By Kerri Danskin, Editor
When it comes to the holiday season, the name of the game for many groomers seems to be “giving back.” Between the madness of scheduling, and the attempts to keep staff members happy and relaxed, salon owners are finding ways to reward their clients.
“We have a very good clientele, and I want to take care of those who have taken care of me all year long,” says Carol Fellbaum, owner of A Dog’s Life Pet Salon & Boutique in Spring, Texas, which was recently named “Best Grooming Salon” by Houston Pet Talk magazine.
Each year, Fellbaum and her staff make sure each dog gets a bow with holiday grooming, and the clients get a gift of some kind too. Last year, the shop gave out goodie bags to customers, but this year Fellbaum says she will probably distribute emergency pet stickers.
Julie Erling, owner of Posh Pooch salon in Woodbury, Minn., says her holiday customer bonuses are usually in the form of food or drink in the waiting area. Last year hot chocolate was a big hit at her shop.
One of the most important factors for both business owners is making sure loyal customers get on the schedule during this busy time.
“Some of our real regular customers will make their Christmas appointments in October,” Erling says. “We always try to make sure there are a few squeeze spots on the schedule for emergency appointments too.”
“Actually one of the things we’re going to try and do this year is gather as many e-mail addresses as we can. We want to send out a notice the beginning of November saying, ‘It’s the holiday season; please don’t forget to book your appointments ahead of time.’”
For Susan Stivason, owner, operator and sole employee of Paws and Claws salon in Butler, Pa., efficient appointment scheduling is of paramount importance at the holidays.
“They make their appointments way ahead of time so they can make sure they get in. I’m here by myself, so I pretty much have regular people who when they leave make their next appointment. For the people who do come in often, I’m telling them now [in September] to make their Christmas appointment.
Like Fellbaum and Erling, Stivason hands out goodies to her human clients, and dresses the dogs for the holidays too.
So with the clients and their dogs feeling festive from their experience, how do groomers keep their employees in the spirit of the season with such a rush going on?
“I try not to overwork my employees,” Stivason says. “Everyone gets exhausted during the holidays. You want it to be pleasant and to make money.”
About 10 days before Christmas, Erling starts bringing in lunch for her employees on a regular basis.
Being conscious of everyone’s extra efforts can lift morale in a shop, she says.
“We play Christmas music; it’s just cheerful around here,” she says.<HOME>
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