QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. Today, she talks about her experience of becoming a dog groomer salon manager, and provides insight into the typical duties and requirements of this position!
It’s important to first make clear that this topic is heavily subjective. It can mean so many different things for different people! My personal experience as a dog grooming salon manager is exactly that: MY experience. What’s true for me may resonate with many others – but it also might not.
Something that all of us can probably agree on is that being a manager at a dog grooming salon can be great, but it also can be challenging. I’m here to share a little bit about what my roles are, and how I got this position at Off the Leash Inc.
A Little Background
I’ve been with Off the Leash Inc. for almost 3 years now. To me, that’s crazy, because time has just flown by! When I started at the shop, I was only its 2nd employee (not counting my boss). The shop was always steady, with grooming appointments coming and going. We also ran a little daycare program for pups, in the back of the building.
I started out in the doggy daycare. I loved playing with the dogs and hanging out. But I wanted to do MORE! I had goals of interacting with clients and helping with the actual grooming process. So I became a bather, and frequently helped my boss with bathing and prepping dogs.
My boss has been grooming for years. She showed me the ropes before I even considered getting my dog grooming certification.
By working more in the front-end of things, seeing clients, and interacting with their dogs, I got really familiar with many of our customers. They started trusting me more and more with their pets, and even started asking me to do their nails or bath them.
So when it came time to do my dog grooming certification and work with dogs for my video assignment submissions, I had plenty of options for different pups to use!
To be frank, there wasn’t really a specific moment where my boss, Kayla, sat me down and asked to be the manager. Over time, I’d gotten to know her really well. We have a lot of the same views and similar work ethics, so things just sort of fell into place.
We were starting to get new employees, and Kayla couldn’t always be at the shop. She realized that she trusted me enough to keep the place going when she wasn’t there. It was a mutual fit, for both parties.
I’m super fortunate to have this title, but I don’t see it as just ‘being the manager’. If the girls need anything, want to chat, ask something, or inquire about any type of situation, they always know they can come to me with anything. They don’t have to be nervous about talking to ‘the manager’.
Being the manager of a grooming salon comes with responsibilities. To take you through a ‘typical day’ would be so hard because it is always different. Always! No 2 days are the same, and that’s what I love about it.
However, some of my standard managerial tasks include:
- Talking to difficult/unhappy clients
- Writing monthly emails for our clients
- Approving time off/vacation requests and tracking sick leave
- Constantly brainstorming ways to better the shop
- Researching new products and grooming tools
- Handling employee mishaps, conflict, etc.
Typically, these tasks are not always frequent, but they are recurring. With time and experience, you become more familiar (and better) at handling each challenge.
Dealing with Unhappy Clients
This responsibility in particular is a major part of being a salon manager. Always remember that you have to try and see the issue from their point of view. You’re the professional. To the best of your ability, you have to try and understand the client’s perspective, and then do what you can to make the situation better.
If, for instance, your client doesn’t like the grooming job you did, you can offer to fix it or give them a deal the next time they’re in. Even though they’re unhappy in the current moment, you’re still giving them incentive to continue doing business with you in the future.
Maybe their issue is with some other aspect of the salon, such as (in our case) the doggy daycare. Perhaps their dog got a scratch on them, which can be pretty common when dogs are playing together. In my personal experience, we would then offer to bath their dog for free, or something to that effect.
It all comes down to making the clients happy! That being said, clients also need to know that when it comes to animals, things sometimes just happen. Do what you can to appease the client, but also make sure that everyone stays realistic.
Another important area that grooming salon managers need to focus on is the marketing practices we put in place for the shop. Marketing helps us get our name out there, bring in a larger clientele, and keep regular contact with our current customers.
One very common way of marketing your business is through social media.
For example, at Off the Leash Inc., we send out monthly emails to our clients. These emails consist of a bunch of things and various topics. They also change from month to month, to keep the news we’re providing current and fresh.
With these monthly emails, we aim to let clients know of any deals going on that month at the shop, if there’s a running promotion, new products for purchase, etc. We also let them know if there’s something special taking place that month in the world of dog care.
Last month, for instance, was dental awareness month. So we made sure to highlight that and the importance of taking care of a dog’s teeth!
Sometimes, we put a ‘Dog of the Month’ in our monthly email as well! We find this to be a fun little thing that the girls working in doggy daycare do for the pups and their owners!
As you can see, my duties and responsibilities as a dog grooming salon manager are endless. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have a blast at work and, hey, I’m surrounded by dogs all day! What could be better?