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1 Gal Shop - Need Help with Process

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  • 1 Gal Shop - Need Help with Process

    Hello All,

    I have officially opened my at home shop. I've been grooming for about 3 weeks and the business is coming in steadily with very little advertising. I'm getting a little overwhelmed with the 'instant success'. Phone calls, appointments, e-mails, etc...

    Questions - how do you manage business operations stuff AND grooming? do you set aside one day for business work?

    Also, I would like suggestions on making each client drop off and pick up smoother.

    What I've decided to do to help with flow is to have only 4 set appointments times per day. 9am, 1pm, 4pm and 6pm.

    Since all are new customers - they are filling out paperwork when they arrive, talking about their pet, etc... some don't seem to want to leave.

    Does anyone have a set routine that makes their day run smoothly?

    Oh, and I don't pre-wash dogs. The get washed after their prep work, then washed.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



  • #2
    wow, how long are you working every day? 12 hours? Is that 4 days a week, I certainly hope so, you will get burned out very quickly doing that 5 or more days a week. I would also try to make less pick-up/drop offs, as in 2-3 a day. If you were working 8 hours I would do 2 drop offs, one @ 9am and one @ 1pm, if you are working 12 hour days, 3 drop off times, 4 hours apart would be feasible. Just remember, the more drop off times you have, the more your process will get interrupted. As far as customers hanging around, you have to end the conversation, plain and simple. Either give them a pick up time and say see you then, or get their phone # and say ok, well I call you when fluffy is done, we'll see you later. I really don't know how to tell you other than that, I don't have a problem w/ people wanting to stick around, and honestly if they do, I tell them they have to stand where the pet can't see them as that makes it dangerous to groom. They are never allowed back in the grooming area. Also, remember that if your business is starting to roll well, you might think about employing a bather, you will be able to get more dogs done every day and will have help w/ the pick-up/drop offs and phone calls.
    I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.


    • #3
      I am a

      one person shop as well, for 21 yrs now. I have everyone drop off between 9 and 10 am and tell them its first in first out, with the first going normally around 1pm or so, all are prewashed if not matted. It turns out like a little assembly line for me, when Im done bathing everyone if the first one is not dry I force dry and complete the groom. Most days I finish well before the call time and I get them out early. Do to where we are at I have a lot of dogs that stay the day while moms go shoping and such. I think you will find your style with time as you get to know the dogs and have a idea how long each one normally takes, and then you can adjust pick ups. More often I give them pick up times because I tend to forget to call them, once Im in the groom zone all bets are off with my brain and remebering things. Hope this helps I havent had my coffee yet Dawn


      • #4
        I can only tell you what works for me, but your groom times seem awfully long. My business "paperwork" is all done on myt laptop. It goes in the house with me each night and I will take care of the business there if I did not have time during business hours. I figure each full groom taking 1-1.5 hours. I groom 7-8 dogs per day. All but one appt. arrive between 7:30-9:00 AM. I allow 1 appt. at 12:00 if need be. All dogs go home in the order in which they arrive and I call the owner when the pet is ready. They start going home at 11:30. EVERY dog is bathed before grooming. My shop is small enough that everything is visible from on spot, so if I have a client that wants to talk, I just go ahead and keep grooming (another pet, not theirs) while they chat. If they stay longer than a few minutes, I get out a wet dog and start HV drying, that usuall gets them to leave, especially if you can blow the dog hair in their
        Lisa VanVleet, RVT


        • #5
          I agree with everyone...that's a looong day!

          I usually do 5-7 and am sometimes finished as early as 2pm. I take 2 in at 9am and then one every hour after that. Pickups depend on breed and degree of difficulty.

          I only work Tues. - Fri. Mondays are for deep cleaning and paperwork. Don't work weekends, evening or any holidays.

          I have a reception room w/ my desk, computer (I use a groomer software program), debit machine, printer, kennels for finished dogs, cubbys for leads/collars, and seating for waiting clients. I have a grooming room with more kennels for dogs in various stages of the grooming process and all my gear, another for bathing and another for laundry and storage.

          It's easier for me to have the finished dogs in the reception area and just process them out from there. All of my pickup times are "anytime after". I keep a kennel close to the grooming table so that when I hear the bells on the door jingle, I can put the dog I'm working on away quickly and go to reception. I can see the front door from my bathing room.

          Bluetooth makes answering the phone while working a breeze or I just let it go to voicemail.

          Over head is so low that this arrangement allows me to make a fulltime income while working part-time hours.

          Hope some of this helps ;-)

          After rereading my post i realized I didnt address all of your questions...

          I DO wash all dogs first unless they're extremely matted. I have old blades for those dogs. Pre-washing will save time and wear n' tear on your equipment.

          Try to get all the client's info on the phone when they book and preprint the paperwork at the end of your day so they can just sign and go.
          Last edited by fiveoclockdog; 02-27-10, 05:00 PM. Reason: Added information.
          "The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind"-Theodorus Gaza


          • #6
            So ----

            When you say you have been grooming 3 weeks, I suspect that you mean exactly that, am I correct? In other words, you have not groomed before and have opened up at home and have been doing this only 3 weeks, right?

            Just guessing due to your groom times, comments, etc. I think only experience may help you, really - give it about 18 months or so, and certain things will be much easier, and your questions will be answered by your experience. Our answers now will not work for someone so new at this, because our times are different and our attitude dealing with customers is different. We know that we know what we know, which gives us a different aura/energy than a brand new groomer trying to get customers.

            So what seasoned groomers do will not really work for you, I think - until you get "seasoned", lol.


            • #7
              I agree with what Debbiedogs said. It will take you time to get a routine down that fits you.

              I just want to congratulate you for your new business.

              I work at home and just love it!
              "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."


              • #8
                Everyone else has given you ideas on scheduling,, so I'll pass on that, but looking at your web site ( which looks really good!) I noticed you offer tooth brushing and talk about preventing periodontal disease as a grooming feature. That sends up a red flag for me. Only a vet or a licensed vet tec working under a vet can do a proper dental on a dog. There have been many discussion on this board about the pros and cons of offering tooth brushing, personally, I have decided to stay out of dog mouth. From what I have read, you can do more harm than good, and a once a month brushing isn't going to help prevert periodontal disease. What happens to your business when a client who has paid you evey month to have their dogs teeth brushed finds out their dog needs a $700 dental from a vet??? You could offer "breath freshing" as a add on with out messing in the dogs mouth.


                • #9
                  Rudy good start, I do'nt like the royal'we' if it is a one gal shop loose the 'we' list WHO you schooling with, and certifying with,that is very important to me. As in all fields some are better than others.
                  ~~Everyone is entitled to my opinion!~~


                  • #10
                    I don't know if the post was edited, as I see nothing of how much time it is taking you. I just wanted to ask why you are roughing in before washing? Putting a dog straight into the tub will save a lot of time and also wear and tear on your equipment. I know I learned to rough in everyone first years ago, it was just the way it was done. Took me a while to get used to bathing first, but now I would hate to go back to how I was doing it. Your equipment will also impact your time as well. A good dryer is worth it's weight in gold. I see you are very new to the grooming field, so welcome aboard. It's a wonderful journey you've begun. I love what I do. Speed will come with time, don't push yourself too hard in the beginning. Learning how to do it right is much more important that learning how to do it fast. Best of luck with your salon! If you have any, I'm sure we would all love to see some pics of it.
                    What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.


                    • #11
                      You will find that there is a lot less flexibility when working alone since everything is your responsibility.

                      It took me a while to work out my own system. I try to get all my appts in before noon and stagger them.

                      For example, if a Cocker comes in at 8 am I figure the dog will be bathed by 8:30. I will schedule the next dog's appt at 8:30 am. This way I know the I will have time to do a bath/quick dry and place the Cocker in a cage to sit before I have to go take in dog 2. Once dog 2 is in, I place it in the tub, bathe towel dry, and place in cage. I then go back to dog one, dry it, and finish the groom. Then it's back to dog 2 to finish drying, etc, etc. If a client arrives early and I am still washing a dog, I simply have them walk back and place their dog in a cage, so I do not have to place a wet dog in a cage, and leaving a dog in the tub is not an option.

                      Part of getting this rotating schedule to work comes with being able to accurately judge how long it will take to bathe, dry, and finish each individual dog.

                      Cage dryers are a valuable tool when working alone, but should not be used on dogs that require fluff drying for a correct finish.

                      Before the client leaves I give them an "any time after" pick up time.

                      While working on a dog I keep my phone and appt book at arms reach at all times - this way you are not constantly having to get up and go deal with calls and appts.

                      It can be quite the juggling act, but once you get a system down it all flows.

                      Dogs that must stay for most of the day allow for a more lax schedule, but many of my clients do not want their dog staying for extended periods.

                      I sit down at the end of each day and spend about 5-10 minutes doing paperwork.
                      Last edited by D'tails; 02-27-10, 08:47 PM.


                      • #12
                        It's because you are just open that people want to chat. They want to get to know you a bit first and I don't blame them. Once they know you, and you know their pet, they will be happy to just drop "Fluffy" off and be on their way. You need to earn their trust first. Those extra minutes spent now will reward you later on. Have fun! I love my home biz.
                        Old groomers never die, they just go at a slower clip.

                        Groom on!!!


                        • #13
                          I agree with karla, take your time and get to know your clients. I hate really busy days because I think my customer service and grooming suffers. Don't take on too much at one time. If business is booming you will be able to be selective. If it gets to be too much raise your prices. Take things slow so you don't make fatal mistakes that cost you later. Also think about having an open house or attending a pet related function in your area. That will give you a chance to talk to new clients when you have time. Also think about getting someone to help you bath. I get my mom or another girl I know to come in on busy days. Good Luck


                          • #14
                            $700 dental????

                            OMG I hope that is just a random number for a canine dental ,WOW the clinic i work for charges about $200 with pre anestetic lab work .
                            sorry to take over the post ..i could not get past that

                            Good luck with your shop I am a 1 person home operation and groom 2 days a week ...I groom 7-9 daily pre booked clients only .The rest of the week I work for a veterianrian as his assistant


                            • #15
                              [QUOTE=janelle;395087]OMG I hope that is just a random number for a canine dental ,WOW the clinic i work for charges about $200 with pre anestetic lab work .
                              sorry to take over the post ..i could not get past that

                              Sorry,,,, I did just pull a number out of the hat,,,, but I did have one client who had been quoted $500 by her vet. My point was, if she is promising good dental heath from her grooming and a dogs need lots of dental work, isn't she opening her self up to possible problems????