Competition in the pet grooming industry is rising. Pets at Home said they saw 'exceptional demand' for their services during the first lockdown in April 2020. People's pets played a big part in keeping the nation’s mental health ticking through coronavirus, and we saw a massive uprise in people buying dogs last March. Last year, Pets at Home had 40,000 dogs on their waiting list for grooming – supposedly more than owners waiting for haircuts! So, how do you stay competitive in the dog grooming industry?
Maintaining a digital presence for your brand
Maintaining a digital presence for your brand is one of the most important things you can do, especially as more things move online. Using social media is free and, let's be honest, people love looking at pooches online. Using hashtags like #DogsOfInstagram and #Dogspotting can boost the views of your posts on Instagram.
Setting up a website doesn't cost a lot, and you can increase your appearance on search engines by writing blogs or posts about dog grooming. If you already have a website, make sure to go through your content and ensure your location is incorporated in your content, so your customers (and the search engine) know where you're based.
You can offer online booking with a website or by using Facebook's pages manager. Setting up social media accounts for your business is a great way to show off your branding and skills.
Enter your business into pet grooming competitions
There are tons of pet grooming competitions around the UK you could enter, as well as small business awards. Winning awards is a great way to show your potential clients that you're a great dog groomer. Awards ceremonies and competitions are also a great place to network with other groomers, dog owners and potential new clients.
Offer a more diverse range of services
To set yourself apart from your competition, you can offer a more diverse range of services. At GroomArts we offer improver grooming courses which cover professional pet styling, hand stripping and scissoring skills. You can also do workshops and courses in dog health and nutrition and offer your clients nutritional advice to improve their pups’ health. A top-rated course for dog groomers is the NCFE Level 3 Canine Behaviour – this course teaches you why dogs behave in the way they do, how dogs show fear and anxiety, and how to handle it. A canine first aid course is also a fantastic and vital course for dog groomers as participants learn how to treat a range of minor injuries and handle post veterinary care.
Expand your referral services
Expand your referral service by rewarding customers who refer their dog-owning friends. You can do this by offering a discount, something for free or a gift. You could give out reward cards for repeat customers and offer free branded treats to clients.
Statistically, customers who make referrals will do so more than once. A successfully run referral campaign can boost your sales seven times more than a digital campaign.
Making your business more flexible in a post-Covid market
As we (hopefully soon) start to see an end to COVID-19 restrictions, it's crucial for you as a business owner to remain flexible in the new business landscape. While the pandemic is around, people cancelling appointments has become the norm because it's hard to predict the future. A lot of companies have stopped charging for cancellations. It would help if you also considered being more flexible with where people want their dogs to be groomed – perhaps a mobile dog grooming business where the owners do not have to come inside or adding a drop-off gate to stop contact between humans.