’t need it, down to the person who absolutely needs it, they just don’t understand, it’s a critical, critical, I think foundation that you absolutely need.

Josh Morales: There’s no other option out there. And this industry is so small, it’s so close, but far away because we’re all in different parts of the world, in most cases the United States, and we can’t necessarily have everything we need at the fingertips. So Learn2GroomDogs for me in a nutshell is everything you need at the palm of your hands. Now with technology, with your cell phone, it’s very mobile friendly. Even before this new relaunch, it was very mobile friendly. I can pull it out of my phone, really get three different views on to where I’m trying to go. And then rather A, make up my own version of it. Or B, choose one that works best for me. So Learn2GroomDogs is absolutely vital to your success as a dog groomer, as a professional. From client relations down to painting the toenails, to handling, to safety procedures, to how to do a Kerry Blue and a show trim, to a pet clip. Learn2GroomDogs is the only place you can get all the information you need.

Joe Zuccarello: Josh, one of the things that Learn2GroomDogs.com with the new approach, one of the things that you’d mentioned earlier that when you looked in it, you know there are so many videos. And 1, it just opened your eyes to all the possibilities. But to some people that might be a little overwhelming. So one of the things with Learn2GroomDogs.com is that it’s separated by skill level track. So we’ve got the baby groomers, or what we say just getting started. To the beginner groomer. To the pet groomer. To the stylist, advanced stylist, and also now the business track that’s involved with it as well. So no matter where the learner, no matter where the member is in their career, they have the ability to jump into that track and complete that track before they move onto the next. How do you think that benefits a member of Learn2GroomDogs.com, the community?

Josh Morales: I think it’s going to help it tremendously. The fact that just by that setup, beginner, intermediate, expert, you’ll be able to actually choose or understand at what level you are on first of all. I think with that you can understand if I click in intermediate and I feel a little uncomfortable about it, that might just tell me I’m a beginner and I can start with beginner. And I can work my way up and understand and see my growth going through the program. I think it makes it a lot easier because you don’t have to feel that you need to be the super expert to use Learn2GroomDogs. But I can still utilize Learn2GroomDogs on a continuing education level without feeling overwhelmed or feeling like I don’t need it as far as basics go. So groomer-to-be to baby groomer, the basic portion of it allows you to pace yourself or just stay in that category because there’s nothing wrong with being a basic utmost professional.

Josh Morales: I can be as professional as I can be shaving dogs or maybe just bathing dogs, and I just have my self wash station. I want to make sure I’m the utmost professional and know everything I can learn about basics. That should go across the board in any industry. Fortunately, we’re not regulated across the board yet. So this allows us to regulate ourselves, know what level we’re on. And once we understand what level we’re on, if we are basic, there’s nothing wrong with Learn2GroomDogs down to expert to the best in the world can utilize, Learn2GroomDogs to make their grooms better or carry themselves a little bit more professionally.

Joe Zuccarello: How would you describe the Josh Morales transformation from new groomer to where you are now? And what role did Learn2GroomDogs.com play in that?

Josh Morales: So Learn2GroomDogs, I’ve always said, Learn2GroomDogs, it is a life changer for me. First of all, Learn2GroomDogs filled in a gap that wasn’t there. Learn2GroomDogs allowed me to have someone, even if it was virtual, to look up to and depend upon for correct information. Learn2GroomDogs allowed me to transform from a regular, every day groomer behind the grooming table to a public figure and nationally ranked competitor. I’ve been able to reach top six in the country in hand stripping and number 11 on the national ranking charts as a professional grooming competitor. It has allowed me to become a worldwide speaker and judge, as well as a sought out inspirational figure for the average every day groomer to the inspiring competitor. So Learn2GroomDogs has played not only the most major role, but is still allowing me to continue my path as being the best I can be.


Education is Everything!

Want to take your passion for grooming to a new level? Do you want to keep your career fresh and exciting? In this video, CMG Melissa Verplank shares the origin of her company motto: Education is Everything. Finding opportunities for growth — and knowing what to do with them — can reignite your career and set you apart in this competitive industry.

Want more inspiration? Check out our Online Dog Groomer Training courses or the ALL NEW community at Learn2GroomDogs.com, where you can find hundreds of instructional videos by industry experts, all organized by Skill Level. While you’re there, sign up to be notified when enrollment opens or to participate in our upcoming series of FREE FACEBOOK LIVE events!

Transcript
Melissa V.: Hi, guys. Melissa here. I want to talk today about a concept that I have believed in my entire career. Maybe, early in my career, I didn’t necessarily have words to go to it, but today I do, and those words have ultimately become pretty much our company motto throughout all of my educational companies, and that is education is everything. I am such a firm believer of this. Why? Why am I such a firm believer of education is everything? Lot of different reasons.

The first one that I can think of is it’s a confidence builder. The more knowledgeable you are, the stronger your skillset, the better you’re going to be able to service your clients, the pets. You’re going to be able to do a better job, and you’re going to feel really good about it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s professional pet grooming or whether it’s cooking, or horseback riding, or fishing. Whatever skillset you aim for that you want to do, the more knowledge you have about it, the more confidence you’re going to have when you’re doing it, and you’re going to have a lot more success with it. Definitely, confidence building is a really big one.

Another thing is it allows you to expand your career to be more professional. In our profession, that’s important. In professional pet grooming, it’s not a regulated trade. There’s no licensing for it, and anybody can call themselves a professional pet groomer. Those of us that have had success with it, we know that that’s pretty far from the truth sometimes. Being able to educate yourself to be more knowledgeable allows you to not only expand your career but also be a lot more professional for your clients. Again, education is everything right there.

It’s going to prepare you to take advantage of opportunities that could crop up for you. I look back at my own career, and I think if I had not had such a driving force, such a passion to learn, to grow, to expand my skillsets, I would never have been able to take advantage of many of the opportunities that landed at my feet. I know you guys, too, it’s the same exact thing that, the more knowledgeable you are, the more opportunities will present themselves. You’ve got to be able to, number one, recognize when that opportunity is there and then know how to grasp it or how to go for it if you decide that’s something that you want to pursue. Again, education, knowledge is going to allow more of those opportunities to present themselves to you.

The other thing it will do is it will really help keep your career fresh and exciting. I get it. Sometimes when we get into the daily grind, once the passion kind of dissipates a little bit, it can become kind of a grind. The profession kind of loses its spark. One of the fastest ways to reignite that passion is to get out there and to learn something. Also, the learning generally is going to take place when you interact with like-minded people. Most learning, you can do a lot of self-learning, but a lot of the really good coaching, a lot of the really… ways that you can accelerate your career even faster is by networking with like-minded people.

In this day and age, you can network not only face to face, but you can also network internationally or from all over the US. We have the technology today to have friends, to have folks that we know that we interact with all over the world. That’s really exciting. I can’t tell you how many people that I talk to from Australia or anywhere in Europe or even South America. There’s lots and lots of people that have the same passion that you and I do, and that is the pets. To be able to communicate with them really helps keep the industry fresh, and it keeps all of us driving in the same direction, which is expanding our career base.

Finally, the last thing I want to talk about is that education is everything. It is because we can never know it all. There is always another layer that we can learn, that we can master. Once we master one skillset, there’s going to be another layer and another layer. It’s kind of like peeling back an onion. I have been in this industry for a long time. I don’t think I would’ve stayed in it for as long as I have if I wasn’t challenged, if I didn’t continue to grow my career and continue to learn. There is always something more that you can learn.

Even when I first started as a professional pet groomer in my late teens, I didn’t necessarily have the words to the concept, but I knew, in my heart, that I needed to grow my skillset. The only way to do that was by expanding my knowledge and getting better at what I did. For me here 40 some years later, I firmly am a believer in education is everything. If you want to grow your career and experience success, oh, get that word out there, this is probably one of the best ways to do it is just keep learning and know education is everything.


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