Chew on This!

Easy Money Article

September 2011

Groomer to Groomer

Title:  “Chew On This!”

By:  Joe Zuccarello

Did you know, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “It’s estimated that by the age of two 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease,” explains Dr. Larry Kornegay, president of the AVMA. “Periodontal infections have been linked to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and other life threatening disorders.”

WOW!  What are you doing about this? As a Pet Owner?  As a Pet Professional?  As Pet Owner, I hope you have started to adopt a strict regimen of oral hygiene efforts to battle this problem and the grips it can have on your pet’s health.  As a Pet Professional, we have an obligation to the pet owners who trust us with their pets care to inform them of the severity of this problem.  As a Pet Professional, we also have an obligation to the prosperity of our business, for without prosperity; we won’t have a business and won’t be in a position to tell pet parents ANYTHING.

In previous writings, I have said something very similar to what I am about to say.  Would you like to give YOURSELF a raise?  Most groomers can only make more money if you take an extra dog on the books, or raise prices, or do more big dogs.  All of these methods will work, but what about working smarter and not just harder.  How?!  Sell extra services, namely those that not only provide you extra revenue but also educate the pet owner and benefit the pet in one way or another.  Oral Care services are a perfect add on which satisfies all of these criteria.

Let’s look at the numbers again.  If you are the only groomer in your business and you can groom 8 dogs per day.  Assume you are not great at selling, but make a concerted effort to ask every person who comes through the door if they would like for you to provide an oral care service on their pet.  (We’ll talk about services choices in a minute.)  Again, if you are average in your ability to sell, and only have TWO people take you up on your offer.  That’s an average of $20 extra in revenue that day.  Take that number times the days your shop is open per week, times the number of weeks in a year and you have your “raise”.  For example, $20 x 5 x 52 = $5,200.  What if you had more people working in your salon?  Two groomers means $10,400, three is $15,600 and so on!  Not bad, huh?!

Now that I have your attention (money always works!), let’s talk about the choices you have in service offerings.  First, traditional teeth brushing.  Depending on the toothpaste and toothbrush (person type toothbrush or finger brush) you use, this service can be easy to start and a fair amount of dogs will let you brush their teeth while others will not.  Another choice is dental wipes.  Yet another choice is a new way of addressing the pet’s oral care needs and that is a variety of products that are engineered to make the entire process easier for you and the pet.  Based on a “no brushing necessary” position, products such as dental gel, breath sprays and foams, water additives, and a variety of treats and chews not only give you more options to address the concern of periodontal disease, but also gives your clients a choice of products to use at home on a regular basis.

Dental products are perfect additions to your services offering, plus they are a great addition to your retail offering.  Many groomers will say that dental services offered in salons on a “once a month” basis has very little effect on the pet’s dental health.  I beg to differ. I can tell you from experience that you WILL sell oral care services by simply asking everyone who enters your business and you WILL sell oral care products to pet owners who wish to take better care of their pet’s teeth since you have brought it to their attention that they should be.  The products you carry should make it as easy for the pet owner as possible.  If the product is hard to use or the process is hard to do, they simply won’t do it.

When considering adding an oral care service to your menu of grooming choices, consider the relationship you have, and need with the local Veterinarians.  The services you offer and the products you sell for “at home” use may not replace the need for a Veterinarian’s attention to the pet’s dental needs from time to time.  Veterinary dental care is expensive and becomes more risky as the pets age, so if we can give our pet owner clients an affordable “maintenance” service and product offering, maybe the trips to the Veterinarian can be more for check ups and quick spot cleaning or polishing versus extensive, in depth cleanings and extractions, or worse.  After all, can you imagine what your Dentist would say and what your teeth would look like if you didn’t maintain your own oral needs between visits?

Easy Money.  Start offering oral care services.  If you already offer oral care services, consider using products that are effective and easy for you and the pet!

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