By Khris Berry
If you are connected to the pet grooming industry, I challenge you to answer this question in one sentence: “My product is _______.”
Some of you may have actually turned the page after reading that opening sentence; the challenge to think about your product may have been too daunting. For the fearless reader/groomer/pet professional who is still reading this page, let’s explore how you completed your task above.
First, let’s look at how you approached this interactive article. Do you know what your product is? Let’s seek to define what you are selling to find some answers and clarity.
What is a product? Here is the definition of Product according to Webster’s Dictionary:
So, let’s connect the dots to determine how we go from this definition to pet grooming. By the definition above, a “product” is something produced—especially a commodity. It is also defined as something that is marketed or sold as a commodity (such as a service).
Statistically, pet ownership is on the rise, and with it, services to help new and old pet owners provide comfort and care are in high demand. This qualifies as a commodity—pet owners want the services which pet groomers can provide.
And that’s where things become more complicated. As pet service providers, the pet groomer reigns supreme in developing long–lasting, durable, frequent relationships with pet owners. In addition to maintaining pets’ coats for style and health, pet groomers wear many hats: dispensing nutrition advice, training tips or referrals, a first line of defense to send owners to veterinarians and mediating the occasional martial counseling session (when husband asks you to shave the wife’s dog), just to name a few.
As pet stylists, we spend time educating ourselves on the newest styles and trends. We spend our hours learning and we spend our dollars to ensure that we have the best equipment and that we know how to use it. We accumulate vast knowledge of the animal itself, from coat types to breed types. We learn to manage the behavior of the animals we service, as well as to navigate the behavior of their owners with ease. We learn to form lasting relationships with pets and people while doing all of these things.
I challenge you to find a good groomer that doesn’t have a permanent roadmap of the skin tags on their favorite client dog memorized; this alone embodies the heart and passion which groomers give to their clients every day, worldwide. And that is the commodity which we sell.
Let’s review our question: What is your product? To some groomers, it may be how many pets they complete in a workday. Other’s may be defined by the relationships they offer their clients. Yet another pet groomer may believe his or her product is the fine scissor finish or cute Yorkie headpiece that his/her clients rave about.
But stop and ponder for a moment —what if YOU are the product? What if YOU are the end result of your hard work? What are you actually selling to your clients that is a commodity?
What if the next time a client asks you to justify your pricing, you confidently answer that they are purchasing your commitment to the pet, the pet’s safety and wellbeing, the relationship you build with the owner, your competency using your grooming tools, your knowledge of all things dog or cat, your calm and soothing handling skills, and your professional demeanor—all while completing the tasks at hand.
Now, I will ask you to complete the sentence again:
“My product is ________.”
Hopefully you answered that YOU are the product that your clients are purchasing. Grooming cannot be defined by a singular skill set or event. Pet grooming is a collection of many talents, challenges and skills that come together. Be proud of what you are selling, and be proud that you are a pet groomer! ✂️