Can You Replace You With Technology?

Grooming Business Basics

By Khris Berry

Grooming is a world in which you create your craft with your hands. One may argue that groomers also use their hearts, time, minds and backs to finish their work each day.

Each of these tools is an irreplaceable commodity; you have a limited amount to give. Yes, even your heart is limited—ask any groomer who has experienced career fatigue.

Like any commodity, it is important to consider how you are using it and protect it against waste—and that commodity is YOU! Let’s discuss how to make sure that you are using yourself in the best, most efficient ways, and where you CAN replace yourself and effort.  

Software and technology have crept into almost every aspect of our lives. Every day many of our activities are likely supported by technology to accomplish, simplify, assist or learn how to complete that activity and succeed. The grooming world is no different. 

So how is it that in a career which is accomplished by your own hands, and success is achieved by your own handiwork, that there is so much room for technology? 

Simple, when you are the actual commodity, you become your most important resource. The technology surrounding you should save you time, money and effort. The old adage, “work smarter, not harder” definitely applies. I use these parameters to determine if it makes sense to include software or technology into any task in the grooming shop.

Whenever I meet groomers and the subject of technology arises, I often hear comments such as, “I can’t afford to add that”, “I can do it myself for less” or “It’s just too expensive”. Let’s look at some typical client interactions and look for ways in which you can determine if technology makes sense in your workplace.

To make these cost comparisons, you must begin by knowing what your own time is worth. If you can’t assess how much your time is worth, how can you determine if you are saving time or money? How can you determine how much you should spend on time-saving software? Hopefully you have read one of these articles before and already know your personal hourly rate. Once you do, your decisions regarding business services become easier to make. 

Here is an example: If I save 30 minutes a day with software that sends my clients an appointment reminder for the next day, and I make $60 per hour, and I work 5 days per week, I have saved 2.5 hours per week or $150 of my own hourly rate in one week. I could translate that same 2.5 hours into grooming another dog or two. Instead of costing myself $150 in time, I can increase my revenue in the same time and employ technology to work on my behalf.  I could certainly afford software at a much lower rate to send client text or email reminders, and my clients will experience regular reminders (because we are people and really do forget to make those reminder calls sometimes). 

This is only one tiny place where software and technology can help you. What about the client check-out process? What is the actual cost of storing, accessing and managing client records? What is the cost of NOT doing so? I could make a strong argument if you are using NO filing or records storage system that your costs of customer loss could be quite high; without good records, you are more likely to experience a lack of consistency in service, quality of grooming and balls may be dropped. But even if you saved as little as 10 minutes each day keeping track of your clients, their grooming notes and their phone numbers, using a system which allows immediate management and retrieval of that information would save you approximately $83/week (if you earn an average $60/hour and work an average of 5 days per week). 

And what about all of those online grooming subscriptions, tutorials and webinars? Where do they assist you in your job? If you can translate the information learned into retaining one new client per month, attracting one new client per month, or saving yourself the time it takes to groom one dog per month, you can justify the cost based on your hourly grooming price/rate. 

So what is the key to using technology and software in your business effectively?

Know your own worth. You must know what you are making to determine if the cost comparison of your time is equal to your money spent.

Use the software or technology you purchase to its fullest. Often times, I find that people will adopt a new program or new technology and only use a small amount of the features provided. Before you seek a new solution, make sure you don’t already have one built into the systems you already use.

Remember all that time we saved you? Use it wisely. Take the extra 10 minutes here and the extra 20 minutes there and turn it into profit!

Invest in yourself, your business and your clients. But make those investments count. Learning a new technique is great, but if you don’t use it, or let your clients know that you are using it, you may not get the perceived value from it. 

Grooming is a career which requires you to use many things, but ultimately YOU are the greatest asset in any grooming shop. You will be the piece of the puzzle which can never be replaced; however, look around you at everything you touch in between grooming dogs and look for opportunities to increase your productivity and simplify your work! ✂️