Inclement Weather & Employee Blunders - Groomer to Groomer

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Inclement Weather & Employee Blunders

By Michell Evans

“We recently had a few episodes of inclement weather, flooding followed by snow and ice storms.  As a salon owner, how do you choose whether to stay open or not during these events?”

– Judy B.

Hi Judy.  Your job is to insure the safety of your employees and customers of the two and four legged varieties. There is no reason to risk the safety of your employees and customers for a pet’s bath and/or haircut.

I suggest watching the weather. Now that you can see what the weather is doing on your tablet, phone, TV and transistor radio all at the same time, it is easy to get updates in real time. Watch the news for school closures and delays. They are good guides for safety.

Know your responsibilities as to the clean-up and management of snow and ice. If you rent or lease your landlord may be responsible. Read your contract. If you own, you and you alone, are responsible for making the parking and walkway of your establishment safe.

You may need to hire a service to plow the snow depending on your climate. Shoveling and sanding are your safest bets for the walkways. Salt can be helpful but it can be irritating to dog paws and bad for the environment.

Make sure that you have done all you can to avoid a slip-and-fall accident at least one hour before you expect your first client. This might mean that you open two hours late, at noon, or not at all.  Have a sign for your lobby explaining that the floors are slippery when wet and make sure that you have good liability insurance.

It is very important that your employees stay safe and un-injured so that when you are able to open you have someone to do the work. Do not worry about lost income. Most of the customers are going to re-schedule anyway. And remember, a snow day for a groomer just means that the next three days are going to be long, very long. Here’s to sunshine!

Dear Michell, 

I own a small grooming salon. I have an employee who is loved by my clients and groomers, enjoys her job very much, always shows up on time and is flexible about her schedule. She is a receptionist/groomer assistant. She has more contact with the clients than I do. The problem is, she is not very good at her job. She needs direction constantly, she “forgets” to do the things that she is told, and she has a hard time communicating the prices and pick up times to the clients with any degree of confidence. I have looked into possible training programs for her but my small business does not really have the resources to pay for that. I am having a hard time firing her but she is costing my business money.


Sandy W.

Oh Sandy, this is always a tough situation. As an owner, every decision you face has an impact on each person who makes their living from your small business. Sometimes your job as the owner is to determine the needs of the many over the needs of one. Here is my suggestion:

Have a meeting with the employee. In this meeting, ask the employee for a list of 3 reasonable things that you could provide to help them be more productive and confident. In turn, ask them for a list of 3 things that they could do. Give them 30 days to utilize these 6 things. By the end of that time period you should have a clearer direction for this person’s role, or not, in your business. You may not want to tell the employee about the 30 days. This may feel like a threat and rather than being effective it may make things worse.

Examples of things you could provide; a clutter free workspace, a certain lunch break time, weekly meetings to discuss successes and challenges of the week, incentives for add-on services sold.

Examples of things the employee could provide; self-affirmations in the mirror every morning before work, a daily task list, scripts to practice the sale of add on services, maintain a well-organized workspace.

Always be sure to document these discussions and your procedures in handling the issues and always know your state’s laws for firing an employee. This 30 day plan gives you the time to look for a replacement.

If, after the 30 days, they revert back to old behaviors you will have to decide if you will continue to employ them. If they successfully maintain better job performance you can repeat this 30 day improvement process.

Firing someone is never easy. Keep in mind that this person is not thriving in your environment. It may very well be that they need a new one to truly enjoy themselves. Take care. ✂

I am a multi-Best-In-Show and Best-All-Around groomer. I am the recipient of many Barkleigh Honors Awards. I am a Silver and Gold medalist for GroomTeam USA. I am the winner of Show Dog Groomer of the Year. I am an educator for andis Clipper Company. I have been teaching as The Grooming Tutor since 2000. And I groom to make a living, just like you. Please send questions to [email protected]

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