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  1. #1

    Default Business open but no customers!:(

    Hi everyone, I finally opened my home based business. I went to the local veterinarians prior, introduced myself, and left cards for customers. I am boarding and grooming in my home, cats only. I live on a main road so I thought my sign would be a great source of advertising but I also didn't realize it was too small to really read well going 45-50mph. Still, it has cat silhouettes on the top so it's fairly obvious it's something with cats. So far it's been a month since the sign went up and no calls. I was so excited but now I am getting nervous . Any ideas on how to get clients? Should I spend money advertising in a church bulletin or something? Does it take long to get started? I was hoping this could be a full time job? I was wondering if I should take on a part time job while waiting?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Marysville, Ohio
    Posts
    2,773

    Default

    Probably at least 90% of the cat owners don't think Miss Kitty needs groomed, because we've all been told that they groom themselves......in actuality, their licking with their saliva doesn't remove dandruff, dander, clean their ears, cut their nails.....it's a myth that continues to live on....so only long haired breed, that gets mats, usually ends up in a grooming salon.

    Also, most people feel very comfortable about leaving Miss Kitty for up to a week alone while they go out of town or on a short vacation. Most have a neighbor just check on it once to make sure the food bowl is not empty, so the need to have them boarded is relatively low.

    You might expand your grooming abilities/education to include dogs, which require constant grooming, and boarding.

    Good Luck

    Happy getting a bigger sign

    Dolly's Barking Bubbles, LLC

    dollysbarkingbubbles.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,263

    Default

    Do you have a website? I'd say that is the number one step to take. Use that site to make it clear that you are a legitimate, caring business owner. People are often very scared to entrust their cat to a stranger, because cats can be so sensitive to what it around them. Also, I'd suggest you offer house call cat grooming for claw trims, at least. I get some of my cat sitting clients through doing house call cat grooming. I don't know if people use Yelp much in your area, but in NYC, getting Yelp reviews helped a lot. Good luck! With cat care, you really have to hustle.

  4. #4

    Default

    It's too bad people are misinformed when it comes to grooming their cat. We had an elderly cat which recently crossed the Rainbow Bridge and I could never have left her alone if we went away. I'd be too scared to. But then again, it would have been stressful to board her too. I am doing it in my home so I was hoping it was a valuable service because boarding with me would be less stress than a big box store with dogs and lots of employees etc. I can provide a nice quiet home environment. The local pet sitter charges $52 a day to make house calls. Plus with the grooming, I guess I thought it would somehow work out as a career. I'll have to work on getting a website. I am a bit overwhelmed as to how to go about it. Isn't it funny that there are more pet cats than dogs but cats get so little attention? I get the reasons why cats are easier to not feel the need to groom them or leave home alone than dogs (I have 2 dogs myself), but people dote on their dogs and cats always seem to come second. Maybe I will add dogs but I haven't learned to dog groom and it seems very hard what with all the breed specific grooms, etc. Also, if I board dogs, I need a kennel license, fencing-it's just a lot more room and start up costs which I don't have. I love both but I am more of a cat lady than a dog person. Thanks for your great responses and sharing your insights. They are truly helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,263

    Default

    You can make your own website using several different website building tools. There is Wix, Squarespace, Wordpress and more. You pick a template and fill in the text. It's free, but if you want a website that looks more professional, you will have to pay a small annual fee. If you are not comfortable doing that, it's worth paying someone to create a basic site. It doesn't have to be more than one page of text and a few photos. In this day and age, doing business without a website is possible, but it takes time to build up word of mouth clients.
    If you want to try doing a mailing, you can use Vistaprint to make some cute postcards. Only costs about $15. Easy to use. You can mail to pet stores, shelters, vets.
    Yes, if you are trying to do this without a website, it will be slow, so would be practical to take a job while building the business. Good luck.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    127

    Default

    Great idea, I still believe your first year of opening any shop is your worst, but once the word is out, your clientele will grow. Word of mouth is the best.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    21

    Default

    Try a "Grand Opening" coupon!
    Here are some tips:
    -Distribute a half mile around your location. You can get a bunch of flyers printed pretty inexpensively.
    -Discount a groom service enough to motivate someone to book an appointment (at least 25%). Remember if the discount is not enought to persuade you, it won't others)
    -Offer a Bath Special.
    -2 dogs for the price of one.

    It is better to get folks in at discount than have no customers at all. Be sure to point out this is "Grand Opening" special and will not be offered again.

    Good luck!
    -

  8. #8

    Default

    Great idea! Thank you so much!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Capital Region, NY
    Posts
    810

    Default

    Try using Thumbtack to get client referrals. Go to local shelters and see if the will hand out you info with new adoptions in exchange for donated grooms.
    It's not what you look at that matters; it's what you see.
    Henry David Thoreau

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