Up-Sell & Add-On

Many salons can make more money simply by offering add-on services and products.


There are two basic ways to increase a salon’s income: attract new customers or increase the dollar amount spent by existing customers. For the average salon, one new customer a week will provide $35 more in gross income. But if each existing customer spends only one more dollar, that’s $40 gross income per week.

There are two types of easy add-on sales: services and products. Don’t overlook either one. Tailor the salon’s offerings to suit the clientele. For example, if the clientele is mostly hunting dogs, then selling spa services may not fly. On Newbury Street in Boston, however, spa treatments are a must. A salon located in the Northeast might sell jackets during the winter season, while a salon in Florida might sell flea products.

I hear groomers object to selling all the time. They say, “I’m not a salesman, I’m a pet stylist,” or, “I hate to be pushy.” What these groomers should be made aware of is that they are not simply selling just to sell, they are actually providing a dog owner with a helpful service or product.

Some groomers are already doing the extra work and not getting paid for it. A groomer who gently rakes over the coat with various combs, shedding blades or specialty tools but doesn’t charge for it is throwing away revenue. Any extra service that takes time, supplies or equipment beyond the norm should be charged for.

Selling Services
In 1982, I began my first job in the industry at Benji’s Place in Winthrop, Mass. The base price for a Rottweiler was $28. Shop policy was to pay the groomer 50 percent. Imagine my delight when my boss worked one of my scheduled Rottweiler grooms up to $64. How? With a pleasant smile and great sales skills. The conversation went as follows:

“Good afternoon, how’s Rocky?”

“Oh, he’s great.”

“Flea season is here, have you noticed Rocky scratching at all?”

“Well, maybe a little.”

“Would you like us to use a flea shampoo as a precaution? No chemicals are left on, but it will kill any fleas he may have picked up with this warmer weather.”

“Sure, ok. Good idea.”

“Rocky also seems to be itchy, and the flea soap can be a tad drying. A hot oil treatment will take care of that. And a special moisturizing shampoo with lanolin lotion, protein and oil components will help Rocky feel better.”

“Okay, sounds good.”

“I notice Rocky is shedding, too. The hot oil treatment will help, but I also suggest having his coat carded. This will stimulate his oil glands to help with future dryness, and it’ll get rid of excess undercoat so he won’t shed all over the house.”

“That sounds great.”

In the conversation with the client, each possible add-on and its benefits was carefully described in detail, and each suggestion solved or prevented a problem. The extra time spent doing the actual groom was minimal, but the house and I each increased our income on that dog by a little over 125 percent.

Selling add-ons should become second nature to the staff of a salon. Before the scheduled customer arrives, look at what breed the dog is and the dog’s grooming history. A Lhasa that often comes in matted may benefit from conditioners, a hand-scissored trim, or a brush, comb or coat spray sale. German shepherd owners should be offered a de-shedding program, a rake or a shedding blade, and perhaps an omega oil supplement. A ten-minute massage may suit a geriatric dog, as will a glucosamine supplement. Every single customer should be offered an additional sale. In part, this is a numbers game, so the more customers who are asked, the better the chances they will agree to tack on a product or service.

Remember to take time looking over each dog carefully as it arrives, and offer products or services that the pet or owner will benefit from. Even if only one customer a day takes you up on it, you should more than break even for the time spent. And the value of the extra conversation with the customer can’t have a dollar value put on it–it’s priceless.

Carol Visser is a Nationally Certified Master Groomer and Certified Pet Dog Trainer. Formerly a pet product expert for PetEdge, she and her husband Glenn now own Two Canines Pet Services in Montville, Maine, which provides grooming, boarding, training and day care services to Waldo County.

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