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  • the unemployed groomer..... options?

    I have been grooming for around 6 years. I feel like I am very good at what I do, and I adore my job!

    But we inherited a house from my husbands family (death in family) and we would be plum silly if we passed up this 3 bed room, 2 story, newly remodeled house on 3.8 acres out in the country. Luckily my husband does not have to change jobs! But i do

    The town I am moving in has a population of just 4,581 people and one other grooming salon that has gotten HORRIBLE reviews. I am not sure what to do. I can commute to the next town over but they would have to pay me very good because it is over a half hour drive. I am thinking of taking this opportunity to try to start my own dog grooming business. I know for a fact that I want to do this someday, i just didn't plan on it being this soon.

    I am thinking that I will work somewhere in town (not dog grooming, there are no groomers other than the horrible one) and save up money. With that money I will buy everything I need to get started grooming in my own home. BUT my home is down a very curvy road that has lots of blind spots and hills. I am not thinking I will get much business out there. It is only 7 miles from town, but still....
    I am thinking that maybe it would be a wise move to offer pick up and drop off services so they do not have to drive out of town on those roads.

    All of this time I am grooming I will be working somewhere else until I have enough clients to groom full time. And if that never happens I am fine with working somewhere else, and grooming part time.

    What do you guys think of this?

  • #2
    Perhaps finding a non-grooming job to help save some $ is a good idea (for awhile). But why not think of going mobile? Or start a house-call business (groom in the clients' home).

    You could start by doing some dogs at your home if you already have some friends in this town, then they could do some nice "talking up" about you to others in town. If you do not have any friends in the town then get your own dogs looking really nice and take them EVERYWHERE to do your own advertising. Make up some business cards on your computer and talk to everyone you meet!

    good luck and congratulations on the "new" house,
    sittingpretty

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    • #3
      I think life is presenting a great opportunity for you & you'd be crazy to not snatch it up!

      SittingPretty gave you a couple of great alternatives. I'm mobile & I wouldn't have it any other way.

      I also think you might be underestimating your potential clients if you did try to set up a home salon. I read on this board all the time about the lengths clients will go to when they find a groomer they love.

      Where do the people in town go if they don't like the in town groomer? They have to be driving somewhere else. Don't you think they might be willing to drive 7 miles for a good groomer?

      Good luck with whatever you decide!

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      • #4
        thank you for your advice. How do you groom at someone else's home!? You would get their house hairy and they dont have the right bathtub! and wouldnt the dogs act up since they were at their home?

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        • #5
          I did something similar a few years back. I started my grooming business out of the house. I only wanted to do a few a week cause the kids were little then. With all the home business write offs and making 100 percent...I didn't have to do very many dogs to make what I did before. I offered to pick up and deliver within a 10 mile radius. I charged for distances over that. A few people went for that, but most just drove to my house. When you live in rural areas, you're used to driving and it's not a big deal. I advertised in the local weekly little town paper with a business card sized ad and a $5 off new client coupon. The rest was word of mouth. My only real expense was installing a tub (hubby did that). I had just about everything else.

          You could easily start your business and work part time in town if you wanted. Go for it!

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          • #6
            I think there is a section on this board for House Call Groomers. I know there are several house call groomers on here that have discussed their businesses and how they get around the issues that you are concerned about. Do a search or start a new thread directed at the house call grooomers. I bet you get PLENTY of responses!

            Good luck w/whatever you decide and congratulations on the new home, though I am sorry that your husband lost a family member.
            SheilaB from SC

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            • #7
              I live in the middle of nowhere , not even another house for a mile , I have been doing house call grooming for almost 30 years now , I am planning to go into a shop again soon as at my age carrying the table and bags is getting harder but I have to say I like it , Most of the dogs do well at home , and many of the customers love to watch , You do have to be ready to work with what you have , I have groomed in Kitchens , baths , basements , barn , even in the washer section of an appliance store ( don't ask ) , You have to keep it simple , most of my customers just want shave downs or basic cuts, It maybe something you want to think about in your position , good luck ,

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              • #8
                thank you! I am thinking of setting up for grooming at my home AND doing some house calls sometimes. maybe I will start grooming only at my home, or only house calls. since I do not know what I want to do, it couldnt hurt to do both for a while I dont guess.

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                • #9
                  As a home salon owner, and occasional "in home" groomer I would have it no other way, its great if you can get a good boss to work for, but salon, after salon either pay was horrid (20%) or the boss was impossible i took the risk and purchased my own equipment got a decent site set up, put myself on google and i absolutely LOVE what i do now, not only is the money awesome, but i work for myself. As far as grooming at other peoples homes, I bring a metro quick draw and only the equipment/supplies necessary for the grooming process I was trained to groom without a noose, so i bath/blow dry in the bathroom and do the grooming on the island in their kitchen and have a garbage bag near by to push the hair into every few minutes. It certianly carry's its challenges, not to mention interruptions of "ooooo Jazzy..." "wuzza wuzza wooooo baxy baxton!!!" (gets the dog excited, which does NOT help,,) But you can charge extra which is great. I think if you bring better quality to the table in the new town your off to a GREAT start.

                  http://www.dogzlife.ca (new site coming soon)
                  Originally posted by ruckusluvr View Post
                  thank you for your advice. How do you groom at someone else's home!? You would get their house hairy and they dont have the right bathtub! and wouldnt the dogs act up since they were at their home?

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                  • #10
                    thank you for making me feel so good :P

                    I cant wait

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ruckusluvr View Post
                      thank you for making me feel so good :P

                      I cant wait
                      You could also try signing up for local directories such as google, bing...criagslist. But none of those will give your clients the ability to "review" and validate your professionalism. Check out talk2pros.com, it's in beta right now so listing is free. You'll be able to create a website detailing your pricing, scheduling, location...etc and also be able to communicate with other local pet professionals and clientele. What i suggest is creating a website, telling your "regulars" now to give you some good reviews. That way, when you move into your new community...you'll be able show your level or professionalism and credibility by using your "regulars". Hope that helps and goodluck!

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                      • #12
                        While I know many people that have a grooming salon in their home, and it works for them, I know it wouldn't work for me.

                        Many years ago, I worked at a boarding kennel, and lived on the property. I was AMAZED by how many people didn't respect your private life. They would call after hours, they would show up early or late, and they normally had the attitude of "well, we know you live here...and we just got in from the airport (at 10 pm !) can we pick up Buffy now?"

                        We even had one client that climbed over the locked gate to get to our front door! After that, I said I would NEVER work at the same place that I live. While it works for many people, think about it long and hard before you allow people into your private world.

                        What I do have is a nice little shop in town. When I opened it, I didn't even have a grooming table! Just my clippers, a dryer, and some vari-kennels that I picked up at a garage sale. I opened for $500.00.....Now, I realize that was 30 years ago. My point is, that I see soooo many people think they can't open unless they spend $10,000....really, you can do it for a lot less.

                        Yes, I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to make the rent....but you know what....this shop paid for itself from day one. *I* might not have made an income from day one, but I could pay the bills....and it wasn't long before I was getting a paycheck also.

                        And I'm not unusal.....I know many groomers that started out just like me...and their shop paid the bills from day one also.

                        Years ago, a groomer told me, that if the people like YOU, you will be successful. It really doesn't matter how well you groom...although that is a HUGE help, but if you are kind, and sweet, and boo-boo their dogs, they will be back.

                        How do you think the Less Then Talented Groomers stay in business? We know it's not their grooming skills....what keeps them in business is that their clients like them.

                        So, while others mention websites, etc....which are all good ideas.....I say, go downtown, find a little store front, and build yourself a business.

                        My only mistake when I opened is that I didn't realize that advertisment for the Yellow Pages had already closed. I had to spend an ENTIRE Year spending money on creative ways to let people know I was there.

                        My one big piece of advise would be to find out when you have to have your ad in the phone book and don't open until it's in there.

                        Good luck....you have been given an great opportunity...grab on with both hands and don't let go!

                        namaste....dogma

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                        • #13
                          Run for

                          city council, it may help when you do become a groomer. especially if you live near Phoenix, AZ

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                          • #14
                            If you build it (& your competition sucks) they will come...
                            "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
                            People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dogma View Post
                              Many years ago, I worked at a boarding kennel, and lived on the property. I was AMAZED by how many people didn't respect your private life. They would call after hours, they would show up early or late, and they normally had the attitude of "well, we know you live here...and we just got in from the airport (at 10 pm !) can we pick up Buffy now?"

                              This is a matter of management. I lived on premises of a kennel I managed and rarely had any issues with this. People DO respect your private life if you insist on it. Calls after hours are more often due to people thinking it will just go to voicemail than that they really expect to get you, and also, that is what Caller ID is for. They don't keep calling once they realize they are not going to reach you after hours. I never had problems with the we just got in desire to pick up, but then again, we always handled this when they checked in.

                              It is true that people will take as much opportunity as you allow them. Key is not to allow them.

                              If you are good, and you really are going to be the only "game" in town, people will drive out to a home grooming shop. In small towns, word spreads quickly.

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