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Fine - I am not a good business person

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  • Fine - I am not a good business person

    I don't know what to say! I was given a business, had a tremendous holiday season, gave back by offering Xmas in January - yet, I am losing clients left and right! why? I don't have any reasons! All I know is that I am showing up for my appointments - no one is home - no one returns calls - why is this happening? I can make all of my payments - but, I would like to be successful, and I know that I operate from the heart. I befriend everyone, discount for sob stories. never miss a class to better my skills, equipment is up to date. Whatever - I will keep advertising, keep training, but very hard to stay positive when I am exhausting myself to become a successful groomer. I have been at it long enough that I have tried all of the tricks of the trade - but, I do not have the silver bullet at all. So much for my story....

  • #2
    Are you confirming your appointments? Do you call them back to reschedule if they aren't there when you show up? More info please!

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    • #3
      Guilty as charged with confirming the night before - I have not had to do that! Until now... and yes - I will call back twice to reschedule a missed appointment - but I am not getting returned calls. I just took an ad out, and my phone is ringing for new clients - but I loved my old ones! It is not adding up - these are people who were genuinely happy to see me, hugs, kisses, presents, does not add up! I am also very competitive with my rates - I go neck and neck with petsomething (my daughter manages one so I am aware of the pricing) - and I have cancelled once in the last year over mechanical issues. Don't get it...

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      • #4
        it may not have anything to do with you personally or you business sense for that matter.

        you say you were given this business, how long have you had it?

        did you raise prices when you took over?

        sounds like you are mobile, and cash is tight for a lot of people right now they may be trying a few shops instead, since they do not have the loyalty to you yet.

        jan/feb can be a slow time depending on your location and the weather.

        that said, it is rude that people are not notifying you if they do not want to keep an appnt. if these are clients of the existing business and not your clients ,that you have had for years, try not to be too concerned. some may be scoping out the competition and will come back.

        i have a new business as well and it is frustrating when it is slow, or if you seem to loose a client for no reason. keep your chin up spring is on the way, that always seems to help

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        • #5
          I know how you feel

          For myself I feel it is my lack of self-confidence and ability to portray to others the actual skill knowledge and loving care I have for animals.

          No matter how hard I try I don't feel like I make a good first impression and feel like it scares people away.

          I am just a bit shy and reserved.

          I do all the same things, go to as many seminars as I can, take pet health and first aid classes and learn every opportunity I can but feel like it is really hard to earn people's trust when your business is new. The first question always seems to be how long have you been in business.

          Or it could just be the rotten economy right now.
          Last edited by Dog Daze; 02-06-10, 05:03 PM.

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          • #6
            Yes

            Gally, I'm not understanding. Are they on your page for pre-set up appointments? And then do you call ahead as a reminder? Have you pushed pre-set dates on them but they don't reall want that? This is not making sense to me either and I know you are a good groomer.

            I have only once had someone not there and she apologized profusely about a family emergency plus paid my requested $20 no show fee the next time. I had one prank call for a set up. I've had a handful of last minute cancellations but if it's a real reason I let it go delighting in some extra time.

            Yes tell us more. They came in, they agreed for every, what 6 weeks? you set it up and then show up but no one home? You call to confirm and no return call?
            Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Briarpatch View Post
              Are you confirming your appointments? Do you call them back to reschedule if they aren't there when you show up? More info please!
              I agree with Briar. Also, people can sense a pushover a mile away. For some reason, people want to do business with someone with a backbone. Don't give a discount for anyone with a "sob story." If a new client doesn't return my call, I don't show up. Too bad. My gas is for paying customers only. Get tough. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS make your confirmation calls the night before. If it's a new client, give 'em 2 days. Make sure they return your call or you're not going to their house. Don't call them reminder calls either. You're calling to confirm the appt. It's also the way you sound on the line. I usually say, "Hi. this is Victoria from Pets And the City calling to confirm Buffy's appt tomorrow, Feb. 6th." versus, "Hi. I'm just calling to remind you that Buffy has an appt tomorrow. Are you going to be home?" I'm always upbeat and business-like. I assume since they made the appt, they plan on keeping it. If you'd like more tips, you can PM me. Also, give us more info. What is it that you need help with?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by gally22 View Post
                I don't know what to say! I was given a business, had a tremendous holiday season, gave back by offering Xmas in January - yet, I am losing clients left and right!
                Also, Who is it that you're 'giving back' to? Your whole goal is to make a profit for youself.

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                • #9
                  I have been mobile for 1.5 years. some of the clients falling to the wayside DID come from the business given to me - others have completely blindsided me! Nothing to pinpoint - some were with me for a few years (when I was home based), others found me in the fall and booked for four consecutive appts through the holidays. One was a weird one - her fifth appt - she called to say I am cancelling and thank you for all of your grooming. Of course I called back to see wtf?, but no return call. The showing up and noone there kills me - that has happened twice in the last month! I leave a card, call in the driveway - call when I get home - but after two calls I feel that it is kinda "Cable Guy/Jim Carrey" syndrome so two calls are my limit. The worst one yet is a customer who gave me her key pad code to let myself in. I called to make sure that she knew I was coming, and I asked her to call me back (divorce - husband sometimes takes the dogs) - NOTHING! I have your keypad code so you obviously trust me - can't call me back? I don't know - I am not as down as I have been about this stuff because mostly, I have had it. It is rude. Oh what, the lowly dog groomer's time is not important! So, now, if I have to keep an ongoing ad in the paper, I will! I am sorry guys - I feel that grooming customers (NOT ALL OF THEM so don't hang me for this comment) have a shelf life lately. Schools pump out tons of entry level groomers that have flooded the area and are willing to work for peanuts. Some customers want the $xxx off coupon regardless who does the work, and I really believe that loyalty is harder to come by with the economy as it is. I dunno - my vet is not cheap - but he is my guy so when I need a vet - that is where I go despite passing 6 other vets on route to him. I would love to have my customers feel that way about me! I certainly make it my business to separate myself from the average joe by working very hard to hone my skills - but, time will tell if they come back. Go back to my post on (Was it all worth it" or something like that) - bizarre that I would lose that customer! But, that seems to be in the cards right now - soooooooo, I will keep looking forward, reading the board, farming on farmville/facebook tehe, and looking in my rearview mirror when I lose someone for no good reason. That is all I can say!

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                  • #10
                    Just a hunch, but I've found that not everyone WANTS to be befriended by their groomer. They want a professional relationship with a professional. You have to be sensitive to what basis the client wants the relationship to be. Some people want to be your friend, others just want the job done with little interaction. It's the clients choice and it's possible to "put people off" by not being sensitive to their "lead".
                    A Light exists in Spring, Not present on the Year, At any other period -- When March is scarcely here...~~ Emily Dickensen~~

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                    • #11
                      I just want to give you a HUG!
                      Often our blood, sweat and tears (LITERALLY) goes unappreciated and unrecognized.
                      Praise God that we have each other here to lift us up.

                      I am sure its nothing you did or didn't do. We can try like heck to do the best job we can.. but there is ALWAYS those clients who we can not please and will go somewhere else or bad mouth our businesses.
                      I lost a client once because I didn't listen well enough to her, and I didn't have pics to show her what I wanted to do.
                      Its a funny story now, but at the time I was mortified that she was upset.
                      It was a Shih/pappion X . The previous groomer has a style all of her own... anyway this dog had the pappion ears, but the hair on them was trimmed about 2 inches all the way around the ear. The dog looked like a BAT. It looked ridiculous. I asked her how much she wanted off the ears.. she said 'a little'. I noticed the tail was long but had been pulled straight and just trimmed at the end so the hair was very uneven.
                      I left the lenght but evened the tail and not knowing how to fix those ears with out trimming them differently, gave the dog more of a westie head that I do on a lot of yorkies.
                      The dog looked adorable! I was so sure she was going to love it.
                      She did not love it.
                      She kept sayiing ''thats not my pappion' and asking if it would grow back. If I had known she wanted more of a Pappion look I could have worked with it, and helped it back into proper styling, but it was a mix and I didn't realize she thought it DID look like a pappion groomed like that. She didn't want the tail even either. I did not ask if she wanted to rebook. :{ I felt bad for days.
                      After that made a photo album and take more time to listen to my customers.

                      Anyway, please don't feel bad about losing customers. I am sure you are doing a wonderful job and they will be back.

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                      • #12
                        I looked at your grooming and it is great,so the economy is killing everyone right now, just really hitting here. I keep clients at arms distance, they actualy know nothing about me, except that I groom and am trying toget a pup ready to show.I have known some of these people for over 20 years and they care about me, I care about them but work is work , so don't get down, just keep it profesional and friendly, just not " friendly" only one client ever became a real friend.
                        ~~Everyone is entitled to my opinion!~~

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                        • #13
                          integriety your story reminds me of what happend a couple days ago at our shop. groomer asked the client did you want the same haircut as last time? (it was a 1 1/2 comb attachment, what we call a layered puppy cut). lady says yes. (it was an american eskimo). well...lady comes to pick the dog up, receptionist lets the dog out of the run and the lady loudly exclaimed...thats not my dog! we all looked up (because there was only one lilly there at that time) and the lady insisted it wasnt her dog...until the groomer went yes it is. well the lady was so taken aback by the short haircut (when it came in it had the full coat) it was a very drastic change to her. she insisted that this wasnt what she wanted at all...i took across what the lady wanted for her winter cut as just a basic tidy up trim (butt,chest,underneath and furnishings), and the groomer was going to use a longer comb on her....but oh well. the poor lady was so shocked by what her dog looked like it wasnt even funny! just a simple misunderstanding....but it does happen even to clients that have been coming in for years.
                          Hound

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                          • #14
                            Gosh, I wish I had some answers for you. You and I sound very much alike. I am very friendly with my clients. If they don't seem to want to be overly friendly, that's okay, but many ask me questions and I tell them. I have kids, I'm married, etc. Yesterday I had a client ask me to sit down to have something to drink between her two dogs and we chatted for about a half hour. It's just my personality and so far, it has served me well I guess. I have clients ask to see pics of my kids, ask how my husband is doing etc. I enjoy that kind of relationship. I had one client cancel a while back and not reschedule for months. This was someone who always wanted me to call her by her first name, who was very friendly with me, but she said she had stopped using me for a while because I had left a couple damp spots on her dogs. Now I don't remember leaving anyone damp, I really don't think I did. I think perhaps she just couldn't afford my services for a while and may have been embarrassed to say so. I'm back to doing them every 4 weeks now. I really enjoy getting to know my clients so well. It does open yourself up to a bit more hurt when something happens, like with my client. I think we all are who we are and we can't really change that. I have ADMITTED to clients I am a pushover. Yeah, talk about an unwise thing to say, but thanfully it's only been to people who have shown that they are not trying to take advantage of me. The people who tell me I don't charge them enough LOL. I admit to getting overly comfortable with many of my clients, but this is just how I am happy to work. I know my clients kids names, many times their hobbies, about their extended families. The one downside is it tends to add a lot of time to my appointments!
                            Wish I had some answers for you, but I think things will turn around. I really don't think it's you!
                            What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.

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                            • #15
                              I don't think it is you either, I wouldn't stress about it. Its the economy. People just can't afford to have this done near as often as they would like to, or need to. I have had new customers over the holidays and figured I'd have heard back from them long before now and alot have been calling just this past couple weeks to get back in. People are really waiting longer and stretching their dollars out. Its nothing like it was 5 or 6 years ago.

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