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Thread: Pre booking

  1. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    870

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    Good thread. If I had a couple more groomers and more of a salon, I would seriously do an appt program.

  2. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Northern NV
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    4,668

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    Quote Originally Posted by lillypeanut View Post
    As a mobile solo I actually don' t ask for a pre-book unless they ask me. (or if they want a high maintenance cut they still don't have to pre-book but I won't work on it or it will be cut short...never a problem) I like the freedom of mobile of working hours that suit me week by week. If I want to schedule something for my house, lunch with my son, don't feel good or whatever I have great flexibility. I take clients from two weeks to 2 years, idc, and it gives me a great variety of dogs. I actually like the dog that might not be highly scheduled because it gives me the power to give it the hair cut style I think is best for its coat and grooming times and not the fuddy duddy or unreasonable unmaintained owner cut. I try to get existing customers in within a few days of calling and new within 3 to 5. I have never had a problem filling a week even if I start with almost nothing booked and I maybe average 25% prebooked at the beginning of a week. I would burnout if I did the same thing day after day in this business. The same days off, the same dogs etc. The industry is tough on the body too and you don't know when you might need to rest an "itis" or maybe go to a wedding or a funeral. I don't want to be prebooked so tight as a solo that if I have an unscheduled emergency I have to work triple time to get back on track.

    I so rarely have a cancellation that its not even mentionable. People don't cancel when they get in within 3 or 4 days. If I do have to reschedule its usually a prebooker. It's not a highly organized style but I am rarely without work and turn down new clients several times a week . I do no advertising not even on my van. When I feel like I am getting too busy I stop taking new customers. I don't need to organize zones because the zone is created by who calls that week. I am pretty stress free which is the beauty of what mobile can offer and why I like it.

    Now if I was solo in a shop which I have been and worked one on one I would not do that business model again in a shop. But if you do, I think you have to accept some level of down time because you can't overbook if you do one on one. It's just the way it is. When I have a new client I have no idea if or when I am going to see them again. I don't consider them a client until the second time or third time. I just let them get their dog home so they can have a look at what a good job I did and how happy their dog is. So I am not going to ask or pressure them to pre-book a time that might be too soon for them and take a slot (unless they ask me) and then risk a cancellation or reschedule when just a day before their appointment someone may have called me that could have taken that slot. And if it was a new client that can't get in you probably lost them forever.

    If you really are uncomfortable with giving somebody a same day (which in a shop unlike mobile I don't think is an unreasonable ask by new customers) or within a few days because you feel they won't think highly of you, but you want/need the business then offer them 2 options. one your next available and the other over a week a way. This will make it seem like you are very booked. I myself don't care. I have so many regulars I know where to put them when they call in and where to put the new customers when I take them. If somebody were to think it sketchy that I could schedule them quickly I don't want that type of client anyway. I also wouldn't advertise walk-ins but I would schedule keeping mind that Saturday is, in my experience, the number one day for a cancellation in a shop and the number one day for a new customer to call in looking for same day. You have to give a new customer the opportunity to see what you have to offer and then you can nudge them the way that suits your operation after they trust you. No discounts!! Just get them in in a reasonable time frame.

    Of course I could see how multi-groomer shops need more structure.
    Do you have a high turnover of clients? I don't see how this works if you have the same repeat customers who want the same appointment or time between grooms. Eventually the schedule gets full, unless you have high turnover.

  3. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    187

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    I have a very loyal clientele and a very high rate of return after the first visit. I do have prebook customers that are every 2 weeks to 8 weeks but they are not the majority and the client asks me to prebook. And then I have many that call in roughly between 4 to 6 or 6 to 8 and quite a few TAY's and beyond. I started this week for example with a few dogs who prebook and then filled the week as clients called in. I took no new clients this week and took one dog who was on his second visit. I last saw him 4 or 5 months ago and he was a shave down. The rest of the dogs were all clients of many years. 2 are on their second dog with me and 1 added a second dog. My daughter is flying in to town tomorrow so I blocked the whole day off so I can pick her up at the airport and hang out with her. This was known to me just about 10 days ago and I am glad that I can easily make myself available to pick her up. If a client, new or regular called today I could get them in by Sunday which isn't bad. I never take a same day client because I take days off randomly. And once I commit to not having anything on the calendar I don't take a dog. I currently have 2 two weekers and that's the lowest I go. I lose too much freedom taking a one weeker. Anyway it's just always worked for me not to prebook by basically managing new clients.

    What I don't get is those of you who have your year booked out and not taking new clients is what do you do if a dog dies or moves away etc. How do you fill that slot? Do you make the new client commit to that hole in your schedule before you take them on or after grooming do you make them commit? I lose several dogs a year from old age or sudden illness or the client dies and the dog goes with a family member.

    Technically, I am booked out the whole year too, I just don't have them penciled in.

    and for the record I do not demat. The dog gets the haircut its condition allows. I don't shave double coats and I don't take many either other than poms. I don't fill up with baths or nails only dogs. I have so many slots a day and they are for full grooms only.



















    s the lowest I will go. I had a once a weeker who recently passed and will not take another. Too much committment needed from me each week to the same dog.

  4. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    187

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    just to add I think it works because I take dogs of differing types of grooming needs. From Chihuhuas to OAY's . I could see if you only took 4 to 6 weekers that you are going to have fewer clients and more of the same type of dogs and cuts.

  5. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Northern NV
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    4,668

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    Yes, I make them commit before I take them on. I just had one the other day and told her she couldn't go longer than eight weeks between grooms and had to book for the whole year. She had no problem with that. But mostly, enough clients get new extra dogs (not necessarily replacements) to fill my spots. I won't do dogs that go longer than eight weeks. Just too much work.

    I stopped counting a while back but I was up to 12 dogs lost this year to moving or death, yet my schedule is still packed. A couple more are moving away, and I might be losing my weekly dog too. That's killing me because I love doing him, but they are moving slightly out of my service area, and I just can't commit to going out there. There are often days I do just him, like the day after Christmas he's scheduled, and I can't drive that far for one dog no matter how much I like them and the dog. They are considering driving into town to meet me though, so not sure what will happen there.

    But I don't really have issues taking time off. I've recently started back to dog shows and am taking a lot of Saturdays I'm scheduled, but I'm just going to their homes after they are home from work to make it up. I was sick last week and took a day off, and just made it up on Monday, my regular day off.

  6. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Chicago
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    2,245

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    No I don't do like that but why not? When you are a one person business you sure can, and take a waiting list for an opening if they really really want you. Most of my clients prebook the A B system in the from problems book. So they are not yet in the book but know when I will call to schedule other than the A's which are in the book all year.

  7. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Anaheim, CA
    Posts
    594

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    I don't service a huge area, thankfully, but I have to prebook because here in my area of SoCal, going just 5 miles could take 30 minutes or more. I NEED to have clients concentrated in an area per day because I don't get paid to sit in traffic or drive. I have to have those appointments set in advance. If I waited for callbacks when clients wanted, I'd be driving all day, and that's a no-go. I have a waiting list, but even when I lose a pet, I'm not filling those spots as I feel like I'm overbooked. I seem to have a couple of emergencies a month - like skunkings and pets getting into stuff, or last-minute client schedule changes. If I could find competent groomers, I'd buy more vans and be running a small fleet.

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