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Thread: Pre booking

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Fl
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    94

    Hissy Fit Pre booking

    Need advice on pre booking, I have a lot of people that donít want to pre book, ok fine, others say I will have to call you , others that do pre book donít keep their appointment s or cancell or are no shows how do some of you do it ? And stay busy Iím a one person shop I do all the grooming so I canít overbook either Help I have been in business for 9 years and have only 2 dogs book for this Saturday never happened not 2 dogs . Any advice is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,871

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    Well most people won't join if you ask if you want them to join. They have to know there are advantages for them. I know some mobile groomers that basically require prebooking because they have a solid clientele. I looked it over today and way more than half my clients joined our program. I learned it from the From Problems to Profits book like others. It comes with scripts too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale/Aventura, Florida
    Posts
    3,370

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    Marketing.
    People want what they canít get. This is a good time of year to start building demand for the holidays.
    Example: As clients are leaving I let them know now, that the holidays are coming and theyíll need to plan now sinceĒ Ďmy regularsí are already filling up the days before. So check your calendar and see when you want to come in and book soon. This year Iím not going to accept last minute add ones once Iím filled.Ē All said with a smile and a confidential air so that they feel like theyíre being offered a special invitation. If thereís time I pull out a multi month calendar and help the, visually see how fast things are coming up.
    Also, I keep notes on their family information- birthdays, anniversaries, seasonal events they participate in, etc. having that information helps me personalize the conversation, such as ďletís groom on this Tuesday so that Fluffy is all clean and fresh for your birthdayĒ. I have a large Jewish clientele, so getying everyone clean for these holidays is important. Then I have a couple who are ministers and I make sure to pay attention to their church events and those holidays.

    As for cancellations and no-shows, weíve had this in several other threads. Sometimes calling and confirming helps. I dont like email confirmations since they are impersonal,and too easy to ignore. I have a drop off time range. If the pet hasnít shown up 15 minutes before he close of that window Iím on the phone to see where they are. Get deposits for new clients, or for chronic reschedules and cancellations.

    Be professional. Never sound desperate. Itís hard on the wallet and the confidence to experience a slowdown. Itís usually temporarily. Use it to,your advantage to regroup, clean, make calls to your regulars, etc. Hang in there

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    1,137

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    Anna, I'm not sure where you are in Florida, but I was slow these past 3 weeks and the other grooming shops that I speak to also have been slow. I too should be prebooking, but just dislike "selling" my clients. I'm sure there are ways to fill in our slow days, but I just can't get over my prejudice to selling a client on the idea of prebooking and then I'm sure they'll just no show on me.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington state
    Posts
    1,403

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    Kurt I know many groomers like thousands we have worked with here, and this idea of "selling" is a bit of misunderstanding. Can you think about it this way?

    Pre-booking is a convenience for the your clients. It is also an expense of your time to assist them to keep their pets clean and healthier and looking their best year round. It's not a sell, not at all. It is a professional SERVICE for valued clients.

    If you can embody this in your operation, this attitude, magic happens. Look at Brit's experience.

    So then what is that "I am guilty of selling, or taking advantage voice" in our head? Anyone offering pre-booking and perhaps other perks for members (such as priority chance to get best holiday appointments) is a class act when done well.

    I know we can doubt ourselves. It's a human thing. Remember in Pretty Woman movie she asked why it was easier to believe the bad things about ourselves than the good ones? Same thing.

    So if one offers pre-booking and doesn't execute it well and live up to the advantages, that's not good service. Done right the benefits are great the pets and owners and you are saying you appreciate their loyal patronage.

    It's is a never a "sell" really unless perhaps one knows they may not live up to what their pre-booking program promises and then they shouldn't do it. It's not all about money. And on that before I close, what is wrong with money. Some people still think money is the root of all evil. Where did that programming come from, greedy elite types? Money means you will be in business to serve your clientele. You will hire and manage and supervise your whole operation. You will use quality product, not rush every pet, and keep your place impeccably clean even if you have to hire that assistance. Money means you won't let your place get rundown and replace equipment and tools as it is needed.

    Money gives your clientele the peace of mind knowing you are going to be in operation with the quality they deserve. They won't want to go anywhere else. That's how you develop a quality clientele.

    My mother used to always say we are selling more than services for pets, but services for the owners too. We have 2 clients for every pet, the animal and their owner. Serve them both and you will be busy year round and few will ever go anywhere else. When she sold the business we were still grooming the children's children of the original clientele though there were dozens of other shops around. Pre-booking was the basis of the business earning about 30% more income per year from the same size of clientele. Every owner had a choice to join Scheduling Program A or B, or be a C rating and just call in when ready. Over 80% were A or B, and there was no sell. We committed our time and money to give them extra services and once they heard of them, it was pretty easy to sign them up. It actually cost us money to serve the A's and B's, but it also increased sales.

    Do you know MANY hundreds of people would not put 2 and 2 together and say things like, "Since I started coming here my pet always looks much better." Kurt, you and I know that it was because A and B scheduling members were having their pets groomed more often, perhaps 1, and sometimes 3 more appts a year with the reminders. Of course they looked better. They also loved the perks like holiday priority, that was big. Not every customer out there is saying, I see what you are doing, you are just getting me to spend more with you blah blah blah. This is a scheme. Who needs customers like that. Remember, they could just say NO one time and we never offered it again. No pressure.

    We were trained like pros in customer service as much as grooming. Pre-booking is a SERVICE at your expense to show how you value your clientele and the health and beauty of their pets. Period, No doubt, no doubt. It surely is when done right. That's the attitude, and deserving of the pride you can personally take from executing it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    1,137

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    As a single operator I justify this reasoning for not doing more to get my clients on your Madison system which I've read and think makes great sense. I'm kind of losing gusto with it all. I need an extended break from my shop. I might close for a month and see how I feel. I still love the animals but just don't have that umph lately. I just might sell my shop.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    1,137

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    I'm thinking go mobile and charge top dollar so I can groom way less. I'll make less money but I won't be killed either.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Northern NV
    Posts
    4,580

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    Prebooking for me came when I got so busy people were having to wait weeks for a 'will call' appointment. This was at my previous shop and in my mobile now. They would complain and I would say I gave you the opportunity to book last time you were in but you declined. This is how you get your preferred appointment time. I was probably 80% pre-booked at my shop and am at 100% in my mobile. Everyone is scheduled for the whole year.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    911

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    I learned early that you are always training your clients. I tell everyone they can book now or call but I cannot guarantee a spot if they wait. I almost never do anyone's dog if they call and want to get in that day or even that week. (Would you expect that from your hairdresser, atty, and most Drs.?) People who just don't show up only get 2 chances and that is it, your time is valuable! I give everyone a reminder text the day before and request a confirmation so I know they are coming. If you reward bad behavior you will keep getting it. I also let people know their dog needs to come in XXX number of weeks to maintain their condition and waiting or not even coming in will result in additional charges because it will take me longer to get their dog groomed. Most of my customers make appointments but I still have some who just want to call.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Anaheim, CA
    Posts
    574

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    Quote Originally Posted by cockerlvr View Post
    Prebooking for me came when I got so busy people were having to wait weeks for a 'will call' appointment. This was at my previous shop and in my mobile now. They would complain and I would say I gave you the opportunity to book last time you were in but you declined. This is how you get your preferred appointment time. I was probably 80% pre-booked at my shop and am at 100% in my mobile. Everyone is scheduled for the whole year.
    Exactly this, I learned that here before I even started my business. All my clients are booked out for the year and there is a $50 penalty if they cancel without 48 hrs notice, payable at the next appointment. I get very few cancellations and I know which clients are squirrelly. If a true emergency comes up, I don't charge, of course. But if someone is out having lunch and just forgot me, cha ching!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    1,682

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    Quote Originally Posted by cockerlvr View Post
    Prebooking for me came when I got so busy people were having to wait weeks for a 'will call' appointment. This was at my previous shop and in my mobile now. They would complain and I would say I gave you the opportunity to book last time you were in but you declined. This is how you get your preferred appointment time. I was probably 80% pre-booked at my shop and am at 100% in my mobile. Everyone is scheduled for the whole year.
    Very cool and makes perfect sense even for 1 person shops, housecall. Do a great job in all ways, you are in demand and the only way to get in basically is by prebooking. It's a reward for them and you.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    178

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    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.

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