Approaches to Increasing the Cost of Dog Grooming at Your Salon

cost of dog grooming

As a successful pet business owner, you don’t need to be told that grooming is essential to the health of a dog. You may have started the business because you want to help their owners be responsible for the care of their pets.

But caring for animals is an important business, even when it’s your passion. The cost of grooming is one of your primary concerns, on top of everything else you need to evaluate as a business owner. 

But how do you approach dog grooming prices without losing customers? Is there a responsible and ethical way to that? Let’s explore some ways to increase your pricing during such hard times for consumers and business owners.

cost of dog grooming

Why You Might Increase Your Prices

Pet owners spend over 6 billion dollars on grooming and other services on their pet in 2018. This shows that pet grooming is an in-demand service and should be priced accordingly. Though the demand remains strong, the amount of dogs you can get done in a day has changed due to COVID-19 appointment spacing. This should factor into your pricing and customers will learn what it will take to return some form of normalcy.

At the start of your business, you set your prices for what you believed was fair and to make a profit. But now, you might be very successful, serve a healthy clientele, and know the ins and outs of running a business. 

Some people are afraid of raising their prices. They fear they may lose customers, and they might head for the competitors.

But if customers appreciate your work and know your value, they will likely continue to see you because they know they’re getting what they paid for. If your prices are set too low, they’re likely to reconsider because the service may less than stellar. 

But raising your prices is part of running a successful business. Here are some reasons to consider adjusting your prices.

  • The cost of goods has increased and you’re not profiting as much
  • Your services are in-demand
  • Labor, and perhaps your employees have asked for a raise
  • Your overhead cost has increased
  • You want to grow your business
  • You haven’t raised your prices since your business opened
  • You’ve invested in extra education, and you want to offer special services
  • Ideally, assess your prices annually to see if a raise is a wise business move. 

The Cost of Dog Grooming: How to Increase Your Prices

 If you’ve looked over your annual profits and reports and decided that you’re ready to increase your prices, you want to do it in the most professional way possible. 

grooming research competitors

Scoop Out The Competition

To see the dollar amount you should increase, try checking out what the competition has to offer. Chances are, if their prices are significantly higher than yours, based on location, you should probably consider giving yourself a raise. 

Take into consideration the location of the groomer, the services they offer, how long they’ve been in business, and so forth before deciding to hike up your prices. 

cost of dog grooming

Inform Your Clients

Your clients are your lifeline; the reason you have this business is because of them! You owe them a heads-up before you set new pricing. 

Here are a few ways to do that. 

Give them ample time to prepare. At their appointment, be sure to mention the price increase and do it creatively if you desire. Never blindside customers with a price hike; no one appreciates it!

As mentioned above, put a creative spin on how you’re raising your prices! Send out a letter, an email, or write about it in a weekly newsletter if you have one. 

Ensure that your dog will continue to receive the best care possible and that you might be adding newer services or specializations to offer your clients. 

Be as transparent as possible about why you’re increasing your pricing. Perhaps you want to create a better environment for your dogs or introduce a higher-quality product line. Whatever the reason, at your discretion, don’t be afraid to share that information with your clients, because they want to know what they’re paying for and why. 

Regardless of how you inform your clients, do it professionally and with class. Most clients will probably understand.

Don’t Do It All At Once

A slow, gradual price increase is what you’re aiming for. Small price increases rather than large ones are likely to favor well with clients and not cause a massive drop in business. 

You will need to decide which services to increase and by how much. 

cost of dog grooming

Offer New Services or Packages

Have you recently learned a new grooming skill or attained a specialized certification? Start marketing it with your price increase! Bumping up your prices with a little something to offer your clients helps you appear valuable and shows that you care about your work and art, not just bringing in the cash. 

Consider combining services into packages. This way, you can charge a little more or add on extra services for clients who want more. 

Test Increases First

Maybe you’re not quite ready to leap price changes. However, there is a way to see if your clientele will respond well. 

If a client wants an extra service, needs to get in during a busy day, or has a nervous pet who makes extra time and work for you, charge them for it, and see the reaction. Most likely, the client will understand the extra charges. If not, reconsider raising your prices. 

Raising Your Rates: You Can Do It!

You put a lot of work and time into taking the very best care of each pet. You deserve a raise! 

The cost of dog grooming effects both you and your clients. While you love your clients and don’t want them to resort to the competition, ultimately you’re running a business and you must do what keeps you afloat. 

Great customers will understand! Take your time deciding when and how to raise your prices and enjoy the profits of a job well done. Are you looking for the very best software to run your pet grooming business effectively? Try a free trial with our software today!

Setting up a Loyalty Program in Your Pet Grooming Business

small business loyalty programWith this global crisis is truly the time to put your customers’ interests first and encourage your brand to lead, even though you might be taking a short-term hit. With more than 100,000 groomers across the country, competition is fierce. Getting clients to come back to your business time and time again is vital, especially during this uncertain time. 

This is where a small business loyalty program could help! Loyalty programs encourage customers to come back to your business repeatedly in order to earn rewards, but then you need to know exactly how to set up a loyalty system for your grooming salon. Keep reading to learn more about how to do this and more!

Small Business Loyalty Program

How Does a Small Business Loyalty Program Work? 

A loyalty program works at a grooming salon in much the same way that it does in a coffee shop or at a restaurant. It is a way of recording which customers keep coming back to your business and rewarding them for this. 

For example, you could use dog grooming cards to record how many visits a particular pet or owner has had to your salon. Then after their fifth or tenth visit, they get rewarded a free or discounted grooming session!

This encourages customers to keep coming back as they feel that they are going to get something back for their money. This also helps you to establish a long-term relationship with your clients. The more that they come back to your salon, the more likely they are to keep coming back even after they’ve received their reward.

Whether you are just starting your business or have been around for years, every salon can benefit from using a loyalty program.

Designing Your Loyalty Program

When it comes to designing your loyalty program, there are lots of things to consider and lots of different ways to do this. Think carefully to create a program that works for your business. 

You could, for example, have a loyalty program that rewards customers with a free grooming session after ‘x’ number of paid sessions. This is simple and effective.

However, you still need to decide how many sessions a client gets before they receive their reward. Too few sessions and you may not establish a long-term relationship with all your clients. Too many sessions and clients won’t feel like they are really getting a reward. 

Ideally, go for a single-digit number as this automatically feels like a better deal. For example, ‘have 9 sessions and get your 10th free!’ sounds better than ‘have 10 sessions and get your 11th free!’ Obviously, this also needs to work in line with your budget and margins. 

This isn’t the only kind of loyalty scheme to consider though.

You could reward customers who spend a certain amount in your salon with a discount on their next visit. Or you could let customers collect loyalty points on each visit depending on how much they spend.

When designing your program, make sure you think carefully about the details of it. For example, you may want discounts or reward treatments to only apply to specific services. That way you don’t lose money from expensive treatments or have your margins damaged by discounts on cheaper ones. 

Whatever terms you decide, make sure these are clearly outlined and communicated when you role your offer out.

Rolling It Out

Choose a start date for your loyalty scheme so that you can roll it out in one go and address potential issues beforehand. This will give you a deadline to have everything ready by. 

You will need a clear idea of how you are going to record customer’s loyalty points. If you are going to provide a free grooming session after a certain number then reward punch card templates are brilliant. All you need to do is customize a business punch card template, print your cards, and buy a stamp or punch. 

If you run a bigger salon or use online booking then you may want to use a computer system. You can use this to record how much each customer spends and keep a running total of their loyalty rewards.

A computer system will also keep you up to date on each customer’s rewards so you can contact your customers to let them know when they’re due a reward. This takes a bit more organizing than using dog grooming client cards but it has a more personal touch.

  

Letting Your Customers Know About It

The entire point of a loyalty program is to entice new customers and retain existing ones, so make sure you tell them about it! There are plenty of ways to do this. 

You can use email or text marketing to alert existing customers to your program. Make sure that you include it in any new advertising to help bring new customers your way.

It is also a good idea to have information about your loyalty program on display in your salon or salons. That way anyone who comes in or walks by will see it. If you have a website, make sure to include information about your program on this as well.

Finally, make sure that all your staff members are aware of the loyalty scheme and feel comfortable discussing it with customers. This is a great personal way to spread information about your loyalty program to existing and prospective customers.

small business loyalty program

Create Your Loyalty Program Today

Using a small business loyalty program can help your business in so many ways. It not only entices new customers, but it also helps you to hold onto existing customers. What’s not to love? 

For more ideas on treating your pets, check out these latest doggy spa trends on the market today.

Could COVID-19 Help You Prepare Better Marketing?

123Pet

 

Smart Strategies for Savvy Pet Business Owners

Many businesses are finding themselves in survivor mode – a mentality brought on by so many states having force-closed businesses as nonessential. For usually busy pet business owners, who may now have some extra time on their hands, 123Pet has compiled this list of small business marketing tools and tactics. If you’re looking to keep working on your business, or struggling to find ways to seize this moment and thrive, check this list for things you might not be doing:

1. Get your Digital House in Order! 

With millions currently homebound, the “digital footprint” of your business has never been more important. This digital footprint is more than your website – it’s the combination of all the digital platforms on which your business is listed or active. Not only is our current unwelcome downtime an opportunity for you to engage with existing clients online, but also presents the potential to attract new clients and win new business. Screen time is likely to leap with folks trapped at home, so any of your online shortcomings will soon have a MUCH bigger audience. This is an opportunity to invest the time to improve your digital footprint. Put your best foot forward with unified messaging, across all your platforms, that best represents your brand. 

small business marketing

Where to Start? 

Google My Business! Set up a Google Business Account and, at the very least, update address, hours and phone number – this legitimizes your business to Google. That’s important. Step Two? Thoroughly read, and carefully respond, to all of your online reviews here. 

Help it’s Yelp! Turn this occasional nemesis into a real ally. Better your business on Yelp by asking your customers to review you there. It sounds simple, but many can’t seem to make it a consistent priority. Don’t be afraid to ask your best customers and don’t be shy to review others – partners, vendors, nearby businesses – involve yourself in this community. 

Face it, it’s Facebook – You can’t escape Facebook, so dive in already! If you don’t have a business page right now, set one up. If you haven’t connected it to your website, do that next. Stay positive and get engaged – make and share content that aligns with you and your brand – what you have built, why you started, what you think is next…

Reputation Management, dog grooming reviews

2. Expand Your Small Business Marketing Brand! 

No business can afford to ignore what is being written about them online. When 90+% of consumers are reading online reviews you had better invest time in this, even if you consider it a necessary evil. Establish your routine for checking Yelp, Google and Facebook for the reviews that are shaping the conversation about your business and impacting your digital footprint. Here are some ways to optimize your efforts in online reputation management:

Some Sample Tactics:

Mind Your Business – There are tools and dashboards that can help you “listen for postings” about your business. There are others that automatically send texts or emails to your clients after each service, and prompts the happy ones to post an online review. If you don’t have software like that, you can build email campaigns, start a review contest among the staff, print it at the bottom of every receipt…  good reviews contribute to a healthy digital footprint. Hunt for them everywhere.

Make A Connection – Asking for a review can be awkward, so maybe start by asking “did you enjoy today’s service?” to: a) get some honest feedback and b) assure the client their experience is important to you. Try to connect with them. If it feels right, “I would really appreciate it if you could take a moment to post a review online – you know small businesses live and die by those”.

Accentuate the Positive – Make the most of your good reviews. Consumers believe reviews and quickly decide about you from them. Paint a picture of your pet business using images of your best work, feature/praise your team every chance you get and show real reviews (your clients will love being called out). Screenshots of reviews are perfect tweets or Instagram stories.  Positive energy is infectious! Use it – infuse it in all you do.

small business marketing

 

3. Be a Good Neighbor.  

Have you made the most of your local connections? Have you offered to help anyone nearby? Broaden your perception of what a partnership could be – now could be a great time to work with others to initiate partnerships, explore mutual interests or markets or otherwise find ways to support each other. There are 30.3 million small businesses in these United States, all of which are likely experiencing significant disruption to their ability to operate. How can you stay involved?

 Consider These Ideas:

Peers Are Mentors Too!  Display your leadership (or ask for some). No one is in this alone, there must be seasoned professionals in your community that are finding positive ways of coping with this COVID-19 pandemic. Don’t limit yourself to businesses that look like yours – reach out to other shops or pros in your community to check-in, commiserate, and explore potential now and for the future. This is how relationships are built, and while the best mentor relationships do develop naturally, don’t be afraid to outline a program and ask others to get involved.    

Seek Like Minds – Brands can be some of your strongest partners. If your pet business has dedicated itself to a specific product, a unique technique or developed a peerless process… Reach out to those (and affiliated) brands and engage with them and all their socials.  Get connected online and at the head – seek out campaign opportunities from corporate brands – they love to feature their clients, especially enthusiastic brand ambassadors. So become one. 

4. Earn Their Loyalty 

Have you been on the fence about whether or not to start a loyalty program? Well, you should – and right now might be the perfect time to sit down and plan yours. One that makes the most sense for your business and your clients. Reward top-level customers and grow brand loyalty and provide an incentive to other customers to strive for higher levels. Loyalty programs shouldn’t just cost you product – done right, they can turn your best clients into even better ones.  The 123Pet Groom app includes an easy to use, a flexible loyalty program that can be tailored to fit your clients, your brand and your goals.

loyalty points

 

 

5. Social Distancing (not!) 

If you’ve let your social media game drop off…well, now’s the time to pick it up.  Social media is sole in your digital footprint. Here are some things 123Pet customers are doing to keep their social channels recent, relevant and read-worthy. These pet businesses are doing social media right, quarantine-style:

Pros Who Know:

Wolfgang Bakery

A pet store sharing their delicious dog treats with a happy pet. Offering delivery services for fresh-baked treats.

Instagram Handle: @woofgangbakery

Website: www.woofgangbakery.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-E-6bkH3N0/?igshid=111pscclsb9nz

small business marketing

Propet Club

Sharing inspiring photos of pets they’ve groomed in the past with their military veteran owners to promote “h=Hope for America”. Also a video of how they keep their facility clean and sanitized.

Instagram Handle: @propetclub

Website: www.propetclub.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B9sLGuFnHPw/?igshid=1pcjuh7l9dd7j 

6. Giving the Gift

Everyone understands the impact this shutdown is having on their favorite small business.  Making gift cards available, whether over the phone or through some slick online app, can give you much-needed cash flow and give your clients a way to show their solidarity. If you deliver or mail gift cards, a hand-signed note of appreciation might make a big difference.

gift certificate

7. Pay It Forward 

Offering discounts on future packages (grooms, nail-clippings, boarding extras) is another way to frame the gift card offer. Clearly discounting those packages shows that you have skin in this game too, and allows clients to think more in terms of the services they use regularly. Buying a $100 gift card might not be as relatable as pre-paying for their next $200 service.   

8. Small Business Marketing Campaigns

Some of us set up our marketing campaigns and never really review their effectiveness or overall value. Take some time to review previous reports and see how you can improve or re-organize scheduled campaigns to maximize your potential.

We’ve seen groomers sending out emails to their clients letting them know about 25% off curbside pickups on their pet products and free shipping for orders over $100. Amazon is seeing prolonged wait times for shipments as it has COVID-19 spreading amongst its employees so if you have a stock of products that your clients love, use this as an opportunity to fill the need that amazon might be struggling with currently.

email marketing

9. Technical Small Business Marketing Support

If you are a 123Pet Software customer and are looking for a quick refresher on how to set up email campaigns and text marketing campaigns, click on the following hyperlinks for the support articles that quickly review best practices for launching these campaigns.

How Dog Groomers are Addressing COVID-19 Across the Country

dog groomer

We here at 123Pet Software stay in constant communication with business leaders and influencers in the pet industry year-round. We’ve mobilized this communication channel to tap into the insights from our business owners and industry leaders on how COVID-19 is impacting their business and changing operations. Dog groomers are seeing varying impacts across the country so being informed is always the first step to addressing disruption in a time like this. We have compiled a list of resources from the CDC and SBA on how to best stay informed and how to best protect your employees and clients. If your business has taken a financial hit due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and you are looking for assistance take a look and apply for The CARE Act Loans that are available to you at this time.

As things are rapidly changing, pet salons should expect to make changes to operations on the fly. The following quotes are a snapshot of how we as an industry are responding to the disruption COVID-19 has brought. This is a time to initiate and maintain strong communication with your clients, reinforcing your commitment to your trade and remain visible as a local small business. 

Dog Groomer

Tammy Siert – The Velvet Touch Pet Salon

Highly awarded groomer and owner of The Velvet Touch Pet Salon Tammy Siert had a moment to break away and share some of what she and her team are doing to best protect her clients and staff. 

“Our number one concern is always for the safety of our clients and employees. Starting Monday we started extra cleaning practices, disinfecting our front counter after every client, including door handles, etc. We are also allowing curbside drop-offs. Clients can prepay over the phone and we are delivering pets to clients’ cars. We haven’t experienced many cancellations yet in fact, we are busier.” 

Dog Groomer

Alicen Ingle – Pet-Agree 

Over at Pet-Agree in Jasper Indiana, they have posted notifications and sent out email campaigns notifying their customers on how they’re directly addressing the COVID-19 virus. 

“As an AKC S.A.F.E Certified Salon understand and trust that we have taken further precautions in are already established cleaning and sanitizing protocols! You, your pet’s and our staff safety are my 1st concern. If you are sick or have any symptoms give us a call we will come pick up your pet. Should you not want to leave your vehicle when you arrive for your appointment please let us know we will have a staff member come out to meet you. We do not expect to ever have more than 5 people in our lobby at any time but if you are at all concerned give us a call and use one of the above-mentioned options.”

dog groomer

Víctor M. Rosado Zamora ICMG NCMG

We’ve reached out to Victor Rosado All Breeds FCPR International Dog Show Judge and decorated Groom Team USA competitor for his international perspective and advice for groomers around the globe.

“En mi posición profesional aconsejo obtener la mayor cantidad de información actualizada e implementar protocolos de prevención y desinfección, en la constancia está la clave. Es momento de mantener comunicación con nuestros clientes a través de boletines donde le demos ideas de como mantener las mascotas limpias durante este periodo de lucha para contener el COVID-19 donde el aislamiento y cuarentena son beneficiosos para lograr ganar la batalla. Recuerde limpieza NO es lo mismo que desinfección.”

English Translation:  In my professional position, I advise obtaining the most up-to-date information and implementing prevention and disinfection protocols; constancy is the key. It is time to maintain communication with our clients through newsletters where we give them ideas on how to keep pets clean during this period of struggle to contain COVID-19 where isolation and quarantine are beneficial to win the battle. Remember cleaning is NOT the same as disinfection.

dog groomer

Abbey – Calling All Paws (Mobile Groomer)

Abbey the owner of Calling All Paws a mobile grooming business with multiple vans providing service to Northeastern Illinois has been inundated with calls and requests for grooming.

“We take the safety of our clients and their pets very seriously. Calling All Paws intends to remain open until we must close by order of a government agency. We understand the fear. Being mobile gives us a unique opportunity to limit client contact and keep a contained environment. We want to assure you that we will continue to clean and disinfect between every appointment including our payment processing devices. We also have a medical-grade sanitation light that is utilized daily.”

Dog groomer

Rachel – Rachel Country Clips PA

Rachel with Rachel Ann’s Country Clips, a family run business who’s daughter is a budding grooming competitor on our 123Pet Groom Team is picking up their sanitizing game as well as finding some unique ways to stay connected with her clients while teaching her daughter some vital life skills while home from school.

“Our clients continue to come and we continue to work until our State decides to close non-essential businesses. We took action immediately.  We cleaned all door handles between every client that entered our spa. We cleaned the whole credit card machine and the pens before any client touched them.  Staff wore masks while doing check-ins and check-outs to protect our clients. We asked our clients to hand sanitize (which we always have on our front counter) and scheduled pick-ups at separate times so only one client was in the Spa at a time. Our clients are like family and they all understood our concerns and were happy to do their part. To keep our minds and skills sharp Gwendolyn and I will create short “how-to” videos for our clients to do basic things like brushing, comb checking, ear cleaning and basic nail trimming at home until we reopen.  We are also making ourselves available over social media daily in case a client needs advice. Without knowing what will happen next we need to stay strong, help each other, spread love, knowledge and band together to protect and care for each other.” 

dog groomer

Canine to Five – Liz Blondy – Boarding Facility

With travel across the world coming to a standstill boarding facilities facing the direct impact of their customers staying home with their animals and not traveling. Liz Blondy owner of Canine to Five offers the Detroit area quality boarding and grooming services, her statement provides a very real challenge facing boarding facilities across the globe.

“This is a very turbulent time in the pet care industry. We have seen over a 75% reduction in boarding reservations in the last week. We are giving staff the opportunity to take voluntary layoffs, and we are drastically reducing employee hours, which is heartbreaking. We will go from having what was, to date, our best year ever to the most confusing place we’ve ever been. Our thoughts are with small businesses across the world”

Communicating with Social Channels

A quick way to stay up to date on what other groomers are doing is by following us on our social channels. We regularly feature groomers that are elevating the game and impacting the industry in ways that need to be shared, click to “Follow” us on Instagram and “Like” us on facebook and keep the pawsitive energy flowing!

3 Tips from 123Pet’s Social Media Manager:

  1. Try hosting a Instagram or Facebook live webinar. Studies show that live chats have increased by 60% since the pandemic. More people are home and looking for something to do. Perhaps giving at home groom tips, give special announcements about when you open or an even Q & A for your followers. Also,
  2.  If you have an online store, now is the time to promote your products. Whether it’s shampoo, Dog treats or a dog leash now is your time to put it out in the market. Try creating some fun engaging content for your viewers to enjoy while also promoting your products. Have good lighting, a steady camera with clear imagery showing how your products are used and who will work best for. 
  3. Thank your customers for being loyal supporters and supporting small businesses. Let them know that any support helps whether it’s sharing a post, liking a post, commenting or purchasing something from your online store that every little bit helps. A thank you goes a long way and will stick with your customers. Once you are up and running, they will continue to support!

Check out some spotlights from our Instagram Story where we are highlighting groomers changing up their marketing during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

Staying Informed with COVID-19: Resources for Small Businesses

small business owners

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing anxiety for small business owners across the country. The business landscape is rapidly changing, and we are all trying our best to protect our employees, support our customers, and address the financial stress. There is a lot of online information and resources aimed at assisting businesses with best practices. We have compiled a list of resources that we feel you as small business owners can use to stay informed.

Keep Planning as Things Evolve

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published an article with helpful links to provide businesses and employers interim guidance on how to best operate during this outbreak of the coronavirus disease. Having an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan should be top of mind, the CDC suggests.

Important Considerations for Creating an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan

All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of operations. During a COVID-19 outbreak, all sick employees should stay home and away from the workplace, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene should be encouraged, and routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces should be performed regularly.

Know your Obligations as an Employer 

The U.S Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has a Q+A available on Public health emergencies and the fair labor standards aimed at giving context for employers and employees during the COVID-19 emergency. Knowing how to best protect yourself as a business owner, and as an employee, can help mitigate the widespread uncertainty.

What are an employer’s obligations to an employee who is under government-imposed quarantine? WHD encourages employers to be accommodating and flexible with workers impacted by government-imposed quarantines. Employers may offer alternative work arrangements, such as teleworking, and additional paid time off to such employees.

How many hours per day or per week can an employee work? The FLSA does not limit the number of hours per day or per week that employees aged 16 years and older can be required to work.

Can an employee be required to perform work outside of the employee’s job description? Yes. The FLSA does not limit the types of work employees age 18 and older may be required to perform. However, there are restrictions on what work employees under the age of 18 can do. This is true whether or not the work is listed in that employee’s job description.

Small Business Owners Need To Communicate With Customers

The U.S Chamber of Commerce has made available a Response Toolkit to provide message examples to directly address anxious clients. Tailoring these communications to best fit your customer relationships is an opportunity to emphasize your commitment to the health and safety of your employees, and convey your need for the support of your clients as well.

Check out the suggested social media posts to share accurate information.  Use the official hashtags: #COVID_19, #COVID19

small business owners

We all have a part to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Make sure you are regularly practicing these healthy habits. If you think you are getting sick with COVID-19, follow this step-by-step guide to prevent spreading the virus to others. All employers should be prepared to address the impacts of the coronavirus, including planning for unexpected closures in your area and exploring telework options.

Small Business Owners Should Prepare For An Economic Impact 

With economic uncertainty looming as people remain in their homes and reduce their spending, the U.S Small Business Administration has provided a list of disaster loan programs and resources for businesses whose profits are severely impacted, as well as common issues small businesses may encounter.

  • Capital Access – Incidents can strain a small business’s financial capacity to make payroll, maintain inventory and respond to market fluctuations (both sudden drops and surges in demand). Businesses should prepare by exploring and testing their capital access options so they have what they need when they need it.  See SBA’s capital access resources.
  • Workforce Capacity – Incidents have just as much impact on your workers as they do your clientele. It’s critical to ensure they have the ability to fulfill their duties while protected.
  • Inventory and Supply Chain Shortfalls – While the possibility could be remote, it is a prudent preparedness measure to ensure you have either adequate supplies of inventory for a sustained period and/or diversify your distributor sources in the event one supplier cannot meet an order request.
  • Facility Remediation/Clean-up Costs – Depending on the incident, there may be a need to enhance the protection of customers and staff by increasing the frequency and intensity by which your business conducts cleaning of surfaces frequently touched by occupants and visitors. Check your maintenance contracts and supplies of cleaning materials to ensure they can meet increases in demand.
  • Insurance Coverage Issues – Many businesses have business interruption insurance; Now is the time to contact your insurance agent to review your policy to understand precisely what you are and are not covered for in the event of an extended incident.
  • Changing Market Demand – Depending on the incident, there may be access controls or movement restrictions established which can impede your customers from reaching your business. Additionally, there may be public concerns about public exposure to an incident and they may decide not to go to your business out of concern of exposing themselves to greater risk. SBA’s Resources Partners and District Offices have trained experts who can help you craft a plan specific to your situation to help navigate any rapid changes in demand.
  • Marketing – It’s critical to communicate openly with your customers about the status of your operations, what protective measures you’ve implemented, and how they (as customers) will be protected when they visit your business. Promotions may also help incentivize customers who may be reluctant to patronize your business.
  • Plan – As a business, bring your staff together and prepare a plan for what you will do if the incident worsens or improves. It’s also helpful to conduct a tabletop exercise to simulate potential scenarios and how your business management and staff might respond to the hypothetical scenario in the exercise. For examples of tabletop exercises, visit FEMA’s website at: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-planning-exercises

Small Business Owners – Know Your Points of Contact

Lastly, keep involved with your local Chamber of Commerce and know your points of contact. The Small Business Association Administrator has issued a statement and provided additional information for potential financial aid. Keep in mind as this virus advances, the information will be quickly changing, as will the advice. Staying informed is a vital part of maintaining normalcy and providing confidence to your employees and clients amidst times of uncertainty. 

Small Business Owners

“Small businesses are vital economic engines in every community and state, and they have helped make our economy the strongest in the world. Our Agency will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loans to small businesses that have been severely impacted by the situation. Additionally, the SBA continues to assist small businesses with counseling and navigating their own preparedness plans through our network of 68 District Offices and numerous Resource Partners located around the country. The SBA will continue to provide every small business with the most effective and customer-focused response possible during these times of uncertainty.”

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.