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Pre-booking thru the year

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  • Pre-booking thru the year

    I am currently booked full for the next 12 weeks. We used to ask the clients to reschedule thier next appt when they left and most did. Now we have to schedule the next 2 or 3, as most come monthly. (Lucky me!)
    The last few weeks we have just been setting up the rest of thier appt's for the year.
    My question is, when do those of you who prebook for the year, start scheduling for NEXT year? Is is in November? Or sooner?

  • #2
    I do 6 months in Advance, so in July they can book through January, August into February, etc. I find that they will book for the next 6 months and then after 3-4 months they will then book 3-4 more.


    • #3
      Not an answer, but another question. ;-) The majority of my clients are pre-booked as well, but I usually only go two appts. ahead at a time. How do those of you who book an entire year in advance deal with things like taking vacation time, or time off for things that you only know about a couple of months ahead of time? Booking for the entire year would feel like a prison to me. How do you do it?


      • #4
        I take the weekend off after Thanksgiving and use that time to make our my schedule and the handouts to give my clients for the following year. It's a pain to do, but sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo worth it when it's done!


        • #5
          I can't imagine...That would be so awesome to be booked that far in advance. Lucky, lucky you! Sorry don't have any answers just wanted to say Rock On - PLUS I love your bows!!! Used up my last order, waiting on the next one. Thanks SO much!!!


          • #6
            WOW, I am happy with 2 weeks out. I was wondering this too. I thought about September/October for the people who want to keep their times but I thought it might be a little early. I will probably be slow in September and thought of being able to make the schedules up then.


            • #7
              I use a calendar that my husband makes on the computer. It's on a half sheet of paper (the long way) with our name, logo, phone # and the twelve months. I start in October, asking people if they want the same schedule next year or do they want to make any changes. We block off any time that we want off for ourselves then start circling the appointments for each client on their own calendar. We give the client their calendar with all their dates circled by the end of the year.

              My clients love this system -- all but one -- she moved on. Everyone else raves about how great it is to have the whole year set up.


              • #8
                I only book 2 month out. Once you have to cancel or the client due to illness and other problems it is tough to change all those slots throughout the year.
                Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.- Richard Carlson


                • #9
                  i will only schedule 3 weeks out. i have almost no cancellations or reschedules. the flexibility is great. my days off change from week to week if i feel like it. if i need a particular day, i don't have to reschedule. i am also not taking in new customers.
                  Certified Master Pet Tech Pet CPR, First Aid and Care Instructor
                  "Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation." Henry Ward Beecher US Congregational Minister 1813-1887


                  • #10
                    Days off for me generally aren't a problem. I only work 3 days one week then 4 days the next week, with fridays and saturday's grooming at home (if I feel like it!) so I have every other thursday open as needed. Plus, on the major holiday weekends the boarding kennel is so full that I usually don't have room for grooms to come in, so I take a few days to a week off there. We planned that out in January.
                    Clients don't usually cancel or no show either (except new customers) The staff makes reminder calls the day before for me and the clients know that if they cancel they don't get in again till thier next appointment or when there is an opening. On the few occasions there is a no show, I get to go home early!
                    I need to call the other groomer in town and see if she is booked up so far! Last time I called her tho she wasn't real friendly.



                    • #11
                      I feel like it's a prison too being booked for the year, so what I've been doing is booking a customer 2-3 appts in advance. When they come in, I give them their next 2 appts on their receipt, that way I can reschedule if necessary and my future isn't set in stone. Plus a lot of times they'll reschedule cause they're busy that day or sick, or weather or whatever, that way I don't have to go through the next 12 months and change every single appt.
                      No Fur, No Paws, No Service.


                      • #12
               you, we also book a year in advance. I was forced to do this when I noticed that the 'booking a few appointments ahead' wasn't working anymore.
                        In the summer, I would find that my very best clients sometimes had to wait, because a once-a-year dog had gotten their slot. Now that's not fair!!!
                        Or, a bunch of good clients would all stack up on the same day, and someone would lose out...that wasn't fair either.

                        So...I have list of my standing appointment dogs....and in October-November I get out the calendar and start booking.

                        Dogs that were the first to start standing appointments are the first in line when I book them....for instance....Buffy may have been coming for the last 10 years, but always calls for her appointment. Fine.
                        Maggie started last year with wanting appointments every 6 weeks on a Monday. She has been coming for only 2 years...however, she will be first to be booked as she has requested a certain day and time...she will get it...

                        And so on down the line....

                        We have days of the week that you have to wait till someone moves or dies before you can be booked on that day. (and, if you get out of have lost your place in line regardless of how long you have been a standing appointment. For instance, if you were first in line on Mondays...but now want to switch to Wednesdays, you will start out at the bottom on Wednesdays.)

                        If a dog misses it's appointment, then, like you, it waits till it's next scheduled appointment or gets in on the next available day....I don't reschedule their entire year. Good clients seldom miss an appointment...and we do work with them if they do...fitting them into a bath-and-tidy until they get back on schedule.

                        Yes...we do plan our vacations a year in advance also...but then, most people do know when they will be taking time off. We also have vacation days around the various holidays...Memorial day, 4 of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas...we get extra days off with those...(3 day weekends, Wednesday through Sunday for Thanksgiving, and the entire week after Christmas until after New Years.)
                        And Yes, it can be a pain when something comes up a Barkleigh seminar in our area. We do adjust scheduling then..even to the point of working a 'day off' that we can attend seminars...they are important and the clients are understanding.

                        The important thing is that you do what works for YOU! If that means booking a year in advance, so be it....
                        When I first started my business, I knew another groomer that was booked a year out and I thought.."Oh..I would hate that"...but now that I'm the one with that schedule, it isn't bad. It works for us and most importantly, it works for the clients.

                        good luck and namaste....dogma


                        • #13
                          IFirst of all, I block out vacation time before I set up appts. for the year -- that is the only way I assure myself time off. (In 2007, I am taking 1-1/2 wks in the end of June and 1-1/2 weeks in the beginning of September. Yes, I'm going to Hershey & then off to see Mom.)

                          I use Microsoft Outlook's calendar. In November & December (2006), I gave the customer their next appt. (in 2007). Then when I get home at night I make that appt. a "recurring" appt. for whatever cycle their dog gets groomed (every 4 wks. or 2nd Tues. of each month, etc.). When 2007 rolled around, each night I would look at the schedule for the next day's customers and shift any appts for those customers that conflict or work better on another day (mostly for routing purposes). When I show up at the customers house for their 1st 2007 appt., I hand them a schedule for the year. By doing the pre-scheduling, I find that customer's rarely miss appts. because they put all of them on the calendars at one time. I was pleasantly surprised that most people work their summer vacations around my schedule and I really didn't have to shift appts much at all last year.


                          • #14
                            I agree with Dogma. There came a time when the only way to guarantee good clients were kept on schedule and I wasn't overbooked was to book the whole year.

                            I also thought it would be to constricting, but on the rare occassion that I have to reschedule, I've found my clients to be very accommodating and I'm willing to work on my day off if necessary. We also don't 'rebook' the entire year, if a client can't make an appt., we try to fit them in on another day or they wait for their next appt.

                            A couple of bonuses not mentioned: You know ALL your customers, no surprises, no oay's. The dogs are all well maintained and familier with the procedure. You can see what you'll be earning for the year which helps with planning ahead. Potential clients (especially after spending time on the waiting list) have great respect for your business even before they've tried it!


                            • #15
                              Nearly all my clients book the whole year too. I go through and mark out certain dates for time off and I make myself take it LOL, I used to be really bad about that, but not anymore. I've rarely had to re-schedule anyone and when I do I don't re-schedule the entire year, because it is usually only a day or two difference. I like knowing what is on the books too. I don't do OAY's anymore I cater to my loyal clients and rarely take new people. I could take on new clients every week if I could find dependable help. But for me this works out great and my clients like it too. I generally start pre-booking them Oct/Nov. I say do what works for you. If some clients want to pre-book the whole year I say do it. If some want 3-4 appts booked do that.