Category Archives: Business Tips

How Microchipping Works:

Microchip Your Pet

Via HomeAgain.com

essentials

Dog and cat microchipping is a simple procedure. A veterinarian simply injects a microchip for pets, about the size of a grain of rice (12mm), beneath the surface of your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. The process is similar to a routine shot, takes only a few seconds, and your pet will not react any more than he would to a vaccination. No anesthetic is required.

A HomeAgain microchip is permanent pet ID. The microchip itself has no internal energy source, so it will last the life of your pet. It is read by passing a microchip scanner over the pet’s shoulder blades. The scanner emits a low radio frequency that provides the power necessary to transmit the microchips unique cat or dog ID code and positively identify the pet.

HomeAgain is the only dog & cat microchipping product on the market today that has the patented anti-migration feature to help ensure that the microchip will stay in place so that it may be easily located and scanned. If your pet gets lost and is taken to an animal shelter or veterinarian, they will scan the microchip to read its unique dog or cat ID code. This is the number used by HomeAgain to identify the pet and retrieve your contact information, which is used to contact you and reunite you with your pet.

Find a vet near you to get started today.

 

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Tips to Protect Your Pets on 4th of July

By Jessica Chitrabhiboolya

Fireworks + Scared Puppy

With 4th of July just around the corner, we start to prepare the celebration of our independence day with picnics, barbecues, and of course fireworks. But are our furry friends ready for the flashes and booms of this occasion?

Dogs get scared around fireworks and thunder. According to the PetMD, more pets go missing around the 4th of July than any other time of year.

The SPCA and other experts offer the following advice to protect our pets during this celebration and other events:

  1. Create a safe space
  • Indoors and quiet places would be ideal as 4th of July is the day most dogs run away due to the bang of the fireworks startling them.
  • Pay attention to where is your pets go to spot for comfort
  • Make that space as cozy as possible
  1. Prepare the house
  • Provide food, water, comfy bedding and any other toys your pet loves
  • Leave something fun to do, like a new toy or a Kong filled with treats
  1. Prepare your pet for dealing with loud noises by exposing them with other sounds
  2. Create a distraction
  • TV, White noise, or the radio works greats to help muffle the outside noises
  1. Calming and relax
  • Swaddle blanket
  • Canine calming scents
  • Items such as the thunder shirt or anti anxiety wraps
  1. Keep an eye on your pet.
  2. Stay with them or nearby if possible
  3. After the fireworks, make sure all debris and all other hazardous material are cleaned up and safe for your pet to enjoy outside.

Once all the celebration is over, make sure to show your pets lots of love and show them that everything is alright.

happy-4-of-july

Happy 4th of July Everyone!

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 comfortgroomlogo_zps5c9aa1a3

 

2015: 5 Big Trends for the New Year

Written by Cherryl Reeves for PetProductNews.com

Pet Groom Blog Post

1. Pet Food
Why more consumers are paying the price for high quality

According to Packaged Facts’ latest report, Pet Food in the U.S., 11th Edition (September 2014), much of the dollar growth in the pet food market has come from converting pet owners to higher-priced foods, but this trend shows signs of hitting a ceiling in 2014.

Even so, Packaged Facts expects sales to grow at 3 to 4.5 percent rates over the 2015-2018 period, driven by an increased focus on pet health and the powerful role of the human-animal bond.

At these rates, U.S. retail sales of pet food will rise by a total of 16 percent during the forecast period (through 2018) to $33 billion, reflecting a compound annual growth rate of 3 percent.

Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, editor-in-chief at Petfood Industry magazine in Rockford, Ill., reported that mass market is where most of the growth slowdown seems to be happening, which points to the pet specialty channel as the sales-growth driver.

“Other more specific trends are that raw pet food sales, whether freeze dried, frozen or refrigerated, are growing briskly—still from a small base but strong growth in sales, and products and companies entering the market,” she said. “This growth is happening in the U.S. and abroad: Many German companies at Interzoo were launching raw or BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) products.”

Pet owners continue to move away from pet food products and ingredients from China, especially jerky treats, she added.

New developments in food processing extrusion also are creating opportunities for pet food innovation that meet demand for limited-ingredient diets, food safety and specific food labeling.

“With this new hardware, we have more control of cooking temperatures, extrusion, sanitation and food production safety,” said Curtis Strahm, director of extrusion applications at Wenger, the Americas, a food processing manufacturing plant in Sabetha, Kan. “The grain-free trend continues to grow, and we have equipment that can more precisely deliver limited-ingredient products as well as overall healthier and highly nutritious food mixtures.”

Indeed, the trend of pet owners scrutinizing food and treat labels for ingredients and their origins is on the rise, retailers reported.

“Years ago, terms like byproducts and fillers weren’t something that pet parents talked about, but now a food brand’s mission statement against these less-nutritive types of ingredients are key tenets to their success,” said Joshua Roth, vice president of Pet Pantry Warehouse, a store with five locations in Connecticut and New York.

2. Pet Tech
Sales of wearable tech are set to explode

Wearable Technologies for Animals 2015-2025, a report from IDTechEx, a market research firm in Cambridge, England, projects that the market for wearable tech for pets will explode—sector sales are expected to reach $2.6 billion by 2025.

According to the findings, wearable tech for animals of all sorts—dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, livestock and endangered species—will be the next big thing for monitoring security, behavior, medical diagnosis and treatment.

Davide Rossi, founder of Kansas City, Mo.-based FitBark, which makes a wireless activity and behavior tracker that attaches to a pet’s collar, said the trend for pet wearables mirrors the human market for such devices.

“People also want to know as much as possible about their pets, and there’s added convenience of having a tracker and mobile app that allows veterinarians to sync up to a pet’s health and behavior data,” Rossi said, adding that it cuts down on the Q&A during vet checkups.

Another hot trend is the demand for greater accountability from dog walkers, sitters and daycare providers.

Doug Simon, former owner of a dog walking service and currently the founder of Chicago-based Pet Check Technology—a company that offers a GPS tracking mobile app that maps a dog walk—said people want to know for sure that their pet has been picked up and returned home, and that their dog was walked for the entire time that they paid for.

“Clients also receive an email with details, including a walk route, notes like how a dog is doing or if a pet parent needs to stock up on food,” he said. “Walkers can even add photos. I’m seeing so many new dog-walking and pet-sitting companies opening, and they all feel that they need to add a GPS tracker to their service as demand from clients escalates. Requests are also on the rise for trackers for cats.”

Other must-have apps include pet social media platforms, iCams, the ASPCA’s Petoxins (an app that lists all types of plants that are poisonous to dogs), and Foursquare’s app that organizes all the dog runs, pet stores, grooming facilities and more in a pet owner’s city or neighborhood.

3. Live Pet Sales and Legislation
It’s a make-or-break year for live animal sales

The jury is still out on whether or not retailers will be able to continue selling puppies, kittens, aquatics and reptiles. However, the pet industry is upping its game in raising awareness and fighting bans against in-store livestock sales.

“PIJAC is fighting for a future where pet stores continue to be one of many providers for purchasing pets,” said Rebekah Milford, director of marketing and communications for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council in Washington.

“We believe in a future that allows consumers to choose the best pet for their family. Education is an essential part of how we want to engage on the issue of pet sale bans. Banning animal sales in stores does nothing to stop unscrupulous breeders but can cause consumers to visit underground breeders or find other venues to purchase the pets that their family desires.”

Uncle Bill’s Pet Centers, a retailer with locations in central and northern Indiana, has been selling all types of pets for more than 25 years. Leilani Zindler, store manager, said that education is key, as is only using quality, trustworthy breeders.

“There are so many great breeders who have high-quality standards in animal husbandry,” said Zindler. “That’s the message more should be receiving and understanding.”

According to a recent poll taken by the American Pet Products Association, more people seem to be receiving the message: Four in five (81 percent) U.S. adults say banning dog sales entirely at pet stores will not stop puppy mills.

Steve King, president of the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) in Abingdon, Md., said all major pet associations have united with PIJAC to take a stand against legislative bans on pet sales in stores.

“The trend is to stop letting animal rights activists control the message,” said King. “What we need to do a better job of is raising awareness that there is a big difference between respectable commercial breeders and disreputable puppy mills.”

With almost 50 U.S. cities now enforcing bans, and an injunction prohibiting Phoenix from enforcing its law until a case initiated by Phoenix-based pet store Puppies ’N Love is further evaluated, the future of bans is uncertain.

“PIJAC hopes that common sense can prevail on the issue of pet sale bans, but we hope that other cities will wait to see how the Phoenix case plays out before trying to adopt similar bans,” said Milford. “If more cities try to adopt pet sale bans, PIJAC will continue to be on the frontlines fighting for the rights of consumers, commercial breeders, pet lovers and those who could be potentially economically impacted by such a ban.”

4. Walking, Training, Grooming & More Services
From grooming to dog walking, more people are launching pet service businesses

American Pet Professionals, a Babylon, N.Y.-based networking group dedicated to the pet industry and founded by Nancy Hassel, has experienced increased membership this year and expects the trend to continue.

“The pet service industry is attracting more people who want to be trainers and groomers, or they’re opening dog walking and pet sitting companies,” said Hassel.

“What’s interesting is a lot of the new members in our group are older folks who are embarking on second, or even third, careers.

We’re seeing the millennials are more focused on creating new products and marketing them in various pet sectors.”

Hassel said the dog-walking trend has gone from a simple setup to more like a big business.

“They’re hiring teams, creating websites with logos and blogs, using social media, adding GPS tracking technology, promoting their first aid qualifications, and are bonded and insured,” Hassel said. “Best of all, they’re holding themselves to very high professional standards.”

When Hassel attended the 2014 Association of Professional Dog Trainers conference in Hartford, Conn., she said it was clear that the field of dog training has grown significantly in the past couple of years by the sheer numbers of new professional trainers in attendance.

Indeed, the U.S. Department of Labor projects that the employment of animal care and service workers, and specifically animal trainers, is projected to grow by 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

Dog grooming, both in a salon and via mobile units, also is a service attracting more sales and groomers, said Jorge Bendersky, celebrity groomer and consultant at Planet Jorge in New York.

“As cities become more dog friendly and dogs are more involved than ever in their owners’ social lives, grooming is no longer just about keeping dogs clean,” said Bendersky. “Pet grooming has become a regular spa treatment that can be compared with the services that were previously just available to lucky humans, bringing home grooming to the top of the list of ‘premium’ services.”

Bendersky added that mobile grooming units are growing rapidly in areas where driving around and parking doesn’t present a problem.

“Time is money,” he said. “Circling around for parking is not the best scenario.”

For those groomers who make home visits, the low overhead cost of doing business is a big positive, Bendersky added. “Home groomers can easily make six figures a year with an overhead of only a backpack full of grooming tools,” he said. “No rent, no maintenance, no loans needed. The performance quality and light weight of the new generation of grooming tools, added to a smart selection of concentrated products, make it possible to carry all you need for a full day of work.”

5. Economy
At last! This is the year business will pick up again

According to Kiplinger’s most recent economic outlook, “healthy third-quarter growth of 3.5 percent plus an upward revision of second-quarter growth confirm that economic momentum is back on track. In the fourth quarter and into 2015, growth should continue at a 3 percent rate. Consumer confidence has been gaining strongly. Hiring is on the rise, job openings are at a near record level, and spending on consumer services, such as recreation, is likely to strengthen as incomes rise.”

There’s more good news for retailers and their business-related expenses.

“With rising employment overall, and a dramatic drop in fuel prices, the economic outlook is quite good, as people will have more disposable income,” PIDA’s King said.

Also, retailers and other pet businesses staffed with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the Affordable Care Act, he added.

Owners also are continuing to pamper their “fur kids.” Case in point: Looking at the overall pet industry, Packaged Facts’ 2014-2015 report found that pet humanization is the biggest factor driving sales growth.

Greg Markiewicz, the manager of Tatnuck Pets, a store in Worcester, Mass., said he sees the economy looking up just by the sharp increase in customers requesting and buying high-end foods, treats and more for their pets.

“Pets are being treated just like precious children,” he said. American Pet Professionals’ Hassel suggested that retailers might consider offering a dog walking and pet sitting service, given the popularity of this thriving business sector.

Bendersky is optimistic for the grooming industry in 2015.

“As pets become more involved with their owners’ social activities, the grooming industry will only move forward. Premium services and high-quality products are turning the grooming industry into the pet beauty industry.”

King reminded retailers that they will do best if their sales come from both brick-and-mortar and online. “The percent of sales made online continue to grow,” he said. “So make sure your website is transactional and mobilized for success.”

Choosing a Grooming Table That’s Perfect for You

By Jet Perreault

Pet groomers tend to have a lot of equipment.

They may have many types of brushes, shedding blades, combs and nail trimmers, just for starters. Often they have several sets of clippers and dozens of blades and scissors.

These items are really just the beginning of what a groomer needs to produce a happy, handsome pet with a fantastic hairstyle.

dog groom

One of the most basic needs — and certainly the most important — is the table where

all this grooming is performed. Whether the

groomer is working on the family dog, is a handler with a string of canines, or owns a salon full of barking or meowing clients, the table is central to getting the job done.

This is why it is important that time and thought go into buying the best grooming table to get the job done (unless you’ll be making your own!).

 

What Will the Table Generally Be Used For?

If you’re grooming long haired pets, that will mean a certain type of table.

If your main clients are from the Saint Bernard family or the Irish wolfhound, well, that’s an entirely different sort of table.

Consider Size: If you’re in a salon, chances are you’ll get dogs of all shapes and sizes, and perhaps a cat or two as well. Several tables can be very useful. You’ll need one in the bathing and blow-drying area, and one for the grooming area. With a variety of pooches coming through, it’s good to have larger, sturdy tables. Accommodate the big boys and your little guys will be happy too.

Take into Account the Amount of Grooming: If you’re taking care of your own dog at home, you won’t need the same kind of table you might in a salon. If your pet is large, it is smart to invest in a table that will easily work for both you and your pet, such as a hydraulic or electric grooming table. If you have a cocker spaniel, you may do better with a table that collapses down. Some of the collapsible (folding) tables aren’t great for large dogs because those tables can be too wobbly. But for in-home grooming with small to medium breeds, folding tables can be ideal. It’s a real advantage to be able to collapse a table back down when you’re done with it and get use out of the space again.

Will You Be Traveling With the Table? If you’re showing your Pomeranian or poodle, you’ll be giving last-minute grooming before you enter the ring. You’ll need a table that goes with you. You may also be a groomer who travels to locations doing demonstrations or classes. In both of these instances, a table that can fold up for easy travel is ideal.

Is It for Personal Use or a Salon? Grooming at home with just one or two pets can mean an entirely different situation from a salon with a wide variety of canines coming through. Remember that you’ll want to accommodate even the largest dogs in your salon, unless you want to limit your clientele. For this reason you should consider at least one quality hydraulic or electric table. You won’t want to move tables around a lot, so you won’t need collapsible tables. On the home-grooming front, you likely won’t have as much space devoted to grooming. In this situation, a table that is lightweight and can be collapsed and tucked away when you’re done is an excellent choice.

Consider Your Budget

I Am Not Sure

You don’t want to cut corners when it comes to your table. This is the most important piece of equipment you’ll have in a salon, in your home or at a kennel. It is also integral to a safe job. For these reasons alone you want to buy the best table that you can afford.

Once you’ve decided what kind of table you want, it’s time to look at what’s out there for sale. Do everything you can to have as much in your budget as possible for your table. The more you can invest in your grooming table, the better chance you’ll have of getting the best out there and not dealing with it breaking down — or worse, being dangerous.

Your fold-up tables can be purchased for anywhere from under $100 to a few hundred dollars. They are by far the cheapest on the market. This doesn’t mean they will be the best for the environment you’ll be grooming in. If it is the table you’ve chosen, then by all means start shopping for the sturdiest collapsible table you can find.

Perhaps your decision has led you to the hydraulic table. These are sturdy and dependable and can be purchased for less than $200 on up to a thousand dollars. If this is what you’re looking for, you’ll have plenty of options to select from.

Maybe you’re more interested in getting an electric table. You’ve decided they seem to fit what you need the best and are set on buying a professional grooming table of this caliber. There are plenty of these on the market as well, and they range from a few hundred dollars to as high as a couple of thousand.

The Benefits of Promoting Dental Care in the Grooming Salon

By Dr. Michael Fleck DVM

Over the last decade, the quality of dental care for maximizing oral health in pets has evolved and rivals professional dental care for people with equipment, technique, and advanced oral procedures. Although an oversimplification, hygienic cleaning of the pet’s teeth involves both removing tartar and stains from the body of the tooth. Specifically, it includes removing tartar and debris from the teeth under the gum line area (periodontal) and reducing swelling, inflammation (gingivitis), and infection in the gums. Medically, a pet’s mouth with severe tartar and gum infection has a difficult time eating, digesting food, and exudes a horrible mouth odor. Additionally, the persistent presence of excessive bacteria in the mouth jeopardizes the viability of the liver, kidney, and heart. A hygienically clean mouth has been shown to extend both the quality and longevity of life of the pet.

All U.S. Veterinary Medical Boards have adopted the same ruling. Groomers using dental instruments or machines for scaling tartar from teeth without direct veterinary supervision are illegally performing a veterinary procedure and are subject to penalties, fines, and possible criminal prosecution. For more information, check with your local State Veterinary Board.

The groomer can make an impact on a pet’s dental health by offering unique dental services and dental products. Recognizing that many pet owners have difficulty effectively brushing their pet’s teeth, professional toothbrush cleaning by the groomer can be offered as an add-on service during the groom. Just be sure to tell your client about any abnormalities or inflammation so that the client can check with their veterinarian. Additionally, pet dental brushes, pet toothpaste, oral rinses, and dental treats are generally consumer impulse buying products and, if available, a wonderful retail up-sale for the grooming salon.

Be an advocate for pet dental health by promoting good dental health for the pets in your grooming salon. Deter potential pet health problems, and you can help your clients save money and anxiety on costly invasive dental procedures. Your consideration of the financial rewards of offering dental add-on services and dental retail products clearly benefit the well-being of the pet and pet owner.

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Top 5 Tips for Enhancing Your Business at Christmas

By Groomers Online

There are a variety of quick and simple ways for dog groomers to boost sales during the Christmas season. A little well planned Christmas prep, combined with a good service can leave a lasting impression, and have customers returning long into the New Year.

Here are our top five tips for enhancing your business at Christmas:

  • Start marketing early – ideally late October/November time. People prepare for Christmas surprisingly early, so make sure you put your services on their radar.
  • Customers are more willing to spend at Christmas, and they also want to pamper their pets, so now is a good time to highlight luxury brands or services you offer.
  • Create a festive window display that is attractive and eye-catching. This is both fun to complete and will literally encourage people into your store.
  • Update your website with details of your Christmas offers, products and opening times, and if you can tweak the site visually for a more festive feel – all the better.
  • Gifting customer is a proven way to encourage business long into the New Year. Try Groomers Festive Fragrance Duo Packs, or for the personal touch why not bake some festive dog biscuits for regular customers? This takes a little effort, but is quite cost effective, and will look quite impressive in a box or wrapped in ribbon. Our Blog has a range of seasonal tasty dog biscuit recipes to get you started, find them here.

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The Secret to a Successful Grooming Consultation

By Groomer Online

Ideally, you should offer grooming consultations freely to all your clients, but it is especially vital that new customers receive a full-length discussion on their needs and expectations before any grooming begins. Consultations are a key part of client care, and if completed correctly they will benefit the dog, the owner, and you the groomer.

Here are our top tips for a successful grooming consultation:

  • Communicate clearly without using too much technical language. Good communication will leave the owner feeling informed and relaxed, not confused by jargon.
  • Ask questions that have simple “yes” or “no” answers. This makes misinterpretation less likely. For example, ask “Are you happy for me to clip out these matts?” instead of “How do you do feel about me clipping out these matts?”.
  • Explain everything you intend to do and why. This will allow the owner to make an informed choice about their dog’s grooming, and will make surprises far less likely. Also try to pre-empt any problems that may occur and discuss them with the owner before you start grooming.
  • Use visual aids such as photographs or books. These will help you demonstrate exactly what the coat will look like. Notes from the Grooming Table has some particularly useful illustrations for this purpose, or you could start your own photo gallery with pictures of previous clients.
  • Explain what tools you will be using and why. This is especially important if the owner is new to dog grooming.
  • Remember to advise on aftercare. Offer suggestions on how the owner can look after their dog’s coat at home. You can also use this time as an opportunity to recommend products or tools, which is particularly ideal if you offer retail sales.
  • Leave final decisions to the owner. It is their dog, after all. You can however use the consultation time to diplomatically explain/recommend the best course of action as much as necessary.

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Easily Increase Profits with Up-Selling Techniques.

By using “up-selling” techniques you can bring in more profits during each grooming service. Customers will be more satisfied when the “up-selling” is based on the pet and customers’ immediate wants and needs. When checking out a client, be sure to explain the services and products used while also explaining the benefits of each. This opens the conversation to “up-selling”. With a friendly conversation and a simple question you can easily increase your profits. If successful it can add up to a larger profit margin. When coming up with new ideas remember to be creative and keep the clients needs and wants in mind. Below are some ideas for “up-selling”.

– Let’s say that you noticed an ear infection, mention to the customer that you cleaned it and offer them a product that can help treat the irritation.
-Offering Organic and natural products give you a genuine non-artificial way to “Up-sell”
-During sports seasons, offer Fan Packages with team jerseys, matching bandannas and nail polish. Displaying photos of past clients decked out in the deluxe package will be a good selling point.
-Pedicures to pamper (this could include nail dremeling or polishing)
-Shed free programs to prevent cleaning (this could be a Brushing session)

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Groomer’s Sniff Test.

As the days after a grooming session pass so does that just groomed smell. Providing your clients with a way to freshen up their furry family/friends at home is a great way for your business to increase sales between cuts and baths.

Though tails will wag, it’s the clients who will be happy when their pet prances out looking and smelling fresh and clean. Oftentime, owners are asked if it’s a boy or girl, so offering gender specific scents can clear the air when meeting new people. Fruity feminine perfumes for the Princesses and masculine musky cologne for the Studs are some of the gender related scents. In addition to giving a pleasant smell, many have moisturizing effects, giving an irresistible coat that’s soft to the touch.

Many salons and pet stores are carrying various fragrances, deodorants perfumes and colognes to delight the snouts and noses of their clients. Though many of the big box pet stores carry a plethora of sprays, sprits and perfumes, you might want a less generic selection from a salon or online. You may find that some names and smells are familiar to what you might wear! For instance; Pucci modeled after Gucci, is a posh cologne for the suave debonair at your heels.

With so many different variety of smells and options out there, you will be sure to find one that matches pet and owner!

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Tips to Boost your Grooming Business

Whether you are new to the pet grooming business or have had your own shop for years, it’s always a good idea to be aware of how to promote your business. Expanding your business, whether it’s through new clients or new services you plan to offer, is usually something to take into consideration. The following tips should be helpful however you wish to boost your business.



The first strategy you should always evaluate is how you advertise. Of course each business has a different group of customers so certain types of advertising may not work the same for everyone. However, every business should at least have business cards and an up to date website. Your website doesn’t need to be too complicated but just having all of your basic information will ensure that new customers will be able to find your business. Offering online appointment scheduling is a great idea, if you don’t already do so. A Groupon offer is something to consider, especially if your business is fairly new. A good way to encourage word of mouth referrals is to offer discounts or incentives to those who refer new customers. Another idea is to team up with other local business through events or sponsorships. You could add a link to a local pet store to your website and ask for them to do the same.

If you’re looking to improve your presence online, one of the best ways to start out is by putting your business on Facebook. Customers will be able to leave feedback for others to see and you can immediately respond to any negative comments if you wish. Other forms of social media such as Twitter or Instagram might also be useful depending on your customers.



Maybe you are in a situation where you want to diversify your business by adding new services. If you are self employed, offering a dog walking service is an easy way to earn extra income. If you own your own shop, you could have a professional dog walker on site but make sure to check with your city for any regulations regarding how many dogs may be walked at one time. A drop off and pick up service might be something to consider as opposed to mobile grooming. Some customers may enjoy the convenience of not having to drive to your shop and knowing their pet will be in good hands. Some other ideas are dog day care services or spa treatments.



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