By Kathy Hosler
If you are one of the 126,000 groomers in North America, you know that grooming is a demanding career and takes a lot of skill. We often put in long hours, work on difficult pets and deal with demanding owners. Grooming is hard work that can really take a toll on your body.
How many years can you realistically expect to be physically able to groom? Now is the time to think about your future and find a way to increase your income without extra work.
Introducing and selling wellness products to your clients can become a huge part of your business and could improve their pet’s quality of life. A wellness program has nothing to do with diagnosing medical issues or veterinary care. Wellness is simply offering products that support a pet’s health. As the dogs and cats come in month after month to be groomed, owners will also purchase their nutritional and wellness supplements, treats and oral care products from you.
Most of us groomers see pets every four to six weeks, for twelve to sixteen years or more. Over time you build a relationship with that pet and its owner. As their groomer, you have credibility. Owners value your expertise and knowledge. In addition, helping them prevent problems with their beloved pets can be far less expensive than treating them after they occur.
Educate yourself and research the products you plan to carry, then share that knowledge with your clients. Brochures and testimonials also explain the benefits pets enjoy when they are on a wellness program.
The perfect time to introduce your clients to a wellness program is at their pet’s grooming appointment during pickup. You can point out any issues you found with their pet, such as dental problems, or the fact that the pet’s arthritis caused them discomfort during the groom. Then you can suggest products that might help them.
It all starts in the mouth. Half of all dogs and cats have dental disease by the age of three. Poor oral health and dental disease often lead to a substantially shorter life for a pet. Gingivitis, plaque and tarter buildup can cause a painful mouth and loose teeth. Heart, liver and kidney disease can result from bacteria entering the bloodstream through the mouth.
A lot of dental problems can be prevented if you begin educating owners about oral care products when their pet is young. Have a display of toothpaste and brushes, oral sprays, water additives, treats and dental toys to sell to your clients, and be willing to demonstrate how to properly use each one.
Everything a pet eats has a huge impact on its overall health. When we work on pets that have issues with their coat and skin, it makes our job much more difficult. Complaints about scratching after grooming could well be due to a poor diet more than anything that happens at the salon.
For example, if an owner brings in a dog that is constantly scratching and rubbing itself and its coat is in terrible condition, you can inquire about the food and treats they are giving it. If you learn that the food they are feeding is made with inferior ingredients, lots of by–products, or unhealthy dyes and additives, you can suggest that they try something else. If you carry premium food and treats, steer them toward one that would be better for their pet.
Be selective about the items you carry. Do your research. Know what ingredients are in them and where they come from. Try them on your own pets. You need to see results with your own eyes to believe in the products you recommend. If you believe in the products, they will sell themselves.
People love their animals and most will gladly spend extra money to give them supplements that keep them healthy. That’s where your expertise and guidance will help them.
My brother recently moved back after being out of state for a number of years. He brought his 13–year–old retriever mix, Tank, with him. The poor dog was almost crippled with arthritis and other issues. The veterinarian ran multiple tests and concluded that there wasn’t much we could do to help Tank because his liver could not handle powerful drugs and pain killers.
I suggested we put him on a natural, holistic supplement that contained deer velvet. I had seen it help a lot of dogs with osteoarthritis and joint issues. I did not diagnose or in any way give a medical opinion on his condition. I simply offered something they could try that might help—and the veterinarian was all for it.
Within three days, we could see a marked improvement in Tank’s mobility and it was easy to tell that he felt better. My brother, the veterinarian and I were all relieved to see him improve and we are looking forward to having him with us for a long time to come.
Incorporating a wellness program into your grooming business will benefit everyone. The pets receive products that have a positive impact on their wellbeing. The owners are happy because they are giving their pets the best care—and they may be saving money in the long run by preventing future problems. And, you substantially increase your bottom line without working yourself into the ground.
Maybe you can’t change the world, but you can make a significant difference, one pet at a time—and that’s a big payoff. ✂️