By Kathy Hosler
“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you won’t do anything with it,” says M. Scott Peck the author of The Road Less Traveled.
You may not realize it, but time is one of the most important tools that you have. Are you using it wisely? Are your days in the grooming salon productive and do they flow smoothly – or are they stress-filled with you frantically looking for your favorite brush, being stuck on the telephone with a long-winded client, or dealing with an important piece of equipment that breaks down? Is every day one of ‘those’ days, where no matter how hard you try, you never really feel like you are in control—and it always seems that you are playing ‘catch up’? Learning how to manage your time effectively can really boost your productivity and make a tremendous difference in your grooming career—and in your life.
First things first
Make time work for you. Get organized. You know what tools and products you use on a daily basis. Keep them neatly arranged and within your reach at your grooming station. Check your supply of shampoo and styling products, and make sure that everything is ready to go at the start of each day.
Pre-book grooming appointments. This will help you control your schedule and plan your days in advance. The pets will arrive in better shape and it will be less work for you to keep them looking good. Also, when clients are pre-booked, you don’t have to spend precious time on the phone scheduling them.
Screen your telephone calls when you are working. Let any calls that are not essential go to your voice mail. That will keep you from being interrupted by sales calls and the like, and you can return calls when it is convenient for you.
Keep good records. Whether you work alone or with others, every pet’s chart should contain a complete description of its grooming instructions—insuring that you can duplicate the groom at each appointment.
Always document everything – from moles and lumps, to medical conditions, and owner requests. Having all of the pet’s information at your fingertips will save you lots of time and aggravation.
Assess your client list. How many clients do you have that may actually be costing you time and money? You know the ones – they take up far more than their share of your time, or repeatedly cancel appointments, or simply don’t show up for their appointments. Then, they always have some lame excuse for why they missed their appointment and expect you to re-schedule them right away. You don’t need clients that have no respect for you or your time.
Time is money!
Yes, it really is. If you save just ten or fifteen minutes on each pet you groom, you can choose to either finish your day earlier—or to be able to groom an extra pet or two. Another way to increase your revenue without working longer hours is to do retail sales or offer add-on services like spa treatments.
Invest in quality equipment
Using high-velocity dryers, clipper-vacuum systems, and bathing systems will help you speed through your grooming. Restraint systems like the Groomers Helper save you time and help ensure groomer and pet safety. Hydraulic and electric grooming tables and bathtubs adjust for groomer comfort and make it easier to handle pets of all sizes. In case you have a breakdown, having backup equipment ready to use will keep you from losing valuable work time. And, using time-saving products when you are drying or styling pets should be on the top of your list. But, how do today’s groomers find the new products and equipment that will work best for them?
Never stop learning
The more you know, the more wisely you can use your time. Going to trade shows is one of the best ways to learn about all the new products and equipment and their proper usage. Attend seminars to keep up with the latest trends and to learn new skills. Watching (and entering) grooming competitions will help you hone your skills and take your grooming to a higher level.
Take online courses and webinars. Join groomer’s online groups or get together with groomers from your local area. Networking with other groomers is a great way to pick up new tips and tricks to increase your grooming speed and quality.
The big payoff – Time For Yourself!
What happens when you learn how to make the most efficient use of your time? You actually have time for yourself. Maybe it’s a quiet half hour in the morning to meditate, taking a yoga class, going to a movie after work, or going on a retreat. Or maybe you would like to try your hand at something really exciting, like learning all about colors and becoming a creative grooming genius, or even writing a best-selling book all about your adventures as a pet stylist. The choice can be yours. Value yourself. Value your time. Tick, tick, tick …