A Piece of the Pie

by River Lee, CFMG of Savvy Groomer

The idea of going feline-exclusive with my business scared me to death.  As a dog groomer I had the luxury of seeing potential clients dragging their owners around the local park.  I saw them ‘shopping’ with their owners at the local pet store, accepting cookies and belly rubs.  I saw dogs hanging out car windows, tongues flapping in the wind.  There are rarely any cats being walked at my local park, and I don’t see many kitties getting belly rubs or cookies at the pet store.  If I ever see a cat hanging out a car window, tongue flailing in whimsical glory, I promise to take video. 

As a cat groomer I may see cats roaming my neighborhood, but they are not attached to a customer.  There is no other end of the leash to hand a business card to and start a conversation.  Cat owners tend to be far more private until they know you are also a cat fancier.  When greeting fellow cat enthusiasts, I tell them that cats, especially pedigreed cats, are treasures people keep in their homes.

A trick I learned when feeling nervous or scared in business is to break down the numbers.  If in America there are 85.8 million cats in 42.9 million households (average 2.1 cats per household) and there are only 77.8 million dogs in 54.4 million households, there is demand.  If the grooming and boarding industry, geared primarily towards dogs, made $5.41 billion dollars in 2015, it is time for cat groomers to get a bigger piece of the pie.

How?  When moving a business from dogs to cats it is easier to get the boat closer to the dock before you jump.  Start having cat exclusive evenings or days.  When I owned a salon I had one cat grooming day and 4-5 dog day. My cat grooming days were booked 4 weeks out with an average of 10-12 cats a day.  I was too afraid to take the plunge into grooming more cats when I owned a salon.  I want to empower you with the numbers and knowledge to be able to make your own decision.

Let’s use easy, round numbers. Let’s use two pets that are similar in size, product use and time.

Gross revenue: $50,000/year

Average dog groomed: $50 ( Shih Tzu, average 1 – 1 hour 15 minutes hands on time to groom)

Average cat groomed: $75 (Domestic Long Hair, average 1 – 1 hour 15 minutes hands on time to groom)

$50,000 divided by 50 weeks (allowing for 2 weeks vacation or 2 weeks of unforeseen slow times) = $1000/week.

This may seem like a lot of money! Remember, lets use numbers not emotions when we get nervous.

Dog breakdown:

$1000/week divided by $50 per dog = 20 dogs a week

Average an 8-hour work day, 5 days a week

You are grooming 4 dogs a day

I bet you’re already doing 5-8 dogs a day!  Now watch the magic if you were grooming cats

Cat breakdown:

$1000/week divided by $75 per cat = 13.5 cats

Average an 8-hour work day, 5 days a week

You are grooming 2.7 cats a day

So I do 1.3 fewer pets a day, 6.5 fewer pets a week – that doesn’t seem like much of a difference.

Break down the numbers per year

Dogs per year: 1000

Cats per year: 667

That is 333 fewer pets per year to groom to make the same amount of money.

Assuming you were only grooming 4 dogs a day, 333 fewer dogs means you can take the two weeks off that we planned in our numbers plus an ADDITIONAL 20.8 WEEKS off! That’s right, assuming 4 cats a day, 5 days a week, $75 per cat, you would make the same grooming dogs but only work 29.2 weeks a year! 

Groomers are hard workers; we get pretty excited about 2 weeks off.  So what if I did 4 cats a day, 5 days a week at $75 per cat instead of taking half the year off?  Magic, pure magic.

4 cats per day x 5 days a week = 20 cats per week

20 cats a week x 50 weeks of work (remember, take two weeks vacation or two weeks of abnormally slow times)

1000 cats x $75 per cat = $75,000

Same amount of time, same amount of product has created an additional $25,000 in revenue!  Investing in yourself as a professional, having the training to handle the “angry” cats, knowing how to communicate with cat clients and being able to create written goals surrounding numbers will allow you to achieve any dreams you have.  Numbers do not lie; feline exclusivity is a very viable option that has changed many lives including mine.

The numbers above were the numbers I used when I was a salon owner. As a feline-exclusive mobile groomer I now charge $110 for a long hair bath/sanitary clip. That means the $75 used in the equations above is elevated to $110 or more in my own personal equation. What are your numbers? Do the math.

Don’t be afraid to get your piece of the pie.

Liked this article? Get more FREE great resources below! Click below for our Money Making Tips PDF and check out River’s webinar “How Can I Afford That” by signing up for the next session.

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