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Scheduling (sorry it's long) and I'm crazy

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  • Scheduling (sorry it's long) and I'm crazy

    I am really running into problems here.

    Some dogs I have on 4 weeks, some are 6 and some are 8. Some go even longer, but I am slowly but surely letting them go.

    My problem is that they are running into each other and I end up with overbooked days or not being able to accomodate them until the following week or two. So a dog who is on a 6 week schedule may run into the same day/time as an 8 week dog who then has to wait another week or two, thus pushing it to 7 or 8 weeks.

    What am I doing wrong? How does everyone deal with this? I have been encouraging all my new customers to get on board for 6 weeks, but some have wanted 2 and 4 weeks, which I am having a hard time accomodating as well.

    Is there a secret to scheduling that I don't know about? I don't want to put my regulars out by conflicting schedules?

    Also, how do you deal with this? dog is on an 8 week schedule and then I call to confirm their appointment the night before and find out the dog is going to the vet because she was ill. Customer cancels due to the dogs illness, but then calls back a few days later saying the dog is fine now- on antibiotics for bladder issue and is in need of grooming. I treated it like a last minute cancellation and put them on my next available day which is 3 weeks away. That was disappointing to my cusomer and pushed the groom to 11 weeks. Am I supposed to find time to make up the appointment? I gave them a date for that appointment, they knew when the grooming was scheduled and the dog had been peeing all over the house for weeks before they decided to take her to the vet because they were sick of mopping (duh!). So I don't feel like i should go out of my way on my day off to take their dog. would you?

  • #2
    Hi there,
    I run into a lot of the same problems your describing, and I what I have been doing is telling my regulars that we should prebook there pets ahead of time so that they always have a spot, and if they need to cancell I would rather have that then them not having a spot. Most of them agree. And right now I am like booked up for two weeks. People that want you to groom there pets will take what ever appointment they can get, and new customers that can't wait, well they will probably go somewhere else this time. But if your business is anything like mine, my phone is for ever ringing and I don't worry about loosing business. I am having to hire another groomer to work my off days because I am so busy, that will help. Good luck,


    • #3
      OH how I wish I had that problem.
      If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!


      • #4
        I would try to keep a day a week open. Like don't put anyone on a schedule on tuesdays so when that happens you have a place to put them.


        • #5
          frequent grooming appointments

          I sometimes have the same problem. Though when I started running into this, I made a newsletter explaining that I was getting busier and busier, being only 1 person I did have a limit to what I could groom in a day and that I would recommend prebooking several appointments out or risk not having space available for the regulars. I now have most of my regulars booked out for 4-6 months at a time. Most though leave it up to me to schedule and just let me know well in advance if an appointment I made for them won't work and that way we can work it in elsewhere. I am often completely booked out 4-6 weeks at a time so clients are aware that should they cancel, they might not get back in before their next scheduled appointment. I do offer to put them on a "call if cancelation" list for me to call them should someone cancel before then and see if they would like to take that time slot.

          I try to get most of my clients on a 4 week schedule. I do have some anywhere from 2 weeks-3 months though. I have heard of a groomer that sets specific days of the week for specific intervals. Like Mondays for every 2 week clients, Tuesdays for every 3 week etc. That way she doesn't have the appointments conflicting with another schedule. But that would only work for me once I am to the point that I would happily lose a few clients that could not do that type schedule and have a waiting list for clients more than willing to get in with me. I am not quite there yet and not sure I would ever be as I do have wonderful clietns for the most part and not sure I would ever be in a position to be willing to lose them to accomodate more ease in my schedule.



          • #6
            This happens to me alot so I started scheduling all of the people who come everyweek, two weeks, 3 weeks, and so on for the entire year and gave them the yearly schedule. Then the others I just fill in. The customers love it and it takes less time checking them out when they leave trying to find an open space. If you explain to your regulars that you want to make sure they have the time and day they want they will be open to it. I always mention too that they are in my book and if something comes up or they want to discontinue please just let me know and that it is no big deal. They really seem to like it. I have at least 30 regulars I do this with.


            • #7
              Try having to deal with the scattering of weekly intervals along with having to deal with scheduling around what town a client lives (mobile here). Trying to get everyone in the same area on the same schedule is challenging. Many of my clients are flexible, so if I need to change times it can be done.
              don't find yourself up a creek without a poodle.


              • #8
                Sounds like you are starting to get close to capacity, congratulations! Of course old dogs pass on and people move away, so you still want to be able to accomodate new clients. I try to book a short day for Fridays (4 or 5 dogs instead of 6-8). This lets me have the time to spend giving my van an extra deep clean, detailing ect without being out in driveway too late in the day OR gives me the room to get in a new client or someone who is getting a little off schedule.

                Encourage your regulars to book well in advance -- I often book people out three to five grooms, only giving them their next couple of appointments so I can change things without having to make a zillion phone calls if I have to.

                Sometimes a six week client needs to go five weeks or seven weeks because the 6th week got crowded. If it's a Shih Tzu, Bichon, poodle, etc I put them at five weeks (client doesn't typically notice and if they do I just explain why) and if it's a German Shepherd, Lab, etc I'll move them later.

                It is not unusual for someone that I had to move to a five week groom for one reason or another to tell me they liked that and could I come more frequently. So that's a nice little bonus.

                I am reading where a lot of people are booking around a day or two each month for an extra day off that they can use for snow or mechanical rescheduling. That day can then be filled off the waiting list if you want/need to work, or you can enjoy the time if it's not needed.

                It's not a bad problem to have! You can always turn down clients if you need to because you're too busy. There are a bunch of us where I am and at one time or another one of js gets too busy and starts referring to the others, then we get busy and refer to them .... it cycles around. Try to network with other local mobiles and try working with each other.


                • #9
                  It would be so much easier if we could get them all on a 4 week schedule, but I too have the 5 week or more clients who eventually start overlapping with the 4 week ones. I give priority scheduling to the 4 weeks or less clients. For the 5 weeks or more clients, I ask them if they would prefer to be moved up a week or back a week when conflicts occasionally occur. Then, I note their preference on their client cards

                  Before I open in the morning, I fill out "Next Appointment" cards for all of my regular clients scheduled that day. I line them up on my counter so they can just pick up their cards as they're heading out the door. I only give them their next appointment date, but I pencil them in for the appointment after that too so it's reserved. I prefer to only give my clients one pre-booked appointment at a time so I don't have to call a bunch of clients and cancel if something comes up that causes the need for me to rearrange my normal schedule.

                  For good clients who have real emergencies and need to reschedule, I do try to work them back in as soon as possible, even if it means I have to open earlier or close later. For other cancellations, I just apologize and explain how far in advance I'm booked. It's amazing how quickly they can find a friend or relative who can bring the dog instead when they find out they're going to have to wait a few weeks to get another appointment.


                  • #10
                    oops! you are mobile so you do have to deal with the location thing too.
                    don't find yourself up a creek without a poodle.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by furrybestjob View Post
                      oops! you are mobile so you do have to deal with the location thing too.
                      Oops , sorry, I too missed the fact that this thread is under MobileTalk. I can see how that would make this scheduling dilemma more complicated. I'll excuse myself now and leave the answers to the other mobile groomers who have experience with this type of scheduling.


                      • #12
                        i schedule differently than most. when i schedule someone i put their name ahead in the book for the next. i will keep track of the number of people in any given week. if a week is backing up, then i move them around so that it fits for me by location. i am mobile. i will call them 3 weeks prior to set up the next app't. for example tomorrow i will be scheduling the 1st week of march. it is more work for me, but i have better control over the schedule. my customers also prefer it this way because it takes the thinking away from them.
                        Certified Master Pet Tech Pet CPR, First Aid and Care Instructor
                        "Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation." Henry Ward Beecher US Congregational Minister 1813-1887


                        • #13
                          My every week people get their dates guaranteed, then my every other week, etc. Almost all of my clients are every 3 weeks or less. I put the frequent clients at the beginning of the day. The clients that are only every 6 or 8 weeks (which is max) get latter part of day and no set day. When I groom their pet, I write down the week and call them as it gets closer to finalize date. Most of my clients I have a key or garage code, so we don't even have a set time- they come home to a clean pet.


                          • #14
                            I know what you mean. I am starting to have that happen to my schedule as well. I am doing as others here are. At times I have to push a client to the following week or to the prior week to fit them in. As far as emergency appts., I usually fit emergency grooms in such as you described, but I think that it is a judgement call that you would have to decide what is right for you.


                            • #15
                              I do have many scheduling dillemas. I am pre-booking everything for regulars. The one's who won't pre-book just have to wait until it works for me. Otherwise, I just tell them that I can't accomodate them.

                              But one problem- If I were to prebook like 4 to 6 months out, than it kind of takes the flexibility out of working for yourself. 2 months ahead, I can handle, because I'm happy to have work considering alot of people in this country are always looking for a job.

                              However, the 2 and 4 week prebooks are done for two months in advance now, because I've learned my lesson that they would get bumped by someone else since I am booked solid for 3 to 4 weeks ahead now. So I don't want that to happen and I want to guarantee a spot for them.

                              I guess I'll just keep doing what I am doing. something must be working because even though it feels like a crazy schedule I have achieved a few things in the past year.

                              1- I have gotten all my clients used to me coming on days- no more evening or late appointments, or weekends.

                              2- they are hiding a key, or have garage codes now for me, some just gave me keys.

                              3- I have trained the majority to pre-book appointments. and Many are sticking with their appointments, even if it isn't in the perfect time slot.

                              Diamenono, you will get there. I swear it was just months ago I was wondering if I would ever make any money. Now I'm worried if I have time to accomodate a new customer.