Holiday preparations are so much fun! When we think of running our cat grooming business during the holidays, we think of red and green nail caps, holiday-themed toys, pictures with Santa and so much more.
While holiday promotions that reward our loyal clients are great fun, the reality is that we also get a wave of pelted kitties.
Great ideas for holiday promotions can be a percentage off of seasonal–colored nail caps, a free toy with groom, or a picture with Santa or in a seasonal setting. Rewarding your regular clients for another year of loyalty is a great idea, especially around the holidays.
My favorite holiday tradition is to wait until my slow period in January and handwrite cards to wish my clients a happy and prosperous New Year. I usually offer a free nail trim and brush–out to clients I have not seen in a while to encourage them to come in for grooming. Sending the cards out in January keeps them from being lost in the other holiday mail the family may receive.
Holidays are a big time for in–home entertaining. The reality is that many families look at their cat and realize “Fluffy” looks more like a mushroom than a “Fluffy.” They do not want to be embarrassed when company comes over for holiday celebrations so they start calling around to find someone to groom her.
There are many difficulties with a client like this. While we want to help Fluffy—and every other cat in her situation—we may not have time in our schedule to accept a new and time–consuming kitty. Many groomers have been telling their regular clients since the end of summer to schedule their holiday appointments now so they can be sure to accommodate them. Many groomers simply do not have time for another cat on their schedule after Thanksgiving.
If we do book an appointment for Fluffy, it will probably be a long, tedious and high–stress groom. Many of us have made the mistake of adding a cat like Fluffy to our holiday schedule and then regretted it. While we want to help pelted cats, there is a lot to consider before adding a pelt removal to the holiday schedule.
When Fluffy’s owner calls to schedule an appointment, you can gather a lot of information over the phone. I like to ask if Fluffy has hard lumps in her fur. I try to use language the owners can relate to.
After I establish there are mats in Fluffy’s coat, I follow up by asking if the hard lumps feel like golf balls, marbles or if it is just hard all over. I then ask if the owner can get their fingers between her skin and the mats. This will help me judge if Fluffy will need a pelt removal.
Next, I ask if Fluffy is skinny or more on the chubby side. If the kitty is skinny, I know this will be a more difficult groom and take much more time. If the kitty is larger, a pelt removal tends to be easier.
Then I move on to temperament questions. My first question is, can all the adults living in the home pick the cat up? If the client calling led me to believe they are married, I ask if their wife/husband can pick the cat up. I have found the spouse who is not calling gives a better picture of the cat’s temperament. If I am not sure I understand the answer, I ask what the kitty does when company comes over. If the kitty hides, I follow up by asking, if they try to get her out, does she try to plant herself in her hiding spot or get grumpy? This helps me to establish if the cat is shy–compliant or shy–aggressive. If the cat is out visiting, I ask if the kitty gives love bites if she gets too many pets. This helps me establish if there are aggressive tendencies. This is not exact by any means, but it will give you a clearer picture of what kind of temperament to plan for.
After I know if the cat is matted, pelted, skinny and/or aggressive, I can make a better decision if and when I will offer this client an appointment. This is the point where it is important that you have personal boundaries in place. When my business is operating at full capacity, I will put a pelt removal on my first workday of the week as the last cat. I make the pelt removal the last cat so I am not rushed if it takes longer than I expected. I put this type of appointment on my first workday of the week so I am well rested both physically and mentally. If I am trying to increase my client base or if it’s during lion cut season, I will put pelt removal appointments on every other day as the last cat. I have found this is best for me physically and emotionally.
Like with anything, you will need to determine what works best for your business. If a client calls after Thanksgiving, never feel guilty about booking them in January. That is why we warn our regular clients to book their holiday appointments starting in September.
We all want to help these cats that are extremely matted or pelted, but as business owners and groomers, we have to keep a perspective on what is best for the greatest number of cats. If we overwork ourselves, we won’t be able to safely groom our regular and loyal clients. If we get a bite that gets infected or does significant damage, we won’t be able to physically groom our regular cat clients. It is important that we only take new matted/pelted cats when we have enough time to groom them, are well rested, and can mentally and emotionally focus on the job at hand.
The holidays are a great time to enjoy with your regular clients and to have fun with seasonal–themed promotions. When you get a call from a new client, have a plan in place that focuses on what is best for your cat grooming business. ✂️