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How to bring in clients during the slow season?

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  • How to bring in clients during the slow season?

    This is my first year opening my own business and of course I did it during the worst time of year for groomers. I have tried discounts and several forms of advertisement. Idk what else to do from here. I am not getting a whole lot of clients. I am actually considering adding on a dog walking service to keep me busy in the winter. When does grooming typically pick back up? Any way you get clients in this time of year?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Rachelakabatman View Post
    This is my first year opening my own business and of course I did it during the worst time of year for groomers. I have tried discounts and several forms of advertisement. Idk what else to do from here. I am not getting a whole lot of clients. I am actually considering adding on a dog walking service to keep me busy in the winter. When does grooming typically pick back up? Any way you get clients in this time of year?
    Make every effort to get them setup on some kind of scheduling program, even if it just means an appointment reminder call. That way it can keep you busier year round.

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    • #3
      ^^^^THIS^^^^
      Ain't always easy to stand up for what is right.

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      • #4
        Dont be afraid to check wtih some customers who havent been in for awhile to see why they didnt come back. Some may appreciate your nerve and come back.

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        • #5
          Well, the only thing that continues to bring back customers is 1) good grooming and 2) good customer service. Discounts, promotions and give aways only work for the present time and fade away the minute another groomer gives them out, plus it teaches clients that they "deserve" these freebie's. I would work hard on your grooming skills, purchasing instructional DVD's, and going to grooming seminars. This won't help immediately, but will in the future. As will all business' you should have a large cash reserve to help you over the hill for the next 3 yrs. Sometimes, it best to start your business part time and grow into it over a few years, working a part time job, then groom in the evenings and weekends. Location and number of salons in a 5 mile radius should of also been researched.

          Happy starting out slow and building upward

          Dolly's Barking Bubbles, LLC

          www.dollysbarkingbubbles.com

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          • #6
            Try networking with local shelters and see if they will include a grooming promo for your salon with each adoption. You decide what you want the promo to be whether a free or discounted groom or add on services at no extra cost, whatever works for you. In return perhaps you could volunteer to groom pet's up for adoption at no cost to the shelter. You set up how many you are willing to do and how often. This is a great way to give back to the community and put your name out there.
            It's not what you look at that matters; it's what you see.
            Henry David Thoreau

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Naturally Furry View Post
              Try networking with local shelters and see if they will include a grooming promo for your salon with each adoption. You decide what you want the promo to be whether a free or discounted groom or add on services at no extra cost, whatever works for you. In return perhaps you could volunteer to groom pet's up for adoption at no cost to the shelter. You set up how many you are willing to do and how often. This is a great way to give back to the community and put your name out there.
              yep, you'd be surprised how well this works. I work with one rescue group in my area doing free grooms for dogs getting ready for an adoption event if the need arises, and discounted grooms for the groups "sanctuary dogs." I've gained a lot of new clients from this group. Every time I work with them, they put up a facebook post thanking me and I'm also in their weekly newsletter from time to time. Whenever they adopt out a dog who will need regular haircuts, they recommend me. And in turn, I put up all sorts of flyers when they do special events and collect material donations from my clients for them. I never offer free grooms once the dog has been adopted. JMO, but I feel like once you take responsibility for a new pet, that includes grooming, and the owner should have already factored that cost into deciding which one to get. The other benefit is it makes me feel good to help these little guys look their best so they are not passed by just because no one can see their cute faces!

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              • #8
                another thing you can do....get some t shirts with your name/logo on them. Wear them EVERYWHERE. People will come up to you all the time. I know, because I do this. Also just going out on nicer days to dog parks, around town, whatever with flyers. Yeah, it kind of stinks walking up to people to hand them a flyer, but even if you spend a day doing that and get 10 new clients, it's worth it. You can even just pay a kid fifty bucks to flyer a parking lot. Get to know the other small business owners in your area and exchange business cards/pamphlets/flyers or whatever. That way you both are increasing your marketing reach for only the cost of your time and materials. In my experince, small businesses like helping each other out.

                I agree you will need to push scheduling follow up appointments when sending dogs home. I always tell them that even though I am not booked up NOW, when it's time for fluffy's next groom, I WILL be, and I can't always squeeze in last minute people.

                I also agree that a great quality cut and customer service are really the key! If you do a great job, and the clients love the way they(and their dogs) are treated, word will spread. But the same goes for poor service, so make every client count!

                I started my business this past January...a very slow time of year. It was tough in the beginning, but now we are doing pretty darn great! I urge you not to fall into the cycle of big discounts. it will breed a bad customer who is not loyal and does not appreciate your hard work. I've only had a handful of prospective new clients complain about my prices. They can, and did, go elsewhere.

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