Is Your Grooming Business Ready for Tax Day?  

tax day

With Tax Day fast approaching, now may be an ideal time to (re)assess your business’ “tax readiness.” Operating a small business has always presented potential tax reporting issues, especially if you’re not running your grooming business on a software platform that can provide detailed performance and payroll reports.

Common Pitfalls

The most common problem in the grooming industry is tips. Employees are responsible for accurately reporting the tips they receive, but the employer is not free from obligation in reporting on these. Complexities can arise when multiple service providers are splitting tips on a single client service. If your systems don’t allow you to accurately report the distribution of these payments, you could be reporting that income as having been received by one person, unfairly increasing their tax burden.

Complex commission structures can also create hassles for employees unless you’ve properly defined payments within the software. You may offer certain commission rates for services but other commissions for products. The accuracy of the payroll records you generate drives the accuracy of your reports on the tax liability of employees (and contractors).

Accounting Integration

QuickBooks (or your preferred accounting software) is a great way to record your business expenses and your income details. However, if you are using business management software to run all other aspects of your business (e.g., appointment scheduling, inventory management, payroll) you’ll ideally want to integrate these systems to maximize the software’s capabilities. Simplifying this connection also means fewer reports for you to print or export for your accountant or tax preparation service.

Quickbooks

Classify Your Workers

The grooming business frequently classifies some workers as employees and other workers as independent contractors. The reporting requirements and tax implications for both are different, but equally important. Independent contractors typically rent some space within a business. They do their own advertising, set their own schedule and maintain their own client relationships. People who rent space within a shop are required to supply a 1099 tax form to the business declaring the amount of rent paid during that taxable period. This is far from common practice, but it is the law.

Deliberately misclassifying a worker is a crime. Don’t do it—even if they ask you to. The penalties can be significant, and you could be opening yourself to further scrutiny by tax officials.

Deductions!

The IRS describes legitimate write-offs as “both ordinary and necessary.” This means that they deem expenses as “ordinary” if they’re standard for someone with the same job, and “necessary” if they are central to the performance of the job (no, lattes don’t count). You’ll be well served to deduct only expenses for which you have documentation. Didn’t save your receipts? Comb through credit card and bank statements from last year in search of qualifying expenses—it could be very worth your while. Any questions you have about the validity of deductions are best addressed by a certified financial planner or tax preparer. Better safe than sorry.

Some deductions are obvious, such as rent, capital expenses (like furniture), business expenses (like advertising) or charitable donations, but some others may not be so obvious. The fees to renew your professional license may be deductible, as well as any expenses you may have incurred while attending an industry trade show or educational event.

how to start a dog kennel

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Recent changes to the tax code—specifically the “2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” which is thousands of pages long—may impact your business or your reporting requirements. If you have the means, it may make sense to consult with a certified tax preparer before filing your taxes to ensure that you’re both complying with every new provision and getting the maximum benefit.

Reporting

A common refrain in this blog has been reporting. The ability to generate an accurate report of what was done, who was paid and when is critical at tax time. If you are running your business on paper ledgers or shoeboxes full of receipts, this might present obstacles to easily answering the many questions a tax return requires.

While moving to a business management software platform at this point won’t help with last year’s taxes, now is the perfect time to commit to installing one for the next year. If you were savvy enough to install software from the beginning, then you are likely enjoying answering your accountant’s questions with the push of a button. Some of these software suites provide dozens, even hundreds, of reports that can answer any question that might arise.

Learn how our 123Pet software can make sure you are Tax-ready by visiting this product page.

Customer Spotlight: Success that Scales

scrubbers

 

123Pet customers are passionate about small business owners who excel at what they do. As part of our commitment to supporting and educating entrepreneurs, we aim to showcase our customers’ expertise in growing a successful business. In the spirit of Women’s History Month, we wanted to celebrate the story of Nikki Budaj, owner of Scrubbers Dog Wash, which has three locations in Royal Oak, West Bloomfield and Rochester Hills, Michigan.

Read on to find out how Nikki grew her first shop into a three-store business in five years.

How did you get your start as a small business owner?

I purchased the first Scrubbers Dog Wash in May of 2012. The business had been open since April 2010, but the previous owner thought the business was going to plateau. Yet, I could tell by looking at the numbers that the business was growing.

Much of the market hadn’t been tapped into yet, and there was no advertising, no marketing or SEO on the company website. Everything was pen and paper or word of mouth, and I saw that there was still a lot that could be done. In fact, I was sure that the business would not plateau. Now we’ve been open for nine years, and I expanded to a second location in 2014 and the third location in 2017.

 

scrubbers

 

What is your favorite part about running a grooming shop?

I love working with dogs and I love grooming. I find it very satisfying to take an unkempt fluffball and turn him into a work of art. I also love the customers—making friends with them and building rapport with them and their dogs.

Growing those relationships also helps to build a healthy clientele. Rapport and communication are necessary for this business. You need to establish a sense of trust to create customer loyalty.

 

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a small business owner?

First and foremost, thank goodness I provide a service that can’t be duplicated by the internet. And even so, there is a lot of competition with so many good groomers in the area. It’s a challenge to keep prices competitive without underselling yourself.

Another challenge is finding good groomers. You need people who are responsible and reliable, especially when your business is growing.

When we had two shops, I could run one and my husband could run the other. Now that we have three, we need loyal employees who can manage the shops—which may be the most important thing for running a business and keeping customers happy. I need employees who will give the level of customer service that I would.

 

scrubbers

 

What advice would you give to women who want to pursue careers in grooming?

It depends on if they want to be a groomer or a business owner. If you want to become a groomer, understand what you need to learn. Find someone to apprentice under, work your hardest, do your best and don’t give up. This is a hard industry, and not as glamorous as it’s made out to be.

People think groomers play with dogs all day, but that’s far from the truth. It can be a dangerous job; you need to know how to handle animals and you need to be strong. You also need to be somewhat artistic. As a groomer, you are sculpting and creating a work of art—but on a moving subject.

If you want to open a business, take the following steps: do your research, know the demographics in your area and look at what your competition is charging. Know exactly what you’re getting into before opening up shop. You’re going to have a lot of questions, so have a lawyer and an accountant on call.

Understand what sets you apart from other groomers in your area. Embrace that you need to market yourself and spend money on advertising. And most important, you need to love what you do to make a business out of it.

 

How has 123Pet Software helped you grow your business?

As soon as I took over Scrubbers in 2012, I purchased the single user package of 123Pet. Once I expanded to more shops, I purchased the next size up so I could add multiple groomers.

Now we use 123Pet on every computer and phone, we add as many groomers as we want and it’s been a lifesaver coming from the shop’s original pen and paper model. In fact, the previous owner of Scrubbers took great notes on all the customers, which the 123Pet team imported into the new system. The transition was seamless, so it didn’t take any time for me at all.

Now, with 123Pet implemented on our phones, all our groomers can see what their schedule is for the next day. And, since we added online booking to our website, we’ve been able to gain new customers. I knew 123Pet was the software for me, and it has paid for itself.

 

Appointment POS

 

Our employees’ favorite 123Pet features are email marketing and text notifications. The marketing function allows us to take care of our current customers by reminding them of appointments. The text notifications and text for pickup reminders also give us a lot of extra time.

Our employees can go into the computer, hit “ready to pick up,” and 123Pet sends a text to the customer, so we don’t have to spend time leaving a message or waiting for them to pick up their pet. This is such an easy software to use. It’s been great.

7 Common Toxins to Keep Away From Pets | National Poison Prevention Week

what is toxic to dogs

People love their pets. People love their pets so much; sometimes they love them more than other people but are they all clear on what is toxic to dogs? Probably not.

According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association in 2018, about 85 million U.S. families own a pet. That means 68% of U.S. households own at least one pet with the majority being dogs or cats.

When pet owners travel, they need someone to look after their beloved family member. Often they entrust them to a professional pet daycare or kennel. If you own one of these pet facilities, it’s important that you do not expose any of the animals to dangerous toxins or poisons.

Do you know what is toxic to dogs? For National Poison Prevention Week, let’s take a look at the most common toxins that pets may encounter while boarded. Keep reading to find out what is toxic to dogs!

What is Toxic to Dogs? Read On To Learn About 7 Common Toxins to Keep Away from Pets

Do you own a pet daycare, dog kennel, or another pet service? Take the time this week to check out for any potentially harmful substances that could put boarded animals, and your business, at risk. Here are 7 common poisons to look out for:

1. Human Medications

Some of the most dangerous substances a pet can accidentally ingest are human medications. Nearly 50% of all calls to the Pet Poison Hotline come from people whose pets ate prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Be sure you keep the following out of reach from pets like dogs and cats:

Acetaminophen

A common class of anti-inflammatory drugs found in cough and cold medicines and the name brand medication Tylenol. They cause dry eyes and liver failure in dogs but pose a bigger risk to cats. Even a little bit of acetaminophen can kill felines.

Amphetamine

Amphetamines are the active ingredient in most ADHD and ADD medications like Adderall, Concerta, and Ritalin. Ingesting small amounts causes severe heart problems, high temperatures, tremors, and seizures.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants like Celexa, Effexor, Paxil, and Prozac cause serious neurological problems in pets. Side effects include agitation, sedation, seizures, and tremors.

NSAIDs

Another class of anti-inflammatory drugs that includes name brands like Motrin, Aleve, and Advil. They cause kidney failure as well as intestinal and stomach ulcers.

what is toxic to dogs

2. Household Cleaners

Most household cleaners are harmful to humans as much as animals. Polishes, sprays, and detergents all contain dangerous chemicals that you shouldn’t breathe in or ingest.

The products with the highest risk for pets include strong alkaline and acidic cleaners. These include:

  • Calcium/lime removers
  • Drain cleaning solution
  • Lye
  • Toilet cleaning solution
  • Rust removers

Even if the product claims to be natural on the packaging that does not mean it’s safe. Most spot removers, surface cleaners, and glass cleaning products pose less risk, but you should still keep them out of reach from pets.

3. Vet-Prescribed Drugs

The medications a vet prescribes someone’s pet can harm them if they ingest more than the required dosage. Pain relievers, especially COX-2 inhibitors, cause serious issues. Commonly prescribed pet pain relievers to store carefully include:

  • Carprofen/ Rimadyl
  • Dermaxx
  • Previcox

Take for example the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug Carprofen/ Rimadyl typically prescribed to control pain in dogs from inflammation and osteoarthritis. If a dog eats too much, it leads to kidney failure and painful gastric ulcers.

what is toxic to dogs

4. Rodenticides

Rat and mouse poison, known as rodenticides, pose just as high a risk to pets as insecticides and pesticides. The various kinds of rodent poisons contain different types of active ingredients, all poisonous to pets.

Depending on the active ingredient chemical, rodenticides cause horrendous side effects like:

  • Bloating
  • Brain swelling
  • Internal bleeding
  • Kidney failure
  • Severe vomiting

Rodenticides can also cause relay toxicity if one of your boarded animals eats a dead rat or mouse poisoned by the trap. If you use rodenticides, always clean up any rodent carcasses you find to prevent relay toxicity.

5. Insecticides/Pesticides

Anything meant to kill other animals is never a good thing for pets to ingest. Pesticides and insecticides, even the ones pet owners use to kill fleas and ticks, can kill pets in small amounts. Ones with organophosphates like disulfoton are especially harmful.

Never use flea and tick medicine meant for dogs on cats. Cat owners should also double check for any medicines containing pyrethroids or pyrethrins since they’re severely toxic to felines.

what is toxic to dogs

6. Fertilizers and Other Garden Products

Do you have landscaping outside your facility? Although most plant fertilizers are relatively safe, many organic fertilizers contain natural ingredients that are tasty, but dangerous for pets.

If your fertilizer contains feather, bone, or blood meal, it’s toxic to animals.

Ingesting fertilizers with these products can lead to deadly pancreatitis. They can also solidify in the stomach and block the intestinal track.

7. Human Food

Finally, human food accounts for a large portion of pet poisonings every year. Many foods safe for human consumption are deadly to pets.

Most people know that dogs cannot eat chocolate. Dark chocolate is the most dangerous because it has higher amounts of theobromine, which can be deadly.

The sweetener Xylitol, popularly used in sugarless candies and gum, can cause life-threatening complications when consumed even in small amounts.

Grapes and raisins may seem healthy, but they are actually very toxic and lead to kidney failure.

Other human foods what are toxic to dogs include onions, garlic, yeast doughs, macadamia nuts, and table salt.

what is toxic to dogs

 

Now You Know What Is Toxic To Dogs

Thanks to National Poison Prevention Week, you should now know what is toxic to dogs. Be sure you share these dangers with your employees to keep boarded animals safe.

Sometimes pets have certain allergies with drastic reactions like inflammation, respiratory issues, or even death. Keeping track of pet allergies is just as vital as keeping your facility free of poisons.

Use Pet Care Software to Keep Track of Pet Allergies. Investing in high-quality pet care management software like 123pet care™ makes it a breeze! This simple, customizable software works great no matter if you run a boarding, daycare, grooming, or training facility.

Contact 123pet software today (800) 376-0123 to make managing employee schedules, booking appointments, and tracking client pets easier than you thought imaginable!

Supporting Women-Run Businesses

women-run businesses

International Women’s Day was March 8, but support for women-led businesses should remain top of mind all year-round. Women entrepreneurs are key players in driving the economy and contributing to the business community at large.

DaySmart Software, makers of 123Pet, is proud to equip our customers with the tools they need to fuel their work and grow their grooming businesses. To celebrate National Women’s History Month, we wanted to highlight four 123Pet customers and women-led small businesses to inspire the next generation of women entrepreneurs.

City Dogs Grooming | Bellingham, Washington

City Dogs Grooming is the premier, independent, locally-owned grooming salon in Whatcom county. It offers professional, knowledgeable, compassionate and contemporary grooming for all breeds of dogs. Lee Ann Kelly, the owner, has been grooming professionally for more than 25 years and has offered exceptional service at City Dogs since 1997. City Dogs prides itself on valuable veterinarian referrals as well as positive relationships with many other pet care professionals and organizations in the community. For more information, check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

women-run businesses

 

Dog-Gone Beautiful | Northville, Michigan

Dog-Gone Beautiful (DGB) is Northville’s new, clean, state-of-the-art, fun and friendly pet grooming salon. Owned by Stephanie Cook, DGB is a cage-free facility that allows groomers to build a positive, loving relationship with their pet. This type of appointment gives pets the opportunity to socialize prior to his/her grooming. DGB prioritizes superior products, safety first and flexible appointment times. Learn more on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

women-run businesses

 

Modern Pet Salon | Weddington, North Carolina

Modern Pet Salon (MPS), owned by Danyelle Stephen, is Weddington’s first full-service pet grooming salon. MPS is a unique facility built on one common goal—providing a superior customer experience. Its distinctive identity has sparked the interest of the Weddington/Waxhaw community and residents of its surrounding areas. With more than 25 years of staff experience, customers can rest assured their pet is in capable, loving hands. Explore MPS on Facebook and Instagram, and check out their many awards here.

women-run businesses

 

Smoochie Pooch | Fort Wayne, Indiana

Smoochie Pooch in Fort Wayne, ran by Elli Bultemeier, offers a wide array of services because it believes customers should have a choice when caring for their four-legged companions. Smoochie Pooch specializes in mixing and matching their treatment services to give pets the perfect grooming experience. If customers are not sure what their pet needs, Smoochie Pooch offers no-obligation consultations. They also use the finest shampoo and conditioner made here in the U.S., called Espree. Discover Smoochie Pooch’s work on Facebook or read this article to learn how they use 123Pet software.

women-run businesses

 

 

10 Essential Traits You’ll Need to Become a Successful Pet Groomer

Pet Groomer

Becoming a pet groomer and successful business owner can be one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do, but if you’ve decided to move forward and fulfill your dream of opening a grooming salon, here are 10 qualities you’ll need to succeed.

Successful Pet Groomer Traits:

Passion

It’s the foundation for every successful entrepreneur. You need to have it for the full experience of being a pet groomer. It will get you out of bed in the morning even if you’ve only had a few hours of sleep because you were up late taking inventory. Passion gets you through bad days and makes good days much more meaningful.

Organization

As a small business owner, you are required to juggle personal life, clients, employees, finances, and more. Being organized helps you focus on the task at hand and still have time for some fun. Find a system to keep you and your staff in order and stick with it.

Motivation

Drive, being a self-starter – whatever you call it, it’s a must for the successful pet groomer. The important thing to remember is it’s not a finite thing. Increase it through simple everyday things like completing your to-do lists. By completing smaller tasks, you start to build momentum to conquer bigger tasks and challenges throughout the day.

Independence

Telling your family and friends you’re opening a grooming salon is a big step in your entrepreneurial journey. Whether the advice they’ll inevitably give is positive or negative, have a clear vision of what you want from your business and how to get there. Be open while remaining true to yourself and vision.

Thirst for Knowledge

Ask any small business owner how they spend their day, their answer would most likely sound exhausting. As owner, you’re responsible for every aspect of the business. HR, finance, guest services, marketing, management, and sales are just a few of the areas you will need to be knowledgeable. Being a lifelong learner prepares you to wear all of these hats, and not always at the same time. Understanding the interconnected nature of your business is what will make yours a lasting success.

Confidence

Confidence will help you to “bring it all together.” Being confident is more than just being sure of yourself. Confidence comes from knowing you’re prepared, you’ve done the best you can, and you are prepared to take on any challenge you might face.

Selfishness

You probably didn’t expect to see selfishness on this list, but as a small business owner, you need to be selfish with your time and resources. There are only so many hours in a day, and you need to be mindful of how you use them. Don’t be afraid to say no. Your time is valuable, treat it so.

Delegation

You can’t be everywhere. The ability to effectively delegate tasks and manage your team provides you the most valuable resource of all: time. Remember to let go. Your team members might not complete tasks the same as you, so if you want something done a certain way, coach (don’t command!) on what to do instead.

Self-Promotion

Talking to others about yourself can be one of the most difficult parts of building your business. We’re taught from a young age talking about yourself too much is rude. Instead of thinking of self-promotion as a sales pitch, think of it as your way to share your passion with those around you. Grooming is a big part of your life, be proud of it!

Resilience

The life of pet groomer can be a roller coaster ride. Some days you’ll feel like you’ve made the biggest mistake of your life, but it’s important to remember bad days will pass and tomorrow holds the potential for greatness.

For more tips and tricks for pet groomers, visit our blog!

Tips for Expanding Your Pet Business

women run-businesses

The pet industry in America made over $72 billion last year. You can increase your share of those profits with easy pet business ideas such as expanding your services and broadening your marketing channels.

What services and channels will make your pet business more profitable?

This industry is constantly expanding with new products and services. Pet owners want their animals to have the best of the best, from food to massages. Adding one new element to your business can help meet more pet needs.

With so many potential pet business ideas, how do you choose? Keep reading for seven ways to take your pet business to the next level

Grooming

Dogs of all sizes and fur lengths need grooming. Some are trickier than others, which is why certification is key. Learn how to groom every type of hair or fur and you can add grooming to your roster.

Most community colleges offer dog grooming courses. You can also find hundreds online. Ensure that you practice and take pictures to use in your portfolio.

Being more knowledgeable about grooming for different breeds builds your reputation. Consider getting certified in grooming, nail cutting, and common animal skin conditions.

Different Types of Training

Do you have a knack for obedience, dominance, or agility training? This could be very profitable as one of your pet business ideas.

Pet owners need basic training for their pups. Some dogs come with their own set of issues that make them harder to train. If you become an expert on training, you can charge more for difficult cases.

There’s also a whole world of training for other types of animals. Some trainers specialize in training pets for commercials, movies, and TV.

As you probably know, training a pet can also mean training its owner. If you enjoy working with animals and interacting with their owners, then this could be for you.

pet business ideas

Sitting and Walking

Pet businesses that revolve around boarding can easily offer walking as well. It’s a natural expansion for businesses with these services.

Likewise, offering doggy daycare when you’re already a walking business.

Pet boarding is an awesome feature to add to your roster if you’re a trainer. Owners can leave their dog with you for a week of training. When they pick them up, their pup has improved behaviors.

Customers likely already trust you with one aspect of their pet’s life. Boarding and walking are great pet business ideas to make some extra money from existing clients.

Make Healthy Pet Food

Have you ever looked at the ingredient list of mainstream dog food brands? It’s not pretty. Today, there’s a larger market than ever for healthy, natural pet food.

Many owners resort to preparing their pet’s food at home. Take a load off their plate by offering homemade pet food from your business.

You can customize the meals you offer based on the client’s needs. If Rover is allergic to turkey, make options with chicken and beef. Pet owners want the best for their pets, including the quality of their food.

pet business ideas

Offer Cleaning Services

Let’s be honest: no one enjoys scooping poop. That’s why so many backyards are disastrous when the snow melts.

Remove that burden from pet owners by offering a poop scooping service. Once a week, go to their home to remove the debris from their yard.

Your cleaning service doesn’t only have to apply to the yard. Consider all the pets that use a cage, tank, or litter box. You could offer a weekly or monthly cleaning service of all pet-related accessories.

Take or Make Pet Portraits

What’s the best present you could give to a pet owner? A professional portrait of their pet. If you have photography or art skills, this could be perfect for you.

If you work with animals hands-on, adding photographer services wouldn’t be much of a change. Simply take pictures as you play, train, and babysit pets. These high-quality photos could then get purchased by the owner as an add-on to the main service.

Or, if you’re good at drawing and painting, create portraits of their pet. You could sell custom painted prints of customer’s pets on sites like Etsy.

pet business ideas

Creative Marketing Strategies

Adding new services isn’t the only pet business ideas we have though. By improving your marketing strategies, you can reach more clients. More clients equal more profit.

Flyers and word of mouth marketing are both great methods. But, to reach your potential, you need to be online. Here are some effective ways to market your business digitally.

Local SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) allows your target clients to find you online. By using keywords, optimized images, and user-friendly web design, you attract your people.

If your business relies on local clients and customers, focus on local SEO tactics.

This means using keywords that are specific to your city. Include your address on all business profiles, like your Google My Business Page.

Write content that targets “near me” searches. People searching for pet services near where they are will find yours first.

Social Media

If you’re not on social media yet, what are you waiting for? Social media platforms, like Instagram and Facebook, are excellent marketing channels.

People like to share what they find with their networks. If a client had a good experience with you, they’ll recommend you to their peers. They do this by sharing your page on social media.

You can also use social media to engage with your potential clients. Post valuable content that shows you’re an authority in the industry.

Run promotions and deals that are only available to social media followers. Offer giveaways and contests to attract new followers.

How to Grow Your Business with Instagram

how to grow on Instagram

Social media today is not what it was 10 years ago. It is no longer a place exclusively for connecting with old friends from high school or sharing your most recent vacation photos. Today’s social media landscape has evolved into a legitimate channel for brand-building, marketing, and even sales—with Instagram emerging at the head of the pack. According to the platform itself, Instagram now hosts more than 25 million business profiles and 80 percent of its users say they follow at least one business on the app.

Mind you, Instagram business profiles are being used for much more than window shopping. According to Instagram, 71 percent of its users are taking action, such as visiting a company’s website after viewing a post, or calling, emailing or direct messaging the business. With newer features such as Instagram shopping—where users can view products on Instagram Stories and purchase them directly—people are increasingly seeing Instagram as a place for consumerism.

Your grooming business can and should take advantage of this platform to grow your business. If used strategically, Instagram can increase revenue alongside brand awareness. Read on to find out how to grow on Instagram:

  1. Share content that represents your grooming business

You run a high-quality grooming shop, so your photos should be high-quality. While camera focus and lighting may not be as important on personal Instagram profiles where photos are for the memories, you want to represent your space and your services accurately and professionally. This does not mean you need to invest in a multi-thousand-dollar camera. A modern smartphone should do the trick.

Share photos that show users what it would be like to walk into your shop. From photos of the workplace to your groomers, to your furry clients with fresh cuts—Instagram provides users with a preview of the experience they will have at your grooming shop. It can even be the deciding factor of whether you win their business. Showcase your best work, any and all promotions, and don’t be afraid to incorporate your business’s personality into the content.

Most important is to match quality with quantity. 70 percent of Instagram posts aren’t seen by users due to the sheer volume of content in their feeds, so it’s important to post consistently.

how to grow on Instagram

 

  1. Start a social media contest

Incentivize followers to do your work for you by designing social media contests that engage customers and encourage foot traffic. Contests are fun and everyone likes a prize. Check out a few examples:

  • After a visit to your shop, customers who post a photo of their pet’s newest hairdo and tag your business on Instagram get 10% off their next purchase.
  • Customers who share your latest Instagram post will be entered to win a free nail trimming on top of their next haircut.
  • If you have business profiles on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, encourage your audience to follow you on Instagram, too—they may get a $5 coupon for one of your retail products!

The most effective contests will encourage followers to promote your business on their own profiles, allowing you to tap into their networks for greater exposure.

how to grow on Instagram

  1. Use hashtags to gain visibility

Hashtags are the best way to help raise your brand awareness on Instagram. By tagging #groomers, you become part of a social media community of pet groomers. You also become more discoverable for users searching that term. According to Instagram, 60 percent of users say they have heard about a product or service for the first time through the app. The easier users can find your grooming business, the easier it will be for you to convert virtual followers into actual foot traffic.

That said, you want to use hashtags selectively and strategically. According to studies on this topic, the optimal number of hashtags per Instagram post is 11, though you can use up to 30 at a time.

how to grow on Instagram

  1. Make it easy for users to book appointments on Instagram

With a beautifully curated array of Instagram photos, strategic hashtags, and catchy captions, your followers may be sold on your brand—but how do you make sure they book an appointment instead of scrolling to the next image in their feed? Consumers’ attention spans are shrinking, so it’s important for businesses to close the deal while they are still top of mind. Having a “Book Now” feature is helpful for converting social media scrollers into paying patrons. Or, make sure you link to your business’s website in your Instagram bio, so users can explore appointment options, commit to a time and check out your grooming business for themselves.

Social media is a valuable part of any modern business’s marketing strategy. It can bring in new customers, raise your brand awareness and give customers more touchpoints so they feel connected to your brand. Check out this blog post for more ideas to enhance your marketing strategies in 2019, and follow 123Pet on Instagram!

If Pets Had Thumbs Day is March 3rd: What Would Your Dog Do?

Dogs

We have all seen some bizzare holidays pop up in our calendars, but this one really tickled me – “If Pets Had Thumbs Day”.

This holiday is the perfect day, for all dog owners, to imagine what life would be like if our dogs actually had opposable thumbs!

Here’s some PAWsome things I think they would get up to:

 

Open The Fridge

Bottomline, there would be no food left.

If pets had thumbs

Text You To Ask You To Bring Him Back a Bone

If dogs have thumbs, they would have phones too!

dogs

Take a Selfie

I mean who doesn’t like taking selfies, they would probably use Snapchat filters too *sigh

dogs

Actually, Clean Up After Himself

If only this was true.

dogs

Use the Computer

Be careful they don’t sell the cat on ebay.

dogsHog The Remote

Next thing you know – they will be signing up for DOGTV.

dogs

 

 

Hitch Hike To The Park

Dogs love the park and I’m positive, if they could, they would hitchhike there everyday.

dogs

Read The Newspaper

The ‘Daily Dog’ would be a hit!

dog newspaper

So there’s all the wacky things we think dogs would do if they had thumbs, but the possibilities are endless! What do you think your dog would do? Comment below.

 

Protect Your Reputation & Manage Customer Satisfaction With 123Pet Reputation Management!

Reputation Management, dog grooming reviews

The internet has dramatically changed the way people choose where they spend their time and money. Long gone are the days where people had to choose a pet groomers through suggestions from family and friends.

With the rise of Yelp, Google and Facebook – 75% of consumers now search online to discover a business, and 84% trust online reviews as much as friends! Those stats are scary, but in reality this gives you the opportunity to outmaneuver the competition and gain clients that were difficult to reach in the past.

There are so many potential online locations that your clients could leave dog grooming reviews  – this makes managing your online reputation tricky. That’s where 123Pet Reputation Management can help!

Get Proactive – Protect Your Business Online

Your reputation is everything and with customers posting dog grooming reviews on a variety of different platforms, we understand – it’s tough and time consuming to stay on top of everything!

123Pet Reputation Management will help you manage customer satisfaction all in one spot, so you can identify and address issues before they can boil over and transform into a potential threat to your business.

Responding quickly to both good and bad dog grooming reviews is very important, as you show all prospective clients reading your response that you care about delivering a great pet grooming experience.

Reputation Management, dog grooming reviews

 

Monitor Your Dog Grooming Reviews & Respond Easily

When a client reviews your groomers, how long does it take you to see and/or respond? A quick response is especially vital when it comes to an unhappy customer, a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience.

Some businesses will even offer unhappy customers a special discount or promotion as an apology. Offering a customer 50% off their pets groom, because they were dissatisfied, will give you the chance to make their next experience a positive one and possibly win them back as a client.

123Pet Reputation Management allows you to respond to positive & negative comments from one simple dashboard. See a detailed overview of your online reputation so that you can see at a glance: how many reviews you have received from Facebook, Yelp & Google, when the reviews were received and how many were approved or disapproved.

Reputation Management, dog grooming reviews

 

Encourage The People Who Love You To Tell The World

Dealing with negative reviews is one thing, but how do you persuade your best customers to leave a great review of your business?

With 123Pet Reputation Management you can send automated texts and emails to clients (of your choice) asking them to review their experience with you. Don’t panic – if the review is not good you can disapprove and send a quick response to show them you acknowledge the issue and are outlining the steps to rectify the situation.

Client sends a great review? Encourage them to tell the world with our automated tool that post them to Yelp, Facebook and/or Google. Grow your likes, shares, reviews and social media engagement!  

Reputation Management, dog grooming reviews

Combining an excellent reputation online and using powerful software to manage that reputation will help you secure more pets, reach a wider audience and keep your groomers a ‘bark’ above the rest.

Want to learn more about how 123Pet Reputation Management works? Call our pet experts at (800) 376-0123 to find out more!

National Mentoring Month: Meet the Owners of Mucky Pup

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National Mentoring Month is dedicated to raising mindfulness around the importance of mentorship, which is particularly powerful in the world of small business. Young entrepreneurs and professionals can benefit greatly from the guidance of a seasoned pro who has succeeded in their desired career track.

Yet finding a mentor—or the right mentor—can be difficult as an up-and-comer. That’s why DaySmart Software, the makers of 123Pet, is committed to supporting and educating entrepreneurs.

In the spirit of National Mentoring Month, we sat down with 123Pet customers Jackie Boulton and Deb Cameron, sisters and co-owners of Mucky Pups, to discuss their careers. Jackie and Deb opened Mucky Pups in 1996 and have grown from up-and-coming entrepreneurs to grooming business experts. Here is the story of their careers and how they transitioned from mentees to mentors.

 

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Q: What is your favorite part about running a grooming shop?

A: First and foremost, we enjoy the dogs and the clients, and doing what we love every day. There are pros and cons, but it’s nice to have the control and flexibility we have as owners. I started grooming at a local shop in 1986 and Deb followed two or three years later. We grew up with animals, horses and tons of dogs, so it was in our blood. Once Deb saw how much I was enjoying grooming, she followed along. We get along really well, obviously.

When she chose to leave the salon where we both worked in the winter of 1995, we got talking about what we wanted to do. We didn’t want to leave pet grooming but didn’t want to work for anybody else. Starting our own grooming shop was something we could do together.

Q: What are some the biggest challenges you face as a small business owner?

A: The biggest thing that comes to mind is staffing. Finding dog groomers is difficult, but finding good dog groomers is even more difficult. There aren’t a lot of schools in Canada. Once you find a skilled groomer, the biggest challenge is hanging on to them.

Q: So, how do you attract and retain talent?

A: What separates us is that we pay better than a lot of local grooming shops. Our employees work hard, so we like to reward them and make sure everyone can make a decent living. We are also very busy; there’s always work for them to do. The harder they work and the more motivated they are, the more money they can make. That’s something we have above other salons that seem to struggle financially.

We didn’t start a business to get rich. After 23 years, we are still in the shop doing the same things that our employees are doing, including cleaning kennels and doing shampoo jobs. We do the mundane tasks, and that’s what gives us incentive to succeed.

Jackie

Q: Who is/was your business mentor? How did they become your mentor?

A: We discussed this and decided our mentors were our parents. Our dad got Jackie a job grooming at a local place, Barking Lot, in 1986. He knew the business owner and kept telling her how good I would be at the job. The owner ended up taking a chance on me and the rest is history.

Our parents were small business owners. They had a little bakery called the Daffodil in Calgary for a long time. We grew up watching them, and they instilled their morals of working hard, being honest and being ethical. Our dad never got to see how our careers in grooming grew, but he would be so proud of us. The biggest thing our mom gave us was moral support. She was someone to lean on and talk to; she shared advice on day-to-day issues and would tell it to us straight.

Q: Why is it so important for small business owners to have mentors?

A: It’s really helpful to have guidance, advice and support—not necessarily from another groomer, but just a small business owner. How would they handle certain situations?

In the past, there were times we didn’t like the way our superiors handled things. It’s a big reason why we left the previous business we worked at. We poured our soul into the shop for 10 years as if it was our own, but there was a lack of respect in the workplace. In this case, our past experiences taught us what not to do. We thought, when we had our own business, we would treat people the way we want to be treated. We would be helpful and understanding. Hopefully we have stuck to that—we think we have.

When our employees do something that isn’t quite right with a customer or dog, we show them the best way to do it. We teach them how to speak to customers, even when they’re upset, so they can handle those situations and make them better for those customers, their dogs and for each other.

Debbie

Q: What advice would you offer to aspiring groomers?

A: The advice we give our employees is the advice we tell ourselves every day: work hard, love what you do and be dedicated. Many aspiring groomers think that they will get to play with dogs all day, but ironically, that’s the last thing we have time to do. Most people are very surprised by how physically and emotionally draining it is.

You need physical support to wrangle struggling dogs, and you need emotional support when the job gets tough. Many of our clients are on their third or fourth dog with us, so you go through their lifecycles together, and we get very attached.

In addition to loving what you do, you need to understand why you like it. Grooming requires enormous amounts of patience. You’re dealing with dogs, and each have their own little quirks or may have behavioral problems. You need “dog sense,” which many people don’t have. We recommend shadowing a groomer before paying money to go to school. You need to be a strong person to be a groomer—it’s a high-burnout job.

You also need to continuously educate yourself. Don’t get stuck in ruts for the way you do things or the equipment you use. In fact, always upgrade your equipment! When we first started, we used one big calendar and a pencil to keep track of scheduling. Many groomers are still doing this, or using a 5×4 index card to keep track of client information, which requires a lot of manual work and filing.

Once our business scaled, we saw a need for software. Today, we use 123Pet software across two processors, monitors, tablets and our phones—anytime, anywhere. We use many of the software’s features—such as text and email reminders, which save a ton of time—and there are still more we’re learning about to gain visibility and raise or lower our bottom line. If groomers want to be busier, they should invest in software.