The Real Cost of Clean - Groomer to Groomer Magazine

Grooming Business Basics

The Real Cost of Clean

When you think of a pet service business, you probably imagine clients and pets coming and going, payment for services, and perhaps even happy employees providing those services. 

miling faces and wagging tails are the hallmarks that many people use to measure their pet service business success. But, there is another important cornerstone which can be an early indicator of success in the pet services industry: your cleanliness and sanitation. Let’s explore how these are tied to your success and the real costs of sanitation, as well as how to manage those costs within your business.

Smalltown is an example community right in the center of the United States. There are enough people to justify several fast food chains, a couple of super stores and even a mall for shopping. Each family has 2.4 children and 1.3 pets which allow for enough business for several grooming salons, vets and overnight boarding facilities to thrive. The groomers in Smalltown are busy, and have bustling salons with ringing phones and plenty of clients; yes, at least half of those clients are doodles. 

Marcy’s salon sits on the East end of Main Street and has four full–time groomers, all of which stay booked out several weeks and make a good wage. They show up each morning, skip lunch, work furiously to finish their clients’ pets and leave exhausted each night. Over time, the pace of business begins to show not only on their bodies and faces, but the luster of the salon wears off as well. Broken dryers accumulate as does dog hair on every surface. The ever–present “dander/dust/grey fog” settles on every surface—and the groomers vow to clean it at the end of the month. The average ticket price per dog at Marcy’s salon is $62 dollars per groom.


Meanwhile, on the North end of Main Street, Darcy’s salon has four full–time groomers who are all booked out as well. Darcy’s employees book a limited number of clients each day, make sure they stop working for lunch and leave at the end of their scheduled shifts. They are also responsible for cleaning and disinfecting not only their immediate work stations, but share in the responsibility of cleaning every area of the salon daily. The salon looks tidy each day and is tidied and cleaned again each evening. The average ticket price per dog at Darcy’s salon is $84 per groom. 

Let’s do the math…

Marcy’s Grooming: 4 groomers x 8 dogs each x $62 average ticket per dog = $1,984 total daily revenue 

Darcy’s Grooming: 4 groomers x 6 dogs each x $84 average ticket per dog = $2,016 total daily revenue 

That means that Darcy’s salon earns $32 more each day than Marcy’s salon. However, her groomers spend less time grooming dogs and some of their work time is spent on other endeavors such as cleaning. And that is the basic math behind cleaning.

Here is a list of pros to keeping a cleaner facility as well as speed bumps you may encounter along the way:

Pros of a Clean Salon:

  • Customers will identify a cleaner shop with better care for their pet.
  • Clean equals a more professional image.
  • Clean equates to safety; you can assess risk and reduce the transmission of infectious disease or illness to animals and humans by maintaining a cleaner work space.
  • Groomers take pride in spaces that are clean and professional.
  • You can use the additional time saved from grooming fewer dogs not only for cleaning, but for other important tasks such as record keeping and continuing education.

Pitfalls to the Clean Plan:

  • Groomers may want to leave once their last pet of the day is finished. Set a solid workday schedule and stick to it.
  • Manage the cleaning projects; know who is accountable for which area.
  • Don’t be tempted to fill the extra time with extra dogs; you are short–changing your business and your clients if you do.
  • Some people do not know what clean looks like, so be prepared to teach them your standard.

In short, most people are in favor of a cleaner salon. Clients, pets and employees all benefit from this necessary hallmark. Finding the time, desire or reason to maintain cleanliness is often the most difficult task of all. Clean salons know that cleanliness draws clients. Beware of becoming “blind” to your surroundings; sight, feel and smell all can attract or detract from a client’s experience. 

In the story above, Darcy’s grooming employees groom less pets yet could enjoy similar wages, but are spending their work day differently than Marcy’s grooming employees. Finding the cost of clean and how to balance it is a key to a great pet service business plan. ✂️

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