By Jeff Dickerson
The pet grooming market is experiencing a major boom and showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the Department of Labor expects the industry to experience an 11% growth through 20231.To service that growth, groomers and pet grooming business owners alike will need to address the spike in clients (and competition) while continuing to operate successfully and efficiently.
If pet groomers want to invest in their business’ growth and capitalize on market opportunities, they may want to consider business management software to help streamline manual or repetitive processes that would normally take away from focusing on providing first-class client service.
While there are countless software tools and options available today, it is important that groomers know what to look for based on the challenges they face in their daily work. If you’re a pet groomer facing common hurdles (i.e. data organization and access, inventory management, measuring business success), you might consider how software solutions could help you address the following areas.
Track Client Data
When servicing a regular client, it is imperative that groomers make notes of the pet’s history, including what shampoo they used previously, if the pet is irritable or prone to nipping, and even the cut they received during their last visit. These critical notes are typically stored by hand on note cards (or not recorded at all) which can present a challenge when papers are lost and memory fails the next time a client returns for an appointment.
Groomers who face this obstacle should look into software with features that allow simple input and retrieval of information from a single database. When that database is available “in the cloud,” groomers can access the client’s information from any internet connected device, virtually anywhere.
Your Vaccination Situation
If your shop isn’t keeping up-to-date shot records, you are running the risk of legal problems, and endangering your staff and your four–legged clients. Storing medical and vaccination records on post cards in a shoebox at the front desk is obviously not a scalable (or digital) solution. Software cannot only find vaccination records that are about to expire, but can also automatically send emails or texts to those clients and let them know you need updated records. Software can also warn staff when booking an appointment for a pet without current vaccination records on file.
Access Schedules Remotely
Prior to software solutions for pet grooming businesses, groomers would track their daily client schedule either on one computer or on a paper calendar at the front desk. By sticking to this tactic, groomers are trusted to remember their schedule for the next day, or to call into the front desk to check with the receptionist. This not only presents a nuisance for groomers to prepare for appointments ahead of time, but also takes time away from receptionists tending to customers. Now with remote access capabilities through pet grooming software, groomers can access information, like their schedule, from any platform with an internet connection and to see early morning cancellations before they’ve even left for work.
Running out of a key product not only disrupts your business and deprives you of revenue, but it can also leave a bad impression on a client. Groomers are challenged with the task of staying on top of stock and knowing when to reorder—a burden that ultimately takes away from servicing clientele or adds hours to an already busy work week. Look for a solution that makes managing inventory quick and easy. With product reorder notifications, reporting, purchase orders and check printing integrated together, you’ll never have to say, “Sorry we’re out of stock,” again.
Measure Business Metrics
Groomers should always be trying to improve their skills and shop managers should have some idea of which groomers are contributing the most to the business. Without data to measure client retention, overall sales, profitability and service vs product revenue, they are simply playing a guessing game.
Some software tools provide users with several critical reporting benchmarks that allow groomers and business owners to determine key performance indicators. Results of reports can be run based on a given date range, making it easy to see how the business has performed during advertised specials or between quarters. Tools like these give groomers and business owners the chance to sit down and carve out attainable, time-sensitive goals for both to succeed in tandem.
Groomers who have experience with pet grooming software at their workplace are spending less time worrying about keeping track of their schedules, client preferences and overall business management, and are instead spending more time thinking about how to better service their clients and learn new techniques to improve their skills.
Technology, like business management software, can provide a platform that powers efficiency, empowers groomers and automates mundane or manual tasks. That’s one sure way to take advantage of the growth the grooming industry expects and position yourself and your team for future success!
Jeff Dickerson, a software executive with more than 25 years of experience, currently leads DaySmart Software, makers of 123Pet Software, where dozens of developers, support specialists and software professionals strive to deliver a superior solution for appointment booking, staff management, payment processing, marketing and customer communications to groomers worldwide. Thousands of grooming salons and mobile grooming units use 123Pet’s software to run and grow their business.