Loyalty is one of the most famous traits of our beloved canine companions. But you can also inspire their human owners to become faithful clients to your business, too! If you’re starting your own dog grooming business, you need to find out how to edge out the completion. It’s difficult to stand out when there are dozens of groomers who have already made a name for themselves.

The best way to ensure your business grows is to secure long-term clients. They’ll give you repeat business and maybe even recommend your services to their peers if you do a great job. So how do you develop strong relationships with your grooming clients so they’ll come back? Read on!

Be confident

Confidence will work for you in spades. When you sound like you know what you’re doing and show that you’re in control, your clients won’t believe that you’re a newly-minted groomer! From your pet grooming course, you probably learned all about animal behavior. Confidence with a dash of warmth will gain the dogs’ trust when you’re doing in to groom them. The same warmth and confidence will work wonders on the owners!

But people gain the most confidence in your abilities when they see how the dog acts around you. Dogs don’t lie! They’re incredibly honest and intuitive. If they were traumatized during the groom, they’d show it and their owners would notice. On the other hand, if you had a great session with their pup, and their owners see how happy they are post-groom, they’ll be more confident in your abilities.

being confident fosters trust with dogs and their owners

Communicate

Just like writing a cover letter for a job, you want to tailor your work to suit their needs. What exactly did they want you to do? Don’t be afraid of asking questions! Their answers will inform how you do certain aspects of a groom. In the example of a Teddy Bear cut, you’ll need to consider how frequently they intend to bring the dog in for grooming as well as the dog’s lifestyle and habits. This information along with your expert knowledge, allows you to meet the owner’s needs and the dog’s needs.

When they come for pickup, give them a rundown of what you did and didn’t do. Walking the owner through the completed groom allows them to see exactly what you did. It also gives you a chance to tell them about maintenance between visits.

Incentivize

Whether it’s a first-time customer discount or a “refer your friends” offer, incentives are a great way to get new clients. A 20% discount for new clients or $10 service discounts for referrals will do the trick. Those who enjoy your services and refer you have incredible power when it comes to elevating your business. Never underestimate the influence of a glowing recommendation!

You could also personalize a promotion or offer. When you groom a dog, make note of their coat conditions or any potential concerns. You can then create a custom offer for their owners for their next visit. This is an effective way to get people to return to your salon. When it’s customized, the dog owners know that you’re offering advice that has their dog’s wellbeing in mind.

incentivizing clients and their dogs to return to your salon

Go above and beyond

Being client-oriented means doesn’t mean just checking tasks off a list. It also means going above and beyond when working with clients and their dogs. If a client brings in their dog for a basic groom and you discover fleas, don’t just ignore it! Contact the owners and take care of their dog. You will rid their pet of a parasite to benefit their health, but you’re also ensuring they don’t spread in your work area. And since flea shampoos are notoriously drying, you’ll follow with a conditioning treatment for the coat.

Your first priority is the dog in your care. Your clients will genuinely appreciate anything you do that ensures their beloved pets are kept in good health.

Meet other needs

Let’s preface this section: meet their main needs first! Before you start dabbling in other aspects of the pet industry, ensure you got the grooming down pat. Ensure you address the owner’s requests—is it possible? Will it suit their dog’s needs?

And always pay attention to detail! That tuft near the ears may not pose a problem now, but it may trap bacteria leading to an infection later!

Once you’re confident in your abilities and know you’re doing the best job you can, consider branching out. Anticipate the pets’ other needs. Stock treats, accessories, outerwear, etc. for their pups. You offer convenience when you expand your operations to become a one-stop-shop. If they bring their dog in for a stylish cut and see your treats, they may purchase them since they’re already here.

This also doubles as another potential road for revenue and intra-industry relations. Build relationships with smaller businesses and feature their products while they recommend your services. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship!

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expand your shop to become a one-stop shop for dog owners

Be easily accessible

Don’t shy away from answering your client’s questions. Openness and honesty are great traits to have when trying to incite loyalty. Some pros think they need to keep all their grooming tricks and secrets under wraps. They believe that it’s the only way to retain customers so they don’t just go do it themselves! But offering home-maintenance tips is essential for maintaining the dog’s health! You shouldn’t stop yourself from offering this crucial information in the hopes that they’ll come to you more often. They’ll likely return to you because you offer expert advice even after you’ve completed the groom. You’ll foster trust with your client and they know that ultimately, you’re thinking about the dog’s best interests.

Any other client retention tips? Share them in the comments!

Another great way to grow your business is online. Here’s our busy pet groomer’s guide to social media!

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