By Joey Villani, CEO of Intergroom International & VP of World Dog Expo
Groomers – Are You Ready?
Are you ready for race day? You know you need to prepare, to train, to get the right equipment…. You spend months preparing for the day you take your place at the starting line. You are tense, anxious, and excited as the day nears. Are you ready? Did you prepare the right way? You push the naysayers and the “what ifs” out of your mind. You focus on the starting day, knowing it will be hectic but worth it. What race are you preparing for? The “race” of running your mobile grooming business!
Getting a mobile grooming business on the road requires the same steps as preparing for a race – you must prepare, train, get the right equipment… all in an effort to prevent a “crash” and cross the finish line. Just like a brick-and-mortar salon, the mobile grooming salon must successfully cross the finish line every single day, or face financial failure. Both types of salons require business preparation, but there are a few risks that differ between the two.
Areas that I see ignored or underestimated when someone is starting a mobile grooming business are:
- Running out of funds – starting any type of business requires careful financial planning. Just because your business is on wheels does not mean it will cost less than a brick-and-mortar salon. From equipment to vehicle licensing & maintenance, from marketing to having supplies stocked & ready for use on-site, a mobile salon has its share of expenses too, so plan accordingly.
- Miscalculating the competition – there may not be another mobile business in your territory, but the attachment to a specific salon or groomer can be difficult to assess. Know your competition and promote your unique services.
- Inefficient appointment management – failing line up appointments near each other means a whole lot of driving, not only costing you time, but also costing you gas and wear on the vehicle. Add to the inefficiency the failure to confirm appointments or pre-book them, and you can find yourself racking up the miles but not any income.
- Coverage area too large – many mobile groomers set a coverage area that is too large, and they spend more time driving than grooming. You aren’t paid to drive around all day.
Groomers – Start Your Engines
Every day you start your engine – roll out of your driveway and travel from one client to the next. In between those appointments you … well, drive and then drive some more. You need to be efficient to make a profit to keep you in business.
These are my tips to improve your efficiency:
- Coverage Area – determine your limit by considering how far you would drive to the supermarket. Your circle or zone can be 5 miles or 20 miles, keep in mind, you do not want to be too large. Remember, more time driving means less time grooming (and therefore less income).
- Pie System for Scheduling – this is the method I use to set up my appointments. In my coverage area (imagine a large pie) I divide the circle into “slices,” and I will do appointments in the first “slice” on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of week 1. Next slice is Thursday and Friday of week 1. Next slice is Monday and Tuesday of week 2 and so on up to week 6. By the time I finish week 6, I am back at the first slice for week 1 and those pets are ready for their next appointment. Using this method, I improve my efficiency in driving and repeat booking.
- Repeat Booking – this has been a game-changer for me. I maximize my business, and I book the next appointment before I
leave the client’s driveway. Since I have my Pie System set up, I know when I will be working in the client’s area again (every 6-8 weeks), so I can pre-book that slice of the coverage area.
- Reminders – even though you pre-book, you still need to remind your clients. Call, text, email…you need to keep in contact with your clients. I prefer to call my clients, as it is harder to say no or cancel an appointment when you are talking one-on-one,
but find out how the client likes to communicate and then find a program that makes it easy for you to send out reminders.
Running any business can be difficult. Groomers are not exempt. There is technology available to help mobile pet grooming businesses – it is called BizBark.
BizBark has some nice features for groomers to use to their advantage. It is inexpensive; it enables you to connect easily with your clients and other pet professionals in your coverage area, track your appointments, and present your mobile grooming business to your clients in a professional way.
Use my tips, and at the end of the day, you will cross the finish line a winner!