HURRAY FOR MY AWESOME, OUTSTANDING, INCREDIBLY HARD WORKING TEAM!!! I couldnt be more proud right now… Today was NOT ONLY my first time Managing a Saturday, it is ALSO Pre-Thanksgiving Weekend. in addition to the Holiday Rush, it was also my first day managing my complete team, which consists of groomer “Stewiedog” (from PGforums) and my new bather, J, who shall be anonymous til i get permission to name her.
Stewiedog grew up grooming showdogs and handling multiple AKC breeds. She can claim 21 years of grooming experience and is my Power Groomer. In reading How To Make Friends and Influence People and From Problems to Profits, I’ve learned that the most important things for a manager to practice are 1. NEVER compete with your staff and 2. Dont hire mini-me’s, hire people that complement your abilities. this is a nice way of saying, hire people who are strong where you are weak.
i am not a power groomer. never have been, never want to be. my focus has always been on customer service and the overall client/pet Experience. this tends to build me a clientele of small, fluffy dogs with high maintenance styles, chatty pet owners, and high expectations. my clients are loyal, refer their friends, and visit regularly. none of these things are condusive to a high-volume day, and i simply cant provide customers with the attention and service they expect while grooming 9+ pets in a timely manner.
BUT… my awesome, no-nonsense, “I groom to make money” groomer CAN and WANTS TO turn out 10+ dogs on a Saturday. She has no picky breed concerns beyond Akitas (she’s handled Akitas for Show and politely declines the opportunity to groom the breed now, which is no problem). She couldnt care less about “building her own clientele” or getting hundreds of Request customers. She’s happy just having dogs to groom, large/small, fat/scrawny, cute/haggard… she doesnt care if she’s doing a dozen matted, biting, nasty shih tzus in heat or a beautifully prissy standard poodle… she’s here to work hard, make money, and groom well.
she handled that owner with such grace, talking her into paying $1/2 a Shih Tzu more for the complete groom, which was still a $Chihuahua bath lower than it should have been. until now, the previous manager allowed the owner to bathe him at home the night before and gave him a full haircut for $Shih Tzu price. We talked her into allowing Stewie to bathe him, and yes, he was still quite dirty (but in great condition).
she was so happy that she called back to thank Stewie again for the beautiful haircut. ill be contacting her tomorrow to ask if she might consider rating us on Yelp.
Stewie was a machine, churning out dogs as fast as our bather could finish bathing them. At first i felt a bit… outdone, as if i werent doing enough, and started beating myself up for not being that fast, that efficient… then i recognized my error (competing) and stopped resenting her speed and instead became GRATEFUL for it. i’ve never worked with a groomer who wasnt out to feed her own ego, nor have i ever team-worked with a groomer, where i would begin shaving, or would bathe and begin drying dogs and have her jump in and finish them so i could get something else started. it was incredible.
our bather was DYNAMITE for her first real day. i planned to keep her up front, have her bathe like, 3 or 4 dogs, then watch us and do customer service. NOPE, that girl was thrown in the bathing room headfirst and there was NO CHALLENGE she wasnt up for, no advice she didnt accept with a smile, no argument or refusal when given 30 things to do and 15 ways to do them.
All told, i worked 11.5 hours today, and we turned out about 22 pets and just under my goal in sales. included in today’s madhouse were two Huskies i foolishly accepted last minute… and you know that one showed up as a full-blown MALAMUTE. i took those beasts on myself, as punishment.
i made mistakes today, broke my promises and overbooked us, and definitely learned some lessons today… but thanks to my team of hard-working ladies, the customers went home happy and the pets left with bouncing steps and wagging tails.