Pet Product News: In what wayscanpetstylists prepareand educatethem-
selves to successfully open their own businesses?
Joe Zuccarello: This really depends. There are so many factors that
need to be considered when contemplating going into business
for yourself such as location, clientele, services, pricing, competition, staffing, products, equipment, hours, etc. The good news is
that all of these are completely doable, and if there is one thing
I might recommend, it is to give yourself enough time to thoroughly assess your understanding and know-how in regard to
Having great grooming skills alone doesn’t ensure success
at opening and operating your own business. There are always
people who know more, who have done it already, who have
failed and who have succeeded. Find them and ask lots of questions, and you’ll do yourself a huge favor.
Lori Kleiman: Start with the Small Business Development Center
in your area. They are completely free and provide great men-torship from experienced businesspeople. Some centers may be
called SCORE programs. They are often affiliated with community colleges and universities.
Susan Briggs: Taking basic financial and accounting classes helps
new business owners understand their financial reports and how
their business is making money. Another key skill to develop is
your leadership and management skills, so courses on managing
people are very beneficial.
PPN: Whataresomemisstepsthatyouthinkpetgroomersmake whenthey
open shop, and what mistakes should they seek to avoid?
Beth Cristiano: Common missteps are not having strong business
practices, not hiring appropriate professionals to
help operate the business and improper pricing.
These problems quickly tax all business assets.
If you are light in experience, one should hire
a competent professional to complete what you
cannot while you learn how. Make sure to ask for
references and follow up.
Zuccarello: One of the biggest mistakes pet
groomers make when they open their own business is how much they underestimate the time it
takes to be a productive member of the team and
run their business all at the same time. Management of others seems to be at the top of everyone’s list as a challenge that is not fully understood or anticipated, even with successful and
Kleiman: Not understanding all the regulations
that exist with having employees, even if it’s only
one or two. And the things that you don’t need to
do that larger organizations do. Be sure you understand the laws
around hours worked and payroll for your local area.
Briggs: Not allocating time to work “on” versus “in” their business. As owner, you have many hats to wear, so you need time
to spend on marketing, staff and financial management. Blocking
time for these duties each week is important so it does not always
fall to evenings. Be sure rates you charge for grooming allow you
to spend time on your owner duties.
PPN: Staffing is always a challenge. Do you have any specific advice about how
to approach staffing? What are some things business owners should consider
when hiring employees?
Zuccarello: Groomers are in high demand. Good groomers are
nearly impossible to recruit. You have a few choices. You can hire
a groomer with sub-par skills or personality. You can “poach”
a great groomer away from another employer. You can elect to
grow your own groomers. Sub-par skills or personality is dangerous, and while it may fill an immediate need, typically, this develops into trouble later down the road for everyone. Poaching is
nearly impossible unless you want to give away all of your profit
paying ridiculous compensation to attract talent, and I would ask
just how long will you have them until the next best offer comes
along. I prefer growing your own talent. Yep, this is a slow process, and it does come with some risk, but compared to the alternatives, I’ll bet on this one every time!
Kleiman: First and most important is to have a very clear job description. You don’t have to list every task, but be clear in the expectations of what needs to be done, what you expect in terms of
client management and the physical experience of the job. When
“Common missteps are not having strong business practices, not
hiring appropriate professionals to help operate the business and improper
pricing. These problems quickly tax all business assets.” —Beth Cristiano