Hello BIGA website readers. I'm Sally. I'm a long established professional pet groomer. Wth lots of experience. And, apparently, a lot of opinions. That's why BIGA asked me to take on the role of BIGA's resident Agony Aunt. It's a privilege. I relish the opportunity to share with you my wisdom and knowledge. So, come on, send me your questions and worries and daily thoughts and let me deliver a solution to your situation. I can't guarantee I'll always get it right. But I can guarantee I'll always have an opinion.
Oh, and by the way, BIGA asked me to make sure I included the Disclaimer that anything I write in this column is not official BIGA policy. It's just my opinion. Otherwise the legal eagles all get into a flap, you know how it is.
I will be reopening after lock down but need to raise my prices. I am nervous though that my customers will complain and I may lose them .
1. Do I contact my customers before they come in and advise them?
2.Do I put up a sign so they see it when the come in ?
3.Do I just tell them when they come to pay ?
4.Do I say nothing ?
This is easy to answer. Do I, 2 and 3, as this means they have been advised at all opportunities and you should have no complaints . The customer has been given the choice to not have the dog groomed if they are unhappy with the price.
Don’t apologise for the increase either, just advise your customers confidently .
I would like to learn to groom professionally , but not sure where to start . I see courses online offering a diploma costing £20 and then courses for over £3,000 which seems slot of money to learn to groom a dog . Not sure where do I start ?
I have seen so much information on going back to work , or not going back to work , how do I make a decision as to whether I should open my salon now or not ?
Only you can make the decision on when to go back to work and of course following government guidelines . My only advice would be to stay off social media whatever your decision . .Facebook can be cruel and judgmental !!
I keep getting texts and calls at all hours of the day and night , asking me to groom customers dogs .They are telling me they are desperate. I don’t know how to handle the calls and they are stressing me .
Put a message on your phone asking your customers to leave name and number and you will call them when you plan returning back to work .
Those that text, respond with the same message. Either ignore or turn off your phone in the evening. You don’t need to answer or reply to enquires between 5 pm and 9 am .
Take control of your customers instead of them trying to control you
I am a new groomer and I am having trouble rebooking in dogs . The customers say how nice their dogs are when I give them back , but then I never hear from a lot of them when the dogs should be re groomed . If they call to rebook they expect it done immediately . The result is I am only ever booked a week of so in advance.
What can I do ?
Are you asking the customers to rebook when you give the dogs back ? You need to assume they want another appointment .When they tell you how happy they are with the groom , tell them their dog needs to come back in 6, 8 or what ever time frame required, pick up the diary and offer them a choice of 2 dates and time . If you only offer one day it gives the customer a chance to say no . If you give a choice of days they are far more likely to say yes. Make sure your customer details are current and tell them you will send a reminder the day before , this will help minimise now shows’. As the old saying goes , ‘assume the sale ‘ , in other words assume the customer will rebook and they usually will . If they don’t rebook at the last groom call them a week before the dog needs doing and ask when , not if they would like to book in . Be brave !!! Unless the dog has been rehomed or passed away someone will need to groom it , that some one should be you !!
I am struggling to tell my customers I need to increase my grooming prices and charge more if they are matted .
Do you have any suggestions .
When you give the dog back after grooming it and take the money tell them it will be increasing when they next come in , face to face is always best . I think we struggle as an industry to charge what we are worth and spend too much time apologising for it . When you take your car in for servicing the garage doesn’t hesitate to charge you the going rate and they dont tell you the price has increased either . Try not to become too friendly with your customers and it is much easier to charge them correctly . Remember we are a business not a charity .
I am quite often asked to groom pregnant dogs , should I agree to do this or not .
I would recommend you check your insurance policy to see if you are covered for pregnant dogs . Most wont cover you if the bitch miscarriage or absorbed the puppies after a groom . My recommendation is no . Better to be safe than sorry .
Christmas is coming and everyone wants their dogs booked the last week before Christmas . How do I manage to keep all my customers happy?
This is a problem we have every year . You need to start booking your Christmas dogs in September . Unfortunately you will not be able to keep everyone happy . Book your best and most regular customers first Pick those dogs that financially give you a good return and are easy to handle. Customers that are reliable with drop off and collection too are very important . I also recommend you collect deposits from any one who is unreliable. You cannot afford to have “ no shows “ at any time , but especially December .
I have been grooming 20 years and run a very successful busy salon . I have never taken a grooming exam as they are expensive . If licensing come in for groomers and they are required to have a qualification why should I have to have one with all my experience ?
This is an easy one to answer . If you are very experienced as you say, take a recognised qualification , it should be very easy for you to achieve . Your business is already successful and qualifications will only boost your professional image and i guarantee you will also learn new processes to implement to help you improve your business even more.
I have finished an online grooming course and I am struggling to get a job as a groomer , no-one wants to hire me . I had distinctions on my course and have a diploma to say I passed it . Can you advise me please ?
Firstly well done on completing and passing your online grooming course . Unfortunately in order to continue with a grooming career you will need hands on training with dogs . Grooming is a practical skill and no matter how much theory you have learnt, it does not equip you for the physical dexterity and skills that can only be acquired with hands on practice .
I recommend you contact a reputable grooming school and enroll in a course to gain these skills . Busy professional groomers won’t entertain hiring you until you have hands on (dogs ) experience , sadly your online Diploma is of no value in the real grooming world .