Groomers are artists; amazing artists. But running a grooming business takes so much more than being just an artist. As a small, medium or large business owner, how much time do you and your employees spend on everything but your craft? How much time do you spend booking, confirming and following up on appointments, taking phone calls, collecting customer payments and all the other essential but not fun administrative tasks?
Ask yourself this: If you could spend next to zero time on these tasks, would your business be more profitable?
In today’s environment, there are so many tools that salon owners and their groomers can utilize to work more efficiently…yet many do not. This article will explain how you can grow your business with four simple technology solutions to get you out of the day-to-day business monotony, make you more money and refocus your energy on the tasks you care about.
Are you using an off-the-shelf booking, client management or credit card system not specific to the grooming industry? Or maybe even pen and paper? If so, we get it. You are running your business the best way you know how.
But consider this thought: Would you use an old pair of kitchen scissors to shape a topknot? Sure, the kitchen scissors may work; but are they going to give you the same results that using a pair of freshly sharpened curved shears would give you? Definitely not likely!
To be fair and offer a realistic analogy, the same goes for using any sort of software system that is not designed specifically for the grooming industry. It may work, but not in a way that will get the job done faster, better and smarter.
So, if you don’t use kitchen scissors, why would you use a non-specialty software product? You probably wouldn’t if you knew the true benefits that industry-specific software has to offer, just like you know the difference between kitchen scissors and that pair of shears you splurged on at Groom Expo. The right industry-specific software with features like online reservations, automated appointment reminders/confirmations and text-to-pay can help you work smarter, not harder.
1. Online Reservations. I know what some of you are thinking; “Customers scheduling their own appointments is something I’ve had actual nightmares about, NO THANKS!” But online booking technology has grown so much in the past few years, and with all the different customizations and safeguard options available, there is no reason you cannot have the schedule you want without the hassle of doing the scheduling yourself.
Set up your software to require your approval before an appointment is added to your schedule. This way you still get the final say, but spend just five minutes a day approving your clients’ booking requests vs spending hours doing it all manually. Wouldn’t you love to cut down on time spent flipping through the calendar, looking for open appointments when you could be grooming?
If you could increase your retail/add-on service sales by up to 80%, would that money help your business? When a customer calls in to make an appointment, you probably don’t have time to explain all the different extra services and upsells your salon offers; or, in many cases, your front desk staff may simply not be comfortable trying to sell other services or items. With online reservations, most software does this for you. Ten-dollar teeth brushing? Twenty-dollar luxury spa package? Five-dollar nail grinding? Those numbers add up fast!
Do you know what else adds up fast? The amount of time and money lost on no-shows. Online reservations give you the option to charge a deposit at the time of booking, which has been proven to drastically reduce the rate of no-shows and keep your customers accountable. Most online booking systems also come with a customer-facing portal, speeding up the new customer intake process and allowing existing customers to see their appointment history, upload vaccination records and more.
2. Automated text messages. Hang up the phone and say goodbye to reminder calls. By using software with integrated text messaging, you can send out automated appointment reminders without lifting a finger. Text messaging offers more flexibility than a traditional phone call because it allows customers to respond quickly and in situations where they may not be able to talk on the phone. In most software, customers can conveniently reply “YES” to automatic reminder texts and their appointment will be marked as confirmed in your software system.
With automated text messages and online reservations, you can easily reduce your administrative work by hours each day. We all love the convenience of getting these texts from our doctors, dentists and hairdressers, so why not offer this same great experience to your clients, while also saving you time?
3. Integrated credit card processing. Integrated credit card processing allows you to keep track of your payments and finances in one place, making it easy to stay organized. By using integrated payments, you can save an average of 60 minutes of staff time per day (30 appointments x 2 minutes = 60 minutes SAVED!). Additionally, you’ll be able to improve the client experience, prevent the chance of manual entry errors and stop wasting time comparing invoices with your batch reports, trying to track down that missing five dollars.
4. Text-to-pay. With text-to-pay, it’s easy to streamline your checkout process. Not only will you save staff time, but you’ll get your clients in and out of your facility much faster. One of the many benefits of using text-to-pay is that it’s a secure way to send invoices and receive payments via text message. All transactions are encrypted so you can be sure that your customers’ information is safe and sound. And because it’s so convenient, text-to-pay is perfect for busy pet groomers who are always on the go.
Imagine being able to go into your software, check a box that shows your groom is done, and a text goes out to your client letting them know the pet is ready for pick-up with a link to pay their invoice and the option to add a tip. The client can then simply walk into your facility, grab their pet with zero paperwork or payments to complete, and you can both get back to your days.
Many grooming software providers also allow you to securely store customer credit card information in the form of encrypted tokens. Keeping customer payment information not only speeds up the check-out process, but also protects your business by ensuring you are compensated for no-shows and last-minute cancellations (this is especially helpful during the holiday season).
The bottom line is this: We all want to work hard and make money, but most of us got started in the pet care industry for the pets, not for the bookkeeping and administrative chores. But with today’s innovative software and technology, you can automate so many of the tasks that interrupt your workflow and consume the valuable time you could spend doing what you love.
Technology is constantly improving, so shop around, ask for demos and make sure whatever system you are using to manage your business is the right fit for your unique needs.
Remember, working smarter, not harder will save you time and money. Leverage what is out there today and get back to doing what you love! ✂️