How to Throw a
Velvet Rope of Exclusivity
Around Your Grooming Salon

by Dominic Hodgson

Have you ever flown first class across the Atlantic or sat in the house seats at a Broadway theater? What about watched a concert in the VIP Golden Circle?

No? Well, you need to get out more…

Imagine you are on vacation with your partner. You head out for a meal together, but because you aren’t familiar with the city are staying in, you don’t know what the good places are to eat at. Then you come across two restaurants side by side. One is dark, dingy and dirty with two customers eating from a plate of plentiful but unappealing food, and the sign on the door says “Happy Hour every hour.”

The next restaurant is heaving. The smell coming from inside is enticing and the buzz of activity is drawing you in. However, there is a small waiting area that is full of people and a sign hangs from the door which says “One-hour wait for a table.”

Which would you prefer to eat in?

Most people (myself included) would rather sample the food and atmosphere in the second restaurant. If it’s busy, it must be good, right? The fact that there is a queue of people waiting only makes it seem more exclusive and desirable.

That is scarcity and exclusivity in action, and you can implement the same exclusivity in your own dog grooming business, which will make your services more desirable.

Here are a couple of things you can do to make your services appear more exclusive, and therefore more desirable (and profitable):

1. Have a Signature Service.

Change your offering from just a basic dog groom to a specialized signature service. But when is a dog groom not a dog groom?

When it’s a “Ronnie’s Regal Gold Standard Styling Session,” which includes:

  • Personalized Pooch Pamper: Breed-specific custom haircut, deep conditioning treatment and luxurious styling.
  • 12-point Healthy Happy Hound Check: Keep on top of ticks, lumps, bumps and weight issues.
  • Rest, Relax, Revive Session: Your dog will relax with our soft lighting, soothing music and calming scents.
  • A Lustrous Coat Audit: Fur and skin analysis and treatment.
  • Spell of Enrichment: Your dog will enjoy some magic moments in our themed play area.

You get the idea, I hope. There really is no limit to the amount of extras you can bundle together into different combinations to make your service different from all the other dog groomers out there.

2. Offer Tiered Pricing Options.

Many dog groomers make the mistake of having one standard groom which only varies in price based on the size of the dog. This is a huge mistake and leaves a lot of potential money on the table. A better alternative is to have more options. So, take the services I described above and bundle them into different price bands where the emphasis is on the experience the dog has and not the time spent grooming.

You could have bronze, silver and gold options for your grooms with different extras added based on price points. Pricing your services like this will often lead to clients upscaling to a better, more expensive service offering. It also makes lower-priced options seem more affordable in relation to a similar premium-priced option.

Affluent dog owners are used to buying the most expensive variant; they always choose to stay in the penthouse suite or invest in the luxury version when they purchase a new car. And they will happily invest in the highest-end version of your service—IF you offer it them.

3. Make Your Services Less Accessible for Potential Clients.

Yes, you read that right. For example, you could require potential new clients to fill out an application form and/or attend a pre-groom consultation before they are allowed to book an appointment with you. Having an entry barrier like this (much like the restaurant that makes you wait for an hour for a table) will remove from the equation any time-wasting price shoppers who are “just checking you out” and have no intention of using your service anyway.

The people who do fill out the application and attend the consultation will put a greater value on your service because they have been made to jump through some hoops to get to you. Clients who value high-quality and exceptional service will break their necks to clamber over this “velvet rope” you have placed around your grooming business.

Making yourself less accessible to potential clients like this goes against a lot of the business advice you will get at your local networking group or Chamber of Commerce, but you shouldn’t ignore it. Having a small barrier to entry like this is crucial if you want to position yourself as an exceptional grooming business.

Action Point

Think of a way you can bundle up your grooming services into a signature package that no other dog groomer in your town, or even the state, is offering. Once you do this, your business will appear unique to your prospects, and you will easily stand out from everyone else. Because you are the only business offering that signature service, you can then charge more for it too. Your prospects can get any old groom from any old dog groomer, but they can only get “Ronnie’s Regal Gold Standard Styling Session” from you!

Dom Hodgson is Europe’s leading pet business coach, and is known as the Pet Biz Wiz. His mission is to help pet service providers create superior customer service systems that enable them to build an impactful and profitable pet business. Dom has written over 9 books, and is a much in-demand speaker. You can instantly download a free copy of his latest book, How to Disnify Your Pet Business, by going to