Nothing has been more prevalent in the minds of business owners and professionals than the economic shift caused by COVID-19.
From state–mandated shutdowns to federal aid, 2020 brought many hurdles to the grooming business world which most of us had neither imagined nor prepared for.
Here is a review of the struggles you faced as a professional and an update on the future forecast of the grooming industry.
Beginning in March 2020, many groomers worldwide found themselves in various stages of addressing the onset of the coronavirus siege. Some businesses and groomers were prepared with emergency savings funds, but even then, as the pandemic marched on and grooming businesses remained shuttered, those savings were bound to dwindle. For businesses who did not have emergency funds, the financial impact was felt more severely, more quickly. But let’s face it—all businesses struggled—no matter how well you prepared.
The COVID–19 pandemic required business professionals to review all facets of their financial structure, from working with landlords for rent relief and scrutinizing your lending institutions to examining your insurance policies closely. Desperate times called for desperate measures, and some grooming businesses opted to redefine their state mandates or operate outside of the boundaries, thus creating great chasms between groomers and their peers.
No one was prepared for a shutdown. But we all learned the value of planning for it in the future. Moving forward, savvy groomers should be paying closer attention to creating and maintaining an emergency fund.
Economic Stimulus & Aid
While “pandemic” became a household word, groomers were learning about stimulus checks as well as the benefit of being legally employed and collecting unemployment benefits. These monies were a lifesaver for many groomers—and their households who depend on their income.
For grooming businesses, grants and the emergency inception of the PPP funding by the SBA (Small Business Administration) were the hot topic. Many grooming businesses found safety and security in accepting grants as well as onboarding PPP funds to assist with keeping their businesses afloat. From navigating the application and/or forgiveness process for each to understanding the ongoing tax consequences, having a good accountant, CPA or small business tax professional became a much needed lifeline for most of us.
These forms of business relief arrived (for those who qualified or applied) and allowed many small business professionals to have the working capital they needed to reopen or resume business under new limited protocols. The value the grooming industry learned regarding understanding your own business’s financial structure, maintaining good records and value of good credit standing will mark successful grooming business owners for many years to come. In short, if you learned to navigate 2020 financially, you will most likely be prepared to navigate financial hurdles for a lifetime.
When the grooming world began to emerge post–shutdown, many salons and grooming businesses had a new look and feel. From social distancing to enhanced cleaning and safety protocols, the grooming industry raced to prove to the rest of the world that we could operate safely and provide much needed services to our clients. For some groomers, this meant learning how to do a contactless drop–off. For others, this meant learning how to remain socially distant from co–workers as well as clients while you conducted your day–to–day processes.
Most clients acquiesced to new standards and protocols. Many began to understand that they no longer had the luxury of arriving late for an appointment. From the way groomers dialogued with clients to the way we handled check–in and check–out services, grooming services took on an entirely new look and feel. Many learned that some of the amenities we previously offered clients were not a priority (it was almost a relief to learn that we could groom dogs and stay socially distant from clients.) And, the grooming industry innovated; from online check–ins to restructuring our appointment offerings and schedules, groomers were in a new position.
One thing remained constant before, during and as we are looking toward the end of a global pandemic. That singular truth is that groomers are necessary to the care and keeping of the pets of the world. While many pet owners learned they could actually bathe their dog at home, just as many also learned that the task is difficult, tedious and not always fun.
Beyond the discussions of essential versus non–essential, there is a far larger dialog about the necessity of professional pet grooming for the ongoing wellbeing of the pets we provide services for. Many pet owners began to understand for the first time what a world without regular grooming looked like for their beloved furry family member.
With the realization that professional pet groomers provide such a valuable service, pet owners are poised to see their pet groomers in a new way. As pet professionals begin to determine which of their 2020–imposed protocols will become regular, ongoing practices moving forward, now is a perfect time to educate your clients about your services, what you are doing and how you are doing it, and step into the role of necessary professional.
If your pricing structure has been out of balance, now would be a great time to align your prices. If your clients have been taking advantage of your kindness, now would be a perfect opportunity to ensure that you are charging for your time and expertise. Any of the issues you face on a regular basis can be solved with better policies, structure or planning. Now is the time to tackle those issues, rebuild and refocus.
Most people agree that the world will not be returning to its former self for quite a while. In the meantime, groomers have been dealt the best of both worlds—new and old. Clients are valuing professional grooming services greatly since they endured being separated from our services for a period, and groomers are being forced to manage their services in new ways to ensure public safety. This reset may just be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to reposition your grooming business on the path toward success. ✂️