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Professional Grooming Marketplace: Perfect Finishing Touches

Posted: March 27, 2014, 4:05 p.m. EDT


Offering add-on services in salons pampers customers’ pooches and pads sales.

By Audrey Pavia

Sending a clean and well-groomed dog home is the goal of every groomer, but what if you could provide something extra that left dog owners feeling they got more than they expected?

Many grooming shops have discovered that providing add-ons, such as nail polish, spa treatments and coat coloring, can make a difference when it comes to increasing customer satisfaction and revenue.

"We offer all the traditional services like cut, shampoo, fluff and nail trimming, but our Regal Spa Treatment is what sets us apart,” said Christine Kline, co-owner of Sebastien’s Pet Salon in Lake St. Louis, Mo. "We use Nature’s Specialty Shampoos, and clients just love it. This is part of the package where we do an eye trim, sanitary area and paw pads. We also offer an anal gland evaluation, in addition to facials.”

Special add-on services that pamper dogs are becoming the norm for many salons.

"I see a trend in add-on services,” said Tammy Siert, national grooming consultant for Espree Animal Products in Grapevine, Texas, and owner of Velvet Touch Pet Salon in Hinsdale, Ill. "It is a great way to add to your bottom line.”

Velvet Touch Pet Salon offers teeth brushing, specialty shampoos, conditioning treatments and ‘pawdicures,’ which include a nail trim and file, and paw balm that is massaged into pads, Siert said.

Selling Strategies
According to groomers and manufacturers, it’s important to actively promote grooming add-on services to customers who may not know they exist.
Tammy Siert, national grooming consultant for Espree Animal Products in Grapevine, Texas, and owner of Velvet Touch Pet Salon in Hinsdale, Ill., offers a special of the month to encourage customers.
"It depends on the weather we are experiencing,” she said. "During winter, we offer an aloe-oat bath with a moisturizing conditioner. In summer, we offer our Extreme Deodorizing Treatment.”
To promote her coat-coloring services, Siert uses blow pens on the ears and tail of a large, white stuffed animal located in the front on a counter .
"People love it,” she said, adding that another good way to call attention to coloring services is to put a design on your own dog. "Clients will come in and see your dogs and ask about it.”
Groomers should be specific about add-ons, said Carlos Zamora, marketing coordinator for SynergyLabs in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
"Tell the pet owner exactly what he or she is getting for the price, without any hidden fees,” he said. "If the customer feels cheated, you’ve lost a visit back to the salon.”
It’s important to believe in what you do, said Christina Pawlosky, certified master groomer and national training manager for Oster Professional Products, a brand of Jarden Consumer Solutions in Boca Raton, Fla.
"You are the best marketer for your business,” she said. "If you convey the true benefit of each product or service with passion, selling it is easy.”—AP

Dogs get bows and bandanas after being groomed at Velvet Touch, as well as nail polish service.

"We also offer daycare,” Siert added. "Our clients love the fact that they can drop off their dog for a play date and grooming.”

Siert added that if clients need to leave their pets longer than three hours for grooming, the shop charges a daycare add-on.
     
All the Extras
Facials and other skin treatments are popular add-on services for many grooming shops.

"Blueberry facials and oatmeal facials are a part of what we do now,” said Priscella Hooper, owner of The Paw Spaw Luxury Pet Salon in Hinesville, Ga. "We started using green, biodegradable products even before everyone else jumped on it. Our customers appreciated that and became excited as we added in blueberry facials and chicken- or liver-flavored teeth cleaning treatments. They really were able to see and smell the difference.”

Hooper also noted that her salon offers a full spa-day experience.

"What sets us apart is our rejuvenating massage,” she said. "This little bit of special touch goes a long way. The dogs just melt. We give the treatment to all of our clients, and they’re all treated like kings and queens.”

Orinda Grooming in Orinda, Calif., offers natural skin treatments that are popular with clients.

"We have homemade sugar and salt scrubs with warm towel wraps, and yogurt or salt foot soaks to help with those yeasty paws that some allergy-prone dogs get,” said Lindsay Jimenez, owner of Orinda Grooming. "We also have over a dozen colors for nail art as well as nail wraps in different patterns that can be applied.”

Orinda Grooming offers temporary coat colors made from semipermanent dye, which is safe for dogs’ skin, Jimenez added. Using a product called PetPaint, Jimenez airbrushes with stencils or by freehand.

PetPaint was developed as an easy-to-use, bright color-spray system for groomers who want to create a special look, said Abe Geary, president of the Camarillo, Calif., company. 

"PetPaint’s color spray, combined with our professional setting spray, is great for adding a couple of little hearts for a quick $5 to $10 upsell,” Geary said. "As with any add-on service, some clients will want to take it to the next level. There is no limit to the groomer’s creativity or the client’s imagination, typical color jobs should be billed by estimating your time and materials.”

Another add-on trend is pairing products at the retail level, according to Richard Biegun, owner of Quadruped Pet Care in West Sayville, N.Y., which manufactures shampoos, conditioners, skin care products, colognes and grooming aids.

"We recommend that our upscale retailers link and sell colognes, conditioners and shampoos as a way to complement the different scents of our brand items,” he said. "Our packaging and natural extract mindset makes it easy for groomers to recommend that their customers purchase from them.”

Getting Creative
Christina Pawlosky, certified master groomer and national training manager for Oster Professional Products, a brand of Jarden Consumer Solutions in Boca Raton, Fla., has made the most of her salon’s add-on services.

"Nail care is one of the most popular add-on services at my salon,” she said. "Grinding or filing the nails takes longer than just trimming them, but the nail is finished better, and it is a good upsell. I recommend this service to pet owners with young children and elderly pet owners to prevent potential scratching, as they have more sensitive skin.”

Pawlosky also offers a dental package with a twist.

"In addition to brushing the teeth, I send the pet owner home with toothpaste and a toothbrush so he or she can continue brushing the teeth at home,” she said. "When the owner brings the dog for its next appointment, I ask if the pet is ready for another teeth brushing.”

Manufacturers are looking to develop more products to help groomers offer extras to their customers.
"We are in the process of expanding our grooming-focused line of products, as we see a growing trend in this market,” said Carlos Zamora, marketing coordinator for SynergyLabs in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "We’ve started by improving our ear cleaning formulas in both Dr. Gold’s and Veterinary Formula Clinical Care lines. We’ve also added dog cologne products called Pooch Scents for both male and female dogs.”

SynergyLabs will also add new products in 2014 to better compete in the grooming industry, Zamora added.

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