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  • working alone

    Hi everyone Im new to the site and so far its been great.Alot of great information.I was just looking for feedback if anyone has a storefront shop and works alone.I am opening a buisness here in my town.And are going to have to work alone at first.I was just wondering what you do if you get a big dog or a dog who needs to be held to groom.I dont want to turn away big dogs because I have to make the rent. I was thinking of getting one of those walk up tubs...any thoughts would be helpful....
    Thanks in advance....

  • #2
    Hi and welcome to the board! I opened my shop in August 2006, and while I had my sister working with me the first few months I now work alone. I have found some dogs to be challenging alone, but most I've had no problems with. My biggest challenge has been juggling the grooming, cleaning, laundry, phone, and checking in/out customers! The biggest problem is when a client shows up early or late while I have another dog in the tub. But you learn to work around those things...I emphasize to customers that it is very important to show up on time because I am now alone and I have a schedule to keep. A couple times customers showed up late and I had already put another dog in the tub (a couple were big dogs that I was NOT going to take out mid-bath), so I made them wait until I was done. Not my problem if they're going to show up late.

    As for equipment, I have a tub on a platform with stairs leading up to it for the big guys. My father built it for me, but there are tubs out there with stairs that you can buy. I also have a lower grooming table as well so they can jump up, but I'm thinking of getting a ramp or portable stairs for it because some just won't jump up there by themselves. I had to call a customer last week to come help me get her 120 lb Akita up on the table -- otherwise I wouldn't have been able to groom her! A little embarassing but the dog was really scared and wouldn't get off the floor. She was just way too big for me to lift her (she was doing one of those lay flat on the floor-playing dead moves). But we got her up and everything was fine.

    Lastly I would highly recommend investing in a Groomer's Helper (www.groomershelper.com). I don't groom any dog without it now -- it really helps to control the animal, big or small.

    Good luck!

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    • #3
      working alone

      Amy thanks so much for all your imput.Im really gratefull for all the tips.I will definalty look into the groomers helper.

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      • #4
        I'm not alone and boy and I glad

        I'm trying to groom but I get interrupted alot, (I'm really slow now but I'm learning) my business partner does the majority of the grooming. Even with a bather most of the time I get interrupted by clients checking in/out, the phone and walk in inquiries. Today I had to stop about 5 times while working on a dog to do something else and I never did get to finish the dog. You'll have to be very firm with your clients to get them 'trained' to understand you can't drop everything when they walk through the door. I hope to have a receptionist one day I'm dreaming big. You may find it worthwhile to put the money into a part time helper just so you can get more dogs done.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by alycetaz View Post
          Hi everyone Im new to the site and so far its been great.Alot of great information.I was just looking for feedback if anyone has a storefront shop and works alone.I am opening a buisness here in my town.And are going to have to work alone at first.I was just wondering what you do if you get a big dog or a dog who needs to be held to groom.I dont want to turn away big dogs because I have to make the rent. I was thinking of getting one of those walk up tubs...any thoughts would be helpful....
          Thanks in advance....
          the ramp tub is a plus, but if you can afford it, the hydraulic tub is perfect lol or the shorline n petedge with the 2 steps low to walk in. for big dogs, lift their front feet onto your table, preferably low to the floor(hydraulic) then just lift their back feet onto it. hold a leash around their neck at the same time , or else they will go right over it and onto the floor again! oops lol

          If you must groom them on the floor, tie them to the door knob from the inside of the door and close the door(you on the outside) lol lots of tricks..get the groomers helper so if you have to leave a dog on the table to get another dog out for a customer, he won't jump off! or put you a lil crate beside your grooming table, place him in the crate, wait on customer, then start over! its so hard to work alone...when you get busy, first thing, hire a bather and teach them well. They will make you lottssss of money!!!!
          good luck!

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          • #6
            working alone

            When I had a store front shop I learned to keep the door locked in between appointments. I explained it was for security reasons- mine & the dogs.
            When I ran the dryer anyone could have walked in & I may not have even known!!
            Everyone understood.
            My cell number was on the door & potential walkins would call then get my voice mail explaining the reason the door was locked during "Business hours".

            Many big dogs will get on something. Then once on something I just encouraged them to get in the tub. A cushioned kitchen chair worked great.
            I never lift a big dog out of the tub. I just let them slide down the outside of the tub- kinda hard to explain.

            Erica

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            • #7
              While I work by appointments throughout the day, if you work alone it could be to your advantage to have all dogs dropped off in the morning, and picked up after a certain time in the afternoon. Of, if that doesn't sound workable, have two drop off times, one in the morning and one at noon. Have scheduled pick up times too, noon and late afternoon. That way you won't be interrupted so often by dogs coming and going.

              Big dogs or little dogs, invest in the Groomer's Helper. As important as it is for any groomer, it's vital for groomers who work alone. It not only reduces stress, but it greatly reduces the chances of you being bitten. And while most bites are insignificant, and you can clean them up and continue working, there's always the risk of a dog really doing you some damage. Then what will you do? You're all alone, you have a serious bite and need immediate medical attention, and there's no one to help you. It pays to have something that will greatly reduce the chances of that happening.

              As for big dogs, be realistic in what you can do. There are limits. Yes, there are ways of getting the big guys in the tub if you are alone. A ramp or steps will help. You can get a lifting harness (they aren't expensive) that goes around the dog's middle that will help encourage a reluctant dog to go up a ramp or steps. If you don't have one of those, use a towel. But if you have a dog that weighs more than you do, and he really doesn't want to go up, be realistic. Don't hurt yourself. Know when to admit defeat.

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              • #8
                Where are you opening a shop?? I think it's to dangerous to work alone, if a dog turns on you , who's going to help??? I mean a big dog. If you insist on being alone, have some pepper spray just in case a dog tries to maul you.

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                • #9
                  AND remember...if you have a funny feeling about ANY size dog...remember that you DO have the right to refuse to groom the dog and give it back to the owner. my last boss took in a dog that was known to be aggressive...had to be muzzled. we couldnt get the muzzle on it and she said she had a funny feeling about the dog. okay thats fine and dandy send it home! nope owners husband came in and helped with the dogs bath. now the dog had a muzzle on because the husband put it on with no problem. i felt safer doing this dog because the guy was ACTUALLY THERE HOLDING THE DOG IN THE TUB FOR ME! but if i was to do this dog myself with a muzzle on...no way its going back. as for lifting dogs...and getting them out of the tub...you can always move the grooming table next to the tub and most dogs will willingly step out onto the table. worked wonders for me then i just move the table back to its original spot where it was...(yes i can move the grooming table (your standard one) with a 150 lb pyr on it...
                  Hound
                  ~Havin' a Hound Lovin' Good Time!~

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                  • #10
                    Wow you all made some really great points about working alone. I would have never though working alone could be so dangerous. I thought alot of people did it alone in small shops. Thanks for all the info!

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                    • #11
                      working alone

                      I writing to thank everyone for the great tips.THANK YOU!!! THANKYOU !!!!THANK YOU!!!! and also for the support.This site is great.And having all this advice at my fingertips is great also.I will invest in the tub with steps and the groomers helper.And take all your other advice about how to handle everything that goes along with it.Thank you all again you have helped more than you know.I was stressing pretty hard about it all but now I feeling better.

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                      • #12
                        working alone

                        Hi, I've been working alone off and on for a year now. I'd really rather have someone with me. All the interference. Phones-walkins- stop- start now where was I? I think it interferes with the quality of my grooming-it takes me longer to do a finish because I seem to be grooming in circles and the poor dog- what he must be thinking. The big problem is finding someone - I have one girl can only work on Sat but she can bathe a great dog - now if only I could clone her and use her for the other 5 days I'd be ok. Good Luck with your new business

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mary1980 View Post
                          Wow you all made some really great points about working alone. I would have never though working alone could be so dangerous. I thought alot of people did it alone in small shops. Thanks for all the info!
                          I know alot of others on here groom alone too. For the most part I don't mind it, being lonely bothers more than anything. I tend to talk alot with customers just becuase they're humans. I don't take dogs over 60 lbs, so I don't have any large dog issues, but there are times when the phone is ringing, customers are waiting and there's a dog in the tub and I feel a little frazzled. I could definitely use an extra set of hands, but it's manageable by myself. Everyone has given great tips, and I don't think I have anything more or better to add. I do have all the helper devices out there, use them regularly and am greatful for each of them! Good luck with your shop plans alycetaz - wish you all the best!! Keep us informed on your progress.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by milhasavilla View Post
                            I know alot of others on here groom alone too. For the most part I don't mind it, being lonely bothers more than anything. I tend to talk alot with customers just becuase they're humans. I don't take dogs over 60 lbs, so I don't have any large dog issues, but there are times when the phone is ringing, customers are waiting and there's a dog in the tub and I feel a little frazzled. I could definitely use an extra set of hands, but it's manageable by myself. Everyone has given great tips, and I don't think I have anything more or better to add. I do have all the helper devices out there, use them regularly and am greatful for each of them! Good luck with your shop plans alycetaz - wish you all the best!! Keep us informed on your progress.
                            Awww I wish I was in Virginia! Your so nice I'd come help out just to hang out with you. You always have such nice things to say to people. Thanks for even more info on working alone!

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                            • #15
                              I work mostly alone, my husband (retired) helps for a few hours. He's great for holding cats while I shave, helping to bath and blow dry, answer phone etc, but for the most part I'm alone. I've stopped taking big dogs and only have a few that I've kept because they willingly get on the table or in the tub with the help of a chair. Since I've been grooming in the same spot for eight years I've been able to build a loyal clientelle, so I rarely take new customers -- when you reach that point you don't have to be concerned about dangerous dogs because you know them all. I use the groomer's helper and also have the bar that goes over the top of the table (to hook up the belly belt). Having a safe, secure restraint system is great. I actually love working alone, listening to whatever I want on the radio or nothing at all, talking nonsense to the dogs.

                              I have all my clients come in at eight a.m. and leave as they get finished. I've arranged the shop so that no pet is ever out of my sight and I can see the door from tub or table. I do about six to eight a day and usually finish between two and three.

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