The holiday season is upon us, and every groomer knows that this time of year is hectic, hassled and hairy. We have to do all the ordinary things at home (laundry, prepare meals, clean up, take care of family and pets, plus all the additional work of seasonal celebrations). On top of that comes added work hours and responsibilities. The phone rings endlessly, and we feel pulled to groom every pet we can to keep customers happy and take advantage of this high–earning season.
Here are a dozen tips to help you keep your holidays happy:
- Create and stick to a manageable schedule. It can be easy to let customers persuade you into opening early, staying late or coming in on your day off. How do I know? I’ve let it happen! But it’s a bad idea and leads to resentment. Bitterness is to be avoided—especially during the holidays!
- Inventory your grooming supplies. December is not the time to run out of your favorite shampoo, conditioner or grooming spray.
- If you need to have your shears or clipper blades sharpened, do it now. Consider servicing your clippers to ensure they are running perfectly for the coming weeks.
- Do a deep clean of your workspace and make sure your tools are well organized to prevent wasting time looking for items you need. Working in a clean, uncluttered space is also more calming and pleasant.
- If you offer gift certificates, make sure you have plenty on hand so you can fill them out quickly when someone wants to purchase one.
- If you suspect you will be too busy to keep up with your regular social media business posts, create some in advance and schedule them to be posted automatically.
- Be choosy. Experienced groomers save prime holiday appointments for their regular customers and refuse to take in matted, challenging or “once–a–year” pets during these pre–holiday weeks.
- Let’s talk about decorating. If you love to, do it. If it’s a chore, keep it minimal. For example, a pretty wreath on the door can be inexpensive and take mere moments to hang. You don’t have to go all out if you don’t enjoy the process.
- Let technology do some of your work. Program your phone so that it can answer some customer questions for you. For instance, after your greeting, you might inform callers, “We are unable to accept new customers at this time,” or “Due to larger than normal call volume, we will return messages at the end of the day.” These are just examples, but a well–worded voicemail can often weed out some calls and lessen the time you have to spend talking on the phone. Likewise, see if your website and social media pages would benefit from updated seasonal information for your customers.
- How about some extra help? Maybe you don’t need a full–time employee, but would hiring a teenager to help you clean, wash towels, empty trash and scrub cages at the end of the day make life more pleasant for these weeks? Give some thought to ways a temporary extra person might lighten your load.
- If you use holiday–themed bows or bandanas, have them pre–made or cut and ready to use. You’d be surprised how much grooming time is lost if you are stopping to cut every bandana or make every festive bow.
- During this season of giving, customer gifts are a hot topic in our industry. I know groomers who spend lots of money and time making sure each customer gets a gift. While this is a lovely sentiment, it entails a lot of effort on the part of the groomer and, in my experience, is often unappreciated on the part of the customer. I suggest the following solutions to this gifting quandary:
a) Don’t give gifts. My hairdresser and manicurist don’t give me gifts, and I don’t expect them to. The services are similar.
b) Donate the money you would have spent on customer gifts to the charity of your choice and give each customer a card thanking them for their patronage and telling them a donation has been made in their honor.
c) Give each customer a coupon for a slightly discounted groom or free add–on service in January or February. This coupon will help keep your calendar full during the traditionally slower grooming months and give bargain–loving customers a happy feeling.
Make the coming weeks more about the “merry” and less about the “harried.” Take time now to plan, organize and schedule for a happier holiday season. ✂️