By Michell Evans
“Oh Michell. I have a problem with hoarding shampoo. I go to trade shows and learn about new shampoos and then I buy them. All of them. If I read on Facebook that someone likes a shampoo for a particular coat type, I buy it. If a new line of products comes out, I want to be the first to use it. Over the years I have developed a huge problem. I have so many. I have gallon jugs, eight-ounce bottles, funnels, mixing bottles and samples all covered in dog hair and out of control! I would like to reduce my collection but it’s hard to know what I really need to keep. Can you help?” — Beth
Beth, you are not alone. Many groomers have this problem. It is a good idea to enlist the help of friends and family to help you with the process of cleaning out your product hoard. There are also paid experts to help with this process if your friends and family are too easily convinced that the ¼ of a gallon of expired whitening shampoo with a broken lid has value. It does not.
First take everything—and I mean everything—out of the room except the tubs, grooming tables, shelving, storage furniture and anything else that is not fastened down. This is a good time to send in the cleaning crew. They can really get the place clean while all the products and supplies are out of the room. Take the opportunity to move shelving and storage cabinets out and clean the hair up behind them and under them. Maybe explore moving some things around for a better work flow. Also painting and repairs, if needed, are much easier to do at this stage.
In another room, set up three areas or containers. One container should be for trash. All expired products go here, along with products that have not been used in the last twelve months. Any products that have broken containers should also be thrown away.
The second area or container should be for donations. Donations are an excellent way to downsize your collection without throwing products away. There are countless charities that will put these products to good use. Most charities only accept un–opened, un–expired products. This is a good place for products that you purchased in multiples only to discover that you do not enjoy them. Also, the bottles that can’t possibly get used by the expiration date can go here. Local breeders, kennel clubs and shelters will all happily take them off your hands.
The third area or container is where you put everything you are keeping. For this area consider having a maximum of six types of shampoo and three types of conditioner. Most salons can function well if they have one each of the following; a good cleaning shampoo with a fragrance that your customers like, hypoallergenic shampoo, tearless shampoo or facial, flea or flea and tick shampoo (depending on area), anti–itch shampoo, whitening or brightening shampoo, light cream rinse, medium conditioner and heavy conditioner. Many salons find that they can do with even less variety. There is no need to have multiple products that do the same thing.
Consider ordering on a schedule depending on how much room you have for storage. If you have lots of storage and you go through shampoo and conditioner slowly, order just two times per year. If you have less storage and your salon goes through product quickly, order quarterly. Try to avoid ordering small amounts every month to avoid high shipping costs. Also, many companies will offer a case discount, making larger orders less often a better deal. Order only what you need!
Consider limiting your storage area. If you have fifteen shelves to store shampoo you will likely fill all fifteen shelves. Reduced storage area might help you curb your hoarding desires. When you put the products that you are keeping back into the bathing or storage area, take the opportunity to organize them in such a way that everything is convenient. Remember to organize the items according to expiration date. Consider pump tops for gallon jugs to make it easier to ration products.
When trying out a new product or product line, choose a test group for your product. Choose up to six dogs with six different coat types and lifestyles. Purchase enough products to bath all six dogs three times. Usually a gallon will do. Truly testing a product takes time, patience and good records.
Bathe each dog for the next three appointments in the new products. Ask yourself questions like; how quickly did the products rinse from the coat? How quickly did the coat dry afterward? Was the product helpful for detangling? Was the coat easy to scissor? Did the product do what it said it would do? For example, if it was a whitener, did it whiten? Does it smell nice? Does it leave a little or a lot of fragrance in the coat when dried? Is the texture nice? The list goes on and on, depending on what you would like the product to do for your clients. Make note of your answers.
When the test subjects come back for their next groom, ask the owners how they liked the product. They are a good resource for answering questions about how the products wear at home. Remember to look at the pet before you give them another bath. How did their grooms hold up? How does the coat feel? Are they matted more than on the previous products? How do they smell? Do they seem like they have a residue? Again, make note of your answers.
It takes at least three baths to see if the product is right for your clients’ needs. If the test subjects come for grooming once every eight weeks, this process will take up to six months. They will get a bath on week one, week eight, week sixteen and then you must see what they look like when they return on week twenty–four. Obviously, if they come more often it will take less time.
I hope this helps. You can do it, Beth! ✂