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HELP!! I am getting some new competition!

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  • HELP!! I am getting some new competition!

    Okay, I just found out today that the local Agway is putting in a grooming shop. I have a home-based business in a small town. They are right on the main road. They should be open in about a month. I am adding a self serve service which my first ad for it runs on Friday. I am afraid they may do that too when they see my ad! I am afraid I'm going to lose business, at least at first.
    I have been thinking of incentive programs to keep people coming back. Like a punch card or something. After so many grooms maybe one is 50% off. I don't know. I am really nervous!!!! I have been in business for 6 years now and have a good clientel but I know people may at least try them out. How do you all deal with the "new" competition???

  • #2
    How do I deal with competition? Seriously - I WELCOME IT! You are unique, you offer personalized service and if customers are truly loyal they'll come back to you. Dont fret over what others are doing. Upgrade to spa services,sell the spa items and good retail. I use unique bows and collar bows, lots of Barkleigh Angel Awards and I make those Pet Report Cards work for me. Where it says 'suggestions' Boy do I suggest! If they need a good brush, a medicated shampoo, should come more often...say so.

    A little stuffed free toy works wonders on new customers. Dont worry about your ad. In fact, next month place larger one!

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    • #3
      Don't worry. They may try it, but they will come back. You are offering a "personal" service something that corp. can't
      If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!

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      • #4
        When I worked at a salon, we had a simialar thing happen. A groom shop opened up in the back of the area where we were. Well this place was very convieniant for people who lived in the back of this area, so they went there, we lost business, some came back but many didn't. It saved people about 20 minutes of driving time here and 20 min back. You will just have to wait and see. It really depends on how happy your customers are, how convenient your shop is for them, and how loyal they are. Instead of offering a discount take that money and send out flyer's to potential new customers. Tell them about your business,make it fun and interesting, and different. This way you will earn a few extra clients, just in case you loose a few. I am not a big fan of giving grooming discounts you are worth what they pay if not more.

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        • #5
          Thank you for the responses. I don't really want to give out discounts but my sister suggested it and can't figure out why I don't want to do it. But I am trying to keep the clients coming back. They have been coming back for years but I do feel some will try the new place. I do already have a "Spa" type salon, I actually changed over at the beginning of the month. I think my next ad will specify more of what I offer and what each dog recieves here. Thanks for all the advice!!

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          • #6
            the problem with giving that discount is...what happens after they get that discount? Then they will expect another one. Is this a long term program you want to get into? A shop I know of is caught in a similar cycle. They started sending out coupons every 3 or 4 months to get more business in. The clients figured out that if they wait long enough, they will get a coupon in the mail. So, a large percentage of this shops grooms are now discounted because the clients who would have come in anyway without a discount now wait for their coupon before booking their appt. People start to focus on getting discounts and loose site of the services you provide. Then when they become accustomed to discounts, if they get a coupon from somewhere else they may be more inclined to take it.

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            • #7
              Try and get some rest,all will be ok I am sure! Competition is really a good thing in the long run.I realise it is hard to see the light when you think you are in a dark tunnel.I am mobile and have customers who drive over 100 miles round trip because I don't service their area! You have built up a loyal clientel and those that do stray are the bargan shoppers who will either realise that you get what you pay for;if not then they are those you could really do w/out if you catch my drift. Do not go down on price,don't offer coupons you will regret it in the long run.I think it's great to give personal add on services such as a special toy,treat,bows ect.Give that special touch so your customers know you love their furr babies as much as they do.Those little touches are something your clients will remember and cherrish.Remember the new biz will do what ever they can to attract any LIVE animal! lol They may get busy fast while alot of people will want to check out the new "kid" on the block.But you on the other hand can show that you really care and pay attention to there personal needs and give a special touch and that is worth so much more than a cheap groom,sloppy work due to overload and the impersonal get um in,get them out attitude.I truly beleive in quality vs/quanity.They will do themselves in and burn out lol! Sit back and let them do it and later down the road raise your prices,they will be locked in as the cheapo chop shop,since it will be the only way they can keep the customers they have,and those customers aren't really the ones you want anyway.Sorry so long,but just had to try and give you some peace of mind and some ideas.I love to take photos of my customers dogs while they are covered in bubbles in the tub,cute looks during the groom as well as after the grooming and my clients love it! Good luck, all will be fine.

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              • #8
                Discounts and coupons attract the cheapskates. Stick to your guns, be positive, be INFORMATIVE, and be professional. They will see it.

                Tammy in Utah
                Groomers Helper Affiliate

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by lbboop99 View Post
                  Thank you for the responses. I don't really want to give out discounts but my sister suggested it and can't figure out why I don't want to do it. But I am trying to keep the clients coming back. They have been coming back for years but I do feel some will try the new place. I do already have a "Spa" type salon, I actually changed over at the beginning of the month. I think my next ad will specify more of what I offer and what each dog recieves here. Thanks for all the advice!!
                  I think instead of giving a discount try something that won't really cost you money, like a free tooth brushing, free oatmeal bath, conditioner, etc.
                  Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job. ~Franklin P. Jones

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                  • #10
                    Yeah, people see free and they are happy, they dont know it only costs you $.13 to brush teeth or use a different shampoo. Don't discount cause like everyone said, it's a slippery slope.

                    I wouldn't worry about it. Unless you live in a teeny weeny town, there will be plenty of dogs to split between the two of you. You just upgraded to spa status, that's good, at least you didn't do it AFTER they opened their shop. I like Agways, but they have a much earthier (i.e. cheaper) sense to them ,lol. Nothing wrong with that, but the fancy schmancy people won't want to go to them, they'll want a spa. You don't have to speak badly of Agway, just treat them like you would a fast food joint vs. a nice steakhouse, or Italian restaurant.
                    Erin
                    No Fur, No Paws, No Service.

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                    • #11
                      I started out with the Free stuff like everyone has said, it worked for some people. I now give discounts for 4 weeks or less (3weeks/2weeks/1week also) BATHS ONLY, but they have to book for a year. Seems to work better and this is what has built alot of my regulars. I look at it this way the $2.00 off they get is well worth it to me to know that these people are on the books for each month and I can count on the business.

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                      • #12
                        Don't Worry!!!

                        The more businesses there are in a given field (fast food, gas stations, grooming shops...etc) the more it stimulates the economy of that given field. They have done numerous studies on this. If you have a gas station standing alone it will often be slow. If you have more gas stations opening up nearby that gas station will more than likely pick up business. Given of course that the quality of service and prices are compatible. Of course w/a personalized service like grooming you don't necessarily have to price according to the competition. Let your work speak for itself!

                        I was really worried when some of the big chains and even smaller businesses started opening near me. I felt for sure that there was no way that I could compete. I was wrong. Business is still going strong, if not even stronger. Just keep up your MO which sounds great and offer a friendly gesture to the new guy. It never hurts to have someone friendly in this business that is close by.
                        SheilaB from SC

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