Do you live in a climate where you have seasonal changes in the weather patterns? For many groomers, the number of grooming appointments dips with the temperature. This can be a real problem if you rely on your grooming income to pay your bills!
How do you combat that problem? Encourage pre-booking.
It always amazes me how many clients have no idea what their pet needs in terms of coat care when the temperatures plummet.
Professional pet grooming is service driven. That means you must be a problem solver - even when your clients don't know they have a problem! Thus, you become not only the problem solver but also the educator!
Just prior to some of the coldest weather of the season in the northern hemisphere, we have one of our busiest seasons - the holidays. Take advantage of your good fortune.
Here are 6 of the most common problems associated with colder weather:
- Pet Hygiene: regular bathing is essential for pets that share our lives - and our homes.
- Regular Brushing: keeps the tangles away along with other benefits such as distributing oils through the coat and promoting circulation of the skin.
- Nails: they need to be trimmed and/or filed all winter.
- Feet: many breeds need the hair between the toes trimmed to keep them comfortable while outside.
- Coat Growth: it does slow down but trimming is still essential.
- Dryness & Static: both the skin and the coat can dry out - special shampoos and conditioners can combat the both dryness and static.
As you check out every pet, assume the client is going to rebook in 4 to 6 weeks.
Let them know that most pets benefit from regular grooming - even in the winter. It can be very helpful to have a marketing piece outlining the benefits of cold-weather grooming ready to hand out. Focus on the six items outlined above.
Always suggest the ideal time frame between appointments based on their dog's coat type. Let them know you've saved a particular date just for them. If you know the client well enough, you're going to know what they prefer for an appointment time. Offer that time to them.
If your clientele is price sensitive, try sweetening the deal. Offer a special winter incentive to book within 6 weeks of their last appointment date. $2-$5 off their normal grooming price is a common enticement to get them back on the grooming table.
Oops. You didn't ask your clients to re-book?! Now what?
If you didn't ask every one of your customers to rebook when they were in for their holiday appointment, don't despair. For many grooming businesses, it is a bit slow right after the holidays.
Take that down time to simply pick up the phone.
Systematically go through your appointments starting in the end of November and work your way to Dec 24th. Make a simple and friendly "courtesy call" to get their pet set up for their next appointment. Don't forget to include your special discount for booking within 6 weeks of their last appointment.
4 Typical Cold Weather Issues Associated with Grooming
- It's important to remember that coats and sweaters continually rub against a dog's fur, constantly causing friction against the hair. If the coat is fur is longer, this can lead to mats and tangles. It's best to remove doggie garments before they come inside. Remember, most of us don't wear our heavy coats indoors. The same should happen with our pets. If they need a little added warmth, most folks opt for an indoor sweater. They can do the same with their dog.
- For dogs that are very short coated or the coat is very thin, doggie garments for both outside and inside are great options. However, constant sweater wearing leads to doggie odor, dry skin, and lots of static. All problems that can be addressed with regular professional grooming.
- If the dog normally gets a haircut, many owners enjoy a slightly longer style in the winter. Many of these longer styles are still low maintenance and easy to care for - especially if the dog is going out into the snow for a romp.
- Some owners extend the time between haircuts. If their pet has the type of coat that could easily get out of control without regular brushing, you'll definitely want to encourage maintenance appointments between full haircuts. Maintenance appointments would include a bath using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, a full brush out, minor trimming around the eyes and feet, and sanitary areas. Nail trimming, ear cleaning, and fresh bows or bandanna are nice touches. Generally, these types are booked every 2 or three weeks and offered at a reduced rate.
Still slow? Plan for it. (Okay, maybe NEXT year plan for it...) But for now - bask in the glory of a little time to yourself! Use the time to dig into those shop projects you've been putting off. Shorten your workweek to 4 days or knock off a tiny bit early on select days. Or best yet - schedule your OWN vacation!