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Pre Booking NO WAY

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  • Pre Booking NO WAY

    OK. my dear fellow groomers there has been much talk on this forum about pre-booking, My customers come back but NOT on a pre-booked appointment, they all tell me the same thing I will call you for the next appointment and they do but it's not something I can put in my appointment book before hand. It seems most people don't like to pre-book because they really don't know what they are doing 5,6, 8 weeks ahead, and also If I do pre-book even a week in advance something never fails to screw it up: something came up, they forgot, the dog is sick, they are sick and so on. So my question is how are you pre-booking and have people keep their appointments on a timely fashion that far in advance. Again I find that people that call a day or two in advance those show up on time 99.9% of the time
    What am I missing here........ or am I ??

    I will be reading all your post on this subjuct.


  • #2
    Well usually i dont suggest it as much for new clients but older clients who usually come every 2, 4 or 5 weeks on constant base i suggest them to prebook and then they will save 5 dollars. Then two days before their appointment they get a reminder call from us saying "Hey, this is you a reminder call foufou has a appointment with us ..... at .... did you need to reschedule or willl this appointment be fine?" and usuallly we dont have any problems ocassionally we have someone no show but not very often. We have more that call the day before set up the appointment and then dont ever show.


    • #3
      Okay, I have the majority of my regular clients on a pre-set schedule. Along with verbally telling them when their next appointment is at pick up, I call them the night before to confirm the appointment.
      Yes, there are those who forget, get sick, or whatever but they usually reschedule the appointment. My clients will actually schedule other things AROUND the grooming appointment.
      I've had a few cleints try pre-scheduling appointments and have it not work out for them and that's okay. I'd rather they call when they know they can make it than to keep rescheduling them and wasting my time.
      We also give reminder calls from time to time if we haven't seen somebody in a while and let them know it's time to make an appearance.
      Depending on the length of time in between the appt's depends on the discount the clients get and also being on a schedule guarantees their day and time.
      Last edited by Moonpiepoodlz; 12-29-09, 02:10 PM.
      ~*~*~Shawn, C.M.G.~*~*~
      Apparently common sense isn't all that common
      *~*~emipoo on egroomer*~*~*


      • #4
        Practically all of my clients pre-book whether it is a 2, 4, 6 or 8 week client, they know that is the only way they will get an appt when they want it. Maybe you are being too "accommodating" to your clients when they call and want an appt today or tomorrow. I wonder what would happen if when they called and wanted an appt within a couple of days if they had to wait for a week? Maybe that would inspire them to prebook? I have had to do that to a few clients who did not want to schedule in advance then when they called they wanted their dogs done the next morning. "Sorry, the next AM appt I have available is next Tuesday, do you want to reserve that time?" If they think they can call and you can fit them right in, what is the reason for them to pre-book?

        Also are you doing reminder calls at least 48 hours ahead of the appt? That will head off some of the no shows & "I forgot" excuses. Do you have a last minute cancellation/no show policy posted? That helps to nip some of the cancellers when they know they will be charged a cancellation fee if they no show on their appt.

        These are just a few suggestions, I am sure you will get lots more.


        • #5
          You should start this new year with a new policy

          Increase your prices a few $ and make your clients aware that their price will stay the same if they PRE-BOOK and hold that appointment. Call it a VIP program or something like that, but make it WORTH them prebooking. I'd also recommend getting them on a 6 week or less schedule if you can, but just getting them in the habit of prebooking is your main goal. I also agree with not making it so easy for them to get in.


          • #6
            Hey neanea...that's a really good, simple and straightforward way of introducing it.

            I have about 50 clients that prebook their entire years worth of appts. and keep 98% of them. And.....I never, ever make reminder calls. Don't have the time.
            They use a calendar/schedule I specifically make up for this it means I have to decide a year in advance which blocks of time I want to "take off" and X those dates out as unavailable for appts.
            The client fills in the dates they want, write the dates on their calendar, and mail the marked calendar back to me to be filled into my book.

            Honestly...I think my "compliance rate" is so good because otherwise clients know they may have to wait 3 to 5 weeks for an appt if they just call out of the blue, not because I really push this way of doing it.
   that is kind of directly tied into what the others were saying regarding availability.
            Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.


            • #7
              My customers did not use to pre book their appointments with the exception of my weekly & bi-weekly clients. Now that I am booking between 2 weeks and a month in advance most of them pre book. When they have no problem getting an appointment I don't think they feel the need to, but when it is harder they don't want to miss out. As far as them keeping that appointment I have a no show fee and that helps them to not forget. I will call 15 minutes after their appointment to see if they are coming, but if they don't it goes to the no show list.


              • #8
                99% of my clients pre-book their appts. I had some "training" in selling in a prior career choice. I was taught never ask a client a "Yes or No" question. They will always take the "no" way out. So I ask each new client on check out, "How often would you like Fifi groomed?" Most will ask what is normal or suggested. Some will say they will call when ready, to which I reply, "call about 6-7 weeks ahead of time since I am booked out that far during the busiest times of the year". They usually say, "then I may as well set something up now." After that I will have a client's appt. card made out for them when they come to pick up. I usually will point out the date and ask if it is o.k.. I sometimes call the night before if they client is new or has missed an appt. in the past, but most of my regulars are very dependable. The nice thing is the phone usually doesn't ring unless it is someone wanting to be a client, but I'm not accepting any new clients at this time.
                Lisa VanVleet, RVT


                • #9
                  Originally posted by puppy love View Post
                  Practically all of my clients pre-book whether it is a 2, 4, 6 or 8 week client, they know that is the only way they will get an appt when they want it. Maybe you are being too "accommodating" to your clients when they call and want an appt today or tomorrow. I wonder what would happen if when they called and wanted an appt within a couple of days if they had to wait for a week? Maybe that would inspire them to prebook? I have had to do that to a few clients who did not want to schedule in advance then when they called they wanted their dogs done the next morning. "Sorry, the next AM appt I have available is next Tuesday, do you want to reserve that time?" If they think they can call and you can fit them right in, what is the reason for them to pre-book?

                  If I did that to my client base they would go elsewhere. It does NOT inspire my base, which is an awesome base mind you, to prebook, it tells them I do not want their business or that I do not value them as a client.

                  I am more lenient than many, but I am busier than a lot. I just go with the flow. If I get booked up great, if I dont I take what calls to come in.

                  This is a SERVICE INDUSTRY. We are in business to serve our client base. That does not mean they should walk over us, but it does mean we need to be aware that their needs and schedules are as important to us as ours is!

                  I agree with Nea about discounting those who do prebook. I do that. I simply charge more for those who go longer. Many of my cliens are on monlhty (roughly) schedules or even more often that that, but many call the morning of or the day before. It works for me. I have a large following and am always booked year round, even if its only day to day. My business never slows down and we are h appy with it the way it is.

                  If they are coming back and they are happy, you are making money, then go with it. If it really bothers you, be prepared to lose a few clients you think are important. Because if you change policies that drastically abruptly, then you WILL lose some.
                  <a href="" target="_blank">My Blog</a> The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain


                  • #10
                    All my customers prebook or they can't get in when they want. I don't want to be sitting wondering what kind of week am I going to have and if 20 people will call in one day and want to SAME day. Too much for me to think about, it's simple for them to prebook , they get the time and day THEY want and I call them the night before. No discount for prebooking.
                    I do have a few changes but nothing I can't deal with. I have about 10 NS a year.


                    • #11
                      Where there is a will there is a way

                      Dear Ann221,

                      The "Preferred Client Program" from "From Problems To Profits" doubled my business when we first instituted it. I put my own spin to it and have been teaching groomers all over the world how to do it. It works.

                      If I see a person walking their dog I give them my business card and on the back it says 10% off to new clients for their 1st grooming. I hand my cards out at churches, banks, libraries, grocery stores, restaurants and any community functions like Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary, or wherever I am and hear someone talking about their pets (which is about everywhere).

                      It goes like this: Raise your prices 10%. Then offer clients first groom for 10% off. If they rebook when they checkout from their last grooming they continue getting the 10% off.

                      For groom dogs they have to book within eight weeks and bath dogs within 12 weeks. It turns some groom dogs from booking 4 times a year into booking six times a year and some bath dogs from 2 times a year into 4 times a year.

                      My appointment book was starting to fill up faster and faster and I still took walk-ins too. If they fall off the booking schedule they lose their discount and pay the increase.

                      I also use it to keep good clients by giving them their discount when they have a problem like not being able to meet the schedule to a "T". They ask can I still get my discount?

                      I make a lot of loyal customers by bending my own rules and they appreciate it and what did it cost me absolutely nothing but my good will which I get back from them in spades.

                      You cater to your preferred clients everyone else pays top dollar!

                      You lost nothing by doing this and you successfully increased your prices 10%. THE PEOPLE WHO BOOKED IN ADVANCE ACTUALLY ARE PAYING LESS WITH THE DISCOUNT the rest like your walk-ins are paying more. If they want the ability to come in at a moments notice they pay for it through the increase or book in advance and save. Everybody wants to save. The key is to try and turn all your clients into Preferred Clients.

                      We also printed up some twenty-dollar bills (they are much larger then real twenties) with a poodle head instead of the president and on the back it says,

                      "New customers receive $20 Off Grooming Services with this coupon. Give this coupon to a friend so they can try The Pet Salon and save! You will also receive $20 off your next groom when you refer a friend. Please print your name in the above box before you pass this coupon along.

                      The kindest gift we can receive is when one of our satisfied customers refers us to one of their friends or family. Thank you for your support and we look forward to your continued satisfaction. The Pet Salon 3 S. Franklin Avenue Margate, NJ 08402 or call 609-822-6366 To Schedule An Appointment.

                      Work your business or your business will work you. If you let your customers run your business and appointments you become a slave to them. If you run your business you have a chance to make it anything you want. Increase their frequency and their referrals. We have to train our employees and our clients!

                      With the Groomers Helper and some neat tips and tricks we will have you working half as hard for twice as much or you can do it your way by saying "no way" and work twice a hard for half as much. J/K Try it, who knows it may work for you. What do you have to lose?

                      No way, I say where there is a will there is a way.

                      Good Luck and Godspeed,

                      Last edited by Chuck; 12-29-09, 04:31 PM.


                      • #12
                        Hail, Hail the great SAGE advice

                        I couldn't have said it better, oh great and wonderful SAGE. I much prefer pre-booking and getting a book full of appointments than the original way of figuratively chasing my tail for customers. Those who appreciate your work will not hesitate to pre-book. We offer a discount on services, exclusive Saturday appointments, and discounts on selected products and we still make money.

                        I highly recommend the Problems to Profits book, even for a mobile grooming operation.

                        "With God's help, all things are possible!"
                        Laura Lee Ray
                        I am kats_melody on eGroomer. Follow my Twitter tweets - @ZOOMGROOM on


                        • #13
                          I wish I had a printer

                          I'd print out Chucks suggestions. But I will hand write this and post it near my business phone. I tried to get a new happy (lives close) client to schedule for 4-5 weeks as she said she wants. I didn't have my book in hand, but in the rig. She said she will call me. I would love to know what my schedule will be up to March or beyond IF they really all kept those appts. Some always pre-book many never do. it is like I ma I can just feel when it is time to hear from susies' parents. I got a call for Minnie and I felt it was time, and sure nuff, it was.

                          I can see this year is going to be full of great do-betters. We can all encourage each other to have the business we want.


                          • #14
                            I have a moderate core of people who prebook and many regulars who call for appointments. Because I am a person who can't stand pushiness from people whose services I hire, I would never feel right handing someone an appointment card with a day and time on it. Even for those people who come here every ____ weeks without fail, I always ask the question, "six weeks again?".

                            People who prefer to just call each time know they may wait 2 - 3 weeks. Sometimes longer, sometimes less. If they seem to not be happy with the wait each time, I might gently suggest they could prebook. Many of them don't want to do that but learn to call me a little sooner.

                            I fail to see how this method makes me work harder. I work the same hours each day regardless of how long ago someone booked their time. Similarly, I fail to see how this means my customers are running my business. My days and hours are available to anyone who calls; it matters not if they called two days ago or prebooked weeks ago. I don't go out of my scheduled time for anyone unless I want to do it, and the reason I sometimes want to do it is because I charge an emergency fee.

                            Almost nothing annoys me more than the feeling that I am being "worked" by some overeager business person who I suspect is following a "program" or has been coached in how to handle and talk to customers. It usually comes off as superficial and I will shut down immediately. This includes having them ask me "when" rather than asking "yes" or "no". To me, the assumption of the "when" question is disrespectful.

                            I'm not discounting these methods; I guess they do "work" (for some) but because I don't like them used on me, I wouldn't want to use them on people.

                            I must be doing something right. I work the days and hours I want to work, I stay busy and I have tons of repeat business.
                            The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson


                            • #15
                              I didn't implement any "program," the clients simply have no choice or they can't get in. When I first started, I had zero clients, not ONE!

                              Then it slowly started to turn into regulars that would call and make an appointment that was good for them. Then it got to where I was booked out a week, so they'd have to wait a week or so longer and that was fine. Then I became booked out 2 weeks. Then 3, then 4, and it was not by my doing, it was just a larger clientele.

                              It happens NATURALLY if you have one employee (me, in my case). The only way NOT to have this happen is if you refuse to prebook any appointments, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Now, if there is more than one employee, obviously, the business will keep growing. But if you're on your own, and you are growing your business, eventually it will just happen, because your clientele grows so large.

                              So, right now I am booked out about a month, and I am at full capacity for new clients, though some just get tired of having to prebook and go elsewhere and I understand that, it wouldn't work for me, either, as a customer (I'm a sucky client! Just ask my hair dressers!) Anyway, because of being booked out, I had the hospital hire another groomer, now she is booked out a ways too.

                              So, to the OP, if your grooming is good (and I don't mean perfect, just clean, symmetrical looking dogs, lol), you will begin to book up, but it takes a year or two (or even 3).

                              Oh, one other option. Doctors will often pre-book many appts. but leave a few spots open for walk-ins. You can always do that, too, just FYI. So don't worry about people not booking as they walk out the door. If you do a nice job and they like and trust you, they will come back! And the more that come back, the more they will learn they must pre-book or they have to wait too long.

                              Tammy in Utah
                              Groomers Helper Affiliate