Mary’s Musings
Continuing Education
Continuing Education
You Can't Afford Not To
by Mary Oquendo
When I tell people that studies show that every dollar you spend on continuing education results in a 500% return, I get one of three responses:

The first is: “I know, and I have an education fund already set up.” (While you could stop reading now, I encourage you to read on anyway.)

The second is: “How exactly will I get a 500% return?”

And the third is: “I can’t afford continuing education. I don’t know how to come up with the money.”

How Do You Get a 500% Return?
In order to get a 500% return, you should expect to make five dollars for every dollar you spend. Here are four ways that continuing education can earn you that return:

1. Learning new skills. This could be technical skills such as scissoring, hand-stripping, coloring or product usage that results in better grooms for which you can charge more money. It could also be business skills that increase efficiency, help you develop policies and procedures that cut down on no-shows, or that teach you how to set and raise prices. Advancing your skills in technology can aid in creating webpages and a social media presence that will attract the right clients. It can even be wellness programs, because healthier groomers take less time off from work and have longevity in their careers.
“Continuing education has improved my bottom line because I advertise my certifications. When people are looking for a salon, many of them have said, ‘Well, I see that you have (insert certification here) and no other person around me does.’ Many of my clients travel three hours one way to come to my salon specifically because of the fact that we have so many varied certifications.” Anjie Coates
2. Keeping up with the latest and greatest. This includes trends such as Asian Fusion grooming, or the latest equipment and products that make groomers’ work easier and less stressful on their bodies.
“Continuing education has 100% impacted my business. After taking the cat seminar in February 2016, I completely rebranded my business and went cat exclusive.” Julie Beeman
3. Preventing burnout. Preventing burnout and groomer turnover keeps your groomers (or yourself) engaged in the profession. It costs a business money to continually retrain new employees. Additionally, burned-out groomers are also more likely to be less productive (less money coming in) and more likely to cause injury (more money going out).
“Continuing education has kept my passion for this work alive! Forty-plus years and counting and I am still so hungry to learn everything I can. The more you know, the more you know there is more to know! I have always been able to charge top dollar for my quality work.” Maria Hetem
4. Boosting cognitive function. There are studies that show people who spend time learning live longer and have more brain function than those that don’t. You’ll have more focused groomers who are less likely to cause injury to themselves or the pets.
How Do You Afford It?
Let’s move on to how you come up with the money for continuing education. First you need to know how much to have on hand. Studies done by leading business schools indicate that anywhere between one and five percent of a given salary should be earmarked for continuing education. So, if you make $60,000, then that figure should be between $600 and $3,000 every year. Even at the lower end, $600 pays for a couple of in-person or online workshops every year. And, educational expenses are tax deductible!

I’m going to go with an example of $2,500 and show you how that’s doable:

What $2,500 a year amounts to is $50 deposited every week (except during your two-week vacation) into a specific education account you have set up at your bank. That relates to just one dollar per pet if you’re grooming 50 pets a week, and $1.25 per pet if you groom 40 pets a week. You get the idea.

Now, if you’re still saying you can’t spare that one dollar, then raise your prices by one dollar across the board. If just by reading this FREE piece of advice, you make an extra $2,500 a year, imagine what your return on investment will be when you start taking regular continuing education.

“I just know I wouldn't be as good as I am today without all the education and time I put into my career. I save for continuing education by adding onto my bill list for the month just like any business expense.” Angela Davenport Sexton
Another option that many groomers choose is to save their tips. In fact, some have a sign on their tip jar that says “Educational Fund.” That lets your clients know the value you place in continuing education to better serve them.
“Saving my tips in the very beginning helped ignite my competition and educational career. I made sure to let my clients know that anywhere I went and everything I learned at these events was for the benefit of their pet” Teri DiMarino
With all the benefits continuing education offers, you absolutely can afford continuing education. In fact, you can’t afford not to.