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  • Need Ideas To Get More Business

    I opened a grooming business in my home a year ago to supplement my income. The customers I have love my work and I have a small handful of steady business.

    During this time I've learned that I LOVE grooming and my goal is to turn it into a full-time business. In January I decided to make my dream a reality and have started marketing my business. The problem is, there has been very little new response. I'm hoping it's just because of the weather here in Northern Indiana, it has been incredibly cold and lots of lake-effect snow.

    I live in a rural area with a few small towns in the area that customers will come from.

    I've put an ad in a small paper delivered to our surrounding area. We made flyers and put them up in laundromats, grocery stores and just about anywhere with a bulletin board.

    On Monday my ad in the paper will offer a Valentine's Special for any appointments booked in Feb. I've also just started a Referral Program to get new business.

    Any other ideas? I'm getting very discouraged and wondering if this will be nothing more than a dream.

  • #2
    Offer referral discounts. Not much just 2.00 off both clients for referring. Also, military and senior discounts tell customers that you care. We offer 10%. We use a hypo as a standard shampoo (too avoid any shampoo reactions) and use les pooches cologne (customers love it) It may be expensive but it is worth every penny. You may offer a bath and brush service in between (two or three week intervals) at a discounted price that will bring clients in. Also have an anonymous comment box, so you can see how you are doing with out having the customers feel pressured. Do not waste your money on advertising if you are not making it. I sign on your vehicle (only maybe 75.00) will really help. This is especially true if it is catchy and you hint at senior discounts. Always ask if the customer is happy and tell them that you can fix anything if they wish even if they don’t realize a problem until after they go home. Hope this helps!!

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    • #3
      I believe that the best advertising is word of mouth. Become active in local business groups in your community. Also become active in local pet organizations and rescues. Join a dog club. It's ok to ask for referrals too. I would tell my clients that I am getting busy and that if they know of anyone who would like to get in my appointment book, that they should let them know to call me soon before I am too booked. You could offer some sort of bonus to new clients as well as the client who referred like a compimentary spa conditioning treatment, but I personally don't offer any discounts. I find that if your services and image are superior, that in itself will attract attention and word of mouth and get you lots of business. Do a press release, but have something newsworthy to tell about. I always think of anything that I can to give my business a unique selling Proposition to make it unique and different from the crowd. Charge more than everyone else. That gets everyone talking. Hold an open house with demonstrations of grooming techniques. Have a dog fashion show. Have an ugly dog contest. Serve dog donuts and doggy beer. Sponsor a dog park. Hold a fund raiser for pet rescues. Bring in a photographer and have a pet photo day. Talk to your local radio station. Have fun! Wishing you great success!

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      • #4
        I think I would hold off the doggy beer LOL that might offend more than a few lol...its winter and cold for sure where you are...be patient spring is just around the corner!!!! thank god... brrr its cold here too!

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        • #5
          I am not big on offering discounts. It will bring in the people that will use you only for the cheap rate, then move on when the "special" is done. That being said, when I first opened I was next door to a vets office and In order to make a friendly gesture and promote my grooming skills I offered a free groom (1x only) to the vet and his staff. I never regretted it!!! From day one when I groomed a tech's poodle and the tech took her back next door to "show her off" I have gotten tons of referrals from them. 13 yrs later I still get lots of referrals from that vet clinic. Unfortunately, the vet I knew and loved just retired and sold his business. Guess I need to "romance" the new vet....lol
          SheilaB from SC

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          • #6
            Originally posted by toomuchfunbnme View Post
            I believe that the best advertising is word of mouth. Become active in local business groups in your community. Also become active in local pet organizations and rescues. Join a dog club. It's ok to ask for referrals too. I would tell my clients that I am getting busy and that if they know of anyone who would like to get in my appointment book, that they should let them know to call me soon before I am too booked. You could offer some sort of bonus to new clients as well as the client who referred like a compimentary spa conditioning treatment, but I personally don't offer any discounts. I find that if your services and image are superior, that in itself will attract attention and word of mouth and get you lots of business. Do a press release, but have something newsworthy to tell about. I always think of anything that I can to give my business a unique selling Proposition to make it unique and different from the crowd. Charge more than everyone else. That gets everyone talking. Hold an open house with demonstrations of grooming techniques. Have a dog fashion show. Have an ugly dog contest. Serve dog donuts and doggy beer. Sponsor a dog park. Hold a fund raiser for pet rescues. Bring in a photographer and have a pet photo day. Talk to your local radio station. Have fun! Wishing you great success!

            You have so many great idea's! I'm writing them down for when I open my shop!!

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            • #7
              Thanks Mary! BTW my friends own a very successful grooming shop and held an open house where they had dog contests and served doggy beer. The doggy beer is of course non alchaholic, but was a huge success. Even the tea totalers were amused and took part. It attracted great word of mouth for their business. The idea to promote through veterinarians is really good as others have mentioned. Also don't forget to promote or team up with any other pet oriented businesses such as pooper scoopers, pet sitters, Dog bakerys etc. These other types of dog busiesses are also services that you can add on to a grooming business to increase your income if you find that your area does not have enough dogs per capita to support grooming only. You can easily hire and train employees to handle these jobs if and when you become too busy with the grooming. I never wait for the right weather to promote my businesses and so far I've been very successful.

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              • #8
                Okay, here are some winter specific promo ideas. Write an article and send it in to the local newspaper about keeping your dog safe during extreme cold weather. Also write and article on the importance of proper dog grooming during the winter months to help to maintain your dogs health and send that in too. BTW, see if there is a local newspaper or magazine that would like you to contribute informative articles on a regular basis. Become known as an expert in your field. Hold a Dog Days Of Winter Expo. Have a contest to see who can build the best dog snowman. Have a contest for dogs in the best, silliest or warmest winter outfits. Get other pet business to take part. Have mini dog sled races, dog ice sculptures. Have plenty of nice warm areas where you can handout copies of your winter dog safety and grooming articles and business cards. If it's too cold or snowy to do this in public, hold the contests by mail. BTW start a mailing list and send out regular newsletters with handy dog tips and info, between grooming appointment grooming tips, etc. Hope that these ideas are helpful and that your business is a big success!

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                • #9
                  I am a home shop groomer, been doing it 3 years now. I had an ad in the local free paper and it took 1 year for people to notice it. I am now getting 80% of my new clients from the paper. I am in 3 phone books also.I am very happy how things are working out, my business has doubled every year since I started. If I can double one more time I will be at the max of what I can do by myself. I guess what I am saying is it just takes time.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for your replys, there are many great suggestions. My community is very small, but there is a Humane Society in a nearby town. I'll contact them on Monday.

                    I love the idea of an Open House and many others as well. Hmmmmm...maybe I'll get this business to take off yet!

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                    • #11
                      You've already been given some wonderful ideas! I opened my salon in November 1996, and one of the things I did about a month after I opened was buy a bunch of nice holiday coffee mugs. I filled them with a variety of Christmas candy, wrapped each one in cellophane with a bow, and attached a gift card saying "Happy Holidays" from my salon.

                      I went around to all of the vet clinics in town and asked how many people worked there and gave the receptionist enough mugs for all of them. I also left some business cards and a letter of introduction telling them about my salon and my qualifications.

                      I started receiving a lot of referrals from some of the vet clinics. There was a vet tech at one of the clinics who also did grooming in her home, and when she decided to quit grooming, she referred all of her clients to me. I sent her a nice floral arrangement thanking her for the referrals.

                      Having a good relationship with the vet clinics in town can help a lot! You might want to do something similar for Valentine's day if you haven't already introduced yourself to the local vet clinics.
                      Sheri
                      Last edited by Cosette; 02-11-07, 02:39 PM.

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                      • #12
                        I truly believe that YOU are your best advertising. Go around to dog parks, Pet Supermarket (our don't do grooming), go anywhere where the dogs go. Pet the dogs, love on the dogs and start up a conversation about you being a groomer. Take a little bag of treats with your business cards, hand them out PERSONALLY and even offer to do nail trims or take Valentine Bandanas and put one on the dogs with a squirt of fragerance. I have built 3 terrific businesses doing this. Nothing turned as great of a response as personal interaction.

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                        • #13
                          I wish the vet thing worked around here. I went to all of them in the area that did not offer grooming. I got a referral from 1
                          If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!

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                          • #14
                            also another thing you can offer is retail services. when your clients come in ask them if they could fill out a Retail service form...if they would like they could bring it back later on or fill it out at a later time. or you could even have a suggestion box with a removable question each month. one question could be this...what would you like to see offered around pet perfect salon?
                            you could also give examples...ie...pet foods, toys, collars and leashs, treats, colognes, grooming tools. you could also have a picture day...doggy birthday parties...doggy daycare areas within the grooming salon (if you have space), and you could also have a special seniors only day or cats only day or puppies only day...another thing that could work is to place your business cards inside grocery stores...and i would highly suggest getting maganets made up with your business name and logo on it as most people DO tend to lose those business cards and a maganet helps when they can stick them on the refridgerator. another thing you can do is have Valentines day pet photos! also you can offer a multi pet month coupon...or a referrel service where they either get so much off per groom or if they come in consistantly they can get 1 Free groom or 1/2 off 1 grooming. say...they refer 10 people they get 10 percent off 1 grooming. if they refer 20 people they get 20 percent off 1 grooming. they can then either continue working their way up (1/2 off would be 50 percent) so every person they recommend to go to your shop they get 1 percent off...so they can continue and save up their percentages off and if they work their way up to 1 free grooming then hey! you just got 100 new clients because of this person! all of these are great suggestions...hopefully you have great success with your business!
                            good luck and best wishs!
                            Hound

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                            • #15
                              Edited.
                              Last edited by pamperedpups; 02-25-07, 03:23 PM.

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