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  • SO worried.

    Okay I guess I have been open 2 weeks now and I have only done 4 dogs so far. I am starting to kind of freak because I can't pay my rent on 2 dogs a week. I have done all the advertising I can afford. I still need to hit up the local vets but was holding off till I can afford to bring them some cookies or something in hand (I know it is pathetic that I can't afford to bake some cookies but I really can't). How hard was it for everyone here to get their shop started? I am just sick about my first 2 weeks. I have gotten a few calls but noone is making an appointment just calling with questions. Most the other groomers in town are booked up till x-mas from what I hear. My prices are just a bit lower then most of the other groomers but not too much. However, I have been doing a lot of craigslist advert and I have noticed what seem to be some very novice groomers poping up on there with ridiculusly low prices for grooming and bathing services, I think that may be hurting me. I have got to drumb up some bussiness this month. Last month was all exspenses with setting up the shop. I know in time my shop will catch on but til then I am freaking out. I am also very upset that Google's Local Business Center won't give me a better ranking. I am hardly showing up in the local search for dog groomers if at all. My site is SEO'ed out with the proper keywords and stuff. I just don't know what to do. Any advice? I am broke as it gets too so as soon as I have some money I will begin taking food to the vets but is there anything else I can do that doesn't cost anything to help get me though the month. I have flyers everywhere and many people talking to help send me business but so far nothing. I just want to be able to pay my rent and utilities right now. I am not trying to get rich. LOL

  • #2
    I can totally relate to this I just opened in a very small town that has way to many hidden groomers around(in home) I opened in AUG I'm not booming by any means I have managed to get a few regular monthly clients and 1 -3 new clients weekly but still not enough to keep my rent and upkeep for the salon going.Tg I have a very understanding landlord. This week I had one appointment and today I had my first No show no call.but the weather is bad today so I kinda figured they might not make it but at least call.. Ugh...To start I made up coupon business cards and placed them in every business I could think of gas stations grocery stores etc,that has been how my clients have been finding me .There are many places on the net pet related and free advertising listings available , findagroomer.com is a good start.
    What I have also done is when doing any type of supply search I come across various boards and listings many are free and I just add my free listing to them.I have found craigslist to be completely useless for advertising I got more spam from them and no actual clientele.If by chance you have a local business booklet check out their pricing, My area has this and I get a good sized ad placed for $13. a week.

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    • #3
      From what I understand, you need a business listing in the phone book in order to get better rankings with google. I've read that this is where they get their first listings from.

      I'm in the same boat as you. Really, we're rowing identical canoes. Just opened, no calls, wondering why you gotta zoom in on my street just to see the listing in google maps.

      Go post you a flyer on the bulletin boards at the vets. No food is really necessary at this point. And if you have a mobile vet in the area he could be your best friend. So try to talk to them in person if you can.

      And since we're both just sittin' in these boats, throw me a beer and don't scare the fish.
      Last edited by Jedd; 12-04-09, 04:39 PM. Reason: bad spelling

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      • #4
        I'm in the same boat with pet sitting, dog walking and in home grooming plenty of calls and emails asking for rate quotes and no call backs.

        I started my prices out a few dollars lower than other local sitters so I don't know maybe their finding really cheap high school kids or something for walking and sitting.

        In any event that is why they always recommend having six months or more of expenses saved up before you go into business because it may take at least that long to build a clientele. Not that that little bit of information is helpful to you at this point (Sorry)

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        • #5
          Take Heart

          Get to the vets and introduce yourself and ask to post flyers, even if you can't bring food. Many vets have displays and wil let you leave cards. Call the mobiles in your area. They are most likely full and perhaps could refer to you. Have you been to the other grooming salons? Ask for overflow...this may not get you anywhere but you never know. There is definitely overflow this time of year. Also boarding kennels, if they don't offer grooming many be a source. Just a thought also, there are very few cat groomers around (at least where I am) and so if you do cats be sure and let everyone know that too.

          I am thinking good thoughts for you, I'm sure many many other are here too. It will happen; over the next two weeks especially you should be getting some calls....

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          • #6
            do what fyr sais and put a page on facebook,it's free,could'nt hurt, good karma coming your way.
            ~~Everyone is entitled to my opinion!~~

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            • #7
              I have a home-based shop and it took about four months to be completely busy full time. I went to every doggie daycare, veterinary office, dog trainer, etc. to introduce myself and to drop off cards. I did not bring food, just introduced myself. I found Craigslist to be very helpful, and I have a lot of clients I got from it, but not everyone seems to feel the same about it. I would think that this time of the year would be the best time to go to all of these places and to post on Craigs List, because you can get the overflow when more established shops are full for the holidays. If you do a good job, you may keep some of these as regular clients! As far as the local online listing, I don't know about Google, but my Yahoo local listing gets me a ton of calls. Positive reviews will bump you up in the listing, so get some satisfied clients to write reviews. Best of luck to you...have patience...you'll soon be so busy you will wish that you had more time!

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              • #8
                It's actualy really odd this year I work at a big retail shop, but it's like no one really is getting their dogs groomed it seems like. I mean we have alot of bath apt, but not so much for grooming. so what we have been doing is making up flyers like free toothbrushing or conditioner for first time customers, or just giving them a really great deal, and then going out to like dog parks, other pet stores, etc to hand them out and try to convence people to come in.Another thing that we are just trying out for our selves is going to like adoption agencys or the shelter volunter a little time, and when the dogs do get adopted they always make sure to tell the pups new owners where they have been groomed. We have really only gotten about 5-6 customers this way, but its better then none. I just really think that with this economy its really hard to be just starting out. I wish the best for you, and hopefully things will pick up for you very soon!

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                • #9
                  Sweetie I am gonna be the meanie.

                  You really should have had about 6 months of savings for your household bills and shop bills saved up, cause normally Dec is crazy busy and then jan/Feb/March is DEAD

                  I would seriously get a second job, something that will pay your bills and then groom the hours you are not working that job. Do what you gotta do to get by.

                  In my area we just had 4 new groomers open in the past two months. My shop was the first and only one in town limits. Now when new shops open and they start advertising our phones get a bit quieter, the number of new clients goes way down and I know why...they have a new puppy and open the paper, classfied, go online etc and there in the face is a nice grooming ad! of course they call!

                  So what do we do? We stay competitive, we put out a larger ad (why cause we can afford to to and we want those new clients). I have a great relationship with the vet and the vet techs and more importantly the head receptionist at the office. they refer us and NO ONE else, why?? Cause we groom their dogs! Cause when we got questions we go in and ask them, we take them goodies i also send every dog with fleas through their doors.

                  We keep our skills up, make sure we are better then everyone else, we are pickier then everyone else, our shop is VERY clean and smells great, our customer service is da bomb!

                  Why am I so competitive?? Cause I have a rent to pay too, I also employ several people who depend on me to be competitive so they get paid.

                  Hope you are not my competition I don't bad mouth others, I just kill'em with kindness, quality and service.

                  When I first opened I had all the bills plus daycare heeped ontop (I pay more in daycare fees then all my shop fees!!), i also had a little stash of money I had saved up, did a couple of off jobs on side to make sure I broke even. Every penny I earned went into my shop for about a year.

                  The best advertising was word of mouth but it also too the longest. It took ever 2 years before I could say I was steady all year long. When I first opened there were only 2 other groomers about 20 mins outside of town inhome...now there are 9 of us in total...that I know of.

                  But prepare for the worst, cause winter is coming, people will be penny pinching, get a second job to MAKE sure you MAKE IT. Yes you will be literally dog tired, and you will wonder why you are touturing yourself but in the end when you pay rent and have enough for cookies you can smile and be proud of your hard work and sacrifice.

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                  • #10
                    If you have time on your hands I would go to all the local vets, pet stores, anything animal related and introduce yourself to the staff. Ask them about their dogs then offer to groom some of them for FREE. Then do a really great job. What have you got to lose? Word of mouth is your best advertising. Go to the SPCA or animal shelter and offer to groom a couple dogs for them. Then ask them to let the new adoptive parents know you groomed the dog.

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                    • #11
                      you have a beautiful facility!

                      looks like you are going for a niche client. this takes a little more time. in the mean time play with your pricing. such a cute place to have their dog groomed, now surprise them with VERY reasonable pricing and they will beat the door down to get in.

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                      • #12
                        you need a job!!

                        You really do need to have a job that will pay your bills!!!! When I first opened(a bit different as I'm home based), I had a night job and groomed whatever dogs were available during the day. That's the ONLY way I was able to pay my bills. Once I needed to be more availabe for grooming, I bit the bullet and quit my night job. I thought I'ld only have to work nights for a couple months, but it was 7 months before I had enough income out of my shop.

                        good luck!!!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jedd View Post
                          And since we're both just sittin' in these boats, throw me a beer and don't scare the fish.
                          Ha ha Yep here ya go (tosses beer and continues to fish.) LOL

                          Thanks for the ideas. I do have a facebook page but I hadn't done much as far as sitting it all up yet. I didn't think about offering to groom the vets dog for free that is interesting. I am designing some more flyers right now and my nephew and me are going to canvas the area with them on sunday. I am right between to huge old neigborhoods so there is bound to be some business in there. I figure I can cut the paper in 4ths and get four times the flyers printed up. Duh! lol

                          Thanks for all the other ideas too.

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