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  • I'm wondering

    how long it took you home groomers to build up your clientel base.

    I don't expect any miracles but I have lost more clients than I expected in relocating to the point I only had TEN dogs this whole week. It's hard to pay those bills that way. A sign will be up in the yard tomorrow and coupons will be getting dropped off Monday at the local vets.
    Fortunately I don't have any overhead really to pay but I still have rent, food, and utilites to pay for.

    Any input from you home based groomers
    ~*~*~Shawn, C.M.G.~*~*~
    Apparently common sense isn't all that common
    *~*~emipoo on egroomer*~*~*

  • #2
    I had a good many of my clients of 11 yrs follow me to my home based shop but when I hired michelle it took about 6months to get enough for her too. One thing i did when I moved was sent all my clients a short news letter about the move and a discount coupon for their first groom. Not all used the coupon and about 1/3 came back but to the new shop. Only a few didn't stay saying it was too far out of town. The next thing I did was ask my clients to give my card to someone or recommend me to someone ant tell them to mentions the client as their referral and then I gave my client a discount on there next groom. I put several photos of shop and my dogs in local paper and also had some of my clients and mine and Michelle"s dogs colored and decorated in the local Christmas parade. Basicly anything to get my dogs and the shop attention so the public new we were here.

    Be patient, I know this is hard when the bills are piling in, but they will come.

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    • #3
      It took me about 3 yrs. to become quite busy, it's been almost 7 and I'm doing an average of 6 dogs/cats a day 5 days a week which is comfortable enough for me to pay bills, I'm not getting rich by any means but at least I'm doing what I truly love. I had no advertising other than the sign at the end of my driveway and I had some magnetic signs on my vehicle. Almost every bit of business I have has been by word of mouth. I live on the outskirts of town which is why I'm worried about someone starting a new business right IN town. Mostly, the customers want their dogs treated like babies and to look nice. Also, this is just a little thing but it has been mentioned to me, taking the dogs out to relieve themselves is something A LOT of people have mentioned to me. One lady started going to this person who is starting in my town, she was working at my friends kennel about 7 miles away, she came back to me and she said it was convenience that made her go somewhere else in the first place but she came back because her dog had to stay in a crate all day and was never taken out to pee and the day she picked her up and she was soaking wet with urine was the day she knew she wasn't going back there but coming back to me. This is what has worked for me I hope it works for you. And believe me, everyone thinks the $ I make is in my pocket because I work from home, but they have no idea that I can't use all of my expenses, they take a percentage based on the size of your shop, and really, the electricity I use is probably 90% of my bill but I can only claim 26%! Us home groomers STILL have expenses, and grooming supplies don't come cheap! I'm fussy about how the dogs are treated, etc., home grooming is very satisfying for me. Good luck, I hope your new clientele builds quickly for you. Once your clientele is built I think you'll be really happy with how much more relaxed the dogs/cats are in a smaller quieter environment like that.

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      • #4
        All of my clients are referals, word of mouth from my clients or my vet. Perhaps you might want to offer something as an incentive to your current clients for for any referals. I have a friend that gives a free tooth brushing to the client after the new person has been in for a grooming.

        If your area is having any type of spring gatherings/ shows; Home and Garden show, May Fest, etc. you could set up a small table at the event.

        "Because you are home-based you can give more individual service and attention to each dog. There is less noise and stress for your dog." Be sure you use that in any advertising! I basically do only one at a time so this is a big point of concern for some clients. Those who come from my vet are folks who aren't happy with the commotion often seen in some salons. So my quiet little environment is better suited to "Fluffy" and his folks!

        good luck,
        sittingpretty

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        • #5
          It's been along time back but I was working at a trailer company at the time and I groomed dogs in the evening and on Sat. for about a year before I quit my job and just groomed dogs. It does take a little while to get the customers in as I plastered every bulletin board in the surrounding towns too, plus all the Vets.
          It will come just have to do alot of advertising, I even was in a parade and I put on a small pet dog show afterwards.

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          • #6
            I now trying to get clients as well. I live in a rural area. I dropped off cards and flyers to the local animal shelter. I also made a facebook page. I am really hoping for things to pick up!! NADA doesn't pay the bills!!

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            • #7
              It took me about 4-6 months, but there are not many groomers in my area and even less groomers that will groom large dogs. That helped me tremendously. The only problem was I found myself grooming large dogs every day, all day and it began to take it's toll on me.

              Now I'm shop based and have a weight limit, although I did keep a few of my big'ns just because I love them

              My BEST form of advertising was pens. (other then word of mouth) I know it sounds a little off, but you would be amazed at how many people found my pen and called me. I left my pens everywhere. At the bank, at the gas station, at the grocery store..... just everywhere. If you really think about it, the average person is going to pick up a pen more times in one day then they will a phone book or newspaper. And most will keep that pen on them so it's a constant reminder every time they reach for it.

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              • #8
                One thing I found interesting was even after being here a few years, there was still people who didn't know I was here. I'm in the country and it's fairly closeknit community. I assumed because of that, that everyone knew I was here. I am good with long hair and that has brought people out from the city, which is 20 minutes away. I'm still building up clientelle but every year is better than the last. I've had to take another job too which was very hard but it paid the bills and got my name out there. After 3 years I'm grooming full time now...hang in there.

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                • #9
                  I am on year two in my detached semi rural home shop located on the outskirts of a small town. Right now I am at about a 3/4 load as far as how many dogs I can do alone.

                  The first year I plastered business cards all over, did adds in a small local paper, got my website running, and started my phone book listing.

                  This year I stopped posting business cards and stopped placing adds in the paper. Right now I am working up to my max client load by getting referals, the phonebook and the website.

                  I would say referals have been my greatest source of new clients, followed by my website that I designed with meta tags etc., to get it to the top of Google very fast.

                  The phone book add brings in few since we have too many phonebooks in this area and refuse to pay for adds in all of them.

                  From my own experience, and reading here, its seems as though client referals bring in the most new people across the board. If I were you looking to bring in more people fast, I would have business cards printed with a referal card on the back. The referal section would have a line where your client signs their name. Tell them to give the signed card to their friends, and when the friend brings in the card, they both receive 5. off their next groom, or something...

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                  • #10
                    I will say I do get quite a few word of mouth referrals and I also know that once I get clients in the door, I'm able to keep them.

                    I figured it out last night and I have lost 30 clients in the last 2 months; not a whole lot but enough to make a dent in my income!

                    I got my coupons back from printing today and got a sign made for the yard and that will be put up tomorrow.
                    ~*~*~Shawn, C.M.G.~*~*~
                    Apparently common sense isn't all that common
                    *~*~emipoo on egroomer*~*~*

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Do you know why come of your clients didn't follow you?

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                      • #12
                        Home-based clients...

                        I had another thought for "advertising": get two of those magnet signs for your car. I'm not sure how much they might cost but I do have two friends that have them on their vehicles and both of them (in different areas) get alot of feed-back from folks just seeing the signs.

                        When people see it, you can speak to them immediately, they get to meet yuo and see how sweet and professional you are and probably see one of your dogs looking fantastic! It may help...just a thought.


                        sittingpretty

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                        • #13
                          I've been doing it out of my home for a year and 4 months. I'm not at the point where Im not accepting new clients but I am at the point where money isn't a stress anymore. I average 4-5 dogs a day but ideally would love 6 a day. What helped me the most was yellowpages and kijiji. Kijiji was incredible. I'd say nearly as great as the yellowpages. I also ran an ad in my neighbourhood paper for 6 months that was the cost of one groom a month.

                          I never put a sign out as I'm in a downtown neighbourhood that doesn't have the most desirable foot traffic.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by PetsRus View Post
                            Do you know why come of your clients didn't follow you?
                            Those that didn't follow didn't find it convenient OR they were client of my ex husbands and I guess they thought I couldn't groom their dogs.
                            I had quite a few that were elderly and wouldn't leave town to have their dog groomed since there were 13 other shops available.
                            For the most part I don't mind losing some clients it's just frustrating and I start questioning my decisions.

                            I put coupons and a portfolio at the vets office up the road so I'm hoping that'll help and I do need to get some car magnets; that's the one thing that might help while I'm out and about.
                            ~*~*~Shawn, C.M.G.~*~*~
                            Apparently common sense isn't all that common
                            *~*~emipoo on egroomer*~*~*

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by sittingpretty View Post
                              I had another thought for "advertising": get two of those magnet signs for your car. I'm not sure how much they might cost but I do have two friends that have them on their vehicles and both of them (in different areas) get alot of feed-back from folks just seeing the signs.
                              sittingpretty
                              I'm not saying don't get those signs, but I do know that your insurance could be impacted by the signs. I was using them without a worry but then changed insurance and the new people told me not to have them on because having the signs makes your car a commercial vehicle. Not a problem if you never have an accident, I guess!

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