Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Labor of Love

Time to update my journey!
Cool Dog Grooming Studio, Crestview FL

I've been quite for a while, but things have made a huge turn around. After a big disappointment on my first lease and 3 months of renovation, just to close the doors because the County deemed the septic system not operational, I thought that was the end of my pursuit of ever owning my own grooming business. But, one day while driving around Crestview, I spotted a vacant location, and called the realtor next door. Well, as easy as 1,2.3 and a credit card, I was back on track! Oh My DOG, was I excited!

We painted for a few very long days, built some very cool tubs and opened the doors of my new business called Cool Dog Grooming Studio on December 10th.  One month later, and I have some repeat business booked out for months. Art sales are up, since I have a studio room and many of my paintings decorate the space.

So, looks like I made it! Three years after becoming a professional artist, I am now a pet groomer too. I'd say this is a labor of love, where I'm loving every minute of it.  Goals, are obtainable, you just have to keep moving forward. I really thought I had hit a brick wall, and the chips were down, pockets were empty, but with the love and support of my husband, and a huge base of friends praying for me and cheering me on, to not give up hope. It happened!

May you find your labor of love. It took me a long time to change career paths from Medical Office Management, but I am finally in love with my job!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fund rasing to keep my grooming Stuido open

raising funds to install new septic system to keep my groom shop open

My goal is to keep my grooming studio, here in Baker FL. I have rented and renovated, spent over 5,000 to get this place open. The septic system has failed inspection. Landlord cannot afford this repair on his own. I am penniless and need this business to avoid foreclosure on my home
For each $1,000 mark reached; one free pet
watercolor painted portrait will be donated back to one donation contributor.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Power of Love

I have worked many jobs, and some of them would be considered powerful jobs in the corporate world. I had the power to make my employer wealthy with my tenacity, and experience in billing and collections. But, I gave this all up to follow my passion for art and animals. Why you may ask, would I give up benefits, and a great paying job, where I had such power? Because, I didn't have the power to love. I worked long hours in my corporate office all alone. I grew restless and resentful and later depressed. So, I left the corporate world, to be able to express myself, to reach out and to love.

My last employer asked me why do you love your clients dogs so much? He told me that it was not wise to love so much, for if the pet dies, I would be depressed. But, I knew no boundaries for my love of animals. Each one was kissed, hugged, pampered. Some of my clients dogs did pass away, and they will be  missed. But, it is better to of loved, and lost, then to never of loved at all.

I feel so blessed to of had the courage to follow my passion. I'm in the mist of renovating a building for
my very own grooming business. I can't wait to hang up the open sign, and love on all those dogs.
Walls will be filled with art and rooms with precious pets to groom.

Please never fear the loss of someone so much that you close your heart to love. For love is a very powerful thing. If you have lost a pet, and are grieving enough to say, I can never do this again. For now, grieve, then when you are ready your heart will heal your loss, and once you open yourself to new pets or people in your life you will love again and feel good again.

Please join me in my journey on Facebook for  Cool Dog Grooming Studio
My FB page

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Getting to Know You

I'm up at 5:00 planning my day. The first thing I do is check my e-mail and my Facebook pages. I enjoy reading the posts of my friends and liking the photos and status lines. It is a nice way for me to feel connected with that big world of ours.  Each day gives me the chance to get to know you, and for you to get to know me.

Even though I have not opened my new grooming studio, I am getting to know more people on my facebook page.Cool Dog Grooming Studio.
I have gained three new clients already and over 200 are talking about the page. So, between renovation time, I'm traveling to homes with house call grooming. This not only gives me some money to keep going on the renovations, and keep paying my new bills, it helps me to get to know you.

It is important for me to know my client, for if I know you, I have a better chance of providing a service   that works for you. One of my major decisions is to keep my groom shop on a schedule of work hours. Many groomers that are self employed, groom the dogs scheduled that day, and go home. But, I will stay each day until closing time, so that my client base can trust that I will be there for them, when they need my services. Oh, there are plenty of things to do if there are not dogs to groom in the afternoon. Cleaning, marketing, painting. Painting you may ask? Yes! I am going to move my pet portrait business and several pieces of my work to Cool Dog Grooming Studio. Keeping it Cool! My Studio is something people are excited about. They want change, they want their dogs to be loved like family and  have a wonderful experience.  I have found that clients patronize from people they know and trust.  During the next few months, I will get to know many more people, and in turn they will get to know me. This will be a win-win situation for each of us. Making my decisions on products and services more relevant to your needs.

Thank you for following my journey, be it here on my blog, or on Facebook, Google or LinkedIn. 
I appreciate the opportunity to get to know you.

Pam Utton
Cool Dog Grooming Studio
1909 Highway 90 W, Baker FL

Monday, September 10, 2012

Having a COOL DAY!

I'm having a fantastic day! I decided to take the day off from the renovation at my new lease for Cool Dog Grooming Studio in Baker FL -
My Grooming Studio FB Page

First appoinment of the day was a Westie for a bath. That started out all wags and grins. Then a call from a banker, I was eligible for some IRA money from my mangement position, that I gave up to become a dog groomer. Things were looking good for the day! Heck yea, I even washed windows.  Then I received a check for art work sold at the Gallery Fiddly Bits and Tea in Fort Walton Beach.

Oh, gosh then there was more! I made the deadline, for an entry of  Art Trends Artist of the year 2012!

A new pet portrait order, and a new house call client for Monday grooming.

Even a shipment of ribbon came today. I guess I picked the right day to stay home.

I feel like singing the Age of Aquarius!
The 5th Demension Sings

Monday, September 3, 2012

She's Got the Lease, but does she have a plan?

Cool Dog Grooming Studio FB page

Cool Dog Grooming Studio Web Page

Looks like I've made it! But, have I? Yes, finally the landlord met with me regarding the building on Highway 90W, 1909 in Baker. He handed me the keys and told me to put the electric, phone and water in my name  Tuesday  Sept 4th.  He thought long and hard about the rental fee, so kept it low in expectations that I could go forth and prosper. I'm on cloud nine. But what, my boss takes no notice, advised I leave today?  Yes mam, that is how it is. No groom shop wants you around if you are leaving to prosper on your own. I understand, but do I have a plan?  Did you know 50% of small business fail within the first 2 years? Yes, scary isn't it! So, as I worked for the past 7 months, I listened, watched, learned from as many sources as I could. From friends, family, DVD's, books, groomers, and by daily experience. I took that small paycheck, and every week, I would build my inventory. In seven months, I didn't make a lot of money, but what I did make, I invested in my future. Spending thousands of dollars on the items I would need if I ever found that lease!

One of my friends on FB in a grooming group asked me, do you have a plan? Do you know the  items you will need to set up shop and have a possibility of not failing? 

I sent a reply back -

Thanks : yes I am taking a pretty large risk. I wanted a bank account, but w/my boss hiring a second groomer, my checks have been about 200 a week, so no money to save. Here is the up side. I own 2 grooming tables, a HV dryer. 2 Gal of Shampoo plus several 16 oz bottles, 5 doz towels, Two banners, can paint my sign. One clipper Vac, 9 cages, cleaning supplies, mop bucket, shop vac. Web Page and at least 10 links/ directory listings, FB page with over 90 people rooting for me. 2 clippers, 3 of every blade, 8 scissors, brushes, combs, several leads,3 nail clippers, polish, cologne, 3 dremels, several grooming loops, 2 tubs. Bows, Bandanas, Mirrors. Art for walls, Spa music, clock, decor'. Rubber mats, Four reception chairs, desk, lap top. A partridge and a pear tree! (just teasing) I've read several books. Have a business plan. marketing plan, Logo- Tshirts, business license, LLC. Have run a successful pet portrait business for over 3 years, hence the name Cool Dog Grooming Studio. I will paint portraits for extra income as my grooming business grows. And a kick ass husband that will help me paint the building and do maintenance and bathe on Saturday. This is only 6 miles from my home, high traffic count, close to huge housing developments, and no competition on this end of town. Plan for press release, continued marketing, Direct Mail marketing, meet and greet w/other business owners and Vets, join the chamber, have a grand opening. Open early, stay late, I won't just groom a dog or two and go home. I will sit all day, every day w/a walk ins welcome sign as thousands of cars pass by. Promote events in the paper on a quarterly basis, help rescues by giving back w/grooms Advertisement agency to do a video production. The building is a former hairdresser shop , so plumbing is there.

The business plan: 
Add phone line, get wireless headset, add internet service
Check with zoning regarding signs
Keep current grooming position on Hamilton Bridge road while updating space for
pet grooming business.  Installation of tub, cages, grooming room and drying room with
existing partitions. All work performed by my husband and myself. Once the grooming area is suitable for  grooming, give one week notice and increase advertisements. Use local paper, Internet, Veterinarian , and meet and greet to local business owners.  Join local Chamber, have ribbon cutting. Write press release. ( so the employment plan didn't work )

Existing inventory – All grooming supplies – tables, dryers, a few cages,  tubs, PC and some retail. Approximate value $5,000.00 Art, bandanas, bows – Goal – cage free grooming, (use of hitching posts and play corral)  Appointments five or  six days a week  7 am to 5 pm – Open on Monday to capture clients other groom shops don’t due to being closed on Monday 

Market on Facebook, make web page. Hand out brochures to local businesses.
 Increase revenue with bath and go program.
Proven success marketing on Facebook for Pet Portrait business.

 Long term Projection of grooms and baths per day will be ten at an average charge of 38.00.
38.00 x10 = $380.00 per day – Gross revenue per month 7,600.00 - Goal projection -

Experience – over 20 years as a business office manager, handing – Payroll, billing, staffing, collections.  Degree in Business Management. Self employed in the Pet Industry
Since 2009

I will perform all services until I have a cash reserve of six months expense, then I will
hire a bather part time at 50.00 per day. All revenue will be put back into the business, drawing a minimal income for the first six months, to make sure all expenses are paid for, and there is a cash reserve for the slower months. When business is booked one month out and I can not keep up with demand, I will seek a second groomer, and pay 50% commission, and take out taxes, pay unemployment compensation.

During slower times, market heavy, work on sales of pet portraits, and sewing of custom
dog accessories.

So, yes, I have a plan, I have probably more grooming equipment than many groomers who have been in the business for much longer than I have. I graduated from grooming school last October, one year later I'm set to GO!

Live your dream, follow your passion, be humble and grateful for the things you have, and never become complacent and you will be sure to succeed!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

You've Got to have Faith

Months of looking, for a lease for my own groom shop. No return calls from realtors, many buildings would not allow a grooming business, many were too expensive. I was running out of options, had looked and called on so many, but nothing was right. But, as determined as I was, I was not willing to throw in the towel. What did I do? I prayed, for direction, for guidance on what to do next, what area to focus on since my search was so broad.  The next day while traveling to the bank, I noticed a for RENT sign! Oh boy, in my home town, not fifty miles away. I did a 360, and stopped in. Sure enough, this hairdressing building was for lease! Sign just went up two hours prior. I thought this is it, my prayers are answered. WOW, just like that.  I talked to Monika and the landlord showed up, he said, yes a grooming business sounds good. Lets talk later. A month later, waiting for that talk. Perhaps tomorrow will be the day. He is a very busy man, and he works  on a handshake, so I will have faith that yes, this is the one. I've purchased cages, a tub, banners, towels. and more. This may be my ticket to a job I've dreamed of for a very long time.  - Stay tuned for updates in the next few days and weeks. For when I can welcome you to Cool Dog Grooming Studio!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Poised to Succeed with Pet Grooming

I have learned so much in the past few months on what I need to accomplish to set up my own groom shop. I've visited numerous  groom shops, seen the best and the worst. I watched how my employer runs the groom shop I'm at, and watched business fall due to lack of personnel and marketing. Two groom shops have closed in our service area, so we should be booming. But, how will they find us and where will the new groomers come from? There is no web page, no Facebook presence, no direct mailers, no marketing efforts.

It takes more than a bather and a groomer to run a business. It takes excellent customer service, top notch products, and quality grooms, along  with location, exposure and marketing.

So, since I've had so many days off due to lack of business, I used my time well. Looked at many leases, built web pages for my house call grooming. This door to door service is well received, and helps fill the financial gaps. I joined and they are advertising with a coupon code for me. It worked, I have a wonderful new client how helps me get web presence and encouragement. Business partnership and alliance is another key component of your success.

Hours were spent on adding my URL to grooming and map and phone directories. And in two days, I'm searchable.  But, does this mean that my work is done, that I can sit back and wait for the phone to ring? No, there is product research, and getting ready to be on spot when the opportunity arises. I have my logo designed, banners, business cards ready for ordering once I have a location and phone number. No need in waiting for the last minute.   Reduce the stress, and make the time when the time presents an opportunity. Many old time groomers say you have to be in business for  someone else for twenty years before starting your own business. Heck, I'll be dead by then!  After many days of no work, I made time to read more posts in groomer groups, learned more  about SEO's and direct mail marketing.
Two things I learned was that a small start up can probably not afford good SEO web development on their own. Hubspot says if it costs less than 1,000 a month your value is probably not worth it. Yet, there are no worries. SEO is not an untouchable, it is quite do able given the time to post relevant information for Google to pick up and rank it.

The next step will be a LLC and my own URL to match the business name I end up with.

I don't want to sit on the front porch, I want to run with the big dogs. : D

Monday, July 30, 2012

Grooming in Crestview Florida, where I groom in your home or mine

It has been a while since I blogged. So many wonderful things  have happened. I am loving the dog grooming so much that I even groom at home or at your home on my days off. Providing house call grooming at your home or mine.
Visit my web page for examples and info

My goal is to find a lease and have a state of the art grooming facility. But for now, my clients are loving the individual attention in the privacy of their homes.

House Calls Dog Grooming, Crestview, Baker, FL,Holt, Mossy Head, Fort Walton Beach - Can groom at my home per request.
I will come to your home, groom your dog, bathe if you have a place to bathe, or I can groom without a bath.

Service includes
Clean ears, cut nails, groom with clippers and scissors
... Hours 7 Am to 3 Pm MONDAY only
Toy Breeds / mini $35.00 -45.00 - Sanitary only $25.00 (pads, privates, paws )
Med Breeds $50.00 -70.00 - Sanitary $35.00
Large Dogs $75.00 - 90.00 Sanitary $50.00
Taking out mats extra - will discuss if the dog needs to be shaved if mats are bad.

I bring all tools - table and clean up

 Your dog can be styled many different ways, to highlight his or her personality. At home your dog is not rushed, and we can create a one of a kind style if you do not want a shave down. Here in Florida, so many dogs are shaved down with one blade length, called a kennel cut. But, you don't have to have a one size fits all cut for your canine friend. Shorter bodies, longer leg fur, can be a nice alternative to a complete shave down. Your dog can be cool, and still have an individuality.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Groomer's Dream

Yes, I made it as a  groomer, and have a wonderful job where I can meet so many new people and pets each day. I am grooming an average of eight dogs a day, and loving every minute of it.

The next step in making the dream come true is to open my own grooming shop. This takes a lot
of research and planning. Finding the right location. Deciding to rent or purchase. I feel that a purchase is a better approach for me due to the low financing rates. Commercial or residential property now becomes the focus. Residential is cheaper, but more difficult to get approval for setting up a grooming establishment. I keep searching the listings from Gainesville to Pensacola Florida.  When the time is right, there I will find that special spot.

I'm selling home made dog tags, bandanas, bows, photo pendants and pet portraits as I save for the down payment on my new groom shop. I will be adding a drop ship pet tag option for my clients as well. Facebook has applications for fund raisers and I have a fundraiser going to help me establish that down payment. With each 1,000 collected in donations one free pet portrait will be given away. This is a win win for each of us. People love to win, and they like to see others reach  their goals.
Groomer Start Up Fundraiser, chance for free portrait

I still think of " Go big, or go home " . I don't want a shed groom room, a garage groom room or a basement, I want a professional setting and a well compensated staff. Top of the line products, beautiful surroundings and a wonderful sign with LED message board. I want the pets to feel loved and secure. A place they want to come back to time and time again.

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