By Jeff Andrews
To be successful in this business doesn’t just depend on your knowledge of grooming or the equipment you use. It can also depend on some very basic goals that you accomplish every day. They are simple goals, such as making money, customer perspective, and safety. These three little goals pass through our minds, but we never really think about how much they impact us every day we work.
We all know making money is one reason we get into this business in the first place, but how we make money is important. You make money several different ways, like by saving money. Trying to get the best deals on products you use, like soaps, conditioners, and the products your shop runs on every day is essential. Care for your equipment and do some repair work yourself as opposed to paying someone else to fix things for you.
Compulsive spending is the biggest thing you have to watch. Do you really need that pair of shears everyone is talking about? If you can curb compulsive spending, you will see a huge increase in your net income.
Watch your utilities. Are you running dryers longer than needed? Air conditioning set too low? The little things add up at the end of the month.
This is the most important of the three goals. It can actually make or break you in this business. Customer perspective contains three parts as well. Your customer has to have a good perspective of your work, your shop, and most importantly you! You can be the best groomer in the world and not be successful. Customer perspective of your work doesn’t include how perfect the groom was, but does ask if you did what the customer wanted.
Sometimes you have to leave to the side your idea of how a groom should be and do exactly what the customer wants you to do. Making your customer happy is the ultimate goal, even if the groom isn’t what you prefer. If it made your customer happy, they will be back.
Customer perspective of your shop is also important because they are leaving their “child” with you. Is your shop clean and uncluttered? Can a customer sense danger in your shop? Does your shop smell clean or can you smell the cages in the parking lot? A good shop can bring customers back just for that reason alone.
Finally, your customer’s perspective of YOU! Do you treat the pets as if they were your own? Are you a pleasant-natured person, or do you easily let things get to you? Do you carry an attitude all day if something happened or something is bothering you? If a customer senses animosity in any form toward them or their pet, they may take it personally and never come back. A good example of displaying animosity in the shop is when a customer comes early to pick up their pet and their pet isn’t done yet. It’s very easy to make that person feel bad for coming early, and you may not even realize you’re doing it. One time can change that customer’s perspective of you forever. Try to be happy; it can be profitable for you.
When we think of safety, we think since no one got bit and no one got hurt, it’s good. That’s not all. We have to go further and think of other things like controlling unsafe acts and near misses. A grooming shop is a haven for near misses and unsafe acts, because it’s the most aggressive form of hair care in the world. Our clientele just doesn’t come in and sit down. Sometimes we have to wrangle with them just to get them into the tub and washed. If you really think about it, there are things you do every day that can actually injure you with no real fault of your own.
Near misses are accidents that almost happened but didn’t, and most of these can be prevented from turning into a real accident that could injure you. A good one that comes to mind is when you’re getting a wet dog out of the tub and your feet slip a little as you’re trying to get to the drying area. You didn’t slip and fall with the dog and hurt either of you, but the potential was there for some serious injury. To prevent the near miss situation, have the floor dry or put some sort of non-slip media on the floor to prevent slipping. Just think about the near misses you’ve had in your shop and what you can do to prevent them.
An unsafe act is something you do that you know you shouldn’t, but you still do it anyway for some reason. We have all done stupid things that we shouldn’t have done and got away with it, but remember this: Mr. Murphy (Murphy’s Law) walks back and forth in front of our grooming shop every day. We don’t want him knocking on the door. Please, don’t be unsafe by cutting corners, not following directions, etc. It’s not worth it in the long run. You are in control of 90% of what happens in your shop. Use that control to be safe, and you and your clients go home every night uninjured.
Jeff Andrews is a world class sharpener and owner of Northern Tails Sharpening, Inc. He is an author and pioneer of many equipment maintenance videos and how-to articles that are appreciated by groomers worldwide at no cost. Jeff is a member of NDGAA, IPG, and NAPCG, and still grooms at his shop in Mobile, AL. 251-232-5353 www.northerntails.com