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“Why does my dog’s appointment take so long?”

17 Mar

I just had a customer show up 1 1/2 hours before he said he was going to and call me a liar because his two full coated shih tzus weren’t ready yet. So i’m a bit raw from that. Without further ado, here are some reasons why your dog’s appointment might take longer than expected.

* Your appointment is the last one on a busy day. When you schedule in the last available slot, you have to hope that none of the below circumstances happen with the 12 clients before you. Your best bet is to always choose the earliest appointment and show up a few minutes early so yours is the first dog in.

* Yours or Another dog (or two, or three) is a Nervous Pee-er, or has an undiagnosed UTI. Why does this matter? Cause if a dog decides to pee all over themselves once they’ve been bathed, they must be rebathed and dried. If they’ve already been GROOMED, they’ll need to be rebathed, dried, and possible re groomed, as their hair will lay in a slightly different way now and may require reshaping. If this dog is small and was in a top kennel, their urine may drip down onto the dog below them, meaning BOTH will require a rebathe and dry. The kennel bottom will also need to be removed, washed, sterilized and dried.

* Yours or another dog (or two or three) had a Big Guilt Breakfast and now cant stop pooping. All of the above points apply, except while a small pee can be rinsed off of feet and redried in 15 minutes, a fountain of diarrhea requires a new complete bath, the entire kennel sterilized, and a blow dry.

* Yours or another dog (or two or three)is afraid of the dryer. Why does this matter? A proper groom requires a properly dried dog. If a dog is so stressed out by the blow dryer that the most humane thing to do is to use a kennel dryer, the drying time will be doubled or quadrupled, depending on their amount of coat. The groom will also take longer, as a crinkly, curly coat will take forever to get smooth and look even.

* Yours or another dog (or two or three) is matted and MUST BE BRUSHED OUT. Now, any professional groomer knows when a coat is too far gone to humanely save. But if your stylist has 5 shih tzus with tangled ears and tails ahead of your dog, that’s an additional 15 minutes PER DOG, which means being 2 hours and 15 minutes behind in their day by the time they get to your dog.

* The groomer left a Voicemail and you didn’t receive it. Let’s face it, most of us are terrible at checking our voicemail. In this world of text messaging, fewer and fewer people check their voicemail. After all, if it were that important, they would text, right? Except when we are calling from a landline. I would estimate at least 3-5 clients PER DAY call me to to say “I missed a call 45 minutes ago, is my dog ready yet??? It’s been over 3 hours!”
They never check their voicemail. They rarely consider the time the voicemail was left (which is why I usually conclude my voicemails with “the time is now 12:01”). All they consider is the time they arrive to pick up. And suddenly, it’s “that groomer had my dog from 9am til 2:05pm!”. Actually, we left a message at 12:01, when your dog was ready for pick up. Just because you didt check your phone til almost 1 and didnt pick up your pet til after 2 doesn’t mean we were cruelly holding your pet ransom. We tried to call. You missed our call. If we have time, we’ll try to call again, otherwise we’ll just assume youre too busy to pick up.

I have more but i have this clinging to me and crying.

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Youtube?

1 Feb

You know what I’d really like to do? Get on Youtube. Do A Day in the Lifeof a groomer. No, not filming the challenging dogs, nobody likes that negativity. Filming “puppy’s first groom”, a step by step guide to what this consists of and how the pet owner can practice at home. Explaining how to properly line brush a dog. Showing off cool tools and products and techniques. Maybe showing time saving tips for creativity in the salon. Accessories, spa specialty services, How to make a Matted Shave Down Stylish, that sort of thing.

I dunno, i’ve been playing with the idea for well over a year. First i’ll need a newer camera, my current one requires a Firewire port, which my computer doesnt have.

Hmm. On days when i only have 3 or 4 dogs, this would be awesome.

The Satisfaction of Hard Work

31 Jan

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Today was the perfect Saturday! I interviewed and hired a new assistant (^ that’s her dog up there!) And we had my FAVORITE busy day. The day when the Chihuahua pack visit!

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2 get haircuts, two are just baths, all are easy as pie with an AWESOME owner who is an incredible tipper and just makes me feel so appreciated! I always look forward to the day these dogs come, cause they are my Good Luck charms. Every time they come, we have an awesome, busy-but-easy day that is super profitable.

I have to admit, after almost a week of biking to work at 8:40am, answering all phones/setting appointments, doing all laundry, and all cleaning… I have reignited my passion for my shop. I am taking pride in all aspects of my business again, from the customer service and grooming itself (that never changes) to having a gorgeous, fully-stocked with towels, shiny, sweet-smelling shop every single day.

Just days ago, in the midst of my angst I felt inspired to post on this long-defunct blog, if only to have a place to vent. I was feeling burnt out, underpaid, overwhelmed, and just so “daily grind”. I was literally telling myself “just grit your teeth and survive the next 4 years of your lease”.

Today? I feel inspired, I feel excited, i feel proud of my little shop and the hard work i put into it. I have to underscore my pride I feel in my beautiful little shop and the love I feel for my customers, human and canine alike.

Guys, I feel like I can do this. Maybe this can be done, running this shop solo. Making money, covering my pups with gems and glitter and bandanas and bows, taking adorable themed photos, just making every groom a “spa experience” and going the full 9 yards.

I’m excited. I’m proud. I love what I do, I really do, and eventually I hope to feel confident in the admin portion of being a business owner (the licenses, the taxes, the fees, the finances, the miscellaneous irritations that pop up like a zit on prom night).

I’m 30 now. I have awesome Yelp and Facebook reviews, I have two incredible, gorgeous children, a supportive, committed boyfriend, and two parents that have never waivered in their love and support for us.

I am blessed and all I can do is stay humble, keep working hard, and pray that tomorrow is as wonderful as today.

Business Goals for 2016

30 Jan

Three weeks ago I sat down and wrote out my goals (business and career) for 2016. Filled with pride, I shared these goals with my family, and they sat in rapt wonder before bursting into applause, wiping tears from their eyes, and tossing me onto their shoulders amid a chorus of “For she’s a jolly good fellow!”.

Well, sort of. In real life, they were appropriately interested, gave some suggestions, and then I lost the paper filled with earnest goals.

BUT what I remembered from my list was to upgrade my random daily photos of completed grooms by creating a Photo Corner, with monthly themed backgrounds. Each monthly photo theme would tie in with that month’s themed Upgrade package (tooth brushing, specifically-scented shampoo and conditioner, fragrance) and the complementary bows and bandanas I include with every groom.

I’ve always loved doing special things around the fall and winter holidays, specifically, special shampoos and scents and photo upgrade packages. Now I want to do this every month. My shop is So Fetch! Salon, we are a small and intimate specialty salon that takes limited numbers of clients per day. This means we can offer additional services (skin and coat treatments, Individual Spa Sessions [pet owners have the option to stay and watch] and of course, creative grooming). My prices are a little bit higher than any other shop in the area, but we also are offering a complete Spa Experience.

But that’s the professional, brochure-style jargon. In truth? I do all of this stuff because I friggin’ LOVE all things adorable, specialty, and over the top.

And now I will share February’s theme and specialty upgrade.

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Our specialty Upgrade package

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Our photo area!

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Isnt it fun?? I’m having a blast!

Endorphins make you Happy

29 Jan

I rode into work bright eyed and bushy-tailed at 8:50am this morning. Here is another way I’ve been spoiled with an assistant: I NEVER opened my store, she would check in our 9am dogs and begin bathing, and I would arrive between 10-11 and begin blasting them out. The morning dogs went home within 2-3 hours, usually.

I groomed a beautiful Medium doodle this morning named Enzo, named for the dog in The Art of Racing in the Rain. If you haven’t read it, stop everything and go read it. Then read A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey. Then, when you’re all out of tears and kleenex, come tell me your favorite dog fiction. I friggin LOVE dog fiction. Obviously I’ve read Marley and Me, so be more original than that.

I am enjoying writing these evening musings. It’s kind of nice, now that I have no one except the dogs to talk to at work.

Here’s a doodle. Don’t judge his feet, usually I prefer to leave an almost bell-bottom foot, but his parents requested a very tight foot, as he is going home to Oregon to play in the snow and mud.

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There ain’t no Karma Fairy

28 Jan

Well, today was my assistant’s last day. I made sure to busy myself giving Bonzai a haircut as we said goodbye so I wouldn’t cry.

My dad left on Monday, I cried then too.

I’m thinking a lot about my shop and the future of it. I have someone lined up for interview and I have NOTHING but great feelings about her… but I just don’t know if I can afford her. I know that I want an assistant, because I simply cant do it all, never take an extra day off, etc. But at the same time, I know I need to man up and work alone if I have under 8 dogs a day.

Eff. There is SO MUCH involved in being a business owner, especially a SMALL business owner. I really wonder how any employer can afford to pay 50%, PLUS taxes, PLUS worker’s comp and Unemployment AND THEN all the overhead of rent, utilities, and product and still make a profit. In addition to those obvious fees, there are the hidden fees: like when clients pay with a credit card, I pay 2.75% per swipe, and they take the 2.75% from the PRICE+TAX+TIP. So if I charge $45 for a groom and the owner tips $5, they take 2.75% from $50. Of course, I give that entire $5 tip to my employee, but I really i collect $4.50. It might not sound like much,  but it friggin adds up.
LESSON NUMBER 352 OF GROOMING SALON OWNERSHIP: You pay money for tips that go to your employee. Then, of course, i pay taxes on the tips+salary when i do payroll. I finally understand why PetSmart didnt take card tips!

In addition to the 2.75% per swipe, I pay 11% of my total daily card sales to pay back the Square Capital loan I received last summer. Which was REALLY rough during the last months of 2015, til I got the genius idea to post a sign that says: “We ♡ when you pay with CASH! We will ALWAYS accept all major cards, but paying cash saves us from stinky processing fees!”

Since then, we went from 15% of clients paying cash to 50% of clients paying cash. It has made a huge difference in our bank account.

I laugh now when I’m on the FB Grooming groups and groomers post about how hard their jobs are and others respond with “OMG just OPEN YOUR OWN SHOP!!”

Like it’s just that easy. Like there’s this Karma Fairy that adds up all the “wrongs” that have been dealt you as an employee and translates them to sweet, sweet cash.

There ain’t no Karma Fairy.

Sorry, I hit publish before I was done.

Okay, so these are some of the things I have learned. Here’s something else:
https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/total-compensation?skn=#top

That’s a link that explains how much an employee actually costs you, as a business owner.

Im pretty much convinced that the 50% compensation method is impossible. I know people do it, but I dont have any idea how.

That’s all, I’m done now.

Been a long time, friends, and I need an ear

21 Jan

Let’s skip all of the niceties of easing back into writing again. I cant promise for a second that I’ll be regular at this once more. Rather, I seem to be starting yet another journey.

Remember when I began this blog and it was the journey of a corporate groomer gone rogue?

Now it is the story of a decently seasoned groomer who feels she is being served to the world rather rare and over-pounded.

You see, I have a second child now. I am in Vegas. I took ownership of a business rather than be demoted to Illegal Contractor (or fired) and I somehow managed to take care of myself, an employee, and my parents.

Barely. Squeaking by, but i did it. Ish.

But now my parents (my mom answered phones, scheduled appointments, and did lapsed client cold calls. She also paid all bills and kept us legal with permits and crap. my dad cleaned the shop and occasionally bathed) are moving away. My assistant, who I adored more than I can say (but couldnt afford to pay more than part time), gave notice. Next Thursday, with my assistant gone and my mom driving my dad.to their future home, I am flying SOLO.

Now, a lot has changed. I like having an assistant to bathe, dry, trim nails and do the bath dogs and the hard-to-handle dogs that slow me down.

Now i have to go it alone.

It’s back to PetSmart schedule for me. 3 dogs every 2 hours. I’d prefer to have them all arrive between 9-12 but i dont think i can get 9 dogs done by myself every day by 3. I dont use cage dryers. Dont believe in em. I want every dog force fluffed til it looks like a child rubbed a helium balloon all over it’s head.

I also have to do all the cleaning now. I HATE cleaning. It’s a huge part of running a successful shop, but if I had it my way, my job would be grooming, inventing adorably-themed monthly specials, creating cavity-inducing bandana/bow combinations, and providint excellent customer service to every client.

I dont wanna pay bills. I dont wanna file taxes. I dont wanna clean and sanitize  the shop with vinegar and go home smelling like a delicious sandwich dill. I just wanna order toys, create drawings, upload photos to facebook and instagram, build the BRAND… you know, the FUN part of owning a business.

Isnt there someone I can hire to clean shop, set appointments, and do admin??

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