I have trouble with my customers wanting to pick their dogs up at
this time or that time. I tell them that I will call them as soon as
their dog is ready. But, that is not good enough I get" Do you have
an approximate time," or they leave and call two hours later! I don't
like to feel rushed or promise a dog at a certain time and not be
able to do it. ANY suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
Replies To INDY;
Well I hate to tell you this but I've been grooming professionally for
better than 30 years now and I haven't found a way to avoid the time pick
ups. As a matter of fact all of the successful shops I've known over the
years have learned to deal with this. It just goes with the territory.
Having said that let me qualify my statement by adding you can control
some of the pressure by not agreeing to pick ups before 12:00 or 1:00. I
tell people that is the earliest I start to send dogs out, period! I do
not want the interruptions and the aggravation of stopping a dozen times
in the morning to release a dog. Likewise all of my dogs must be in by
9:00 in the morning unless prior arrangements have been made (I open at
7:30 AM). Now if I have a dog with special needs i.e. geriatric case,
health problems (diabetes, heart, etc.) or puppies nursing perhaps than I
do send them home ASAP. My clients respect my policies and they know that
I work with them when there is illness or some "special" problem.I also
promise dogs out on the hour not the half hour to cut down on afternoon
interuptions. I understand that they want to get their babies back as
soon as they can, but they learn to understand that in order to do
quality work I must have an adequate amount of time to do the job in. Oh
one last thing, another policy of mine is "first in first out, I open at
7:30, if you want to be first out than be the first in"
Hope this helps,
Diane Hill CMG
I agree with Diane, this is a problem all groomers deal with. I find in
cases like this it is good to have firm policy, (with obvious exceptions as
Diane mentioned,) and to try your hardest to understand where the client is
coming from and to try to help them to understand where YOU are coming from.
As in so many cases, communication and education are the keys. I would type
out a little letter and give it to clients when they drop off their pet for
the first time. It would be warm and friendly, not hostile. I would inform
them of all I do to and for their pet while it is with me. Many people have
NO idea what is done to a pet when it is in your care. I would tell how the
pet is kept safe and secure in a special kennel, and outline how I brush,
clip, trim, bathe, etc. etc. etc. the pet. I would tell how I give the pet
"rest periods" in its kennel while I work on another pet, and between bathing
and blow drying/finishing. I would say that I groom "x" # of pets per day.
I would tell that every time I have to answer the phone it takes away from
my actual grooming time and slows my work. I would be SURE to say how much I
care about each pet, and how I want to do the best possible job I can. I
would finish with my rules about drop off and pick up, tell that I will call
when pet is done and THANK my clients for understanding. You might even add
that you keep pets as comfy as possible while they are away from home.
Mention anything extra you do... do you play music in the background? Walk
dogs that stay all day? Provide a cool drink or a cookie? Mention it. Most
of all, people want to feel that they and their pets MATTER to you. If you
help them to know that they do indeed matter, and are special to you, they
will be more willing to work with you. Best of luck!
What has worked for me is establishing a 4 hour turn around. People can
come in at 7:30 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. and expect their dog back 4 hours
later (3 hours for a brush/bath). I usually space them by booking 1/2
to 1 hour apart depending on the prep time so that the first dog is
prepped and bath as the second is coming in the door.
There are always exceptions to the rule e.g. people who want to leave
the dog for the day while they go to work, or old and/or sick dogs who
want a quick turn around. These people can always be accommodated.
The advertising pamphlet for my business has a page entitled "A Day at
the Grooming Shop" which details what a full groom includes, because
most people assume that each dog is groomed in 10 or 15 minutes and we
play with them for the next 3 hours.
In this day and age of instant gratification, we as service
professionals must conquer the demands of time. Its really easy. The
biggest factor to me is drying time. We all know how long it takes to
brush or clip a given animal, but drying time is your biggest factor.
Start with only giving times on a few dogs a day, pace yourself well,
then soon you'll be able to give accurate times on all your clients.
Trust me, they love it and your tips will increase tremendously. I groom
between 8 and 15 animals a day and not one of them spends more than
three hours in the salon. Samoyeds maybe 4. Dogs are happy and customers
are happy. The shop is much quieter and I dont go home crazy.
Tanja Oliver, Tacoma Wa.