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  • New Biz - Slow Start?

    Hi Folks,

    The Pristine Pet has been totally operational for about 2 months.

    We've had about 25 clients while running Craigslist specials and such.

    Now, business has come to a screeching halt it seems.

    We're doing flyers and signs and getting traffic to our website but no calls for a few weeks.

    Question - how long does it take to really get going?

    Is this a slow time for business?

    Any encouragement you can give in these areas will be great!

    Thanks!

    Nicole & Brittney
    www.ThePristinePet.com
    www.facebook.com/ThePristinePet

  • #2
    it seems to be slow everywhere around us at least.
    id just give it time...
    Hound

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    • #3
      It takes time to build up a good clientele I opened my salon in a very small northern Michigan town .We have several groomers in this area but we are spread apart by several miles .Several discount groomers, our business has been very slow growing ,But it has been growing .We are hopping as I would have hoped as of yet some days I am lucky to have 1 dog come in for a nail trim .What I have found is good clientele who spread the word of our services .The economy is very tight in this area so many do not prebook the next appointment as soon as they should.Do not get discouraged when it slows down, success does not happen over night.Do the best you can do and your clients will do their part by spreading the news.it will happen it just takes time.

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      • #4
        Thank you!

        Originally posted by pooh13 View Post
        It takes time to build up a good clientele I opened my salon in a very small northern Michigan town .We have several groomers in this area but we are spread apart by several miles .Several discount groomers, our business has been very slow growing ,But it has been growing .We are hopping as I would have hoped as of yet some days I am lucky to have 1 dog come in for a nail trim .What I have found is good clientele who spread the word of our services .The economy is very tight in this area so many do not prebook the next appointment as soon as they should.Do not get discouraged when it slows down, success does not happen over night.Do the best you can do and your clients will do their part by spreading the news.it will happen it just takes time.
        We did get a call today and a booking a few days ago - so you're right, it's all about word of mouth and patience!

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        • #5
          It just takes time. You might try talking to your local vets. They are my best advertisement. I have a great relationship with the vets in the area and get a lot of referrals that way. Also looked at you website very professional looking but you might try making the pictures a little larger. They are a little hard to see.

          Good luck and just hang on things will get better.
          "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
          www.wagmoresalon.com

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          • #6
            what other web presence do you utilize?

            There are MANY free listing sites that I used when I first opened and they brought me A LOT of business since I wasn't able to get in the phone book for over a year! List on as many of them as you can and it will help pull your website up on the search engines. Also, the more you update, blog, etc, the easier it is for people searching to find you.

            Offer referral bonus's to clients that you are servicing for telling their friends and associates about you and appointments are held. Get involved in your community by participating in local events and get it in the newspaper! Create a BUZZ about you and your salon by doing something unique and interesting, then get it in the paper!

            DON'T sit back and HOPE what you are doing is enough! DON'T think it's just a slow time of year! DON'T ever stop marketing your business! Find a Niche', a gimmick, an ICON and build on it! My ICON is my dog. She's with me most of the time and she also participates (along with myself) in community events, she walks with me down the streets of the small town, goes in the bank with me, EVERYONE knows Cameo I often get asked if I'm the one with the big poodle with pink ears, lol, when a person calls to make sure they are calling the right place. My point is, you have to continuously market your business and think outside the box. Putting out flyers is good, but how many people are honestly going to see one of them? How much return are you getting from them? Have you done a GRAND OPENING or OPEN HOUSE? If not, I highly suggest you get one planned and tell the newspaper all about it in the form of a press release OR call and talk to the person in charge of that section of the paper and offer to have them come and tour your salon.

            All these things are little or no cost to do and can mean LOTS of business for you. It's a bit of work, but has huge returns. Getting people IN your door is the easy part, KEEPING them coming back is harder! You have to make sure you are offering exceptional customer service, providing a clean, safe, and welcoming environment, and make the pets look great! If you do all these things, you can't lose

            Much success to you and your daughter!!!

            PS: I opened my salon in March of 08 and I've never been happier My book is filled mostly 2 weeks out and my saturday's are full 4 - 6 weeks out. I've only had one major slow down in the past year or so and that was this Jan/feb during the ULTRA cold winter we had here in the south.

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            • #7
              For Neanea

              I too am just getting started. Your advice for Brittany is really good but can you be more specific about what free web listings
              are available for us?
              Thanks,
              Debbie in NY

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              • #8
                Originally posted by dmix View Post
                I too am just getting started. Your advice for Brittany is really good but can you be more specific about what free web listings
                are available for us?
                Thanks,
                Debbie in NY
                Merchantcircle.com
                google
                yahoo
                Local.com

                These are just a few! Try seaching for other groomers in your area and check the websites where the others are listed. Then, go to YOUR listing or create a listing and there ya go! If you see your business listed, "claim" it and then update it regularly (daily is good at first). I got a great deal of business from my merchantcircle.com listing and kept it updated and commented on it nearly everyday at first, but I must admit, I've fallen off that wagon quite a bit lately. Once you start listing with these sites, you'll find even more sites that allow you to list for free and really, how can you say no? The more times your salon is listed on the net, the more likely it will come up on at least the first search page, especially if you list with the big search engines (google, yahoo, etc). Get your clients to write some good reviews on these sites. Nothing says it better than good reviews, but monitor your listings carefully because your competition will probably be keeping up with what's out there and MAY try to sabotage your listings (it happened to me by a bitter groomer who will remain nameless) and I still find her phoney reviews at times.

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                • #9
                  You've had had a lot of great advise! I will also add... if you have any small specialty pet shops/boutiques... in your area they can be a great resource to work with. I have a little specialty pet boutique about a 1/2 mile from my (home) grooming shop.. and get a lot of new clients through them. Like you, I also "specialize" in grooming just 1 dog at a time (or more from the same family) and this should become a huge plus for your business. I opened my shop May 1st 2008, but put my website up in January 2008 with a "grand opening date" and started advertising online about 4 months before I opened. I started getting calls as soon as I opened, and get a lot of referrals from regular clients. Now after 2 years I am always about as just as busy as I *want to be* -- and looking forward to gradually working away from grooming the larger dogs. I see that you already have online appointment booking. I didn't add that option until November 2009, and sure wish I had done it sooner! Since I won't leave a dog I'm grooming to answer the phone, I spent way to much time playing "phone tag" with customers trying to book appointments.. and the online booking has made things so much easier!

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                  • #10
                    I am a mobile groomer. Took me about two years to really get a clientel that I could count on regularly.
                    At the begining, I took any and everything anytime.
                    I advertised in two different publications that did nothing for me. The yellow pages worked best for me.
                    I posted business cards all over and nothing came of that.

                    It all just drifted in one by one.

                    I remember when I began having a full time cliental, I did get a call from a new groomer who bought a shop. She asked if I could sent any 'extra' her way. So I sent larger dogs that I couldn't groom, cats or last minuet asap dogs her way. This shop groomer called the other mobile groomers too and they sent their extras her way too. So she started off pretty well. Her shop is still there but she retired.

                    Anyway, it all takes time!

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                    • #11
                      We also made up treat bags with our business cards in them. Some went with my sister and a friend to the local grocery store parking lots and got handed out to the owners with dogs. We got quite a few customers that way. We took more down to our local credit union and they handed them out to the clients with dogs. They didn't have to pay for the cookies and we got lots of advertising for just a little money. We made friends with the local vet and the local pet store (right across the street) and send a lot of clients back and forth. Word of mouth and a little "bragging us up" discount when a friend makes and keeps an appointment helped too. Keep at it and good luck! Business will pick up soon, wait and see!

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                      • #12
                        25 clients in 2 months...not bad!! I would expect soemthing like that for my area. it took me about 2 years to really get up and running.

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                        • #13
                          It took me 3 years to get 250 clients, I live in a small town with 6 or more groomers so theirs a lot of competition here.

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                          • #14
                            I have made treat bags. I put 3 doggie bags in a clear gift sack. I put my biz card on it with curling ribbon. I have taken them to church, my kids schools, my hairdressers. I have been PT since Dec 2009. I now have 30 clients. I also have ads on craigslist, I have done all the free listings that I can find. I also have a Fan page on Facebook. Not only have I reconnected with people from HS, but now I am their groomer.

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                            • #15
                              kayc got me thinking...what is your market like? What population type and size? How much competition? When I first opened there were only two other groomers, now there are 10+, newbies are finding the biz hard.

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