Hidden Income How to Boost Income with Healthcare Add-ons

Originally published in eGroomer Journal (2012)

by Bruce Muller is Director of Pet Products at SmartHealth, Inc. www.smarthealth.com

These days, precious dollars are harder to come by. Some salons are experiencing reduced client service requests while others are noticing a drop-off in the frequency of visits. But there is a way to boost salon revenue through a valuable source of extra revenue hidden in salons.

With a little effort, thousands of dollars of additional income can be generated to reduce overhead and increase income. Tapping into these extra sources and reaping its rewards means more income for salon owners to provide attractive salaries and benefits to staff, for spending on new tools, and to pocket plain old profit.

The hidden sources of revenues lie in healthcare “add-ons” which are added services and products that both produce excellent ROIs (return on investment of time or money) and enhance the groomer’s role of protecting the health and well-being of pets. And it begins with groomers who see and capture the opportunities.

Groomers: Source of Expert Pet Care Advice

Because groomers see their clients’ pets more often than veterinarians do in any given year, pet parents often rely on their groomers as expert sources of advice on the health conditions of their pets. Most groomers are frequently asked about the pets’ bad breath, scratching, skin and ear conditions, gums and teeth, nutrition, and general health care. A conscientious and knowledgeable groomer will also alert the client to the pet’s emerging and potentially serious health conditions. Even better, they will have salon services and products at hand to recommend for in-salon and take-home care.

The Question is: How to Maximize the Salon’s Revenue Stream?

When translating a careful plan into action, developing new and expanded salon healthcare revenue can be accomplished with these easy steps:

  • Evaluate common health concerns, select related services and products.

First, list the common client questions and frequent pet health problems that occur in grooming sessions during the year. Some of these may be due to the salon’s region: seasonal allergies, insect bites, vegetation, and weather while others are universally year-round: bad breath, deteriorating gums, skin irritations, and ear infections. Then, evaluate and select specific services and products that are only available to pet professionals. This exclusivity cements the groomer’s position as a knowledgeable source. Look for manufacturers/marketers’ support materials which help the groomer educate clients. Request samples and order inexpensive starter kits to try out in practice.

  • Take advantage of plentiful product support.

Many pet product manufacturers/marketers offer groomer and client education support materials, such as posters and brochures; advertising templates for local use; and websites for in-depth information. For instance, one marketer of a pet oral health cleansing program offers, with a small initial investment, a Starter Kit which includes:

  • Educational salon posters to display in the reception and staff areas.
  • Counter-top teaching displays to help the groomer educate the client about the cleansing treatment.
  • Training video on the oral cleansing process.
  • Exam charts for the groomers’ records and for the clients’ to track at-home progress.
  • Equipment to perform the cleansing treatment.
  • Free client education product brochures for the groomer to distribute to clients.
  • Initial product.
  • Train the staff.

In staff meetings, heighten awareness of the advantages of identifying pet health problems and the salon’s offering of service and product solutions.. Help them become educated about the specific services and products the salon has and how to recommend them. One marketer offers a staff training video of a typical interaction between groomer and client concerning an oral health service and product recommendations.

  • Track increased revenues

Periodically, or at least once a month or a quarter, track the sales of healthcare add-on services and products to evaluate which are selling and which are producing the better profit margins. By the end of six months, a clear picture will emerge.

For example, within a few months, one salon owner realized more than $11,000 additional revenue from add-on services and product sales with an annualized revenue stream of $29,000. With a 50 percent increase in product sales alone, that figure jumps to $35,000. And that doesn’t factor in the uncounted income from the new referrals her grateful clients generated.

The Added Benefit of Healthcare Add-Ons

Increased income from the addition of healthcare services and products produces more benefits. By offering valuable services and products that solve pet health problems, the salon increases its esteem in the clients’ eyes and, better yet, they become the source of invaluable word of mouth advertising, generating new clients for both bathing and grooming and these additional services and products in protecting pet health.

In adding health-related salon services and products, groomers help clients solve immediate pet health problems, avoid their recurrence, and head off potentially much more serious, and expensive to treat, conditions.

In this way, groomers become educators and sources of solutions for their clients, much to their immense relief and their enthusiastic endorsement of the salon to all who love pets.