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  • New on site - need some support - sinking fast:(

    Hi everyone. I'm glad you're all here cause right now I'm sooo down in the dumps it stinks! I'm in a small town and have worked my butt off getting up a small grooming business that is out of my home. It has been alot of work, alot of "gorilla" marketing and finally I have regulars and referrals. I'm very small - only want to do what I'm comfortable with so I can enjoy my retired life too. Well........driving up the one main street we have in town today - guess what!!!! In one of the "older" mini malls - about 4 shops - a new Dog Grooming Salon and Spa!!! I am sitting here in my living room so down you can't imagine. Haven't gotten a call in four days or more. Peeked in the windows and it's alot of frontage - but only 1 table - not even hydraulic - with a tiny Metro dryer - no stand and a tub and a few different size cages with a "reception". And of course - the main street advertising. called the number and the message says taking appointment beginning 4/27, blah, blah, blah.................I've never felt this down in the dumps and been at such a loss. And in my earlier career days I was a Realtor - so talk about competition!! Help! I need some ideas and support......pleazzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.jen

  • #2
    Why worry about competition if you're doing the best grooming you can do? You want to handle only so many clients and if you keep them happy,they'll refer their friends and family to you also. It won't happen overnite but it WILL happen.Be patient and don't worry! Just my opinion( I work from home and not only have a part-time groomer but I'm booked 5 weeks out ALL the time)

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    • #3
      I know you wont believe us, but this is no big deal. If you are good at what you do and your clients trust you, a new shop opening is no big deal. Just believe in yourself and your clients will believe in you too.

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      • #4
        Don't worry

        I have a shop in a small town that has 4 shops and we all manage to stay busy. There's enough to go around and if you're good there's no need to worry! I know, easier said than felt :-)

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        • #5
          An idea...

          When we opened almost 5 years ago, in a small town, nobody knew us. We bought an existing boarding/grooming facility, but again, nobody knew us or how we would care for their dogs. The 1st year was a struggle - most of the previous owners customers didn't even try our services - we were outsiders. The local vets brought in groomers - they came and went. We were stubborn enough to hang in there. One thing that really took off was offering a free groom after the customer had completed a certain number of grooms. We created kind of a punch card and also kept track of their appts. Now, we're booked out solid for grooming until July (I groom 3-4 days a week/8-10 dogs a day) and the boarding business is steady and always very busy in the summer. We have about 12 customers that book out for an entire year. It's time to start advertising again BEFORE your competition opens. Coupons work, but word of mouth is the best. If your grooms are better at a reasonable price, the customers will stay...or come back if the competition isn't as good.

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          • #6
            Don't worry about it. People who have come to trust you will come back to you for that very reason. If I were you, I'd stop in and introduce myself. You may be able to refer certain animals to them, and vice versa. I also have a small shop out of my house and find my clientel is different from that of the bigger (or perceived bigger) shops. When I started out of my house 18 years ago I did just a couple of dogs here and there to help with the bills when the kids were little. Now I do around 40 a week with a helper.

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            • #7
              Keep your chin up!!!! Be proud of what you've accomplished and forget about the rest There are plenty of dogs to go around and if you provide the BEST service, do a decent groom, and LOVE LOVE LOVE your clients, you won't be greatly affected by a little healthy competition. As a matter of fact, it's really good to have!

              I know this doesn't help much, but just have pride in the job you do and the services you offer and the rest will fall into place!

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              • #8
                I live in a small town there 5 of us and Im staying pretty busy its just getting your clientele built up.

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                • #9
                  I think we've ALL been there!

                  I just went through 6 days of no new clients and a week of only 10 dogs! Now talk about feelling dejected, low, and everything else...this week has been different and MUCH better: new clients yesterday, today, tomorrow and 2 on Friday. I also have my first return client in my new location on Friday!
                  It can be so frustrating but you just need to remind yourself that things will get better, you're good at what you do, and again we all go through these things.
                  Maybe try calling those clients you haven't seen lately and ask how things are going and if their pet is ready for a grooming.
                  ~*~*~Shawn, C.M.G.~*~*~
                  Apparently common sense isn't all that common
                  *~*~emipoo on egroomer*~*~*

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                  • #10
                    Don't worry about it. People might "try out" the new groomer in town, but if they like the way YOU groom their dogs, they will be back.

                    And eh... I was a Realtor not so long ago too. ACK!!!

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                    • #11
                      I can only chime in with the others. I still get those down in the dumps. Especially when I don't get only 2 or 3 calls in a month. Then bang! Every day is loaded. I do the same self doubt thing. It is usually during this time (I come to learn) that I busy myself with other things. Like spring clean in the middle of winter. A couple of years ago, I was up against a mobile groomer in the area. Plus an experienced groomer right up the road. Well some of my clients went to them. Thought I charged too much. Guess what! They are back and have spread the word that I do a great job. Those that didn't come back, well that is just the way life goes. I can't afford to stress out over the loss of a client. The ones that come to me deserve me at my best and on my game. It is so easy to get down on myself, and I really do. But I look at my schedule book from a year ago and see how much I am growing. Not anything to take a trip to the Bahamas but I am growing. I am almost at the point where I won't owe anyone anything and I did it all by myself. That alone is a very good feeling.

                      So hang in there! It is a great business to be in.

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                      • #12
                        Accept that there will always be competition. Competition can actually be a good thing to keep you on your toes and keep you doing a good job and being aware and thankful for your customers. You'll be okay just keep doing the best that you can do.

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                        • #13
                          The only purpose "competition" serves in my world...is to keep me on my "A" game, and make the majority of my clients appreciate me a little more.
                          I started home-based 7 years ago, somewhat rural area,... and with no fewer than 20 groomers, be they corp. or Indy's w/ in an 7 mile radius.
                          I'm as busy as I can stand, about 30 to 40 dogs a week, and still the word of mouth referrals continue to come.

                          Competition can make you look really GOOD...if you seize the opportunity.
                          Stay on your "A" game, perfect what you do best, do something unique to set yourself apart from the "other", and maintain high quality standards. You should be just fine....
                          Last edited by 4Sibes; 04-20-10, 08:53 PM.
                          Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

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                          • #14
                            Keep your chin up!! You just started and building a regular clientelle takes a bit of time. Be patient! If your grooms are great and you have a friendly and welcoming attitude, I find people will come back every time because you just can't get that personal touch in some salons! I groom out of my house too, there were days I was worried at first but it's been a year and I've gotten to the point I'm not accepting any more clients. I don't know how you're scheduling your days but what I do is guarantee that my appointments will be a private session..just me and their dog(s) and that I hand dry every dog and they are out in 1 1/2 hours or less.(on most dogs) People that don't want their dogs at a salon "for hours" or have a dog that gets really stressed etc eat that up!! You can do it!

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                            • #15
                              # dogs per month for rent

                              Cheer up! Estimate his/her monthly rent, divide by average price per groom; that's how many grooms have to be done way before putting $$$ in the pocket. Your probably ahead of her already this month. Focus on your business first! You can do it!!!

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