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A question about grooming shops?

PostPosted: Feb 07, 2005 10:35 am
by wingnut
Some of you probably already know Im a groomer. I quit working for a professional shop when I watched new owners hitting dogs,cheating customers ( no bath on dogs) and not professional acting people. So I opened my own shop here at home. I have had many people cancel their appointments due to this being a home-based business. Its not in my home, its in a un-attached garage that Ive had converted into a nice little shop.Most will cancel before they even see it or me. I have been grooming since 1987. But Ive been here for 3 yrs.

So my questions are. Would you take your pet to a home-based grooming shop where you get personal,professional, friendly service with top quality grooming at a lower price than the big shop? or would you go to a professional looking building,pay more for the same groom?

Be honest please

PostPosted: Feb 07, 2005 10:53 am
by Annie
Think I would have to look into the home based one first.
I have seen some groomers get really rough with someones pet at certain grooming places.
Once I got some references and they were good ones,I would rather take them to a home groomer. And if my dog seem to like the grooomer.
I like the homey feel of small groomers places rather than the big places! I would think they would get more attention at a small place.

PostPosted: Feb 07, 2005 10:54 am
by Old earth dog
If your good, word of mouth will bring in people. Unfortunately, getting established is the major obstical and people are hung up on the image of a nice shop, etc. I did show grooming on terriers for a number of years. Stripping on hard coated breeds, and scissor work on Kerrys and Wheatons. I never got work from any show people till I finished a few dogs (CH) of my own. Pet people, understandibly, didn't want me to put in the time necessary for how I did it. If I knew you could do the job, I'd definatelly patronize your shop. "Build it and they will come" :wink:

PostPosted: Feb 07, 2005 11:26 am
by LucyGoose
Hi wingnut!!

I have had the same groomers, just like my vet, for years.....they are in the same building, but are a separate business.....but all are the same people that have been doing this for years......I trust them, and kinda know them all, too......One of the lady's that grooms, I meet when our girls were just like in grade school. Then when she started working at the groomers like 10-15 years ago, she told me that she does some of the dogs on the side at her home....Not to take from the business, but some people just wanted to be in & out and she was cheaper.....I have went to her home many times, and shoot, I'd get the call that Ginger was done in like just about an hour and a half.....way better than half a day or more at the shop.......YES, I would go to a home in a heart beat......I wish I knew someone like you close to me.....the lady I am talking about doesn't really have a business, but has all the stuff in her basement like tables and a big tub thingy, and the kennels and she knows our dog.,......Yep, I'd go to your place!!

Good Luck!!! Once you get going, when people hear of you, I think they would g to you!! :D

PostPosted: Feb 07, 2005 12:22 pm
by janet
I've always done my own dogs as Shelties are a time-consuming breed to groom properly and I find it is time well-spent "together". But, other than that, I would actually be more apt to take a dog to a home business than a big, special shop. It could be because I live in an area of very small towns and almost everyone (that can) works out of their home. I much prefer the personal service.

How about having an 'open house' with some kind of gimmick (some small free service or give away item...and cookies for the dogs, of course). People could come and check out your set-up and see how you act with them and their dogs. You could give coupons for services to folks who showed up. You might not make a pile of money right off if they use the coupons, but once they actually see how great their dogs look, they'll come back at full price...and they'll spread the word about you.

PostPosted: Feb 07, 2005 12:54 pm
by wishiwere
Hey there! Where are you located? :)

I had one woman who worked from the vets for years before she started doing it from her home (a trailer she had renovated for just that). She was great, but I didn't like the nervousness of the dogs 'sometimes'. It was odd, b/c they seemed to notice her mood like I did when I walked in. One would grab the others' leash and want to leave immediately.

Tried another couple of women that had it in their house and they had nooooooooooo business heads on them. One was just plain nasty there and in the public from people I'd heard. They'd moved here from out of state and I think the one was just not happy here. Low and behold they moved overnight back to the other state and no one heard from them! That was weird.

The new one I have I do not care for the cuts at all, but it's that or a business where I think it's filfthy at. I went once to check them out and they had all the previous pets hair on the floor and my girls would have had to walk through to cages. It would be like walking through previous people's hair at the human clippers! UGH!

Anyway......... I would rather have the twins at a home based, as long as they were happy to go. Animals pick up on vibes and can tell you as much as a child whether they like without words I think. Where are you located?

PostPosted: Feb 07, 2005 4:09 pm
by patsue53
I always went by word of mouth. If someone was recommended by a friend then that's where I took my dog.
I did have one unpleasant experienced with a home-based business....the man for some reason felt the need to pull my dog's ear and make him cry. I assume the macho SOB was asserting his dominance over my little poodle, but it made me mad and I never went back.

But in the end I go where the reputation is good. Have you thought about setting up a "do it yourself" station? I just saw that advertised somewhere and think it's a great idea! Its a bathing station where you can take your dog and give him a bath for the price of renting the station. Kind of like a do-it-yourself car wash. :lol: Just a thought of a way to bring in business. :)

PostPosted: Feb 07, 2005 7:59 pm
by wild4flowers
I would definately go by word of mouth. I was taught as a youngster, that local people, and independant contractors in any profession were the ones to go to.

A friend of my sons has a mobile van grooming service. Almost the same as home based. She does a great business. She does a good job and gets lots of referrals.

PostPosted: Feb 08, 2005 3:28 am
by Tundra_Queen
If I knew u or had people tell me that u were good I would go to you. But whether u were in a business like setting or garage I would ask to stay with my pet while u groomed them. If u said no, then I wouldn't let u touch them. Perhaps u could tell people they could stay and watch how u are with their pets? Do u have customers u have done in the past that could spread the word around? My sister was a groomer too before her stroke, she had a special room in her basement and people came to her cause she was cheaper and they found out about her by word of mouth. Good luck!


PostPosted: Feb 08, 2005 7:47 am
by newtohosta-no more
I agree with what's been said. If I used a groomer I would go by word of mouth to someone good....and if that turned out to be a home-based person , then all the better. But like OED said...there is always a segment of the population that won't patronize a home based place because of "image". They want everyone to know they go to the high faluting, expensive place. :roll:
People here have given you lots of good open for a discount on services....a DIY bath set up, etc. Do whatever it takes to bring in the customers , then let your work speak for itself. :D
Good luck!! :)

PostPosted: Feb 08, 2005 8:02 am
by Justme
If I had not clue as to where to get my dog groomed, I would probably go to #1. the Vets groomer or #2. a larger shop. BUT, I don't go back if I don't like the job they did, same with my own hair.

However, We use a friend of my husbands, who in the last year has been
- At the kennels (long term)
- Bought an exhisting shop for herself.
- Previous Owner stole customer list! So, went out of business!
- Went back to Kennels.
- Restarted own business from home, and is now in a seperate shop (away from house).

And yes, we have followed her around becouse she does a great job with our dog, and she loves our dog, and have had bad cuts with other groomers.

Hang in there, you just need time and word of mouth.


PostPosted: Feb 08, 2005 6:47 pm
by wingnut
Thank you for your replies. Im not hurting for business. I usually only take 4-5 a day becus of rotator cuff problems. However its just dang aggrevating to make an appt for someone, tell them exactly where Im located and explain that I am in the garage converted into a grooming SALON they will call back and cancel the day of the appointment. I even had a guy ask if I was business or residential area and canceled immediatly, saying he was looking for a "real business". Half of the new people will cancel their appts within 24 hrs. WHich is a the real problem because they take appt space for someone else.

I do have alot of client referrals. I have friends or relatives of clients that come from 30+/- miles away. But Im in a town that has 11 grooming shops. 3-4 are homebased.
So I know its a tough area but when you have people cancel over and over because of where you are located its maddening.

I have done $5 dollar off coupons and discounts to people that do refer others here. Im too small (shop wise) for a self grooming shop. And I have no problem with clients staying. Ive only been here for just over 2 yrs. I know image is everything and my yard looks much better and I get many many compliments when the Hostas are all up! Right now everything is MUD

Thank you

PostPosted: Feb 08, 2005 7:10 pm
by wishiwere
ooooooo...that was a problem with 2 of the ladies we went to. One was a mud hole sometimes and the with the twins it was hard for me to carry both to the car through it even. The other, I just hated to walk through it myself. Can you at least lay pea stone where they have to park and enter so the animals don't get the car filthy? Might be a problem. Just a thought anyway.

As for canceling, I don't know what to say about that. Sorry.

PostPosted: Feb 08, 2005 9:33 pm
by Garden_of_Mu
I know it is frustrating, but you're always going to have a certain percentage of folks canceling on you and at the most inconvenient times. There are things you can do to minimize them though. Perhaps you could institute a deposit system for new customers that is forfeit with less than 24 hours cancellation notice. You could waive it for those that you have reason to trust, and drop it entirely after the second or third visit. Maybe 20% of the total cost? It won't stop all the cancellations, but it will make you feel a bit better.

I wouldn't worry about folks that won't come to you for whatever reason that has to do with your location or status as a home based buisness. There's no accounting for taste or people's quirks, and you can't take that sort of thing personally.

From the sounds of it your business is a success. Congrats! :)

PostPosted: Feb 08, 2005 9:42 pm
by wishiwere
I just had a thought. I know I've called at the last minute with a snow day or day off wondering if the lady had an opening. Could you start a list of people that would be wanting to get a morning call if you had cancelations? Just a thought anyway.