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  • Shop owner needs help communicating with groomer

    I have owned a small pet shop (supplies, and grooming) for approximately 4 years. I added a groomer approximately 15 months ago. She is experienced, and we think she is awesome. That being said - I would like to continue to grow the grooming side of our business, but she resists my efforts. She is on commission (50%) - but is an employee, so her insurance, taxes, unemployment, etc are paid by me. She sets her own schedule. She works Tues-Fri from 8-3. She works every other Saturday 9-2 during the winter and early spring. In late spring through early fall she doesn't work Saturdays because she and her fiancé have a charter fishing boat. Of course, she has an occasional opening, but for the most part I feel she has saturated the times she works. She doesn't agree. We get calls daily for same day and/or Saturday appointments and can only accommodate a portion of them. I feel we are losing new clients due to her restricted schedule. I have been trying to find another groomer, but she feels we will be taking her clients. I have tried to assure her new clients would try to be fit into her schedule, but she is still resistant. I have been totally transparent with her, but she makes comments (not to me, but to the manager) that she feels I am not upfront with her. (??) I think she is only focused on herself, and I get that - but she doesn't seem willing to understand I am operating from a bigger picture. I want us all to be happy , and feel that another groomer will add to everyone's bottom line. Can someone (or several) give me some advice to ease her concerns and ease the transition from a one groomer to a two groomer shop (if and when that happens)? Thanks.

  • #2
    Can you add new groomer on Monday and any Saturdays that your existing groomer is not covering? That way you might accommodate any new clients and not taking away your existing groomer's hours.
    (On another note, who is the boss here? If she is your employee then YOU should be making decisions beneficial to your business)

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    • #3
      Instead of looking for an additional groomer, why don't you hire a bather instead? That way, your groomer could groom way more dogs , and you wouldn't have to turn potential clients away. A bather/assistant is the next step to growing your business.
      Old groomers never die, they just go at a slower clip.

      Groom on!!!

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      • #4
        I appreciate that - but she doesn't want a bather. She said she doesn't need one.

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        • #5
          I have absolutely told her I am looking for someone to fill the hours she isn't here, but she isn't happy with that. And, yes, I am the boss - but, nothing personal intended, I have found in my short tenure as a shop owner that groomers are quite the diva and have the attitude of "you need me more than I need you", and I am trying to make BOTH of us happy. So - what I am hoping someone on this forum can offer me, is a way to communicate that reassures her that I really am on her side - AND on my side. Does that make sense?

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          • #6
            My groomer says she doesn't need a bather - I have tried that. But, thanks.

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            • #7
              I have absolutely told her I am looking for a groomer for the times she is not here, but she digs her heels in. And, yes, I am the boss - but in my little experience with groomers (the existing one is my second) their attitude is kind of diva-ish. I would like us BOTH to be happy - and that is why I am asking for assistance in communicating with her.

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              • #8
                She is an employee. Treat her like one. Unfortunately you have let her get her way thus far so you might have a hard time. I would interview other groomers and find someone for the remaining days if you can, and have it open in case this girl doesn't work out.

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                • #9
                  Please tell your employee to join this forum so we can give her a reality check. Her attitude would have me looking elsewhere. The clients you have now are I assume "her" request clients. Why would it matter if another groomer worked when she didn't and built their own new clients. Sounds like she's afraid to lose clients to a better groomer.

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                  • #10
                    There are groomers who definitely take advantage and try to control because they know the owner doesn't groom. Make her talk by asking questions and see what happens. Let her expose herself to herself and you. Ask her why she is blocking the vision of your business to grow your grooming department by offering the public more services? Stop, what does she say? If she doesn't "understand" how she is doing that, explain it and ask her again, why are you holding us back from becoming a larger grooming operation? Keep asking until you get a clear answer. I would also start interviewing other groomers for part time work, and they may end up becoming her replacement as this type may change and become a team player, but no guarantee as you can see. You must make her explain why she is holding back the growth of YOUR business. Sure it will make her feel uncomfortable but she must come to realize you are serious about that growth and will do what it takes. When you ask questions, and questions like this they almost always "reveal" themselves to you, their motives in other words and aha, so that is why. And you come back, we have to grow our grooming department, are you with us or not?

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                    • #11
                      Are you making much money from employing a groomer? Is it worth it to have one? With a 50% commission, plus the expenses of unemployment insurance, etc., how much is she bringing in for you each month? She sounds like an ungrateful diva, to be honest. You're the boss. She doesn't get to tell you whether or not you can hire another groomer or another bather.
                      One thing I'd do right now is make sure she doesn't have access to your client records -- client addresses, etc. She can look at them during the day, but do not make it easy for her to copy down the info. You own that info. I have a feeling this is going to end badly, so I'd start interviewing now and get a part time person in place. Are you tracking the money? Make sure she isn't stealing -- that could be one reason she's so reluctant to have another person on staff. Why don't you just fire her? You sound like a great employer. Believe me, they are few and far between.

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                      • #12
                        My mother was literally LAUGHED at openly when back in the 70's she said there would be pet superstores with grooming. Even written articles chided her. Look what happened. Why does every chain it seem add grooming to retail? Grooming and other services brings foot traffic to the retail area. It is very important to have grooming in even a mom and pop shop, but it isn't easy as we see here. If it is the foot traffic that is key to the owner, it is worthy of considering leasing out the grooming department instead of trying to manage it with employed groomers.

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                        • #13
                          I'm sorry, but who owns this business..........since when do employees tell owners who and when to hire and not hire, and how to run their business ?? You do not need her permission to expand your grooming business or any other part of your business. AND since when does she have the right to take off Saturdays during the summer to help her boyfriend....usually Saturdays are big money making days for salons.

                          Happy taking control of your business

                          Dolly's Barking Bubbles, LLC

                          www.dollysbarkingbubbles.com

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                          • #14
                            When she was hired did you not have a negotiation and understanding of the terms of which she was to be hired? Part of that negotiation should have been Salon policy and procedures including an employee handbook. This should have such things like time off request procedures, dress code, and anything else in regards to the way you wish the salon to run. If you DO NOT have one of these in place I HIGHLY Recommend that you get one in order and have EVERY employee sign that they have rad and understood them. If this is in place than I think a lot of your issues would not be issues. Be careful you don't create a monster employee. Then when you do hire more staff she may be resentful and create a hostile work environment.
                            My suggestion. Employee handbooks, have a meeting, give everyone a handbook and have them sign that they received it. Now if there is an issue you can always fall back on that and if there is any legal problems down the road you have that as well. Sit her down and tell her you are going to expand and you would love to have her part of the process. Encourage constructive helpful suggestion and offer incentive for a job well done. Perhaps offer her a lead groomer position with a raise and yearly bonus if the salon does well. By doing this you show her that her skill and knowledge are valued and also make her feel like she's part of the process. By allowing her to be lead and giving her more responsibility you will make her more willing to accept a new groomer and also take some extra work off your shoulders by delegating it to her to "supervise" the new groomer.
                            IF you do this, and this is a big if, you need to be sure she can handle a lead position and be VERY CLEAR is your expectations and what you expect from her and that if she accepts this position she will play by the rules or their will be consequences like a demotion of pay.
                            I hope that this was of some help and good luck to you.
                            It's not what you look at that matters; it's what you see.
                            Henry David Thoreau

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                            • #15
                              I agree with Emma and Yankee. There is more here then meets the eye. You need to get to the bottom of why she wants to undermine you. This isnt teamwork.
                              Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.- Richard Carlson

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