So I woke up thinking about a story I heard last night by a Groomer friend. She'd been caring for a client and dog for a long time, like most of us and our clients, she loved them both dearly. Then one day she never saw them again, they started going down the road to a different salon. It got me wondering, at what point are we no longer "just the Groomer"?
I know I get close to my clients, very close. My husband says I get TOO close and I shouldn't, and I bring home the love stories from the day, and the hurt stories from the day. When something happens to my 4 legged client fluffy, I cry my eyes out, When something happens to my 2 legged client, I will bend over backwards to do anything you need (as long as I'm not taken advantage of).
Sometimes we care to much. Sometimes all we are and all we'll ever be is that person who cuts fluffy's hair to certain clients, and that is okay. I like to know what is going on in my clients life, so I can be involved/help out. I see a basic friendship/ family with every client even though they may never see it the same way. Especially for those special pets I have seen for 5 or more years. I have seen their kids grow, I have seen the grey hairs over the years appear on fluffy's face, I think that is what makes a good Groomer. When you care more than you should, try harder than you ever have, and love what you do with all your heart. So yeah I may care more than I should, and yes, I get hurt, when a client of 7 years stops coming in and doesn't call to say he/she's moving, or the dog passed, or what-have-you. I know it is still a business and I must run it as one, but first- that's my clients. I don't see dollar bills walking in the door like most business owners. I see stories, of last cancer treatments, of losing their home to the fire, stories that- they feel close enough with me- to share. It's not gossip, I feel very special in a way, because I get to be a part of so many people's lives.
So I know my husband is wrong, I don't need to run more of a business, I need to ask more questions of how are you today? I think in this day in age, not enough people care. I may be "just the groomer" to some, but in my head, you are a friend/family. That's the way I started my business and that's the way it'll stay.
Will I get hurt when I find out a client that I have tried so hard to please, has started going somewhere else? You bet, because I care to much, I know you can't please everyone, and in one off day/ not perfect haircut, that client of whom I feel close to of 4-5 years, is gone.
So in closing, I guess you could say that Andie's Paws & Claws is a business built on relationships. I know you hear that on the radio about the bank, or what have you, but mine is. I often see owners 12 months a year, some even more often. That may not seem like a lot, 12 times a year... But to me, in the lifetime of a pet that is (14) Years I will see and take care of that pet/owner nearly 170 times just for Grooming. How can I not get close??