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Customer attrition when purchasing a business?

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  • Customer attrition when purchasing a business?

    I'm in the process of purchasing an existing mobile business. Currently, it's fully booked and not accepting new clients. Anyone out there have experience transitioning clients? What kind of attrition rate did you experience? Any tips?

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  • #2
    I bought my first business and kept about 90%. Many doom and gloomers say you can't but you can. But not if you sit back. You and present owner need to write and MAIL a letter to all the existing customers. If the owner stays in transition that helps but you are mobile so that letter becomes even more important. Also my first 2 months I made sure I groomed less so I could spend more time getting to know the customers on their first time under my new ownership. I believe this made it work. Plan some extra time to get to know them and BOND THEM to you, take them some promotional gifts with your number and company name like refrigerator magnets, we handed out an all new brochure too. Go the extra mile on that first meeting. Ask them if there was anything more you could offer they would like that perhaps the last owner didn't...they will like that you are asking even if they have no suggestions.

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    • #3
      Have some pre-printed cards made up with your business logo on them – postcard size which is fine – and hand write a thank you to each and every client for the first six months. Even repeat clients. Add a note about something personal about the dog, or if the client has mention something regarding the family you can wish them well.

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      • #4
        Are you going to be the new groomer or does the business employ a groomer who will continue to work for the company?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by IrishSetterTom View Post
          Are you going to be the new groomer or does the business employ a groomer who will continue to work for the company?
          Previous owner was the groomer, I'll be hiring a new groomer to take over the customers.

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          • #6
            The number of clients you keep depends on a number of factors like pricing. Some clients like certain days and times; can you keep their schedule the same? Will the new groomer deliver the same level of service and groom quality? Did they pay by credit/debit? Do you take CC's?

            If the client feels no change, then most likely they will stay with you. You will lose some, that's expected. Some clients are particular when it comes to grooms and chemistry between pet and groomer or client and groomer, hard to handle pets, length of time it takes to groom. Some groomers can do it in 30 minutes, others 1 and a half hours for the same pet.

            The problem I see is you are going to hire a new groomer whom you do not know and leave them to deal with these new clients you just paid money to acquire. You have no way of knowing how they interact with the client, the pet, how they handle customer service like being late/early. The new groomer will not have the passion to make these clients happy like you as owner would. I would ride along with a new hire for at least a week or 2. See how it goes.

            One word of advice, get a GPS tracking device for the van. You can see where it is at all times, see how long they are stopped and also if they are "cheating" grooms. We fired a groomer who was doing illegal grooms between official stops. I suspected it and once I got the GPS, I saw what was going on. She worked for me over 2 years before I found out. Must have been cheated out of thousands of dollars in off the books grooms. She ran her own side business piggybacked on mine using my van, fuel and shampoos. I always wondered why she needed more time for each stop. Always said dogs were bad and needed more time.

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            • #7
              Agree with Tom 100%

              I would expect you will have a lot higher turnover than if you were doing it yourself.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by cockerlvr View Post
                Agree with Tom 100%

                I would expect you will have a lot higher turnover than if you were doing it yourself.
                I have the same concern. My goal is to find a way to inspire/motivate my groomer to be personally invested in my success. Still working out how that might be accomplished. Maybe a bonus of some kind for a met goal. Thinking, thinking...

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                • #9
                  How about handing her your clients that you feel are your "B" list clients and you start working with the newly acquired clients to develop a relationship.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tawanda View Post
                    I have the same concern. My goal is to find a way to inspire/motivate my groomer to be personally invested in my success. Still working out how that might be accomplished. Maybe a bonus of some kind for a met goal. Thinking, thinking...

                    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using Tapatalk
                    Good luck with that. I'm assuming that you are not a groomer. If that is true, then that puts you at a distinct disadvantage. Your expectations as a owner of a business that you really have no hands on experience of may not jibe with those same expectations of the groomer doing the work.

                    Sorry to say, it is very difficult to find reliable and dependable groomers that will serve your business well despite your incentives to inspire/motivate. Please don't crucify me, but there certainly seems to a higher percentage of flakiness in the grooming industry compared to other service industries. I come from a corporate background and this is a second mid-life career for me. I've been grooming for about the 13 years now.

                    I have 3 other groomers in my shop and I have interviewed hundreds over the years. I know what to look for. I know the breed patterns. I know how animals are safely handled. I know when a animal has been properly bathed and prepped. I know how clippers and scissors should be safely handled and used. I know to look for groomers wanting to take short cuts and and not grooming the animal to my shop standards. I know the difference between just OK and great looking. If you don't have these skills or have access to someone that has these skills, you are going to struggle.

                    Just being realistic, but expect some very frustrating and heart breaking times until you learn the ropes of the business.

                    Scott

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                    • #11
                      Scott, she is a groomer. Problem is she bought another business and I assume is combining her business and the new one together and she needs to hire a mobile groomer to work a second van. It's harder to find a groomer than it is to keep one, especially if your pay is fair and you take care of them.

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                      • #12
                        In fact, I am a groomer and I'm running my first unit. The groomer I am hiring is a highly experienced mobile groomer who will be running my second unit.

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                        • #13
                          Well then, you should be in good shape with an experienced mobile groomer.

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                          • #14
                            In a nutshell I agree, it is how much personal one on one effort the new buyer invests to keep them. That could make all the difference. The less, the less attrition. Ours is a business based on bonding loyal clientele through trust for the most part.

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