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  • I want the best groomers

    I am opening a self service dog wash and upscale retail store. I have heard horror stories regarding grooming on my quest to learn about it. I also know alot of the great groomers own their own shop (so I have been told) but I know there are many good ones who are left.

    How our shop will be set up is the groomer will be a monday-friday employee (or 4 10's if they want its all negotiable) They will bathe in the self service area but dry and clip in their own room. I know ideally it would be nice to let them have their own bathe area but its not possible with the size shop we have.

    We also would hope that if a client wanted a quick trim or a nail cut on the self service end they would be willing to do that and get a commision on those services.


    So here are my obstacles, we are new and have nothing to offer as far as a client base to the groomer. It will, I am sure grow, so I would love to have someone who could bring clients. However we would have them sign a contract that says they can take their clients but if they leave they have to leave the clients they had at the store. (Hopefullly we can keep them happy enough they never leave!!!)

    I want to find someone who can take care of the grooming department and let me just focus on playing with the dogs!!!

    Any hints on questions to ask in the hiring process?

    Thanks so much!!!!

  • #2
    I forsee several obstacles myself. One being, if your self service bathing is busy, how will the groomer bathe her dogs? We run tight schedules and to wait for the tub to be empty could be a major problem! Also, if your groomer is paid hourly you will be paying her/him time to stand and wait on the tub! If she/he is an employee the client list is yours, however if they are Independent Contract, then the client list is their's. Sounds like it will be a nice place, but I would seriously consider making a small space for a tub!
    just my thoughts and good luck!

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    • #3
      oh I forgot!! If you're wanting top groomers you will have to pay top prices, and good luck with that also! we aren't cheap! If you, being the business owner, think that because someone else is running the grooming department, you will have time to "play with dogs" you should reconsider this adventure, or you could be in for a very rude awakening!

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      • #4
        I agree with hairdevil if you find a groomer that pleases your clients then pay them what they are worth, either 50% or the equivalent hourly rate. You may want to start with the self serve for a little bit and as people start spreading the word, then you will need to hire a groomer. The book From Problems to Profits gives a lot of good tips on how to be successful. You should not just hire a groomer because they say they can groom. I have seen groomers who have been "grooming" for years, but lets just say that their standards weren't as high as my clients expected them to be. And that is what matters, if your clients love them they will come back and spread the word. If the groomer can't please clients they will give you a bad reputation fast. If a groomer comes in on a high horse it may be a bad sign, they probably won't get along well with others.

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        • #5
          Thanks for your replies,

          What if the days they were there I designated one to two tubs to the groomer? We will have 6. Also I plan on being her assistant, cleaning up whatever she needs etc until we find a bather. We may hire one off the bat but its up to the groomer we hire if they want a bather.

          This is a tough biz....

          Oh and I am waiting on delivery of the problems to profits

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          • #6
            And another issue...

            No one can groom and supervise nonprofessionals bathing dogs. The good news is that you have found a good place to bet practical info from those who have experience in grooming and running grooming businesses.

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            • #7
              What I see happening :
              Customers will consider the groomer working in the self service area just a regular employee and constantly bug them to assist them.
              If the groomer is on commission how will you pay them for all the time wasted answering questions when the dogs they need to groom are just waiting there...waiting to be finished.. Time is money

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              • #8
                Originally posted by hairdevil View Post
                oh I forgot!! If you're wanting top groomers you will have to pay top prices, and good luck with that also! we aren't cheap! If you, being the business owner, think that because someone else is running the grooming department, you will have time to "play with dogs" you should reconsider this adventure, or you could be in for a very rude awakening!
                Thanks for the advice, it was a small joke, I know its not going to be fun and games, what I meant was I want to focus on the self service side and let the groomer focus on their side. I want someone I can trust to run it as if it was their own store and if they are successful and making money for the business why not give them their "way"?

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                • #9
                  love, love, love the comments. I forgot to mention that in our shop the SSDW spaces will be seperate little rooms. I also think we decided on hiring a bather to assist the groomer and to help with the bath dogs that we will be offering as a "shop and wash" (we are right next door to a grocery store).

                  So between myself and the bather hopefully we can keep the customers away from the groomer. When I check in the SSDW customers I will make sure and let them know that I am here to answer questions. I would love to give her her own space for a tub but we are too tight in space. Hopefully if this takes off the next shop we can do it perfect.

                  Thanks for the feedback, you are getting my mind into high gear.

                  Oh and paying top dollar isn't a problem, if they are good and the clients like them, I understand the value of any employee with those characteristics.

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                  • #10
                    I was thinking. If your going to have six self service tubs, maybe the one closest to the groomer you could leave for the groomer. Granted there maybe times it's so busy that you need to use it for others. I think generally it would work though.

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                    • #11
                      My advice to you won't change just becaust it is offered again on this board as opposed to the gl...Expect to pay dearly for a highly skilled person who has or can bring in the clients. By "pay dearly" you're looking at at least $30-$45/hr. or 60%+ + COM for someone who is qualified to handle all that you want them to do. And for the sake of the grooming department you'd best leave one tub available for the Pet Stylist at all times or risk a walk-out because time is money and if you can't/won't allow them to bathe uninterruped and if you can't/won't let them finish uninterrupted you WILL loose that person eventually.

                      S/he can at least show you how to do a sani and trim nails; other than those minor services the rest should fall under "grooming services" and have an appointment booked. You can do hourly or bi-hourly appointments for those services and as long as people drop off on time you would do OK IMO. And if you do decide to do that make that a non-negotiable time!! NO LEEWAY!! Those services really do well where offered but it depends on the client showing up on time and the Pet Stylist having enough time to do the job well.

                      I think that the wash and shop without an appointment is a **very bad idea** because if you ask your Pet Stylist to constantly put up the pet s/he's working on to "just do _________ real quick" you'll loose that person fast as in PDQ make your head spin fast! Some of us have no patience for constant interruptions We get into our zone and stay there and don't like to come out of it.And yes, I fall into that category myself---as if you couldn't already tell LOL!! Interrupt ME 2-3 times while I'm scissoring a Bichon or a Poodle to do something trivial and you'll get your feelings hurt---boss, owner, paycheck signer or no! Hmmm, could be why **I** own the business, reckon? ROFL!!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bow_wow_wheels View Post
                        My advice to you won't change just becaust it is offered again on this board as opposed to the gl...Expect to pay dearly for a highly skilled person who has or can bring in the clients. By "pay dearly" you're looking at at least $30-$45/hr. or 60%+ + COM for someone who is qualified to handle all that you want them to do. And for the sake of the grooming department you'd best leave one tub available for the Pet Stylist at all times or risk a walk-out because time is money and if you can't/won't allow them to bathe uninterruped and if you can't/won't let them finish uninterrupted you WILL loose that person eventually.

                        S/he can at least show you how to do a sani and trim nails; other than those minor services the rest should fall under "grooming services" and have an appointment booked. You can do hourly or bi-hourly appointments for those services and as long as people drop off on time you would do OK IMO. And if you do decide to do that make that a non-negotiable time!! NO LEEWAY!! Those services really do well where offered but it depends on the client showing up on time and the Pet Stylist having enough time to do the job well.

                        I think that the wash and shop without an appointment is a **very bad idea** because if you ask your Pet Stylist to constantly put up the pet s/he's working on to "just do _________ real quick" you'll loose that person fast as in PDQ make your head spin fast! Some of us have no patience for constant interruptions We get into our zone and stay there and don't like to come out of it.And yes, I fall into that category myself---as if you couldn't already tell LOL!! Interrupt ME 2-3 times while I'm scissoring a Bichon or a Poodle to do something trivial and you'll get your feelings hurt---boss, owner, paycheck signer or no! Hmmm, could be why **I** own the business, reckon? ROFL!!
                        Thanks for the advice, is it not a good idea to have the bather do the drop in clients? If I am paying the stylist 60% what is left to pay the bather, or are they on hourly?

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                        • #13
                          What is your target demographic?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bow_wow_wheels View Post
                            What is your target demographic?
                            Our research says women will frequent these shops most frequently. That is why we decided to place our shop where there is a grocery store as an anchor. It is between two of the more upscale areas in town, so there is money to be spent.

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                            • #15
                              Maybe I'm wrong in thinking that since you're the owner you'll be
                              there---if so please forgive me, I'm tired and it has been a long day. If
                              you're not going to pay hourly you won't have someone on hand to do the
                              little things like accept drop-in clients. Accepting drop-ins may also foster the thought that you'll accept any old client any old time with the understanding that you will be able to groom them and get them out the door faster than you may be able to when the business is well established. That business model does work for some but if you are trying to project an upscale image you need to act upscale. Most upscale salons that I know of are booked out far in advance. Start out as you intend to continue!

                              The SSDW people that I know have an assistant on hand to do the nail trimming and sanis as needed. I can't see a highly skilled Pet Stylist sitting around waiting on money to come in the door when they could be working for someone who already has an established clientele unless you're going to pay hourly. And even then you can't really expect them to sit around waiting for some work to show up. YOU will loose your shirt doing that unless you have some very deep pockets and don't mind absorbing a BUNCH of start-up costs out of your start-up $$$ IMO you should learn how to bathe and do nails, ears and sani trims in order to keep the business going while it builds and help keep PR costs down while the business is in it's infancy.

                              Most people are very loyal to their current Pet Stylist and aren't going to change salons just because you're convenient. Some will but they may also be the shop-hoppers or bargain hunters and the clients that have been invited to find other salons to serve their pet care needs for one reason or another. It takes time to build a client list and have good repeat customers and those good repeat customers are the basis of a good business that will support you, and your employees, year round.

                              You might be best served to just have a PT Pet Stylist and a full-time helper until your business builds enough to justify having someone on hand FT. IMO you really don't want to encourage the walk-in trade UNLESS that is the type of business you really want. I know that _Problems_ suggests taking any and all who walk in and it worked for that situation but is this the situation that *you* want? To me it would be very stressful NOT knowing what's coming in the door that day. Nothing wrong with it if that is the type of business you want but then again you may sacrifice the quality of the finished product in the long run and you'll have to accept the fact that until you get busy you'll have employees on the clock waiting for business to arrive that may or may not come in the doors.

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