By Deborah Hansen
When we think of retail and add–on services, we want to focus on the daily frustrations and struggles of cat owners. The number one concern these owners share is cat hair on the floor, furniture and clothes.
This is closely followed by frustrations with nail issues and fecal matter in places other than the litter box. Add–on services and retail items that focus on these problems are hot sellers.
Owners get frustrated when the cat hair is all over the home, or is ingested and regurgitated as a fur ball. As groomers, there are a few things we can do to help the cat owner overcome these frustrations between grooming appointments. Offering extra services, such as a suction deshed, will remove more dead coat than we are able to comb or blow out of the living coat at the grooming appointment.
A deshed service will also keep cat hair off surfaces in the owner’s home longer than a bath and brush alone. Many clients not only appreciate this service, but have come to expect an extra deshed option. In my grooming business, I offer a suction deshed as an add–on item at about 20% of the price as my basic bath and brush service.
Retail products that address the shedding issue will also increase your bottom line. I offer a medium comb with gel handle and a fine comb with gel handle in my retail section. These two products will be appropriate for the brushing needs of every feline client. I stock 90% medium combs and 10% fine combs as most clients need a medium comb to maintain their feline between grooming appointments.
I like combs with handles for several reasons. First, they are easier for owners to hold. More importantly, if the cat goes to bite, the owner’s hand is farther away from the cat. A biting cat will usually make contact with the comb instead of the owner’s hand, making it a safer option for the owner.
Once an owner purchases a comb, I show them how to use the comb, and give them basic brushing guidelines. Then, at each visit, I ask how the at–home grooming is going and give a tip to help the cat owner fine tune their skills.
The next struggle for cat owners is the claws. Nail clippers are an easy retail item to stock and move. Many owners will purchase nail clippers, then become frustrated at learning how to use them. A different approach to nail care that many cat groomers have had success with are walk–in nail clinics and/or prepaid nail packages. While owners struggle to successfully trim their own cat’s nails, most are happy to pay for someone else to control the nail growth on their feline.
If your business can establish a method that works easily into the daily operations, nail trims can be an easy source of extra revenue. Some businesses like to offer nail trims as a walk–in service, while others like to offer nail trims as an afterhours clinic. Offering a prepaid package for nail trims makes life easier for the cat owner and invites more cat owners to use your nail trim services.
Nail caps are another favorite add–on and retail item for cat groomers. Stocking seasonal colors makes nail caps a must–have for many feline families. Your business can take one of two approaches to nail caps: First, you can sell nail caps in your retail section, then apply them for an additional charge during grooming, or as a walk–in service. Second, you can make nail caps a grooming service, purchasing them in bulk, and applying the nail caps in your grooming department. I have approached nail caps both ways.
My preferred way is to sell the complete nail cap package to owners. If the cat owner desires, I will apply the nail caps as an add–on grooming service. This way, the owner has a full tube of glue and extra nail caps to take home and reapply if the cat pulls off one or more of the nail caps. When cat owners see a missing nail cap, they tend to panic and then they remember the extra glue and nail caps they brought home with them. At that point, the owner can choose to reapply the nail cap(s), call you to reapply or wait until their next grooming session.
The third area of client frustration is fecal matter—either on the cat or left in a random place around the home. A sani trim will help with this. I offer a sani trim at about 5% of my bath and brush price and most clients purchase this add–on service to solve their fecal matter issues. Getting a cat into a position to shave the sani area can be difficult to learn, but once mastered, can be a very profitable add–on service for your business.
Consumable Retail Items
While combs and nail clippers are good retail items to stock, they are not consumable, making them a one–time purchase for your clients. Inexpensive toys are a great consumable retail product. Some clients like having a seasonal cat toy item to purchase. If you can source low cost cat toys that can be sold for a few dollars, they tend to be a big hit at check–out.
In the past, I have had a local contact sew two–inch seasonal fabric into two–sided squares stuffed with cotton and cat nip. Pricing them at a few dollars and carrying them in several fabrics make them an extremely popular product. Many owners also purchase one for the cat siblings that did not get groomed that visit.
Depending on your ideal client, add–on services and retail items will vary slightly. Knowing what cat characteristics frustrate and annoy the cat owners you service will help you to establish the direction to focus your add–on and retail business. Once you know these struggles, it is simply a matter of fine–tuning until you find what benefits your business the best. ✂️