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  • What Would You Do?

    Here's the situation. My good friend has a really nice boarding/grooming kennel and she's always busy. Her place is really nice and about 15 years ago, I went to work for her. She taught me how to bathe, brush and check in clients. All was good. I have since worked for several places including being a vet tech for our local veterinarian for several years, to running my own kennel for a dog grooming school for about 7 years. Needless to say, I have lots of animal experience. I went back to work for my friend after being home for 3 years with my second child. During the time I worked for "Jenny" I checked in dogs for boarding and grooming, bathed in a pinch, cleaned kennels, ect. She recently thought about opening up another salon nearby and thought she would be in need of groomers. I told her I would be glad to go to school since grooming is the only thing I haven't done as far as working with animals. She thought it was a great idea and even told me which school to go to. Well, Jenny's plans of opening up another salon fell through and so she thought she would expand. She assured me she would have room for me. Well, my very supportive husband told me to go for it and we got a loan for me to start school. After I told Jenny this, she seemed to get a little stand offish. I would have to quit working to go to school and asked Jenny if she could let me work weekends so we could make ends meet while I was in school. I never got an answer from Jenny, so I had to get a job at night at a local fast food restaurant. No big deal. One night while at Jenny's I told her I didn't want to step on her other groomers' toes and maybe I can start on weekends. (She has 4 groomers including herself) Jenny proceeded to tell me that she didn't plan on giving up her spot (even though she constantly complained about having to groom) and I would just have to wait until someone quit before I was able to groom at her shop. Since I paid for grooming school, I thought about working for another groomer, but I would have to drive about 25 miles out of town. So I've decided to go mobile once I graduate. I've put a lot of thought into this endeaver and don't think I'm going into it "blind" since I've got years of dog handling under my belt. In the meantime, Jenny finally called to see how I'm doing after being in school for two weeks. In speaking to her, we got on the subject about other students in the class who plan on opening up a shop in the town they live in. She told me she was shocked that my instructor would encourage someone opening up their own shop fresh out of school. Here's the problem. I literally live around the corner from her shop and still plan on opening up my mobile unit. I didn't tell her my plans, but after looking at my options, this is going to be a great option for me. I plan on going a little furthur out of town so that I'm not in direct competion with her shop, but now I'm in an awkward position. What would you do?

  • #2
    You sound, from your description, like you're confident and that you are a hard worker. Jenny sounds like a friend that really watches her own back.

    I would go mobile, and if people from her/your area need grooming it's fair game. No need to be a "competator," because you can tell her that mobile isn't for everybody, and (if you want) you will definitely send customers HER way if they decide they don't want to use YOUR services. There doesn't have to be anymosity between you, there are plenty of dogs to go around.

    I think it's great that you have a supportive husband, and that you could actually go to a school, and that you are able to go mobile. CONGRATS! Just go for it, Jenny will take care of herself and if she's truly a friend she will be happy for you. She may have some worries in the back of her mind but if she really runs a good business, she wont need to worry about the competition too much.

    Tammy in Utah
    Groomers Helper Affiliate

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    • #3
      From what I understand (trying to go mobile myself) mobiles and stationaries serve a different crowd. Mobiles seem to be used more by super busy people who don't have time to get to the groomer's, or the older people who can't go at all. So I really don't think you'll be stepping on toes THAtTmuch anyway. You're not a groomer for her now, so there's no "no competiton contract" she can have you sign. I'd definitely recommend the "Notes From The Grooming Table" as your grooming bible. I've heard that "From Problems to Profits" is a great business book too, for groomers. I'm trying to save $ for another Pet Edge spree to include that. Keep your mouth zipped about your going mobile. It sounds like your friend could get a bit snippy about that too.
      Good luck!

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      • #4
        well speaking from experience. I had what I thought was a good friend that had a boarding kennel and grooming shop. We training dogs for fiend trials together for about 2 years and I worked in the kennel and helped her groom. I was a bather for her and watched her every move with grooming, so I picked up a lot. I asked her to teach me and she said no it would take years. So, I made another friend that tought me. I went mobile and ran into my old friend. She found out and snubbed me off. I referred kennel clients to her and when my last client was there she asked them if they wanted the dog groomed and they said no and told her who there groomer was. When they went to pick up their dog, the owner of the kennel was SO rude to them. Told my customers they only knew me because I bought a dog off of them. I stayed at their house while they were at nationals on the other side of the country and delivered puppies for god's sake. Heck of a friend she turned out to be. So, I would not worry about Jenny. For she was not worried about you having a job. Take care of #1.
        If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!

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        • #5
          Thanks girls. That really helps alot. Yes. Jenny can get pretty "snippy" and that's an understatement. While working for her, she would get VERY snippy at me to the point of I would seriously think of quitting just so we would be able to remain friends. I think the worst part of this is that I got my feelings hurt because I originally was going to school so I could help her out. She offered to have me run her business as she is planning to retire in about 8 years or sooner and wanted me to learn the ropes of her biz so I could evenually take over. I also remember what happened when a girl who used to work for her opened up her shop way in the next town and Jenny was very hurt and now talks badly about this person.

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          • #6
            Jenny will one day learn that it's not fair to expect NO ONE to open another grooming business and that you're not going to kill her business. If she's that good, and good at business, she has nothing to worry about.

            And neither do you, go mobile and be proud.

            Tammy in Utah
            Groomers Helper Affiliate

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            • #7
              I say GO FOR IT! You have to watch out for you and your family. Like others have said there are plenty of dogs to go around. I too would keep it to yourself for the time being. I personally would not go into business with a "friend" especially one that has not always been very kind. Sounds like she is good at taking care of herself no matter the cost and as long as things are going her way all is good, butyou may need to be prepared because in the end you may loose the friendship.

              Good luck to you. Scoop

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              • #8
                Thanks to EVERYONE!! I really appreciate the great advice! All the comments are pretty much what I needed to hear. It's just going to be weird having my trailer parked on my street while her shop is like I said, literally, around the corner. I know I'll have to deal with possibly losing a friend, but then, I guess like most of you have stated, if she does turn on me, she was no friend.

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                • #9
                  i say get over the wierdness of having your trailer parked right there on your street while her business is right around the corner. if YOU dont do it someone else will...either she will get an idea in her head about starting to offer mobile services...the other 3 groomers will get tired of her and quit and either A) work someplace else or B) open their own business's themselves. and hey...you might gain the clients that go to her...they might ONLY be going to her because she is close by, she offers boarding along with grooming...there are no other groomers in the nearby area..and if they come to YOU and like YOU better than HER then it just goes to show that the clients prefer you over her...and if she loose's business because of it its not YOUR problem..its not like you forced the clients to choose. i say go for it...and who cares what the heck she says...i dont know if the people who own the larger chain stores have problems with this LOL! i dont think the walmart is going to care that a target just opened across the street LOL! personally if she has a problem with it...tough crapola to her and send her packing on her way out the door! if she wants to badmouth other groomers in the area...well it just goes to show what type of person she is...i mean who really wants to go to a groomer or a store or doctor or whatever type of business where the owner sits around trashing the other same type business's. she might actually be worried that you would try and take over her business...OR that the clients prefer YOU to HER and that she will LOOSE those clients if you do decide to open your own business later on down the road (say if you had worked in place of her grooming). so its better and easier for her to be snitty and say you would have to wait for one of the other groomers to leave than to let you come on and work in place of her.
                  Good luck with your new mobile unit and your new business!
                  have fun,be safe, and give tons of love out to those darling poochies!
                  Hound

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