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  1. #1

    Default House call scheduling and equipment...

    I'm sorry, the more I think about starting a house call biz the more questions I have and I don't want to start a dozen threads and be a bother...

    What is the best way to schedule house call appointments? Do you ask for flexibility from your clients? Do you make certain days available in certain areas? Do you do an initial interview in people's home to assess the situation, the groom and the client?

    Are there tools and equipment made just for doing house calls? Like how do you secure dogs in a tub or sink? Do many of you use clipper-vac systems? Can you recommend ways to transport most of your equipment at once in order to make less trips into the house? Are there things you find crucial to have while grooming in people's homes?

    Have I missed anything?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,240

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    There are lots of ways to work, but this is how it works for me.
    No interviews at their home beforehand.
    All discussion and scheduling done by email. Voicemail refers callers to website and email. My website provides lots of info for potential clients, so they know plenty about me before I get there.
    I have a travel territory. If someone wants me to go outside my territory, I charge an extra fee.
    I set an appointment time and arrive on time, or a few minutes early, unless I run into big problems with transportation (rare).

  3. #3

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    I was where you were two years ago, when I retired, and started anew career doing House call grooming. Foe equipment I use a 30"x40" grooming table, I find the time I save working on a stable base, and having the pets at the correct height for me not to have to hunch over is worth the effort of the extra trip of carrying it into the clients home. I Have one Sears Craftsman plastic 18" tool box with a take out tray, and two Sears Craftsman Heavy duty tool bags. One bag is for my Metro 4hp dryer, which the time it saves, worth the weight. The hoses, extension cords, and arm to clip on my table to hold the dryer hose go in the same bag. The second bag contains shampoos, and bath stuff. I keep these things in their own bag in case of leaking liquids getting into my dryer or clippers. My tool box has all my blades, nail clippers, scissors and small item in the top tray, and clippers, a box of metal clip on combs, and everything else, go on the bottom. I decorated the tool box with dog foot print stickers to make the clients more at ease when I come to the door. I am 64 and find that it is easier for me to carry two light bags rather than one heavy one. I can leave everything except the bath bag in my car overnight, which saves me time. I use Geib Gator entry level scissors, about $60 a pair, because there is a greater risk or dropping them while working in a stranger's bathroom or kitchen, or forgetting and leaving them behind. One thing I did change this year is I went to Chubb Bars, a premium dog shampoo in bar form, easier to transport. I do a client mix from wealthy to welfare, and all sizes of dogs. I personally find it easier to bring my full kit with me than to repack it for different size or breeds. That is how I work, but someone who who is in a different market, could bring a lot less stuff. I also have a small shop vac I keep in my car, and can bring it in for clean up, if needed.
    Last edited by Jims Trims; 01-11-17 at 03:28 PM. Reason: additional info

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Everywhere
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    7,869

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    Glad to hear you changed to Chubbs Bars, Jim. They have been my go to shampoo since they first came out .
    Ain't always easy to stand up for what is right.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thank you for the reply, Emma.

    I'm a little concerned about scheduling and having enough time to get to the next client since you don't always know what you're going to get into. So, if my first dog takes an extra 15 minutes it could push my arrival time to the next dog late. So, instead of making an appointment for 10am, do I tell them I'll be there between 10 and 10:30? I hate wasting time but I also don't want to rush , and I don't want to waste my client's time either.

    All your calls go directly to voicemail?

    Can I ask where you advertise? Do you have an opinion on whether or not Craigslist is a good place to advertise?

  6. #6

    Default

    Thank you for the advice. I have no idea what the market is like out here. I guess that's just something I'll have to learn as I go, but I need to be prepared for anything I suppose.

    Do you limit the size of dogs you groom? Do you bathe by hand? Do you keep spare equipment in your car in case of malfunctions?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,240

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    One thing you haven't asked about is pricing. This is really important. After all, you're doing this to make a profit.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    USA
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    I leave extra time between appointments so that I don't have to rush. This is why pricing has to be noticeably higher. There is a lot of non-grooming time involved in house calls. Travel time. Setting up and packing up. Talking with the owner, if the owner has a question. Unexpected situations with water or the sink. You have to schedule your day so that you aren't going from one area to another area that is far, far away, then back to the first area. The schedule has to be thought out.
    Yes, all my calls go to voicemail.
    I get my clients through my website mostly, and nowadays also through Yelp. I tried Craigslist, but in NYC, Craigslist for services contains so much spam that it's useless to me. Craigslist tends to get you customers looking for the cheapest services, at least in my experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by CricketLegs View Post
    Thank you for the reply, Emma.

    I'm a little concerned about scheduling and having enough ti
    me to get to the next client since you don't always know what you're going to get into. So, if my first dog takes an extra 15 minutes it could push my arrival time to the next dog late. So, instead of making an appointment for 10am, do I tell them I'll be there between 10 and 10:30? I hate wasting time but I also don't want to rush , and I don't want to waste my client's time either.

    All your calls go directly to voicemail?

    Can I ask where you advertise? Do you have an opinion on whether or not Craigslist is a good place to advertise?

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Emma123 View Post
    I leave extra time between appointments so that I don't have to rush. This is why pricing has to be noticeably higher. There is a lot of non-grooming time involved in house calls. Travel time. Setting up and packing up. Talking with the owner, if the owner has a question. Unexpected situations with water or the sink. You have to schedule your day so that you aren't going from one area to another area that is far, far away, then back to the first area. The schedule has to be thought out.
    Yes, all my calls go to voicemail.
    I get my clients through my website mostly, and nowadays also through Yelp. I tried Craigslist, but in NYC, Craigslist for services contains so much spam that it's useless to me. Craigslist tends to get you customers looking for the cheapest services, at least in my experience.
    Yes, prices... There are people grooming from their homes in the nearest biggest city for $25 for a small dog. I'll just assume that their prices reflect the quality of their work. The closest actual shop to my home is $60 for a small dog. That actually seems high for this area, but I'm new to the area too, so maybe I'm just mistaken. I'm not quite sure where to start with setting prices, but you're right, higher prices would help offset the extra time spent for grooms and travel. Wild4Westies mentioned the grooming survey that will be released at the end of the month and I'm hoping to use that as a reference.

    Do you confirm your appointments the day before?

  10. #10

    Default

    I originally ran a small ad in the local newspaper classified section. Now I advertise online in a Facebook group, for local sales. It is free and attracts, a wider audience, who can leave reviews, and referrals. It also gives me a place to post pictures of the latest grooms. Of course I live in a small rural/resort area, and a lot of my clients know each other, and their pets. That is what works for me. As for time I allow about two hours per session, including bath and dry, if I run over I call the next appointment, and explain.

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