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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Northern Utah
    Posts
    10,598

    Default For you who groom "ONE DOG AT A TIME" I need your help...

    Ok, so I am going to start grooming in my home. I am going to significantly raise my prices. I will have mostly ALL NEW clients, as I am not legally allowed to take my clients from the animal hospital (no worries, the important ones will raise Cain and they'll make it over), so I get to start fresh. Hospital clients that follow me will experience a price increase but not as dramatically as new clients.

    Ok, so here is my question:

    HOW do you do it? My schedule now is ONE morning drop off time, and ONE noon drop off time. I am thinking of doing things differently at home to eliminate the morning "rush" and to offer a more personalized service for my higher prices.

    So, do you really get people just one at a time, in the middle of the work day? I am in a residential neighborhood, but I know Michelle Evans does it at home (top level grooming competitor for those who don't know her) but she's really busy and I don't want to bother her with my questions.

    What if they can't come pick up right away?

    What if they are running late?

    Basically, I'd like to know how you run it...

    Tammy in Utah
    Groomers Helper Affiliate

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin, United States
    Posts
    7,259

    Default

    For me, right now people are coming about every 1.5 to 2 hours for drop off and I give a 2.5 to 3 hour stay for most breeds that aren't just a strip down. Most dogs TAKE me from an hour to 2.5 hours start to finish, and I do overlap appts. with hand scissor or hand strip dogs, dogs that get a spa stay or massage, etc.- but do the smaller ones start to finish. That way they can relax, socialize, get their spa day, and I do not ever have to rush. For multiple dog households, they all come at once and I give about 2 hours per dog for a pickup time. I am working from 10am until anywhere from 5 to 9pm, 4 or 5 days a week. Doing from 3 to 7 dogs a day, a few more if there are some baths tossed in, a few less when time is needed for services, but then I charge more so there's no loss of profit for a slower day and I can still enjoy myself. People also LOVE the evening appt. times and I get to sleep in a little bit or have some quiet time for myself in the AM and most days still get finished early so I get family time in the evening, too. So far so very good.
    Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
    www.ChrisSertzel.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    3,225

    Wink

    If you admire the work,and set up of Michelle Evans, I would ask her for advice. All of us are busy with something or another,and a kind person will always give you a hand up.
    "Everyone needs something to beleive in..I beleive I need another Poodle"
    Quote:Cath

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Picayune, MS
    Posts
    579

    Default

    I advertise mostly as "one on one"...

    I schedule a little different. I usually take multi-pet families as first appointments when possible so I have a couple in at once to alternate. I book in one hour increments unless I need extra time (be sure to include a break or you WONT get one!). So if I have 2 pets at once, the next appointment is 2 hours later... I always tell owners to expect anywhere from 1-3 hours in case I need to answer calls (or work in a dog!). I encourage some owners to bring their pets early if they have errands to run too so I can give them a bath with some air time if needed to reduce stress, as long as they can pick up on time.

    I work on one pet until completion, but if the next appointment arrives before I'm finished I usually stop to check them in and bathe them if I'm not running too terribly behind on the previous appointment. That way that pet can finish drying (if not completely dry already) while I finish the first one.

    If you find your appointment is 15 minutes late, CALL! Find out where they are and if they will be in with time to squeeze them in... if they will be TOO late, reschedule or move their appointment to a lower slot. If you have to, explain that the pet will be in longer than usual because you now have to complete on time appointments. As a general rule you should have enough kennels in your salon to accommodate pets who are not picked up on time... but I would make a point to stress to the client that you are a one on one operation and you require on time pick up, and if they cannot pick up on time or make previous arrangement that there will be an extra fee to 'puppy sit'. You can explain they are using the space another paying clients needs to occupy and therefore will have to pay the price.

    Also, I tell my clients to NOT come back until I call them so I don't have them show unexpected when I'm in the middle of grooming and have the dog wound up.

    It takes a little time and practice to get your system down and I know it's a bit scary at first. I changed my schedule when I opened my salon too and made quite a few mistakes in the beginning. Luckily I learned from them and as I got to know my regulars it got easier and easier to book them properly. Now I'm able to get dogs in and out in less than 2 hours with time to mess around on the computer or take a break as needed and I'm rarely behind on my regulars. That gives me room to accommodate the dogs who are less than easy for the bath and dryer too... I still have those days where I get thrown off the loop, but you'll get used to your own rhythm over time!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Inland Empire
    Posts
    3,134

    Default

    I take dogs every hour on the hour. My clients know how I run my schedule and that it's one on one so if they are more than 15 minutes late I reschedule them unless there is no one in the slot after them. Not fair to make those on time wait cuz the customer before them was lollygagging. I have a pretty tight schedule so I can safely say that almost never happens because it's hard to reschedule! You may need to take some time to train your new clients and let them know. Have an informative policy sheet printed up as a handout perhaps?

    We have a small cage bank that houses 6 dogs. It's usually not a problem if the owner can't come IMMEDIATELY but if it takes them longer than an hour I call them again to remind them. It's also known that if they leave the dog for more than 3 hours past their groom time they get charged $xx for daycare. That's a pretty good incentive.

    And yes, I really do get people that come in all the time during a "normal" work day. Stay at home moms, retirees, college students, those with don't work a 9-5, those that take a weekday off...there are a TON of people who drop of in the middle of the day! I'm also open Tues-Sat to accomodate those that DO work a Mon-Fri 9-5.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Portland Oregon
    Posts
    253

    Default

    I don't have any problems getting them in the middle of the day. Some people don't work at all, or some have weekdays off work rather weekends. Also, many people these days work for companies, but do their work from home, so their days are pretty flexible. I am open 10 AM - 6 PM, and my appt. times are 10:00 AM, 1:30 PM, 4 PM. Usually the 10 AM slot (and sometimes 4 PM if needed) is used for families with 2 dogs (small/medium) coming together for haircuts, or for st. poodles, doodles etc. that take extra time. I ask that the dogs be picked up within 30 minutes of being finished, and very rarely have anyone that can't do that. Most people are just happy that they don't need to leave their dogs for many hours. Most dogs that I do all the time I know exactly how long it will take, and the owners just come back without me needing to call them. It all works without a hitch I'd say 98% of the time. I do have a bank of 3 kennels in the shop, but I just leaving the doors open for the dogs that like to hang out in the kennel while they wait. I also have a plastic kennel that I keep inside the house to use if needed when a dog hasn't been picked up in time (and they bark while kenneled in the shop... or I have a dog coming that doesn't do well around other dogs.)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    3,615

    Default

    I MOSTLY do drops off like you are now, but some days, I stagger them. Some days it can be a PITB having to stop what I'm doing to in-take a client (and my table is RIGHT in front of my desk/door) and it seems to slow me down, while other days, it's great and goes easy

    Just remembering from your other post, that you have no entrance to your basement, so you have to go upstairs to take in dogs? You are going to spend a lot of time running up and down the stairs if your taking in dogs every hour or so. Not to mention the clients are going to want to chit chat and it's going to make you feel rushed. But I think you could make it work without being to much of a hassle if you space them far enough apart that you can be sending one home and taking one in. That would cut your trips basically in half

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,174

    Default

    I am still in deciding mode to either get a commercial location or a home location. If the home location happens, it will be one family at a time. For example, 2 dogs at 8 am with pickup at 10:15am for the owner, 2nd set of say one dog at 10:30 with pickup at 11:45am. Next set at 12 with pickup at 1:15. Basically something along those lines is what I'll go with. I'll also be offering pick up and drop so those you can't pick up within reason.

    Honestly if they are running late say 1-15 minutes I would still take them. If longer than that I would call and reschedule or if I wouldn't be able to get the pet done in the time slot. Like, if its a Yorkie and it takes me 30-35 minutes I'll still take it as long as I still have time before the next because of the slot being for 75 minutes.

    The one thing I find very important is when you decide to advertise- Do not list your home address as you don't want people just showing up to look at the place.

    I'll be keeping enough existing clients that I might not need new clients for a while. Once the need for new clients comes I will only list an email address for contact information on any websites,etc. Just because I'd like to avoid the crazies on the phone and with email you can really weed them out by the way they talk and what they say . You can ask for photos to avoid surprises
    ("well that looks like a bearded collie and not a shih tzu like you said ma'am" ), reasons why they stopped using the last groomer. Say they start it with "My last groomer didn't know what she did and said my dog bites and told me I can't have any more appointments. " Or the famous "My groomer called my dog a Collie and I KNOW its a sheltie." Say's the lady with the 75lb "Sheltie" who's breeder lied. This way with photos you can price accordingly. Plus People just seem to tell you more by email!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,220

    Default

    Yes, I really schedule one at a time. For most dogs I give them a time to come back (usually asking for half an hour more than I think I'll need) but unless it's the end of the day, it doesn't matter if they come back after that time. When I'm done with their dog I just start the next one. If I'm not sure how long their dog is going to take, I tell them I'll call them about half an hour before I'm done.
    The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Saint Pete Beach, Florida, United States
    Posts
    1,034

    Default

    I schedule most grooms in one hour increments. More complicated ones get 1.5 or 2 hours depending, and sometimes those were booked at one hour on their first visit and oops...ran over, but somehow it all balances out. Anything that isn't one hour I mark it on their card for next time. Some are even half hour (some baths.) Anything that is 15 min I just kinda work in - if I have a yorkie in an hour spot I'll schedule the 15 min at the end of that (Chihuahua's for example.) I'm on St. Pete Beach and somehow people are able to come in the middle of the day, they are retired, work from home, have nice enough jobs leaving and coming back is no issue. I really encourage people to pick up when the dogs are done, but once in awhile if the dog is quiet and someone needs an extra hour it's okay. Also, 2 dogs from one house usually get 1.5 hours because I'm not having to do check in check out on the 2nd dog I can get both done in that time.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    2,680

    Wink One at a Time....

    Tammy you should have no problem scheduling this type of appt. I do it and find it works very well. Occasionally someone is late, or early, but it all works out.

    I know how long each type of groom will take me. I schedule the next appt. accordingly. My first is at 8:30, the next would be at 10:00. I like to allow for 90 min. but some dogs take less time, some take more, for a St.P. or any large brred I will paln for 2+ hrs.

    Since you will be charging a higher price, you really don't have to kill yourself by doing any voluime grooming. Why plan for 7-8 when 5-6 will get you the same return?

    If they come late to pick-up you deal with it. I rarely have this happen, most people come to me because they can have "Fluffy" back in less than 2 hrs. so lateness isn't a problem.

    sittingpretty

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,688

    Default

    I work from home and am almost ALWAYS booked up. I try to work from 9-6, and I take 2 @ 9, lunch @ noon, 2 @1, and 1 @ 4ish (I try to do only 5 a day, sometimes I will add another one somewhere if it is easy or just a bath). I take 2 at a time and wash and dry them all the way through. I do sometimes put them in a kennel with a dryer for a few minutes, just to get any dampness dry, esp. on a really thick coated dog-or if I have one that doesn't like having its head dried...this is the biggest reason I take 2 at a time-so I am not sitting around waiting. I do sometimes shift afternoon appointments around and maybe take an hour break if someone needs to come in later than 4...

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