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To Sell or Not to Sell

Posted: January 10, 2011, 3:10 p.m., EDT

Should groomers offer their customers tools for home use?

By Sandi Cain

Groomers often face a conundrum in deciding to offer home grooming tools to clients. The concern many groomers express has to do with losing business to the very tools they sell to pet owners. Several groomers have reported that clients are stretching out the lengths of time they wait to have their pets groomed, and there is a perception in the profession that more people will wait to visit the groomer’s shop if they have the tools to perform some grooming at home.

Efficiency goes hand in hand with having the proper tool, but being able to perform the job of grooming pets isn’t always the only way to use tools for profit. Groomers are being forced to cope with various headwinds in the marketplace, and though the profession has held up well in the current economy, groomers reported customers frequently put off grooming for a longer amount of time. Also, some customers want to perform grooming duties themselves.

Groomers often face a conundrum in deciding to offer home grooming tools to clients.
Photo courtesy of Furminator.
In Canada, Hugh Rice, business development and marketing manager at Ontario-based Leis Pet Distributing, said he’s seen a trend toward consumers trying to learn how to groom their own pets.

“You’d think groomers would want to nurture that instead of fighting it,” he said.

Highlighting the trend, Diana Delossantos, manager of Bark Harbor in Bar Harbor, Maine, said she does just that. Delossantos reported that the groom shop has seen a trend among customers asking for more basic cuts to extend the time between grooming sessions, so she provides them with information that can help them do in-between grooming sessions properly, such as teaching them how to trim hair between the toes in the winter. The shop also carries the Furminator and less expensive Shed Magic by Safari that customers want for home use.

“Customers like to do grooming themselves,” she added.

Catering to the market for consumer grooming tools may make sense for some groomers. Equipment purchases may be expensive, and making profits selling some tools to customers may not always thwart groomers’ business models.

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Reader Comments
It doesnt hurt anything to offer grooming tools to customers in my opinion because there are always going to be those that insist on doing grooming themselves. It is better to inform them of risks involved and of the proper way to use the tools, but there are always going to be customers that prefer to pay to have a service done for their pets. Most of the time when tools are sold at home, it is for maintenance purposes between appointments. It is, to me as a pet groomer and online retailer, a win-win solution.
Michelle, Louisville, KY
Posted: 3/1/2011 10:09:07 AM
I have no problem with selling some grooming equipment to my customers. It might actually make my job easier if the pet comes in not so matted as it otherwise might. However, when I do sell something, I make sure the customer knows how to use it properly. Sometimes, it makes my customer come in earlier, knowing how much time is involved in making their pet beautiful.
Toni, Milord, NH
Posted: 2/7/2011 6:53:49 AM
Of course we should encourage our customers to buy tools and contribute to their pets coats at home! How is this even a question? Is it always about money? In my store, it's all about the dog, and the occasional cat, which needs an almost surgical shavedown DUE to non-participating (not to mention neglectful) owners. I've been appalled to see the condition of some dogs in my area, and it's purely do to ignorance. Educating customers on how to maintain their pets in between groomings is absoulutely a must, and our duty. To say that they come less often is infuriating to me. Get more customers then!!! When people know that you care about them and their dogs MORe than the dollar, than they will come back and send others. Let us not forget, if this is even a priority, that maintaining coats at home is comforting and a bonding experience and less stress on the dog when it comes for it's beautifying. I almost didn't even want to dignify this queston with a response, but there you have it.
Carolyn, Huntington, NY
Posted: 2/4/2011 4:20:45 AM
I do not own a grooming shop. From a consumer's perspective, we all have hair and we have to go to a salon monthly to get our hair cut, trimmed, styled, treated and/or colored, etc. But we still have to wash our hair, care for it and style it daily in between our visit to the salon. The same should go for a person's dog or cat. Yes, we all need a professional grooming at least once a month, but we also need to maintain that grooming every day. So, pet groomers should teach their clients that a visit to the dog groomer is just like their visit to the salon. And teach their clients that daily maintenance and care of their pet's coat is equally as important in between visits as it is for their own hair. I think that groomers will have people coming back every month if they take this approach with their clients. It will show clients that groomers with this approach truly care for the pet's health and well-being and clients will show their appreciation of this every time they bring their pet back for a grooming.
Christine, Webster, TX
Posted: 2/3/2011 1:32:18 PM
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