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Thinking about next Christmas- Question for mobile groomers

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  • Thinking about next Christmas- Question for mobile groomers

    I refuse to go crazy next year at Christmas. Its all just too much and I'd really like to enjoy the holidays again. The thing is, I know that I can't make everyone happy, but I'd like to make as many people happy as possible. So, I need help in deciding what a fair way to book the last few weeks before Christmas. First come, first serve definitely doesn't work for me, because then some VERY good customers might be locked out and honestly, there are some dogs that I want to see before Christmas. I can't work it like a shop where the regular customers get first dibbs, because 99% of mine are regular customers. (I've already made the decision not to try to squeeze in non-regulars, but that doesn't help too much). I was thinking of not booking dogs that take longer times to finish, but not sure if that is fair. Also, I need to leave time for snow days, but I don't want them to be the last couple days before Christmas, because that means most likely I'd be working the last days before Christmas.
    So, has anyone found anything that works well, in mobile?
    don't find yourself up a creek without a poodle.

  • #2
    One idea

    In the busy shop I used to have, with LOTS of regulars, one thing I pretty well did was make sure that I was doing TIDIES at Christmas, not full grooms. That helps a LOT. You can trim regulars a bit shorter a few weeks before, then do a bath and tidy and get all your regulars looking beautiful.

    You can also sort out your regulars - those who are every 1-4 weeks are given the best dates, those who may book every 5-8 weeks are kind of the "second tier". Sometimes there are exceptions withing both of those categories, but you can figure that as you go along.

    Good luck with next year! My plan this coming year with the business that I bought is to promote a VIP club comprised of regulars that come every 1-4 weeks, and they get the priority holiday time (as well as other things).

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    • #3
      we'll talk. you know i did not make myself crazy and overworked myself.
      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

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      • #4
        After my first couple of Christmas' I decided to not go nuts this year. I did most of my dogs the two weeks before. The week of Christmas this year I had a regular amount of dogs Mon-Wed. Took off Christmas Eve. Most of what I had Mon-Wed were tidy ups, and baths on top of it. I did not push the holiday grooms either like I did in the past. It is not worth it to me to make myself crazy and working all day into the night to get dogs groomed so I can be miserable.
        What does a dog do on it's day off?

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        • #5
          I book the appointments and then let them know when their next appointment is. All my clients are on a regular schedule except a very small number, who know that they will not get a pre-holiday appt unless they let me know around Sept that they want one. Otherwise they'll get a call if I have a cancellation and there's no guarantee of that.

          I tend to book two appointments ahead, I only give the client their next date, that way if I need to move things around I can. I try to book my big tippers the two-three weeks prior to Christmas. I can only groom so many dogs a day and being good to me gets you special treatment. I don;t TELL people that, but people who are generous tend to know they get better treatment, those who don't are generally clueless anyway and don't make the connection, If they made the connection they'd be better about it, right?

          Decide how many grooms you're willing to do in a day without going nuts then book that many. You have to face that you cannot book everyone and some people will be disappointed. But that's life, and if they want it bad enough they'll let you know early enough to accommodate them. Tippers or not, people who let me know early, before they schedule gets locked in, get accommodated.

          Meesh

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          • #6
            I try to do exactly like Meesch does when booking appts. I try to get the schedule for my 3-4 weekers done from Aug right thru Dec. Then the 5-6weekers.

            Now that I've been mobile for 2yrs I will not take new clients the last two weeks of Dec. I did the first year, but found myself doing nasty matted dogs. I'm alsmost to the point that I cannot take many new clients now. I know I can no longer take any new Sat appts.

            That's the hardest thing about being mobile, doing the schedule and learning to say No.

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            • #7
              In October, start to give them two appts in advance, one for the Thanksgiving holiday, and the second one for Christmas. If they don't want to preschedule, then inform them that they might not be able to be "squeezed in".

              Happy New Year Everyone !!

              Dolly's Barking Bubbles, LLC

              www.dollysbarkingbubbles.com

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Meesh View Post
                I book the appointments and then let them know when their next appointment is. All my clients are on a regular schedule except a very small number, ... Decide how many grooms you're willing to do in a day without going nuts then book that many. You have to face that you cannot book everyone and some people will be disappointed. But that's life, and if they want it bad enough they'll let you know early enough to accommodate them. Tippers or not, people who let me know early, before they schedule gets locked in, get accommodated.

                Meesh
                This is exactly how I do it too. I tell people when their appts are. And I also book two in advance.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Meesh View Post
                  I tend to book two appointments ahead, I only give the client their next date, that way if I need to move things around I can. I try to book my big tippers the two-three weeks prior to Christmas. I can only groom so many dogs a day and being good to me gets you special treatment. I don;t TELL people that, but people who are generous tend to know they get better treatment, those who don't are generally clueless anyway and don't make the connection, If they made the connection they'd be better about it, right?
                  Do we share a brain? lol

                  I'm not mobile, but.....

                  I do the same as you.... book two appointments ahead. And after this past holiday madness, I've decided those who treated me well get first dibs next year. Those that didn't.... welp, maybe they should have. I supose it's a lousy attitude to have, but after the misery I went through this year I will NOT be doing it again next year. As a matter of fact, I've already X'd out the 23rd of December I'll work through the 22nd, (I'm thinking about saving the 22nd as a "snow day" just in case) and then I'm done - and those last few days I'm open will be specifically for those who DID treat me well in 2009.

                  I guess this year was a wake up call for me. I tried to be so careful about overloading myself, and I failed miserably this year. I was overbooked, overstressed and on top of that, trying to groom 15+ dogs every day with the flu. I was out in a sleet storm the evening of the 23rd trying to finish up my Christmas shopping because I didn't have time to do it beforehand. My daughter, who works with me, spent her sons first Christmas in bed with the flu and I'm sure it was partly due to our ridiculous schedule the past 2 weeks. I won't do it again. Especially considering the tips were pretty lousy with the exception of a handful of people. Heck... I even had 2 regulars who "forgot" their checkbooks and promised to be in to pay me before the holidays. Havn't seen em yet. None of it was worth it, and history will not be repeating itself next year.

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                  • #10
                    Yeah, definitely bear in mind the ones who treated you well this year when you make your schedule for next holiday season!

                    I had enough over-the-top tips this year that the ones who stiffed me REALLY stood out. I will no longer go the extra mile for them. I have always given every client my very best, regardless, but now I have to conserve my strength for those who appreciate it and reward it. And I don't necessarily mean rewarding it with tips, but with being considerate of my time and flexible when necessary. A "good" client isn't always your good tipper, it is often the one who, when someone else needs to reschedule, you know will roll easily when you need to tweak things a bit. And the ones who seldom, if ever, cancel their appointments.

                    I am having surgery in a couple of weeks that will keep me out of work for six weeks. ALL my clients know this, yet some of them STILL cancelled their grooms at the last minute. Normally it's just annoying, but I am trying to make as much as possible while I can and they really screwed me this time. Two of the people who had unavoidable problems and who I would have forgiven the $30 no-show/late cancel fee anyway sent me the price of their full missed grooms -- they'll get $10 off their next groom in gratitude, but it won't be till March or April. Of the other two, one called me as I was on his street to cancel, another called me two hours prior. I reminded them about my $30 fee for appointments cancelled with less than 24 hours notice and they threatened not to have me groom their dogs in the future. I told them if they didn't pay it, that wouldn't be a problem ;-)

                    Once I return to working I simply won't be able to groom more than five dogs a day, and I have been grooming six to seven per day regularly, and some eight and nine dog days as well. So I'll be cutting back about a third and I will only keep clients with good, small easy dogs, clients who are pleasant. Good tippers will obviously be much appreciated with the lower volume. While I am not exactly looking forward to the cut in income, I am trying to see it as an opportunity to prune the rolls of less-than-desirable clients.

                    I am sure the other groomers in my area will appreciate the spillover. I know I did when I first started out and another veteran groomer sent his leavings to me when he cherry picked. Now I guess it's my turn to turn diva!

                    Meesh

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                    • #11
                      Xmas Schedule

                      I put out a newsletter quarterly to all customers and anyone else that I come in contact with, so customers are aware of the upcoming holidays. They will get a newsletter in late September - October, that urges all Holiday groom appointments to be made during that month. If they don't, the closer to December it gets, the lessor the chance to get on the schedule. Then, I start my holiday schedule in the 2nd week of December & accept NO new clients that month at all! To my customers, they think I am about to go crazy from such a busy schedule, but in actuality, you are only as busy as you want to be. I groom normally 6 days a week except in the winter months, but in the winter only 4-5 days a week. I live in the northern Midwest, so winters can get very treacherous at times. When I am scheduling only 4-5 days a week, the others are left as weather makeup days.
                      Now, back to Xmas schedule, the customers have plenty of notice (at least 3 months) and those that schedule far out for the season, are first to be served! I use to run around like a nut at Christmas, but not anymore. I still have a full schedule during the holidays, but control how crazy I can get, and my customers never ever cancel during the holidays. Hope that helps out.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Debbiedogs View Post
                        one thing I pretty well did was make sure that I was doing TIDIES at Christmas, not full grooms. That helps a LOT. (as well as other things).
                        I will definitely incorporate this idea...no doing a standard poodle full groom on the week of Christmas. That will help alot. I'm thinking no dogs that take over an hour to do. That would cut down since I do tons of bichons and poodles that take over an hour.
                        don't find yourself up a creek without a poodle.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Meesh View Post
                          I try to book my big tippers the two-three weeks prior to Christmas. I can only groom so many dogs a day and being good to me gets you special treatment. I don;t TELL people that, but people who are generous tend to know they get better treatment, those who don't are generally clueless anyway and don't make the connection, If they made the connection they'd be better about it, right?
                          Meesh
                          Yep...I did squeeze one dog in that only gets done 3 times a year, and she called the week before Christmas. Guess what....not a single dime. I don't expect tips, but in a case like this, I think it was pretty thoughtless of her to not acknowlege my accomodation.
                          don't find yourself up a creek without a poodle.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by scrubapup View Post
                            As a matter of fact, I've already X'd out the 23rd of December I'll work through the 22nd, (I'm thinking about saving the 22nd as a "snow day" just in case) and then I'm done - and those last few days I'm open will be specifically for those who DID treat me well in 2009.
                            Good idea...I just did that
                            don't find yourself up a creek without a poodle.

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                            • #15
                              Thanks for the ideas. I really appreciate it. There were some great ideas that will really work for me and the customers. There are people that say just do first come first serve and screw the rest, they'll have to deal with waiting for after the holidays. That's not the way I work, and that's not the kind of customer service I want to provide. Besides, there are many dogs that I would only be hurting myself if I pushed them too far beyond their regular grooming time.

                              So, I crossed off the 23rd and 24th, and I'm leaving the Sunday before empty as a snow day.

                              I will be scheduling only baths and tidy's of dogs that take under and hour for the last week and a half before Christmas.

                              If a person is done right before Thanksgiving, if they are not on a less than 4 week schedule then they won't have first dibbs at Christmas appointments.

                              I'll start scheduling the really good clients in October before anyone else is able to book holiday appointments.

                              That's a start, right?
                              don't find yourself up a creek without a poodle.

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