Starting your own dog grooming business can be tough – there’s no doubt about that. Yet, you can have a successful freelance business without burning yourself out! This is where the importance of scheduling comes into play…
When you start scheduling grooming appointments with clients, you’ll want to know how much time you need to prepare AND how much time is needed for the groom. Don’t overlook the following important factors when creating your freelance grooming schedule!
Know your hours
As a freelance dog groomer, it’s important to set your hours so you have a schedule to follow each week. This will help you schedule appointments and have time to prepare your equipment properly. Before making any grooming appointments with clients, build a simple weekly template for what you want your schedule to look like. This will allow you to get into the groove of freelancing!
When setting your hours, remember that the reason people call a freelance groomer is due to busy schedules. They may not be able to make it into a grooming salon during open hours, so take this into consideration when building up your freelance business. You can target clients who work long or irregular hours – they’ll want the flexibility that a salon isn’t able to offer!
But be flexible
Speaking of flexibility, it’s important to remember that freelancing offers the best of a stable and changeable lifestyle. You can schedule your life around personal or business appointments, and can choose to change your hours if other commitments start popping up. However, you should have a general rule for when you work and when you don’t. Otherwise your business could suffer from limited availability!
What’s great about being able to mold your own hours is that you can provide dog grooming clients with excellent customer service. Say they can’t make it to their regular appointment time, or their busy lifestyle would benefit from a house call — either way, your ability to make a certain time work for any client is what gives you a one-up on grooming salons.
Keep prices upfront
As a freelancer, it’s important to remember that you need set prices. Just like a salon, your business has expenses to pay to keep it running. You also deserve a good salary, considering how much time and effort you put into your professional groomer training! So when you’re faced with a tough client who’s trying to haggle, stick to your guns.
That’s not to say that you should never give discounts, though! Since it is your dog grooming business, you can change prices as you see fit. We recommend telling clients your set prices up front, and then offering discounts as you see fit. If you have a client who’s referred you to their friends and has helped your business take off, you should definitely give them an incentive to keep the referrals coming!
Here’s the golden rule: your clients know your prices, and they shouldn’t book you in hopes that you’ll work for a lesser rate. You can provide discounts on your own accord – but don’t feel pressured by a pushy client!
Overestimate your travel time
For any freelancer, commuting to each appointment can take a lot longer than expected. Take into consideration what you’ll have to do to prepare for each appointment: cleaning your tools, packing your grooming kit, and driving to your client. Not to mention the unforeseen traffic issues or road construction that can slow you down! It’s much better to be early than late – you can always go for a quick coffee before heading into the appointment.
More than this, it’s so important to be reliable when you’re starting a freelance grooming business. If you show up 20 minutes late to every appointment, you’re bound to get some negative feedback (or worse, bad Facebook ratings!) from your clients.
Avoid this by being on time, ready to go, and offering flexible work times when you can. You’ll be surprised by how much of a difference these little things will make to your clients!
Don’t forget self-care!
As a dog groomer, you work hard. It’s not easy working with wiggly or anxious dogs all day (even if they are super cute!). Being on your feet requires a lot of energy, and you need to practice self-care to avoid feeling burned out. When creating your weekly schedule, be sure that you have at least a few hours each week dedicated to some much needed “me time”. You’ll thank yourself for it!
Take time to spend an evening reading, relaxing in a bubble bath, or going out to dinner and a movie with a friend. It doesn’t take long to recharge, but it is definitely needed! We’re proud of your strong work ethic, and you should be too. Take some time to relax and reflect on your success!
Becoming a successful dog groomer takes time and practice, so jot down your goals for each step of the way. Now that you have your schedule sorted out, it’s time to get grooming!
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Casey Bechard of Off The Leash Pet Grooming is a QC Pet Studies graduate. Read all about her favorite breeds and pet haircuts as a certified groomer!