Success Story: Home Based Pet Grooming Business

Success Story: Home Based Pet Grooming Business

Lady carrying a dog

I opened my pet grooming business 2 years ago and had no idea what I was doing. I assumed that by simply posting an ad on the papers and promoting online, I would receive a lot of clients. I lived in a very pet-friendly neighborhood, almost every home had a pet. I thought that was enough.

On my first month, only my next door neighbor came to my home. I started wondering why people would rather bring their pets to a grooming place an hour away. I started doing research on the pet business and what I learned would change my business forever.

Pet owners treat their pets like family. When I need a doctor for my child, I ask family members for recommendation and start searching them online. I try to get as much information as I can before bringing my child to see said doctor. It’s the same in this business. Pet owners will go through hours of research to check grooming services, rates and read through reviews.

As a startup, I didn’t have any reviews. My ad was posted on my personal social media accounts and even that wasn’t enough to show I was trustworthy to care for their pets.

I started ramping my online reputation up. I created a separate account for the business. I invited friends and family to bring their pets in for free services and I would document the pets with myself. I ask family and friends to give a review for my services if they were happy about it. It was slow at first but after 6 months, business started to pick up. I started setting appointments and there are even some days when I have to refuse accepting more clients.

Proper online reputation management helped boost my business. I had to build my individual reputation as well. I had to show people I loved working with pets and that I can be trusted with theirs.

Managing your online reputation is very easy once you learn what your business needs. Aside from the actual work with the pets, online reputation management comes only second from the tedious clean up at the end of each day. I let clients wait in my living room which I converted as a reception area. Yes, pets run around my home, up and down, so for those wondering, I found the best vacuum cleaner for stairs. I needed the toughest cleaning machine, you can read through reviews here or visit Pet Allergy Vacuum Guide for more updates.

Impact of Online Reputation Management

Social media, product reviews, business review sites, and forums are all ways in which people spread information and opinions about businesses online. Smart business owners do their best to manage the resulting reputation. After all, there are serious consequences for businesses that ignore their offline and online reputation.


Are you aware of all the different sites that collect customer impressions of businesses? Not only are there well-established review websites specific to each industry, but there are also forum comments in all kinds of professional and hobby specialties that might interface with your business. All of these contribute to a your online reputation. In addition to the thousands of review sites and forums, there are the websites and social media pages that people create when they feel strongly about something, particularly when their feelings are negative.

Customers’ impressions of your business not only determine whether they will buy from you, but they can also discourage others from buying, as well. They can also influence potential investors, causing you to lose income. A bad reputation could also drive away quality employees. After all, who would want to support a business that has a poor online reputation?

Even though there are potentially thousands of places for bad reviews to pop up, there are steps you can take to manage and improve your online reputation. You have just taken the first step: you are aware of the importance of your online reputation.

How to Handle Negative Reviews

10 years ago, the word Yelp meant nothing to businesses. Online reviews happened but they weren’t as frequent and as widespread, or as easily accessible, as they are now. Negative reviews can have a huge effect on all businesses, but can be especially damaging to those who cater to affluent clients or who run a smaller scale business. It is possible to have reviews looked at and removed, but the process is frustrating and takes time and it can be very difficult to prove reviews to be false. The following are 6 ways to better handle negative online reviews so they don’t have such an impact on your business.

1. Contact the Review Site

In the case of Yelp, they won’t remove most negative reviews per policy, but they will remove reviews that were written by a competitor as this goes against their rules. Having customer’s negative reviews removed from sites can be done, but it’s not common due to the nature of the site, which was created as a platform for sharing both positive and negative experiences.

2. Join the Conversation

Publicly respond to the negative reviews in a professional manner. Be sure to never get into an argument or back and forth dispute with a reviewer. Simply state your position in a manner that lets future customers know that you care and are doing your best to improve. Acknowledge problems that occurred and apologize, then give a brief explanation of your plans to better the situation for future customers.

Red hand no sign

3. Highlight the Positive

Yelp keeps some reviews hidden at the bottom of the page if they don’t pass their program to determine the legitimacy of the review. These filtered reviews can be mentioned in a rebuttal by the business owner. Many times they will filter our legitimate reviews that were positive with good information about the services. You can also create your own site dedicated to reviews of your business or list them on your business website.

4. Encourage Positive Reviews

When customers are pleased with the services you provide, ask them to go online and tell about their experience so that others can be aware.

5. Develop a Strategy for Dealing with Threats

Some people may threaten to write many negative online reviews if you don’t agree to their demands. It’s important to think of this beforehand and decide how you plan to handle it. For simple requests, it may be best for the business to simply comply so that you don’t have to deal with the backlash from a lot of negative reviews.

6. Familiarize Yourself with the Online Review Site Culture

Even those who provide great services and products receive negative reviews sometimes. This can come from a customer with high expectations that are simply impossible to meet. If you follow up with customers quickly after they’ve had an issue, you may prevent an online review. First time reviewers are often filtered out as these frequently come from people who just want to bash a particular business. 80% of Yelp reviews have 3 stars or higher, so not all online reviews are negative.