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Set Yourself Up for Success with the Right Pet Grooming Policies and Procedures

First, set customer policies and procedures.

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KEEPING CURRENT CUSTOMERS and gaining new customers can be a challenge for any business, especially with a service like pet grooming. Having set customer policies and procedures is the first step to success. There are several key areas that you will want to include in your policies and procedures, and this guide will help you develop your own to be successful.

General Information

This section should cover general details about your business, such as hours of operation, how to book appointments, no-show or late-arrival policies, types of payments you honor and even where the owner can walk their dog prior to appointment time. It can also cover frequently asked questions like: Do you offer online scheduling? Do you allow text or Facebook messages for booking? and What is your cancellation policy? Have each client read, sign and date your forms and provide each with a signed copy for their records. Since you and the client will be keeping a copy of this document, I find it to be a great place to record the client’s personal information. In addition to their name, address and phone number, it is very important to get an emergency contact phone number. I have had several instances where the pet parent did not pick up the pet on time, and after repeated attempts to contact, it was shop closing time. Having the emergency contact pick up the dog worked in several of those instances.

Grooming Procedures and Release Forms

This section should focus on the actual grooming of the pet. Many customers don’t understand the grooming process, so outline your grooming routine for them to better understand. If you require a senior pet release, matted pet release or flea/tick treatment form this is where you can list details about those releases. Mention the type of service you provide. For example, if you offer one-on-one appointments or drop-off windows with release-time windows, it is important to have detailed instructions in this area so there is never confusion on the pickup time and process. One great idea is to have the client bring in pictures of their pet in the trim they like, or pictures from online sources. I would attach these pictures to their agreement and use them as a reference point to start creating the trim they like. Over time, I would add photos of the dog in the trim I did.

Prices and Quotes

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I always receive inquiries for the cost of my services, so it is important to include a section of your policies dedicated to pricing. It is better for you not to include exact pricing and instead include a starting price for each service a customer can expect to pay. Leaving this window open allows for cost adjustments if there is added time and work that needs to be reflected in the cost. Additionally, it is beneficial to explain in your policy that the base price is dependent upon correct size according to breed standard, coat condition, if groomed on a regular schedule and grooming temperament.

While there are many other items you can include in your policies and procedures, you can use this guide to get started and tailor to your specific business needs. Being transparent from the get-go sets the tone about how you do business and ensures your customers are on the same page. Always keep your policies and procedures on your website and social media sites. My last piece of advice is to conduct a yearly review of your policies and procedures and adjust if anything has changed.

Nicole Kallish, manager of education at Andis Company, is a Certified Master Groomer, industry speaker and judge. She was formerly a liaison for Groom Team USA. She owns three miniature Poodles and is showing one, Sofia, in AKC Conformation and another, Pippa, in other various AKC events. Contact her on her website.

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