By Kathy Hosler
If you have been grooming for any length of time, you know how physically demanding it can be. Sometimes, by the end of the day, you are ready to drop. Don’t you wish you had a way to increase your income without all that back-breaking work?
Well, there is. You can supplement your income by selling pet products to your clients. It’s not difficult and it can really boost your bottom line.
Whether you are a salon, mobile, or are a house-call groomer, selling pet care products can become an important part of your business. And, you don’t have to invest a lot of money to get started. Don’t be reluctant to try retailing because you think that you can’t compete with the big box stores. The fact is that being small enables you to provide very personalized service to your clients. For example, you can help them select the products and grooming equipment that you know will benefit their pets. And then, you can show them the right way to apply the products and how to use the grooming tools correctly. They can’t get service like that from a big box store.
Sell the products you already use. When you present a freshly groomed pet to its owner, how often do they say something like, “Buddy looks wonderful and he smells great! He never smells that good when I give him a bath.”
This is the perfect opportunity for you to introduce them to the quality products you use. Respond to the pet parent with, “I use special professional quality shampoo, conditioner, and cologne. I buy it by the gallon, but it is also available in smaller sizes. I can supply you with everything you need to keep Buddy clean, sweet smelling, and well-brushed in-between his grooming appointments with me.”
Or, you might say, “Your little Suzie was such an angel for her grooming today! I told her that you would probably want to reward her with a new toy or some special treats.”
The profit that you make by retailing shampoo, brushes, combs, cologne, etc. requires very little effort on your part. And, depending on the item, the markup can be as much as 100% or more. If you buy a toy for $2.00 and sell it for $4.95, you more than double your money.
You already have the clients, and they trust and value your recommendations. Why not help them, and at the same time, help yourself? Why should they go somewhere else for their pet products? Offer them the convenience of purchasing them from you. It’s really a win-win for you, the client, and the pet. They will get to use the quality products that you know work well on their pets, and you make the profit on the sales.
If you are a house call or mobile groomer with limited space, you can still offer a small selection of products you use. If you have more space, you can expand your retail to include collars, toys, treats, and other quick selling impulse items.
Even if you are not the ‘salesperson type’, you can be very successful at retailing. And, no hard-sell tactics are needed. Not everyone is a born salesperson, but you can learn how to be one. There is an art to selling, just as there is to grooming. The more you do it, the easier it gets and the better you become at it. The best sales people are the ones that offer products or services that are truly useful or beneficial to their clients. They help solve problems – i.e. dental products for fresh breath, brushes for tangled hair, chew toys for active dogs, etc. It’s important to sell items that you believe in. If you are knowledgeable and passionate about your products, your clients will be much more likely to purchase them.
Monthly specials are a great way to get people to try new products. In February, pet dental month, you can feature breath spray, tooth gel, or dental chew treats. Once you get a customer to try these products, and they see results, they become steady repeat buyers. Instead of selling just a single bottle of pet shampoo to a client, offer shampoo, conditioner, and cologne as a package. Bundling items can increase your profits while giving your clients related products to try.
Attend trade shows and seminars to keep on top of the newest grooming products and then you can introduce them to your clients. You might be surprised by the number of people who want their pets to enjoy the latest pet trends, whether it is an interactive toy, a celebrity inspired collar with matching jacket, or the latest grain free, gluten free holistic treat. Impulse items can really put some profit in your pocket. Having a display of treats and toys in your checkout area makes it easy for pet parents to reward their little fur kids.
If you are not already selling retail items to your clients – what are you waiting for? It’s far less strenuous than grooming and it can put some real jingle in your pockets. Then at the end of the day, instead of dropping from exhaustion, you can just drop by your bank to make a hefty deposit. Sounds good to me! ✂