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Running the Numbers

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  • Running the Numbers

    I have posted here in the past about how I work stationary one day a week at a vet clinic. I have enjoyed it -- it's nice having coworkers once a week and the discount is nice for my pets, but today I actually did the math, and I think I've gotten to the point where the good decision for my business is to go 100% mobile. I've been making about $200 on my vet days, it rarely hits $300 or a bit more, but my mobile days bring in $400-$500+. Assuming a $150-$200 a week difference for 49 weeks (I take three weeks off per year) we're talking $7,350 to $9,800 more per year I can be earning! Even if I low-ball it to $100 a week, that's still pushing $5K and I'd be thrilled for a raise like that back in my corporate days.

    Also I am booked out without any openings for about six weeks and have a waiting list. It seems silly to have people on my waiting list only to show up at the vet clinic to find just two or three dogs booked, or have a good day booked but some don't show up (the vet doesn't have a no show fee like I do). I have taken to calling the day or two before to see what sort of day they have, and if it is a light one calling someone from my wait list, but even then it's not a well-routed, profitable day as my other ones are that I have more control over.

    Today I just groomed three dogs, the fourth, a Samoyed, did not show up. So far nothing is booked for next week so I spent about 45 minutes going through my PDA and looking through all the vet clinic clients and culling the ones who had not been in for a while to make a list for the them to call to try to fill the day. For their cut they should be doing that sort of stuff, I shouldn't have to be hussling grooms on that day when I could fill it just as easily as my other days, ahead of time.

    It was GREAT at the beginning, especially my first year when acidents do happen and I had a vet on my side to help me deal with the clients. It was also good when I was still building up my business and didn't have that many clients.

    How do you think I should go about giving notice? Phone call? Letter? Wait till the next day I am there and talk to them about it? I am going to approach a new mobile in the area to see if she'd like to step in and I can give her all my grooming info and notes on the vet clients, so assuming she'd like to do that the transition ought to be fairly smooth, just a matter of finding out when she wanted to start.

    In fact, since I know she reads these boards I suppose I ought to give her a call shortly after I hit the post button!


  • #2
    In all honestly, that is such a small benefit to the animal hospital/clinic that I can't imagine it would be a big deal. It IS a loss to you, and 100% mobile is a good idea---especially because that is why you HAVE the mobile van!!

    I think it would help the new mobiler in town, and then after she gets her business up and running, she can pass the clients on to someone else who needs a good groomer.

    You're a smart cookie, I'm sure you'll have no problem approaching either the new mobile groomer OR the vets office. Good luck!

    Tammy in Utah
    Groomers Helper Affiliate


    • #3
      If you have someone that you can refer to take your place I don't see why they would be upset. It's not like you are saying 'See Ya!'. I would offer to introduce the new groomer to the clinic also.

      I would explain to the vet that you have a 6 week long waiting list. You come for 'x' amount of dogs at their clinic - sometimes the clients don't show up - and you could do 'x' from your waiting list. I am sure they would understand.

      Also, I agree it shouldn't be your job to have to check who needs a call for a groom especially if they are taking a cut from your groom!

      It's your business and your $$, looks like you are doing exceptionally well, do what will make you the happiest


      • #4
        That is a very kind offer from you for another mobile groomer.

        Why did the vet choose you? Were you already his client? He may not want to bring someone else in but just refer people to you. My vet WILL NOT have another groomer so instead he just refers everyone to my salon and that has been a ton.

        Remember, your vet is also a business person so if you approach it in a professional way you should be okay. Show him the numbers just like you did us :-) Give him both scenarios.. 1, refer to you.. 2, you have another mobile come.


        • #5
          The vet found me during the first few weeks I was advertising, while I was waiting for my van and finishing up school. Didn't know me from Adam, but had a mobile groomer coming in, I think it was a couple of days per week actually. She had to retire suddenly due to illness and he wanted another groomer.

          I am just making this more complicated than it needs to be cuz I am like that -- the groomer I want to recommend is actually a client of his and has been for many years. When he learned she started grooming he thought she worked for me (she was actually a grooming client of mine, did a ride-along and then went to my alma mater). When I explained she was on her own lime me, I was just sort of mentoring her for a bit, he asked if I'd mind if she groomed there on a day I wasn't. I told him they couldn't keep me busy enough, so I'd rather they did not. But that's actually when I started thinking, hey, this isn't really working out that great for me anymore.

          I called her, she was still out ... if she doesn't read all these posts and figure out I am talking about her I'll be seeing her soon anyway!



          • #6
            when i started i had the owner of a doggie daycare ask me if i was available 1or2 days a week to groom some of her dogs at the daycare because she did'nt have a groommer i was honest and told her no and explain my reasons money being the #1 reason i told her in a nice way that i could not dedicate 1 or 2 days to her business when i could be working on mine and making more money then i said as a business owner yourself you can understand that right she smiled and said i guess so,i told her to just hire a regular groomer to work for her and she would make more money.she took my advice and she is doing great know!


            • #7
              So, to answer your question, I would just tell them in person on your next day in. No reason to feel weird about it, you have a very good excuse! It never leaves a good feeling when you must end a relationship of sorts via a letter or email, that is cowardly. Best to suck it up and be totally honest! You will be looked upon with more respect that way, from one business owner to another! Best of luck


              • #8
                I did it

                I went in this morning to groom ONE dog, and I told them it wasn't really working out for me anymore, and that while I enjoyed working with them, the difference in income between my mobile days and the days I had scheduled at the vet was too much to keep losing. They were very happy that I had lined up someone for them, and I think it will be a good move for her at this point in time as well. I did mention to her that she should reasses the situation periodically to see if it continued to be a good thing for her business.

                My first mobile Thursday will be June 7 and it's already half booked with new clients from my waiting list and if it doesn't finish filling in over the next couple of weeks I'll shift some people from the overbooked days to balance the week out better.

                The vet told me to make sure I took advantage of my discount while I still had it, so I guess I ought to stock up on the drugs my old guy takes -- at regular price he takes $150 worth of drugs per month (one for his arthritis and one for his doggy dementia)

                Guess that's the thing about working for yourself and making all your own decisions -- you can't ever sit back and get too comfortable, you need to always be reviewing the numbers, checking out how you can do things better, when you need to give up something to grow in another place.

                Last summer I gave another area groomer a whole bunch of of my clients who were too far for me but in a good place for her. They were good clients, just too far and it was scary giving up more than a full day every six weeks, but by the next time I would have been out there rolled around the day was full and with close-in clients.

                I know where the next place I have to give up is, but the clients all know they are out of my range (I had to beg them to stop giving my name to their neighbors! I already have a couple of days full out there) and each time I go out they really show their gratitude ($$) so it's well worth it. And they know not to miss an appt cuz they'll never get back in till the next scheduled one.



                • #9
                  Meesh you did the correct thing.Sometimes we have to make reasonable decisions for the best of the business.We can't let feelings get in the way even though we still do.I still continue to groom certain dogs because I feel sorry for the dog even if I would not take a new client with thier dogs attitude.I do how ever hate when I have to dread thiere appointment day.Thank God I only have about two like that.As far as driving route I'm still working ofn that.