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Holy Cow! You people know your stuff!

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  • Holy Cow! You people know your stuff!

    Which is why I decided to subscribe to this forum. I am new to the pet grooming profession and am in need of some frank and honest answers!

    I welcome and am greatful for any and all suggestions, comments and helpful advice!

    I am opening a do-it-yourself dog wash, pet salon and retail boutique. I will not be grooming, my efforts will be focused on marketing, customer care, sales, and things of that nature.

    My main concerns are...

    1.) Which is best for a new business with NO pre-existing clients.....
    a.) having an independant contractor who pays rent for the use of space, major equipment (including hydraulic table, tubs and dryers but excluding consumables) and utilities. If so what % of my rent is fair (my rent is $1800, this does not include utlities or start-up cost).
    b.) hiring an employee who works on a 50/50 commision split
    c.) hiring an employee and paying them an hourly wage, and what is fair/common?

    2.) Are stainless steel tubs really worth there price?

    3.) I was quoted $5500 for running pre-exisiting plumbing to 3 tubs, is this reasonable?


  • #2
    In my opinion you are letting yourself in for a problem later, since you do not know the ins and outs of the grooming industry. I have seen a lot of shops owned by a non-groomer take a fall due to that fact. Or if the groomer quits and you have full bookings...if you as the owner don't know how to groom, you are left with closing the as for the DIY facility...I'm not real sure about that, there are so many variables...but I have seen the problem with the other.

    By not being a groomer you are not in control of the styles, knowing what problems can happen from a groomer that doesn't know or doesn't practice safe grooming...and it's you that will be taking the complaints from clients, not the groomer...yes you might get lucky and get a super wow great groomer, but as an employer for many years...they are hard to come by and once your clients get used to one groomer, they may leave with her /him once that person leaves your shop. You can't force clients to stay or go, but usually clients go with the person that has been doing the pet...even if the shop is still there.

    Sorry if I sound do negative, but I'm a firm believer that no one should open and own a grooming establishment unless that person has been a groomer and knows the problems from the ground up. I also hold very much to the belief that new , just out of school groomers should not open a business right out of school, since most new groomers know only the basics, and most haven't a clue when it comes to Business aspects. I believe that a person just put of school should apprentice in a full grooming shop for at least a year to learn the ups and downs of owning and running a salon or mobile...but then I'm probably in the minority on my thinking....

    Hope every thing works out well in your new venture.
    Last edited by azoci; 05-15-07, 06:23 AM.


    • #3
      Pam I don't think you are wrong, it is so very risky!!
      I am one of those people who started directly out of school and opened a shop. I am the only person there and the groomer (just grooming here)
      My circumstances were a little different (no groomers in this part of the province) BUT I studied business in university, I also studied several groomers boards for well over a year. When in doubt I ask (I actually keep a pad of paper at the shop and when I have any questions I write them down then ask here). But there are days it is VERY hard, I have no back up, 100% repsonsibility, when I do a bad haircut I have no one to help or advise on the spot.
      The only saving grace I have is there is no competition and people are desperate.
      If I had gone to the city and opened up immedaitley I would have never survived, not a chance!!
      I think that opening and not knowing the business is not the best choice. Maybe working ina salon that has all this may be.


      • #4
        I agree with Pam. If you are willing to spend all this money then i thinnk the money would be best spent a few months before hand to learn how to groom. It isnt the cure to all the problems you will face not working in a salon for a year but it will take a bit of the risk down. If you dont know the ins and outs of grooming and how it is done properly and in a safe manner you could be setting yourself up for trouble. It just takes one overheated dog to die. Would you know what to look for?
        Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.- Richard Carlson


        • #5

          To the above posters, thank you so much for taking the time to offer your thoughts!!! I take every bit of info very seriously and I would like to stress that animal safety, well being and overall customer (both human and animal) satisfaction are my top priorities!

          However, I'm confused...., do pet store owners/vets/etc. who rent out space to groomers know all the ins-and-outs of grooming?

          I plan on focusing my attention towards the "diy" dog stations and retail products (with my own clothing, bedding and furniture line). However, I can not overlook that grooming services are both necessary and in-demand in my very dog friendly town. So that is why I am considering adding professional grooming services. I feel my business knowledge coupled with my people & animal skills will help me to succeed and was just curious about what the most fair way of hiring and paying a groomer would be. After careful consideration and months and months of planing I have decided to rent the space out.

          My propossed location and business will likely provide ample foot traffic that should increase any groomers client base significantly. All marketing & advertising efforts/exspenses made by me will naturally rebound to the benefit of their buisness. This opportunity may be ideal for an established groomer working out of their home or even an individual looking to be their "own boss". All major equipment (tubs, dryers and hydraulic table) will be provided. I understand that this situation is not for everyone and will be very selective in choosing the right individual to occupy the space, afterall despite being their own boss (and responsible for their own work) the quality of work will ultimatly be a reflection of me. I am an LLC so my liability will be limited and I plan on getting my own casualty/liabilty insurance and require that the groomer do the same. Thanks again!


          • #6
            I agree with Pam, I worked for one guy who knew nothing about grooming just owned the business and one women who used to groom and it is better when the boss/owner knows how to groom at least from the employers stand point.

            No groomer is likely to listen to any of your advise about their grooming and habits if they know you have never done it and know nothing about it.

            I certainly didn't and don't think anyone should open up a shop straight out of grooming school cause theirs so much more to learn. I've done 2 1/2 years at shops and am now doing business school and looking to do another year at a different grooming establishment and then open my own business but I learn something totally different from each place I go.


            • #7
              Ok, let me address these points:

              Becuase you don't know grooming you are in a precarious position. Even if you decide not to groom, I believe that you should learn. When bills get tight and you have to "cut" a few things you are going to go for the obvious "cost of shampoo, bows, etc". If you know grooming, you will also KNOW that you never cut corners on shampoo and frilly things that make your clients happy.

              Also, if you are dealing with the clients and a lady comes in with a dog that she says is a lhasa apso, you will quote her a price. But, as a groomer you start feeling around the coat, you feel coarse texture underneath and a few mats your price will be higher. Why, because you know that means more time. Not being a groomer, how will you set your prices? Take your groomers word? NO, because many groomers will say charge more so they can do less not caring that some clients may leave over the higher prices which means LESS money for your business.

              I own a Pet Grooming, DIY and Boutique. as far as equipment: stainless is important for the grooming area but NOT very eye appealing in the DIY area.

              Yes, you can be the front person and succeed. BUT, as a SMART BUSINESS PERSON you should know ALL aspects of how your business works.


              • #8
                Originally posted by myamoo View Post

                However, I'm confused...., do pet store owners/vets/etc. who rent out space to groomers know all the ins-and-outs of grooming?
                There are problems that come with veterinary hospitals and other places that offer grooming as well. There is one vet near where I work and they have been through about 3 or 4 groomers in the last 4-6 months. Their original retired and the hospital sent their clients to us till they got a new groomer. That groomer would ONLY take up to 4 dogs and left when someone accidentally booked her 5 one day. The 2nd replacement never showed up so MORE clients went to us and I haven't heard anything about their latest 1 or 2, whether it has worked out or not. I've lost count. Some of their clients just got fed up and went to us anyway.
                So yes, vet's do have the same problem. I work at a boarding kennel that also offers grooming. My boss is a jack of all trades and DOES groom and does really well at it. So when I leave, she won't be shih tzu out of luck, but will still want to find a replacement.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by myamoo View Post

                  However, I'm confused...., do pet store owners/vets/etc. who rent out space to groomers know all the ins-and-outs of grooming?
                  They don't, and that is why there are many dissatisfied groomers working at animal hospitals. Thankfully, they've learned that if they just leave me alone, I'll make them money. (I work at an animal hospital).

                  Tammy in Utah
                  Groomers Helper Affiliate


                  • #10
                    There's got to be some set ups that work


                    Thanks for the comment. I plan on having very litle to do with how the groomer runs their business. I will not be setting their appointments or tell them when and how to work. I will simply select the most qualified groomer available and together we will negotiate terms (including shop equipment, design and rent). All i ask is they remain professional while in the salon/boutigue and that they represent both their own business and mine positivly. I would never ask anyone to do anything that I myself would not do.

                    Does anyone know of anyone in the Hoboken, NJ/NYC area who might be intrested in this unique opportunity?


                    • #11
                      Myamoo, it's not that I don't agree with the previous posts, they voice legitimate concerns. However, I do believe you can do it successfully. If you hire an IC with talent and experience it should work.

                      If you rented the space to me (which is impossible since I live in ME), I would want to schedule my own appts., for example: You answer the phone and transfer the grooming request to me. If I'm not in then you tell the client that I'm not available at the moment but will return the call within 24 hrs. If the client needs the newfie shaved's not our kind of client. If the client has specific questions and you don't ABSOLUTELY know the right answer, you simply say: I'm so sorry I can't answer your questions but the groomer will be happy to when she calls you back. I would expect you to respect my space, not micro-manage it. I am able to please and appease most clients, I produce quality work in a timely fashion, and am kind and careful with the pets. Given those qualifications, I think you can be comfortable deferring to my judgement in grooming issues. I would ask you to accept a lower rent payment for the first 3-6 months (whatever we decide in the contract) while we try to build our businesses. The grooming salon MUST be seperate from the diy dog wash. Professional groomers are for the most part artists, your diy customers are mostly utility washes. The diy customer wants to save a buck and not mess up their bathroom.

                      I happen to have a successful grooming business which is in a commercial location, and on the same property as my home. But if I were looking to rent space, the situation you describe would appeal to me.

                      I think the stainless tubs are professional looking and will stand up well to high traffic diy users. I have and prefer a $300 one piece tub and surround from Home Depot. It is mounted on a base to my ideal height. The three sides keep the water (mostly) inside (till the dog shakes, lol).

                      Finding the right person to rent your space will be the key to your success. If you were considering me, I would gladly offer a list of customers as references. I think you should be very picky about who you rent that space to...don't settle just to get someone in there. Best wishes in your new venture.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by myamoo View Post
                        I will simply select the most qualified groomer available
                        Question, how are you going to be able to do this if you don't know anything about grooming? I'm not trying to be nasty or anything like that but I'm just wondering.
                        "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."


                        • #13
                          As the store owner I'd have concerns about renting out space to a groomer. Like any profession, there are those who are good at their job and those who are not and lots of people interview well. I'd be afraid I'd end up with a not so good groomer (whether that be how the dogs look or their attitude with MY customers) with a lease! Employees can be fired.

                          Of course at the same time a lease guarantees you income while an employee does not.

                          Be sure to be very specific in terms of liability insurance. Are you liable for injuries or are they??

                          Not trying to see the glass half empty but sometimes I can't help it


                          • #14
                            Very good opinions have been voiced. I think that as long as you do keep your "Groomer" as an Independent SUB Contractor, you might just have a "go" with your situation...sadly most of the time, the I sub-C and the contractor (you) don't agree on things, and too many times the contractor (you) will try to have too much control over the sub-contractor...well, that's sounds mixed up...but I hope you get my drift...a W9 and a 1099 at the end of the year...keep it simple, keep it professional (like you said)...but that also means you have very little control over the sub-contractor and that the sub-contractor groomer has the right to all of the clients and if that person were to leave, they would have the right to take the would have no control over that...

                            that said...I hope things do work out for you, but too many times this situation does lead to a messy situation.

                            Just get things all spelled out right from the get-go.


                            • #15
                              Myamoo, have you ever groomed? How did you decide to get into the pet grooming business?

                              Tammy in Utah
                              Groomers Helper Affiliate