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Time to groom, wondering IF I'm right here

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  • Time to groom, wondering IF I'm right here

    I am in a shop, as the only groomer, where one of our selling points is "appointment only." Meaning, there is an appointment, like at a human hairdresser, and "most dogs are done in about an hour." Most dogs meaning probably 85-90%. St. Pooodles, sheepdogs, labradoodles, some cockers, some wheatons, etc...take longer. But "about an hour" means 45 min - 1.25 hours. To me, with my experience with other groomers, I know this may seem unbelievable. (And fancy cuts, poodles, bichons = 2+ hours, I'm talking clipper cuts or clipper/comb attachment/hand scissor legs/face type here) Trust me, 3 years ago I'd have said "NO WAY."

    Please note I'm doing high quality work. Dogs spotless. I've got my certification from the NDGAA in Sporting and Terriers (and hand stripping except for the written test which is not out yet.) I rarely have an unhappy client. Most are thrilled. Luckily in the past year I've gotten a routine and generally can make this work. No cage dryers, but have fans and if people bring in 2 dogs from the same house (i.e. two westies, two scotties, 2 maltese can get them both done in 1.5 hours) will do first part, bathe, set in front of fan do the other, finish one finish the other.

    If I'm booked up I'll call an assistant in to help bathe & dry, just as I would bathe & dry (and honestly, I think sometimes this young adult may be better than I am at bathing! I drilled it in him at the beginning that I wanted them spotless, and boy they are.)

    Anyway to get to my point here, there are days I groom 11 dogs on my own, almost one at a time, and other days 15 with someone helping me. In about 8 hours. The shop I'm at is getting to the point where we are bursting at the seams (we've won some local awards, gotten press, and word of mouth has been great!), we're trying to hang in there until next Oct because in Florida the slow season is May - Nov I've explained to my boss that the way we're doing this is great, but that (In my opinion) most groomers would be shocked at this and balk at the idea of grooming one dog at a time in about an hour. Not that I'm "all that" I'm just a A personality who works at high pace, under high stress well. I have excellent communication skills and a desire to make everyone in the whole world happy. That just somehow works with this situation. And I'm telling my boss.."gee, you may have a hard time finding another groomer who thinks a dog an hour is feasible."

    I know from past working positions how NICE it is to get them all in 7:30 - 8:30 am and then whenever you are done you're done goes. Part of me really misses that. The good part is I'm not walking dogs, cleaning cages, feeding (although they will not eat), getting phone calls "is spot done'?" But at the same time I'm there until 5 or whenever the last appointment is done instead of being able to get out early. And god forbid someone be late, or early. Late throws things off, early I have to put up what I'm working on and go check the next one in then go back to the one I just put up. Luckily, somehow, it all works out.

    I guess part of what I'm getting at here is if you were to see an ad for a dog grooming position or talk to someone about one where you had to do it this way what would you think? I need some feed back. So far I've told my boss that "most groomers would think how we do things is insane." Right or wrong??What do you think.

    In many ways I like this set up, it's QUIET in the groom room this way. No, I'm not charging for expedited service, but we are a little higher than other shops in the area, by like $5.00 or so. Everything is included, dremeling nails too. The only extra charge right now is for LaPooch Medecidic shampoo - the only medicated shampoo I've found I think works well thus far. Oh, and I grade my "clients" A,B,C,D,F....D or F gets $5 - $10 extra. (I only have one "F" and if he wasn't a yorkie I'd tell the owner to take him to the vet for grooming. In my head most F's mean go to your vet.)

    What do you think?

  • #2
    I'm not sure what you want in a reply, you've told us about how you work.... ok, good for you. What are you wanting in replies? Comments on how you work?? Well obviously it works well for you, so what would comments mean!?? You think we'll be shocked?? A lot of people on here are mobile groomers, so definitely do less # of dogs a day, and I know three years ago I certainly could only do 4-6 dogs in a day too!

    I work alone now, and most dogs are done within 'about an hour' as well, and I normally do 8-10 dogs alone if they're all the generic lil pets that most of my clients are! I also answer the phone, talk to customers, take in the dogs and send them out (generally every half hour or so) so I imagine if i could fob off those jobs i could do lot more! lol!


    • #3
      If it ain't broke, etc. However, you should be a little higher than you are since all dogs are express grooms. If you want to hire another groomer to groom the same way you do, that is fine; lots of groomers work that way, but she may not be quite as prolific; she can still earn you both good money doing 8 dogs instead of 12.


      • #4
        Seems to me that you guys are operating in a mobile manner, but in a salon. I work for a mobile company and all our appts are 1 hr, if the next house is close than I can squeak some extra time in. I wouldn't have an issue working at a place like yours. I'm sure you'll find alot of groomers are willing to work in the start to finish way. The only thing you may have to take into consideration is if another groomer is coming from a cage drying setup than you may need to give them some time to work into it.


        • #5
          I think what your looking for is will it be easy to find another groomer that can work at your pace. Well it shouldn't be that hard to find a groomer that can groom at that pace it does seem that the question might be do you want anyone working with you. It seemed that you are trying to talk your boss out of hiring anyone else. I own my shop and depending on the owner some dogs come in early and stay all day while others are groomed in about an hour. I guess I'm just confused about what you were looking for there are groomers out there that will fit in with your style of grooming or you could open up to the idea that you could continue your way and let another groomer work their dogs on a different schedule if the shop has that kind of space..
          "I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt,
          and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts." - John Steinbeck


          • #6
            I just wanted to make sure there were groomers out there who see this as something they could do? I'm worried about finding people to work this way.


            • #7
              Originally posted by arlaede View Post
              I just wanted to make sure there were groomers out there who see this as something they could do? I'm worried about finding people to work this way.
              "Could" and "want to" are two different topics.


              • #8
                I would be willing to work that way.
                Bulldogs are adorable, with faces like toads that have been sat on.


                • #9
                  Why not simply remove the fact that you do one hour and fast appt from your advertising and just offer it if the client approaches you expressing concern over leaving their dog too long.

                  I have found that most of my clients are fine with leaving their dogs for a few hours, in fact many are out running errands or dealing with other appts and kids, so they do not want to go home then turn around and have to come right back in an hour.


                  • #10
                    My salon works the exact same way as yours does, except I'm not as fast as you.
                    There are 3 different kinds of people in this world: Dog people, cat people, and rational people who don't have a problem liking two things at the same time.


                    • #11
                      I did this at one place I worked and like it for the most part but it caused a problem because I wasn't working more than an eight hour day and they couldn't always schedule them to come in one right after the other and there would sometimes be a huge gap in the schedule and being as I was on commisison only I didn't appreciate being expected to hang around with no pay.

                      The only other issue with that is like you said if one person is late or you have a naughty or matted dog it throws the whole 1 hour per dog schedule off.


                      • #12
                        P.S. Since I (personally) cannot do as many dogs in a one on one appt setting vs. stacking them throughout the day, I would want my pay to reflect that. I.E. Since I am going to be earning less-if you pay commission-the prices should be a little higher so it evens out.

                        For instance, I can do 6 dogs in an 8 hour day working by myself in my current set up, and 9-10 with a bather and the dogs staying about 4 hours, as would be my experience with a traditional shop. I wouldn't want any particular shop's personal ethics to interfere with a sharp drop in pay. So if you pay commission, that might be a problem you run into if other people work the same way I do.
                        There are 3 different kinds of people in this world: Dog people, cat people, and rational people who don't have a problem liking two things at the same time.


                        • #13
                          I agree you sound like a mobile groomer's schedule. I am a mobile groomer and with exception of just a few, I pretty much only groom dogs under 40 lbs. My back is happier than it has ever been and most dogs take me an hour, give or take, like you. I am also picky and efficient. I would personally be fine with such a schedule. However, if it will be at least 2 groomers each day, why not do block scheduling instead of single appts? You know, take 4 dogs every 2 hours or whatever works for you. I think the idea of block scheduling keeps the pace but also allows room for clients that are early or late, so that it all still runs smoothly. This summer, in Arizona where the heat reaches 115 degrees steadily, I will continue my mobile service for the mornings, but will have a home salon for afternoons and plan to do block scheduling. Dogs will come in in two groups and go home as they are finished, so they will stay an hour to two hours in most cases. If you posted all this looking for advice because you are looking to hire, why not tap the mobile market? Specifically look for groomers with mobile experience. Also, make sure your rates are premium, not just $5 more than the competition! Your clients are getting express service consistently.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Doubledogdare View Post
                            "Could" and "want to" are two different topics.
                            Amen. "Could"...absolutely. I did for the first 15-20 years or so.

                            "Want to"...Hale NO, not anymore. I get just as many dogs through in a day...but it's more relaxed, laid back, dogs are less stressed (compared to the olden days), I'm less stressed, I can try some new things, and it's been the difference between me burning out and being able to continue to go forward with a genuinely upbeat attitude.

                            I used to be an "A" personality....I think I'm somewhere between "R" and "S" now. (If they had a "Whateva" personality...I could be that!)

                            I do think that whatever works for you is great...and this is obviously working, so kudos.
                            I'm sure there are others that function best w/in those parameters...I'm just not one of them anymore.
                            Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.


                            • #15
                              My salon is run in the exact same manner and I've been doing dogs in 45 mins to an hour for 8 years no problem.