No announcement yet.

What's the biggest mistake you made as a mobile groomer?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • What's the biggest mistake you made as a mobile groomer?

    I thought I'd post this thread to hear what many of us have learned the hard way...through experience!

    My biggest mistake was trying to build my clients up too fast by taking on jobs I'd later regret by either not charging enough to make it worth my time, knowing that this is a client that would not be a regular in my future. For example, OAY's, heavily matted dogs, clients who complain about my price or try to bargain. I should never have taken them on because it only meant the inevitable: they'd be turned away later because I got busy with clients and pets that appreciate me and whom I enjoy.

    What's your mistake?

  • #2
    One thing I wish I was better at is all of the biz stuff. Paperwork, etc... I was very organized before I actually got my van and had everything set up to start off. Once I started grooming all that took a back seat. I love to groom and wish I could just do that. Owning the biz is a whole nuther world! I am going to start grooming 4 days a week and take in more dogs a day so I can keep up with it. I know I have weekends, but I did not go into my own thing to be miserable and not have "me" time. That is something that I think will work for me. (hope so!) The other thing is going out to far. I have a few that are past my mile limit that I charge a little extra for but that means people see me there and then call for appointments. All it does is get me frustrated, even though I like the dogs I groom. I am going to start cutting back on where I go, and now that I am having back problems I am thinking of limiting the size of dogs.
    What does a dog do on it's day off?


    • #3
      I just started last month so far my biggest mistake has been running from one side of town to other grooming being new business I really can't afford to say no to anyone.This month I'm booking them closer to each other.


      • #4
        Since I've had my van one year I feel qualified to add my 2 cents worth! Very important--Make sure you factor in extra time when scheduling. Since you'll be seeing mostly new dogs, you need to take your time and not feel under pressure to rush to the next groom thinking you'll be late. I was just out of school when I got my van so I always gave each dog plenty of time because I was slow. If I finished early, great. I would rather be early then late to an appointment. Now that I am pretty busy, I gently insist my customers make another grooming appointment and I give them all the reasons why they should. None of this, I'll call you stuff. When that happens the dog is always a train wreck when you come back. Bad for you, bad for the dog. Now, all my customers do rebook and I'm building a super clientele. If they don't, you do not want them. They can go someplace else. And as said, hold out for the bucks. No cheapskates allowed! You are working hard and you have a business to supprt and you're trying to make a decent living. Remember, you are not just grooming, you are cleaning up the mess when you are done. That has to be factored in. When people want to know why it costs $$$, I always remind them of that and they get it. In the beginning it's hard to have a backbone because you're at zero. Just hang in there. Reading all the posts on the grooming boards has helped me tremendously. I always say I am caring for a member of your family and I LOVE my job and it's true.


        • #5
          My biggest mobile mistake was a huge one and I see it repeated on the mobile grooming boards daily. When I first got booked out 2-4 months year round and was working myself into the ground my lawyer told me to double my prices....and I didn't. :-( HUGE mistake that has taken 20 yrs to recover from. Now, I blythly raise prices left and right. Give me the slightest reason and the price goes UP. Sun don't shine? Cha-ching!


          • #6
            My biggest mistakes are common as already mentioned.

            Taking dogs that were too much to handle.

            Taking jobs outside my targeted areas.

            Allowing people to negotiate (that stopped quickly)

            I felt sorry for people, I allowed people to take advantage of me, and I didnt' have a true business plan. I tried working on one, but never really completed it due to laziness and lack of business skills.

            MY ADVICE!!!

            GET A PLAN, take some classes on business management with the SBA, get an accountant, and set your ground rules and never stray from them even if it's a friend of a friend of a friend, etc.

            If you don't follow that advice, you will get burned out fast. I don't like sounding like a biotch to everyone on the phone, but if I take jobs that I really don't want then I would have resentment building up and I won't be happy. So now I've realized although you get sick of saying no to all the jerks, after the call is over then your back to doing what you do want.


            • #7
              Get organized, easier said than

              I own a Mobile and two salons, have three kids, 7 dogs and organization is KEY.

              The most simple solutions:

              1. Have receipts printed (1000 receipts, two ply, professionally printed was $80)
              2. Get a clip board with the box (it holds forms inside) Staples $10
              3. On your phone leave a detailed outgoing message with how you price (by time by size, etc), how far you are booked and leave a time when you will be returning calls. Price shoppers will either decide you are not for them or you are.

              Keep your receipts detailed, and you can save them all week and just enter the data on the weekends. I keep ALL of my clients in MS Outlook and load them onto my pda.
              If clients aren't going to be home when you get there, go ahead and have them set their next appt. I accept NO pets that are not groomed within every 8 weeks (you can decide your time).

              If you want more ideas, want copies of receipt, etc... just e-mail me.


              • #8

                telling my wife with over 12yrs grooming experince how to do her job.


                • #9
                  So what was your mistake then?

                  Mine was waiting when people weren't home in hopes they'd come even when I was booked! Even though I do reminder calls people would STILL forget. Yeah, I did that three whole times but what a waste. Now if they aren't there when I get there and they don't pick up the cell, I leave and they can call me. If they answer the cell and say "10 min away" they get charged for the time as if I were grooming the dog.

                  Another one was turning away matted dogs in the beginning because I was afraid I couldn't do them fast enough. Now I will do them if they are matted but NOT if they are flea infested or haven't-been-washed-in-6mo filthy.
                  Yay wet shaving! These matted dogs are a great source of income because I can charge a matted pet shavedown fee. I did two matted to the skin shih tzus in 45min each yesterday and boy did they pay for it!


                  • #10
                    HMM. I have made all of those mistakes. My biggest is running from one end of the county to the other. Also, scheduling too much time between some grooms.
                    If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!


                    • #11
                      My mistake: leaving with the van still plugged in:-P


                      • #12
                        So far only one "big" one--and the owner got a laugh out of it

                        I thought I'd carefully followed the directions to a client's home. Got to "12345 Main Street" (or so I thought), knocked on the door--no one home. I was about 1/2-hour early, so I waited. And waited and waited and waited... No one arrives at the residence. So I call my employer and he tells me to write a note that "no one was home to release Molly for her groom" so they owed 50% as a no show fee and please call ASAP if they want to reschedule....

                        So I go on and do the other dogs and finish my day. Later that night I get a call from the mobile salon owner saying I'd gone to 12345 Main TERRACE, not Main STREET. I was at the right house number but a block further north than I was supposed to be. The funny thing is the owner of the dog I was supposed to groom never called; it was the home owner I'd left the invoice on who called and pointed out the error. The next day I did Molly, and the owner and I had a good laugh at my dinginess....


                        • #13
                          I thought of a few more things...

                          When you are in business for yourself, most simply: if something isn't working - then CHANGE it.

                          So, one thing I did was keep track of clients who are problematic (change their appointments twice between groomings, aren't at home right away during the 30 minute time frame given, dog poops on table every time, etc.) It completely depends on the client/pets/situation, but more than a couple of annoyances like these and I come up with a reason to drop them: dog too big, out of my area, or a big price increase usually does the trick.

                          Another thing - I dropped an entire area of town so I wouldn't have to worry about whether I'd have to run over there or not. Problem solved.

                          Also, I occasionally see posts on this board about groomers who are getting "too busy" meaning they are booked X number of weeks or months out. I think that you're only too busy if you're trying to groom 9 big hairies a day. It's OK to be busy - because it means you can be way more selective. Drop problem clients, problem pets, raise prices to what you need them to be, and re-organize your routes so you drive less. Even if it means temporarily working 1 less day a week...before you know it that day will be booked with QUALITY clients who appreciate your marvelous service.

                          Finally, working 4 days a week is really great - my Wednesdays are for ME to sleep in, catch up on messages, update client records, and rest my body (or go hiking!), and get a fresh start on Thursday.


                          • #14
                            working very late,too many hours and 6 days a week.


                            • #15
                              Big Mistakes

                              My biggest mistake was falling over and over for "sob stories" from clients as to why they couldn't pay what I was asking. For too many years it was too easy to get me to play "Lets make a Deal". The one lesson I learned is this: Cheap people complain and complainer are cheap people. So as soon as I hear complaining OR signs of being cheap, the conversation is OVER!
                              Funny thing is that the people who are willing to pay higher prices rarely complain. So raise those prices and get the really great customers!