Technology: Friend (Not Foe) | Groomer to Groomer

Derm Connection

Technology: Friend (Not Foe)

How long does it take you to groom a Great Pyrenees that you only see every six months? What is your shampoo cost per bath? How much electricity are you using each time you dry a standard Poodle? If you don’t know these figures, how do you know what to charge? 

Now, imagine if you could have all of this information, almost instantly, at the tap of a button. Unfortunately, the grooming industry as a whole does not rely on technology or appreciate what it can really do for us. As the industry significantly evolves, many companies are developing programs geared specifically to the industry to aid in our efficiency.

Large companies often rely on technology to increase profitability—especially in the hugely competitive market that we live in. As a business, we can change our profit quickly and significantly by improving things ever so slightly. For example, I hear people say that they only use 1 to 2 oz of shampoo for their bathing process, which they feel is extremely efficient. Now, let’s break that down: 1 to 2 oz is 30 to 60 ml of product. What if I told you that you could do the same bath with 5 ml? That is 83-91% savings! Multiply that savings by what you spend on your products and that all goes to your profit at the end of the year. 

The common response is, “I could never get my bathers to do that.” However, this is where technology could really help. Consider this scenario: As you buy products, you enter them into your computer, and then as you do baths, you input the amount of shampoo you use. By supplying the system with this data, the computer can now tell you when your bather is not tending to business. You can then hold them accountable with facts, not just feelings. This type of technology is very common in many industries like the bar industry and has added a significant amount to their bottom line.

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How about if we kept track of things such as how long a dog stays with us during the day? How long it takes to check out? Or, even better, how long it takes to actually groom a certain dog? I always joked in the veterinary field that there are two separate timetables; the length of time a doctor thinks it takes him to do a procedure (always way shorter than reality) and the technician’s account of the time it takes. Which timetable do we base the next appointment on? As we progress to hourly wages vs commission, wouldn’t it be great for the employer as well as the employee to know exactly what is generated on an hourly or per-dog basis? It would also be very valuable in setting our fee schedule. 

I often hear of groomers not servicing poodles/doodles because “they take way too long.” What if we calculated how long it actually takes, determined your desired hourly wage and then set the price accordingly? The issue is not that they take too long, but rather that they are not charging appropriately. Even that Great Pyrenees that comes in every six months shouldn’t bother you if you charge appropriately. Fifty dollars an hour for a Boxer or $50 an hour for a Great Pyrenees all pays equivalently. Computers can do that for us. 

A lot of grooming shops have computer systems that are great for scheduling and processing payments for the grooms; however, if that is all they are capable of, there is still some shopping around to do, because there are much more multifaceted systems out there.

Is there a learning curve to using them? Absolutely! Anytime you take on something new you have to change your operating agenda. Do not be afraid to assimilate to these ideas—it is a positive change! Two things need to occur: First, you must go through the process of learning a new way of conducting business. And second, you have to create accountability for everyone to follow through. Always expect resistance because it is a change and, unfortunately, people do not like change. My motto in my hospital was, “The only thing consistent here is change and we hope that it is all for the better.” 

Business is changing constantly, and if you are not changing with it, you will eventually be left in the dust by your competitors. Therefore, utilizing technology is a must to survive in this ever-changing business environment. In the veterinarian world, small clinics are being sucked up by Corporate America because it is more progressive and has learned to work on these small margins to increase profit. 

Do you know how much you or your employees generate per hour? Or what your profit is per dog? It may be time to consider incorporating a new computer system and even a business coach to help direct you. As a groomer, you work way too hard to not get paid for what you are worth. The time has come to work smarter not harder. Invest in technology, as it is a friend not a foe! ✂️

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Dr. Cliff Faver

Dr. Cliff Faver graduated with a BS in Biology/BA in Chemistry before getting a Veterinary degree in 1987. He is the past owner of Animal Health Services in Cave Creek, Arizona and now the US distributor for Iv San Bernard products, teaches the ISB Pet Aesthetician Certification program, and speaks internationally on hair and skin. His passion is to merge groomers and veterinarians to aid in helping and healing pets. He is also a member of AVMA, AAHA, AZVMA, Board member with Burbank Kennel Club, and has served on Novartis Lead Committee, Hill’s International Global Veterinary Board, and a Veterinary Management Group.

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