Clean Sweep: Tidying up the Business Side of Things

Grooming Business Basics

Clean Sweep: Tidying up the Business Side of Things

What does deep cleaning mean to you as a groomer? Likely, any mention of deep cleaning brings visions of removing insidious but invisible dog dander from walls, lights and air ventilation systems.

Or maybe, when you hear deep cleaning you think of the yorkie–sized dust bunnies which live behind your fixtures and holding cages. 

There are many ways for groomers and salons to deep clean—from purging old equipment to clearing unused scissors and products—but as groomers or salon owners, we rarely apply deep cleaning to the office side of our business. 

Recently, I decided to do a deep cleaning of the business side of the business. And, like any aspect of the salon, your business affairs can get pretty unruly if you leave them to collect dust. Here is a helpful checklist of areas of your grooming business which may need a good deep cleaning:

Old Customer Files

Whether you are using a written filing system or a computer version, at some point, you need to address old customer files. This can be a tedious and daunting task. Much like any housekeeping chore, this one is easiest if you tackle it on a regular schedule. Your business structure will likely dictate how long you consider old customer records to be valuable or relevant. Keeping client records for two years will allow you to identify the “yearly” client more easily. 

Today’s cloud–based systems may offer the ability to keep client records for much longer—but be aware—many of these systems have limits to data capabilities, costs associated with managing large databases and may reach a limit over time. My current customer database began “losing” data at 10,000 customers. By the time I discovered that it had a maximum capacity, I had randomly lost client data. We are still finding “lost” clients today. 

By cleaning up your client database, you can make better decisions on all aspects of your business. Any list of clients will likely contain names of those who have moved, pets who are deceased, clients who are not accepted for services and any number of non–serviceable files.

Employee Applications & Records

This is a great area to tackle if you are in the mood for some deep cleaning. This area of cleaning does require some caution as you must ensure that you are properly destroying documents which may contain sensitive data. Your business structure will determine how long you keep an application for someone you chose not to hire, but you should keep all applications and resumes at least one year from the hiring or rejection date of the applicant. 

The same applies to employee personnel records. You should keep all employee records for a minimum of one year following the date they no longer work in your salon. 

Insurance Policies

This is an easy cleaning chore. You should have a copy of each of your relevant insurance policies readily available and stored safely while the policy is in effect. As soon as the date on the policy terminates, you may purge the document. I like to write the effective dates in bold letters on the outer cover of every insurance policy so that I can easily identify which is the current policy.

Credit Card Receipts 

If your business accepts credit cards, you know the storage dilemma which can arise from warehousing these slippery little tickets. Best practices suggest that you keep signed credit card receipts for 18 months in the event of a “chargeback.” This allows you, as the merchant, to properly defend your business and protect your revenue. For tax purposes, it is recommended that merchants keep signed receipts for at least three years. I know, that’s a lot of slippery little white tickets to hold on to for a long period of time. 

I find that storing them in a dedicated file divided into monthly folders is the easiest way to retrieve that needle in a haystack when you need to find it. That way there are no other documents mixed together with your signed credit card receipts.

Payroll Records

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Act requires employers to keep payroll records for at least three years. Keep in mind, these are some of the most sensitive documents in your business because they should contain W–2 and I–9 materials. These documents should be handled carefully, stored carefully and be maintained in a secure manner.

Tax Records

This is the set of records you will be required to keep for the longest time period. The Internal Revenue Service suggests you keep your business tax records and supporting documents for seven years. Like some of the other records above, I suggest you have a system in place which allows you to maintain each year’s records, divided into monthly folders, separately from every other year. This includes receipts, check registers, bank statements, credit card statements and many other documents which are necessary tools to manage your business’s financial welfare.

While not an exciting topic, understanding which records are important to keep and for how long will allow you to organize your files and maintain your business records in a neat and orderly manner. 

Purging documents can be exhilarating (and if you have a lot of them, the sound of a paper shredder is satisfying), but ensure that you are keeping the proper documents, for the proper length of time, in the proper manner. Happy document cleaning! ✂️

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