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Learning to say NO!

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  • Learning to say NO!

    The most difficult part of starting my own business has been learning that I can't make everyone happy all of the time when it comes to appointments. The last couple of months have been out of control. I've been working 6 days a week and many evenings, and sometimes even a couple on Sunday. I've been doing my best to get everyone in without having to wait too long, and its taking its toll. Well, I finally mustered up the courage to let people know that I don't have any openings till the end of June.

    I've also started telling people that I would not be able to do their dogs. For example, my first week of business, last year, I groomed 2 great pyrenees and a husky...The GP's were matted to the skin. After completing the groom I discussed with the people how important it would be, in the future to keep them mat free and suggested that they get the dog groomed at least once during the winter. Well, they did not take my advice. They called to make an appointment the other day. I called them back and explained that my schedule was full with people who have regularly scheduled appointments and that I would not be able to accommodate them. It felt good.

    Although new people have been getting a higher price, I haven't raised prices yet. At my 1 year anniversary, the first week of July, I'll be raising current customer prices as I see appropriate. By that time, gas will probably be ridiculously high. (oh wait, it already is). I hope that will weed out some as well. (although I really like most of the dogs and customers I deal with).

    My husband is going to be going through some rough times, medically. (and I might be as well if I am healthy enough to be a kidney donor), so I need to start thinking about keeping my schedule in check.

    Well, time to Mobile!
    don't find yourself up a creek without a poodle.

  • #2
    I say no and get reprimanded by customer

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.....I get up the courage to tell someone no, and then I have to hear a nasty message on my machine. Another OAY customer with a Newfie called to make an appointment (I groomed the dog last July as well). Her area is farther than I like to go. I go there once every 6 weeks because I do have a day's worth of appointments. I called and explained that I am no longer doing dogs in that area other than the ones that I currently have on a regular schedule. (I like the dog, but she is so far that doing the dog would take up 1/2 my day and it really would not be a good business decision for me to drive there). Well, today she left me a message on my machine that she cannot believe that I will not go out and do her dog. That she referred several clients to me and now I won't do her dog. She said she knew that I was at her friends house the other day doing her dogs (they are on the 6 week scheduled day), so she knows I was in her town. Then she again said that she refered clients to me and how I would not go do her dog was beyond her. She then said to me "Good luck with your business" (almost sounded like a threat and then "Have a nice day" (sarcastically).
    Maybe I should call her back and tell her if she's willing to pay $225 for me to groom her dog (which is what I would make in the time it would take me to travel and groom her dogs), then I'd be happy to come. No, I'm not going to respond, but I sure would like to. I'm having a bad day.
    don't find yourself up a creek without a poodle.

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    • #3
      Like you said, you can't please everybody. I'll probably be in the same series of predicaments soon enough as I'll be starting out next week. YAY! If it's not worth it to you to go out of your way to do a OAY, then you shouldn't need to feel guilty about it. So what if she referred clients to you. At least THEY'RE on the regular schedule. So why can't she do the same?
      Good luck!

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      • #4
        Seems we just can't get it right.....

        Too nice and we get trampled on. Looking out for our best interest and get criticized. Seems we can't win. What is HE trying to teach us? I am a slow learner. I usually feel a stong need to be understood. A people pleaser. I bought Joyce Meyers book on the subject and never read it. You need not feel guilty. If you feel the need to explain send a note explaing gas costs etc, nothing personal. maybe her dogs and friends can schedule in the same day same house. Ask her kindly for a suggestion that would work for everyone as tho' you would appreciate her input. Maaaaaybe that will smooth things over. IF you want them to. Is she worth it?

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        • #5
          Furry, I would call the newfie person back and VERY politely explain that you have to keep your clients on a 6 week schedule and you'd be very happy to include her dog if she wants to keep him on schedule. You can be pretty certain she won't. She really feels put out because she feels like you used her to get the neighbor dogs and now you refuse to service her. I really think she just doesn't understand how we do business. Rather than leave her with a bad feeling, I'd call and explain that dogs on a schedule can be serviced much more efficiently, and in the year since you've seen her dog you've decided that it makes the most sense business-wise to keep dogs on a six week schedule. It's nothing personal, just a logical business decision, you'd be thrilled to see her dog every six weeks blah blah blah. Or, if she doesn't want to have her dog maintained on your schedule...maybe you could recommend someone else.....just to let her know that you care. You don't want to sound like you're groveling, keep it short, businesslike.

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          • #6
            Ditto to what c.c. said. Very well put.
            "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."
            Diane

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            • #7
              If you feel like it is not settled take cc's advice and call her back. I didn't call back in a similar situation. Then I ran into the customer in a store. It would have been better if I had called her back.

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              • #8
                Wow

                You are definitely learning the hard way. But the good news is that the steps you are taking to change things are absolutely right: setting a work schedule for yourself that you stick to (no exceptions), turning down clients who take advantage of your newness with their unbrushed, stinky, matted pets, and people who snap at you when you tell them NO.

                Keep saying NO! Your body, mind, and business will thank you!

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                • #9
                  I agree with CC, I think you should call her back. If you gave some lame-o excuse, that would be different, but you have a legitimate reason---you could make more doing several dogs in one day than doing hers twice a year or whatever. It's just being money-wise, and it's just not worth it when you're soooo booked up that you can barely keep up as it is, and the dog takes up half your day. I definately think that CC's advice is well written and that you should give the woman a call. It's not rude to explain your point, rather than just dissing her. It's professional.

                  Tammy in Utah
                  Groomers Helper Affiliate

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                  • #10
                    I think we are living parallel lives!

                    It is memorial day weekend, and I am off for three days for the first time in months! I have been working a schedule much like yours, and would be working today, if one of my customers did not cancel her whole day last week, but thankfully I moved sat to fill that day, so it worked out! I had a woman who's dog I did every 3-4 weeks go to FL for winter then come back the week before Easter and want dog done asap! I told her 1.5 weeks, and I would work late to get hime done, and she was like no he needs done now, have to make other arrangements, and she lives 25 mins away! I have been losing my patients with the dogs,and never see my daughter. I know now I have to draw the line. IMO I wanted to be mobile to have a schedule I could dictate, and spend time with my child, now my clients are dictating my life! If I create it to be like this, I will want to quit! So I have to make a change. I will be at one year in June. No more weekends, unless cust needs to get back on schedule I.E. Husband passed, needs to get back into the game, Pet died, and just got new pet, etc. I guess where I am getting at, is you are not alone! Do you also make exceptions for people with no shows, and matting fees? Yes, I am that stupid!

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                    • #11
                      charge them into submission!

                      I have found that the best way for me to deal with a customer who wants it ALL and wants it NOW is to quote them a price I know they will refuse. This puts the decision to say no on them and off of you! If this dog takes as much time as you say then you have every right to charge accordingly. If they say ok to the price...well then you're stuck doing the dog, but at least you'll make some sweet $$!
                      Good luck!

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                      • #12
                        Ditto ditto ditto ... charge them so much they'll either say no thanks or if they accept it you'll be well-compensated and happy to groom their dog. But isn't it such a nice position to be in? Now you'll just start to accept new clients who live within a nice tight radius of your house and before you know it you'll only be going a few miles from home all day and working only on dogs who are so well-behaved they practically groom themselves!

                        And I too agree with C.C., I'd call back the Newfie owner and explain it's nothing personal, you're just too busy to accommodate once a year grooms and with the distance you need to keep her to the 6 week schedule her neighborhood is on, you can't go out there more often. Here's just a suggestion, if you WANT to -- you're the boss! -- you can offer her a 12 week schedule. You can do her Newf every other time you are out there and it's still better than once a year. Personally, I don't groom anything that large anymore.

                        I turned down a new caller for a road that's 8 miles away (I am now sticking to 5-6 miles). I do five dogs on that same road every 6 weeks, including one standard poodle, and then another two dogs on the way back home, who are also on the far side for me (7 miles). So it's a pretty full day and I had no more room on the schedule for another dog (I am TRYING to stick to 5-7 grooms a day but it's been more like 6-8). She was all like "you're here all the time! I see your van and I can't believe you won't groom my dog! My neighbors all rave about you." I said I was really sorry, but I had to pull my route in much closer to my base and this area is just too far, I am still accommodating my older clients, but they all know they have to stay on the same scheduled day now. (I have BEGGED them to stop referring me to people in their neighborhood!). So she offers to meet me at my house. I was polite, but firm, on the phone with her, but I just wanted to tell her to suck it up, you can't always get what you want. When I went to the neighborhood next time her friend was laughing about it, "I TOLD her you wouldn't be able to take her on as a new client but she said I couldn't stop her from calling." Apparently she is just as spoiled as she seemed.

                        It makes me feel like such a diva when I cherry pick like this.

                        Meesh

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                        • #13
                          I haven't started yet, (trailer will be done in a few days! Sa-weeeet!) but a seasoned mobile groomer told me I needed to 'train' my clients. She said never, EVER, do any dogs when the potential client wants them done, tell them the days you have available - eg: "I will be in your area next Thursday. I can squeeze you in at whatever o'clock." She also told me to tell client after you have groomed their dog, "I'm filling up so fast, would you like to schedule another appt. 4 or 6 weeks from now?" If they say they'll call you, then say, "I can't guarantee that I'll have an opening, I get booked up pretty quickly." Then when the same client calls you looking for an appt. months later, again, tell then what you have available. Fit them around YOUR schedule, not their's. You don't HAVE to work Saturdays or Sundays if you don't want to. That's the beauty of being your own boss! Another very good friend of mine has a shop and she can sometimes be a real push over. Clients see that and take FULL advantage.

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