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Moving My Business Into a Small Pet Store? Experiences?

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  • Moving My Business Into a Small Pet Store? Experiences?

    The economy is bad in my area right now, and there are too many groomers really too. I had dreams when starting my business 9 years ago of having 4 groomers working for me, but I can really only support one other full time groomer (and sometimes even that is stressful during slow times). Of course, in starting my business and planning for 4 groomers I got a big space (around 1200 square foot) that costs a lot of money.
    I really wanted to find a much smaller space (like around half the size I currently have) for a lot less money. Unfortunately that is virtually impossible to find, especially in the area I either already have my salon (so I can keep most of my clients) or near my house (lose a good bit of clients but convenience).
    There is a small chain pet store a couple blocks from my salon that used to have grooming, but haven't for a few years and have been sending everyone that asks for grooming to my salon and have said that they have never heard a bad review.
    We have so far only had a brief chat with a couple girls that work there and left our number for the owner/manager to call us so no idea if they even actually want to have another grooming in or not. The room is definitely small, especially when I am used to the space I currently have. I would like to just rent the room and run my own business out of it, not to work for them. So I would need to fit my computer and printer (I would try to do away with my physical files, I currently use both), chair, probably could only get one kennel bank in, my grooming table, some cabinets (they have a couple in there not sure if they would stay or I'd bring my own), dryers, and tub is already in there (smaller tub I think than I'm used to). It would be a touch of a tight squeeze, though it's a bit hard to tell as they have some random storage in there.
    I think the rent would be SO much cheaper than my current place that I would make more money just by myself, and once I get in there I could see if there was room for a part time bather or groomer, but even alone would be more profitable. My hours would likely be a bit different as I usually start at 8 but probably couldn't start till they opened at 9. But I think I could work with that, I would probably lose a few clients that 'need' an 8am spot.
    It's in a busy large strip mall and being in a pet store could bring me more clients as well.

    Like I said, we have not talked to them, not sure if it's really even an option but I wanted to get experiences so I'm prepared if we do talk and they're open to it.

    That was long and rambling but has anyone else done downsizing like this? How did you like it? Did you regret it? What did your clients think of your downsizing? What are some important questions to ask the owner/manager?

  • #2
    If you rent space in an existing place, you will have your own key and can open YOUR business at 8am if you so desire. I personally don't open until 9am myself, clients don't have a problem with it. As for working in a much smaller area, it will just take some getting used to. Good luck!
    Ain't always easy to stand up for what is right.


    • #3

      My opinion. .. the 2 businesses compliment each other and it can work out very well or not so well. They apparently have clients looking. Is there enough space for 2 people in there? If you are renting you definitely need a key. How many dogs do you do a day or plan on doing a day? If you can only fit 1 kennel bank think about it. What if you are going slow . Is there enough room to accommodate the next set of apts ? If it is just the cost of space you are in is there any serviceyou could provide i.e. daycare or boarding. What about reasonable priced retail items. What about a pet photographer? Maybe if you have an "extra room" you could rent or make commission off of that room. Trainers photography pet massage. I know you said economy is tough for you. These may not be


      • #4
        Thanks guys. The economy is bad all round as this is a trickle down from oil and gas.
        I have 6 kennels in my kennel bank and depending on size and difficulty of groom do 5-7 dogs a day so it really shouldn't be an issue. I would have to book bigger dogs more carefully as I would only have space for 1 big dog at a time.
        I don't know if they would allow me to open earlier as clients would be walking through their business/retail which could be a risk to them, but I would suggest that I would keep the door locked and would come to the front when clients come and unlock and lock it again then they may consider it.
        If there is space for 2 people it would definitely be tight I think but it's hard to say until I were to actually get my stuff in there and set up.

        We tried offering boarding when we first opened and didn't get a lot of response though at that time our focus was grooming so we our setup was more grooming friendly than daycare friendly. I have considered trying to find another person with a pet based business to fit into my space. I would have to do some big renovations to make that feasible (putting up walls, moving bathtubs/kennel rooms/washer/dryer/etc.), but it might be something to try for.


        • #5
          If you are serious about potentially moving in that spot.... seriously think about it. I have been working from home but going into retail store within 6 months. Planning my space. That is definitely something I am working into my plans. If you do decide to rent space make sure your ideas are at very similar in regards to business and pet care. Shop on a regular basis, see who potential clients might be, what are they purchasing how frequently. Yes money is money. But sometimes money is not worth differences. It is an extremely difficult decision and I feel for you. Have you had a good 1.5/2 hour massage lately? If not go get one. Clear your mind body and soul of stress. At least for a little bit. After that sit down and write out pros and cons of each senario. And I mean anything
          Anything little thing that might unnerve you. It may not initially be money related but Because after time pet peeves will eat away a5 you. Consider everything you can . Step away from the sheet for 2 days or have a really close friend or husband read it. They know you . They know how life affects you. Get their views and then take it with a grain of salt. In the end you know what you need to do and where you should be. Just do 2 hat you feel is best. Just remember that working within an existing business is going to be a transition to say 5he least


          • #6
            And while you would technically run your own business in reality ( AT LEAST TO ME) it would feel like still working for someone else. I admit I am strong 2ill ed and downright stubborn sometimes but that is why I Own my own salon.


            • #7
              It does present the opportunity to get new clientele from them, and vice versa for them. That would make it a better idea unless you have no room for more.


              • #8
                Thanks guys. There are definitely pros and cons to each situation. I would definitely CHOOSE to move into my own smaller less expensive space but that unfortunately is pretty unrealistic. There just aren't virtually any smaller cheaper spaces to be had. They only cheaper places I have found are far away in industrial areas which means I will lose a lot of clients and less exposure to get new clients.
                This is pretty much the next best option. Obviously if we can work out details that both sides can live with. Hoping to hear from them tomorrow. Have a list of questions if they are at all open to it, then we can sit down and chat with them about it.


                • #9
                  I have also been talking a lot to my mom (who helps do my books and who has helped a great deal in the salon with answering phone calls, booking, taking dogs in and releasing them to owners, helping to decide on things over the last 9 years about this. We seem to be on about the same page, at this point in time, about this. Obviously this could change as we chat with the person about potential details so we will ovbiously not be commiting to anything right when we talk with the person, we will be taking our time to discuss it before reaching a final decision based on all the facts.