Homazooma | Hairy Dog Grooming Interview with Tracy Thomas

Home Owners Building Wealth – Meet Ron Harrison,
Hairy Dog Grooming Ron – Hi Tracy. How are you? Tracy – Good, Good How are you Ron? Ron – Good, welcome. Tracy – Great. So good to see you. So this
is it! Ron – Yes, this is my Grooming room. Tracy – Fantastic Ron – This is where I do all my little doggies
and all my little happy customers Tracy – So this is supplemental income for
you? Ron – Yes it is. Tracy – Tell us about that. How did you decide
to do it and why dog grooming? Ron – Well, I went in to semi-retirement because
of my health, physical Health and was taking my dogs to my groomer and one of the groomers
in town had closed business for personal reasons. So I was asking her if I could become a groomer,
and she would train me. So after a bit of discussion she agreed to train me and it happened. Tracy – And here you are! Ron – I started my own grooming business out
of the house Tracy – Oh wow, how exciting. So how long
have you been doing this? Ron – Just over two years Tracy – Wow, and how about business? How is
it progressing? Did you have to do a lot of marketing at first? Ron – Well, actually I didn’t have to do a
lot of marketing because I knew there was only two other groomers in town. And I knew
there was a necessity for the third one because the third one was doing a good business and
then they had closed up. So I knew the market was there for a third groomer. And being on
one of the main streets of Parry Sound I had the ideal position for advertising by just
putting a sign up out side Tracy – Exactly that’s how we found you. Ron – Of course we have a lot of friends and
family here, so I just started spreading the word and the business started booming Tracy – Isn’t that Fantastic! So very little
investment. So word of mouth, just talking it up. Ron – I’ve had ads on the radio, I’ve had
advertisements in the local North Star, but nothing markets your business like word of
mouth. Tracy – Happy customers Ron – Happy customers and happy little fluffy
animals. Hey Tiger, yes! Tracy – Tiger is here for what today? Ron – Tiger is here for a little bit of a
cleanup and a bath. I just thoroughly enjoy doing this business because of the love I
have for dogs Tracy – And you do have your own two or three? Ron – I have my two plus I have a large dog
that I don’t take care of. But I do take care of my two little Shih Tzu that I groom myself Tracy – Oh that’s great! So what did your
dog groomer have to say about you taking the business away and opening up in town Ron – Well actually she’s out of town. She’s
down near Humphrey/Foley area and she gets a lot of the tourists, campers and the cottagers.
Of course all my customers that ask me about doing large dogs I immediately refer to her. Tracy – So that’s great for her too. Ron – She gets all of my business large, and
she does a lot of large dogs out there being out in the country and she hasn’t lost any
of her small dog business – I make sure of that. If they have been going to her then
I won’t do that dog. Not that I don’t want to but it is loyalty to Ruth because she trained
me and gave me the opportunity to become a dog groomer. Tracy – That’s Great, so why don’t you show
us your little setup here. Ron – Over here is my grooming table. It is
a table only for small dogs. I can’t put large dogs on this, they would break it. The pedestal
is not supportive enough for it. Tracy – You specialize in small dogs anyway.
So you wouldn’t be doing large dogs anyway. Now what’s this? Ron – This is a high intensity dryer, hair
dryer, so to speak. It’s just on a pedestal and it works back and forth. Tracy – This equipment and this equipment,
I see that you have some clippers and brushes. Ron – Yeah and blades. Tracy – So, all of this, what was your investment
in order to get started? Besides taking the course and getting the equipment started,
because we’re working in basically the laundry room I suppose of your house. Ron – It is the laundry room, it was the laundry
room, now it is my grooming room. It cost me bare minimum was fortunate to keep it to
2000.00 dollars for the setup. I did my own plumbing and set up my own tub and everything.
It was just a matter of purchasing the different blades and the equipment and the hair dryer.
These two are the most expensive. Tracy – So I expect that you’ve made that
back by now. Ron – Oh yes I have. I made that back… I
started last July and by the end of the year I had already surpassed that. Tracy – Wow that’s fantastic and is it growing
since then? Ron – Yes it has been growing. Word of mouth,
satisfaction from customers, they’re spreading the word for me. I give out my business card
to them. They just love it. Tracy – You’re never going to run out of
business because the dog’s hair keeps growing. Ron – As I’ve started my business we were
only three in town and now there are 6 groomers in town Tracy – OOhh that’s a bit of competition
for you. Ron – And that’s fine, I don’t mind competition,
because it separates the good groomers from the bad groomers. Tracy – That’s true Ron – And we all know each other, so we always
talk, and how’s your business doing Tracy – So that’s good it’s not kind of
a backstabbing competition. It’s a healthy competition. That’s wonderful to hear. So
Ron I wanted to ask you, probably what everyone wants to know mostly is, how does doing this
in home business better your life? Ron – It’s bettered my life financially of
course. Not to the great extent that I could retire completely or quit doing it. I still
work a little part time out side of my grooming job. But it has enabled me to help with the
finances around the house, shorted up our mortgage by paying it off on a monthly basis Tracy – So you make extra payments to your
mortgage? Ron – Extra payments and of course save for
a new vehicle. It gives us the extra money that we need that we wouldn’t have. Working
out of the house I don’t have the overhead of rent, hydro, I do have the hydro within
the house but I claim that Tracy – You mean in taxes. As in as an expense
against your income? Ron – Business expense. I wouldn’t be able
to afford this job or this career if I had to go out and rent a store or a building. Tracy – Deffinately that could be very costly. Ron – It wouldn’t be worth my time… especially
when you are just starting out, you don’t have the clientel that you should have. On
the best of months I’ve had like 40 customers. Tracy – Wow that’s great, and you’re doing
this from your home. So you’re building wealth around your house. Ron – Yeah it is! And it’s been a god send
because I love animals and I really love taking care of them and… Tracy – And you’ve been able to earn an income.
A supplemental income. Ron – That helps, that helps with the house. Tracy – So what have been some of the challenges
that you have faced in setting this up besides building the business and taking, you know,
some time to ramp up? What are some of the other challenges; you have to learn how to
deal with people, Customer Service issues… Ron – Well, I’ve been in customer service
for over thirty years between retail and hospitality. So Customer Service wasn’t a problem for me.
Some Groomers take this as a profession, and it’s just a job, and get them in and out,
like a production line. I myself spend about an hour and a half per
dog, whether, like tiger being here, normally in Pet Value would probably be a half hour
deal. Tracy – Really. In and out. It’s a business. Ron – Well it’s a business and there are
only so many hours in a day. Tracy – And they’ve got the rent that you
don’t have to pay. So this is another advantage for pet owners, to bring their dogs to a home
Groomer because they’re going to get more love, more attention, more kindness, more
tenderness you know, more time. Let me ask you this; was there any kind of challenges
in your relationship with your wife over doing your business? Or do you have a set schedule?
How do you work that? Ron – I have, actually when I first started
I was doing seven days a week. I opened at eight or nine o’clock until five or six or
till when the appointments would take me to. I offered evening appointments which no other
groomer does. It’s because people are working all day and then you know, they go “ahh I
gotta get this dog in” and so sometimes my Saturday appointments would be full. I have
a wonderful wife that realizes that when I go for something I go 110%, and you can’t
be choosy on your hours, your days or anything when it comes to customer services I know
from experience. Plus it goes a long way with your customers. So you have to be there for
your customers and as the business grows, you tell them “Ok I’m booked till the middle
of November that week so if you want something in December let me know” and I will call them
and say ” how’s Tiger does he need a cleanup” or “Christmas is coming would you like to
make him look pretty.” Tracy – So that’s really good. You are doing
your telemarketing and that’s helping to to… Sometimes people just forget. Ron – They do forget, and they phone and say
“Can you just do this for me right away for me Ron?” Most times I will fit them in. If
it’s later in the evening, I’ll say “Well, I can get you in at 6:30…” Tracy – So customer service is really important
to you I think and to your business Ron – Yeah it’s high on my priority Tracy – and that’s been part of what’s
made you really successful. In the last two years you’ve done really well for yourself.
Do you have a separate phone line for people to book appointments or do they call on the
house line? Ron – They call on the house line. We’ve made
that the business line; we both have our own cell phones so. We use our cell phones. The
house line is the Grooming line. Plus everyone knows this and we have call waiting so we
have a customer calling in we always stop one conversation, find out if its business
and then make arrangements. I’ve always got my booking scheduler right there… Tracy – …beside the phone. Well that’s
great, so you really do keep that as a priority, Business first, Hold on, Gotta see if this
is business Ron – Yeah you know, Customers are customers
especially in a small town. Like I mean, the word gets around. Either you are doing a great
business or I wouldn’t go to him or that Groomer for this reason or that reason. So it doesn’t
take long in a small town to ruin your reputation Tracy – Good point, Very good point. Ron – You only need to cut a dog’s nail
too much, which makes them bleed or razor burn on them. Sometimes the first time is
over looked by an owner depending on the severity of it. If it happens a second time, it’s time
to look for a new Groomer. And plus I’ve had people say “Well yes we go to this Groomer
but we want to try you out.” So they’ll try me out and then they’ll take my card and I
hope that they recall. I’d say that 95% of my customers that just come through the door… Tracy – … Book again. Wow Ron – I have customers from Gravenhurst that
have shih tzus that were originally living here in Parry Sound and then they moved. And
they say “no no no” They will phone and I don’t care what day it is or what time of
day it is, I always make room for them. And because they were one of my first customers. Tracy – How far is Gravenhurst from here? Ron – It’s an hour’s drive. Tracy – So they drive an hour here and an
hour back to bring you their dogs ’cause they want you to do it? Ron – Yeah Tracy – Now that is flattering, it must be
very gratifying and makes you feel really good! Ron – I have customers even in Toronto and
Mississauga Tracy – That’s two hours away! Ron – Yeah and they’ll come up they’ll bring
Fido or whatever you know, little Suzie and then clip them. I had customers from last
summer come this summer. Tracy – So your business is growing? Ron – It is starting to grow Tracy – and this is a tourist town so it swells
and it shrinks. The population here depending on the season. So um if you’re going to go
after the cottagers and the people that are here in the season, then you being on the
main road is really help full. Ron – Yeah I would never had thought that
I would become a Groomer, God willing, set the idea and here I am. Tracy – Well good for you. Ron – I am here to stay. I am not going anywhere.
As long as my health is good, and my wife puts up with me and the business we will be
in business. Tracy – When personal circumstances led Ron
to look for an alternative income he could earn from home, he considered his interests
and his abilities. Armed with a lifelong career in Hospitality and Customer Service, he knew
it would was not only his strength but his passion. His only question was, how to translate
it into a home business. He realized that his career experience coupled with his love
of dogs pointed him in the direction of a grooming business. It was a natural fit of
talent and passion. So Ron approached his own Groomer who agreed to teach him the ropes,
since they were miles apart and Ron intended to specializing in grooming smaller dogs her
business wasn’t threatened and Ron offered to send any large dog grooming business her
way. He paid $2000.00 for his professional equipment and converted his laundry room into
his grooming studio with a few minor renos that he did himself. Going strong after two
years with many happy furry clients and happy owners, he’s been able to make extra payments
towards his mortgage and enjoy a higher quality of both financial and personal freedom that
he would not have done otherwise. Though he was nervous and uncertain about giving it
a go at the beginning, now Ron doesn’t look back. He has no regrets and looks forward
to each and every new day. Ron is a wonderful example of what you can be achieved when you
combine your passion with a decision to turn it into a business. We at Homazooma would like to thank Ron Harrison
at Hairy Dog Grooming for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do this interview
with us. I am Tracy Thomas. Thanks for watching. Please join me for our next interview with
another home owner who is building wealth around their house. See you soon! Home Owners Building Wealth
Tracy Thomas Ron Harrison
Hairy Dog Grooming Grooming room
doggies dogs
supplemental income dog grooming
semi-retirement groomer
training business
train me marketing
advertising Parry Sound
customers Shih Tzu
investment competition
financial Extra payments
extra money clientele
customer service income
challenges issues
schedule appointments
telemarketing Home Business
Self employment extra income
Fear Passion
Pet start a business Careers in dog grooming
Starting a pet grooming business pet grooming business
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marketing plan dog grooming Business Tips On Starting A Pet Grooming Business
How to Open My Own Pet Grooming Business pets at home dog grooming

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