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 mentorship 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.
What are some missteps that you think pet groomers make when they open shop, and what
mistakes should they seek to avoid?
Beth Cristiano: Common missteps made 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 mature businesses.
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
be doing that larger organizations do. Be sure you understand the laws around hours
worked and payroll for your
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
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
Cristiano: My specific staffing
advice is contained in our
seminar series, The Complete
Mobile Groomer. There is an
entire module dedicated to
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
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