Focusing on Felines
A growing population of cats and a customer base that is willing to pay a premium for knowledgeable and trustworthy pet care professionals make this the perfect time to add cat-grooming services.
It’s official, cats now out number dogs in homes across the United States. That’s right, pet owners are increasingly choosing Fluffy over Rover as their new best friend, and that is opening up ample opportunities for pet care professionals that cater to the feline set. This, of course, includes grooming salons that offer services for cats, but before we talk about adding cat grooming to your salon, let’s chat about today’s cat-owning customer.
Millennials are now the largest customer base in the pet industry as a whole. This new breed of consumer seeks instant gratification in most areas of their lives, often via the Internet. However, when it comes to their pet’s health and grooming needs, personal interaction is still a necessity for these customers.
Today’s cat owners are likely to be educated consumers who are aware of advances in health and daily care of their pet. They want what is best for their felines. They are seeking higher end foods, treats and all things cat that are not offered at the big-box stores or mass merchants. Most of all, they are looking for customer service. These owners are seeking compassionate caretakers and informed professionals for their feline friend. That’s where you come in with the best customer service and educated personnel in the area.
Millennial cat owners often want a one-stop shop where all of their needs are met. Notice I didn’t include the word cheapest. For the most part, these clients do not comparison-shop for grooming services. They are willing to pay a premium to know that the people handling their felines are knowledgeable, understanding professionals who have compassion for their cats and provide a safe and nurturing environment for their pet.
While dog grooming has long been readily available to pet owners, cat grooming is moving swiftly from a small niche market to a widely sought-after service. There is no better time than now to answer your customer’s calls for these services. You can add cat grooming to your existing grooming services or start from the ground up with little financial investment, with larger profit margins.
The Right Groomer & Setting
The most important aspect of adding cat grooming to your list of services is hiring an educated cat groomer. Nothing will sink the boat faster than having a groomer who works on cats without the knowledge of the safest and most humane grooming techniques. It’s your reputation going out the door with each groomed cat, so the last thing you want is an incompetent groomer.
The grooming industry’s top certification programs, in a joint effort with the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), have created across-the-board nationally recognized Standards of Care, Safety and Sanitation by which all groomers should abide. The Professional Cat Groomers Association of America (PCGAA) has taken these standards even further by introducing its own “Standards of Care” exclusively targeted to the cat-grooming segment.
The second point on the checklist for adding cat-grooming services should be a designated cat-only area. This area needn’t be large and elaborate; a rather small, quiet location as far away from dogs and distractions as possible will work perfectly.
If you do not have a separate room to set up as a cat area, there are other practical ways to make it work. Consider putting up some curtains or a portable room divider to limit the cats’ exposure to canine clients and any commotion in the grooming area.
Until you reach the point where an exclusive cat grooming area or room is feasible, you can build your cat clientele by offering cat-only days, evenings or afternoons. Being successful with the addition of cat grooming is relatively easy, provided you check off the first items on your to-do list. Set up your cat groomer for success. Hire an educated cat groomer and provide that groomer with the environment that cats require. My mantra for any cat grooming facility is to keep it clean, private and quiet.
The tools and equipment necessary for cat grooming are minuscule compared with that of dog grooming. Feline grooming can be a lucrative endeavor if you lay the proper groundwork. You will witness a dramatic savings in your utilities and supplies while reaping the financial rewards of increased revenue and satisfied customers.
Kimberly Raisanen is president of the Professional Cat Groomers Association of America, an international organization that was formed exclusively by dedicated cat grooming professionals who have extensive experience, continued education, and advanced business savvy.