What to Do When You Get Sick as a Solo Dog Grooming Business Owner
If you're a dog groomer, there's nothing more important than taking good care of your health, with long hours and heavy-duty work it’s important that you look after you!
Not just for your longevity. We all have responsibilities with family, friends and loved ones and of course your furry clients. What happens if you are not well? Who can groom your clients, answer calls, handle deliveries, and most importantly keep money coming in if you aren’t there? It’s natural to worry and stress about how you’re going to tell your customers and how you’re going to deal with the backlog of work that you’ll have when you’ve recovered. However, life happens, and sometimes when illness strikes, it can be tricky to know how to tell existing or potential clients that you need some time off for medical reasons.
Navigating how much detail to go into (or even if you should disclose the information at all!) can be a challenge - but knowing what's best for your business and maintaining valuable client relationships is key. In this post, we'll come together to discuss tips and tricks on how you, as a solo grooming business owner, can handle sick days with grace and clarity.
So let’s get started!
What is Presenteeism?
Working when you are sick is known as presenteeism. It can cost your business a great deal in the form of lost productivity because of the inability to groom and perform tasks to your usual standard. It’s also important to remember that when you are not well you run the risk of injury, especially if you are a mobile groomer and driving a vehicle when unwell. You also run the risk of making others unwell too, like your clients. The image of your business is important and these are all factors you need to consider if you go to work unwell.
By taking the time to rest up and recharge, you will be actually increasing efficiency in the long run by ultimately cutting down overall recovery periods. This long-term can save you money! Remember you are important and your health is something that you cannot replace.
Prioritise most important tasks
To make sure your business is sorted in your absence, evaluate which tasks need immediate attention and prioritise accordingly. Create a timeline for yourself of what needs to be done first versus what can wait until you return - that way, rest assured knowing everything will be taken care of.
Always make sure that you keep all customer records updated with accurate information, this will help you if you have a sudden illness. The last thing you need when you’re ill is to try to track down your client’s correct information, so be proactive in advance to alleviate any problems in the future.
Communication Is Key
Letting your clients know as soon as possible due to illness is essential. This allows them to plan accordingly and if necessary make other plans for themselves. It’s also important that you let them know how long you anticipate being out of commission so they won’t worry about where their appointment stands in the future. Remember, it's always better to be honest with clients about any issues or delays that may arise, even if it means losing business in the short term; this will pay off in the long run by building trust between yourself and customers.
The most important thing is to communicate with your customers in an open and honest way. Explain that due to illness, you must take time off and will not be able to provide services for a certain period. Keeping your customers in the loop helps build trust between you and them, and they will appreciate the effort you have put into staying transparent about the situation. How much information you disclose is up to you, but remember we are all human and we all become ill from time to time, your customers will understand and those that don’t, well maybe they just aren’t the right clients for you.
Reach out to your peers
Groomers know the struggles of being a pet professional better than anyone else. Your business can still continue running smoothly during difficult times. Reach out to industry peers and friendly competitors who understand what you’re going through— Groomers are compassionate souls and they may be able to lend a helping hand.
Look in your area for a “locum” groomer that may be able to step into your business while you’re unwell or reach out to your friendly competitors, they may be able to groom your client's dogs while you’re unwell. Although this thought can be counterintuitive, you must remember the workload might need to be reduced when you return back to business and this is a simple way of looking after yourself and your clients. Your clients will be loyal and come back to you, remember, The first wealth is health!
Prepare a manual in advance
Create a guide to business continuity - don't let being sick put your operations on pause. Develop an informational manual that outlines the critical tasks and functions of running your business so if you are able to have someone that can step in while you’re taking time off they have a guideline on how your basic operations.
Don’t let the unexpected slow you down!
Establishing a financial safety net to support you through difficult times is an important step towards keeping your career on track. Make sure to put aside some revenue during productive periods, or consider income protection insurance. If yours isn't already part of your super fund package, speak with either a financial advisor or business advisor for further details and make sure that it meets all your needs.
Getting Back on Track
Once you are feeling better, there may still be some catching up that needs to be done after your absence from work. Instead of trying to catch up all at once, break down tasks into smaller chunks so that they don’t seem too overwhelming and can easily fit into your existing routine. You might also consider outsourcing some tasks such as cleaning, bookkeeping or marketing activities so that you can focus on the most critical aspects of running your business without getting overwhelmed by the backlog of work.
Take Care Of Yourself First
It can be difficult not to feel guilty about taking a break when running your own business—after all, it’s your livelihood. Don't forget, however, that taking care of yourself comes first. Resting up and getting back on your feet should be your priority during times like this; everything else can wait until later once you have regained your strength.
Don't push yourself too hard; remember, if something needs doing but it's just too much, for now, it's ok to ask for help from other professionals or friends in order for things to keep running smoothly while you focus on healing up!
It's important to remember that your health always comes first. Without it, you wouldn't be able to provide quality grooming services for customers! Taking care of yourself and being mindful of the long-term impacts will not only help preserve your business but also has significant benefits in sustaining a healthy lifestyle. Remember finding the right work-life balance is key to staying in business. Your health is important and so are you!