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!
Lisa, ...(INDY)

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.
good luck.
Tanja Oliver, Tacoma Wa.