Thursday, Apr. 16, 2009

The Doggie Day Care Owner

Michelle Rivera, 44, Los Angeles, California

Things are OK. There are three businesses here, actually four, the first one when you walk in is the boutique, that's retail. The retail part of the business is pretty slow. I think it's probably typical as to what's happening all over as far as retail goes. The day care is where people leave their dogs and it's a little off but it's not horrible. If people are working, they still need the service and most people in this town so far, so good. I cater to a lot of people in the entertainment industry and of course the industry is theoretically still busy.

And then I've got the grooming and everyone still wants a clean dog and with certain dogs you may wait to get their hair cut but you still have to get your dog's hair cut. So it's sort of like with people and their hair. You know they may wait a couple of extra weeks, but they still have to get it done. You still have to maintain your dog and also a lot of people in my particular area don't have children so this isn't a place where they're cutting back because they treat their dog like their child. I have noticed the tips are less, things like that because when you're bathing a dog it's traditional to give a 15 to 20% and I have noticed that those in the last 6 to 8 months, people are watching that a little bit more.

I do think we've lost some clients, there's no question about it that we've lost some clients because of the downturn in the economy. I mean two I know off the top of my head that were consistent clients. One sort of disappeared and I'm friends with a friend of his and she said he's having a hard time and I actually called him and offered him a discount but I didn't hear back from him. I'd rather keep the dog in good shape and for the health of the dog, I'd rather take money off.

The other person just told me she used to come in once a week and she said they were having a really hard time and they weren't going to be able to come anymore. Now that particular dog I was already giving a discount rate — I couldn't go any lower. What I do make sure of — I've had meetings with people who bathe dogs for me — and I say to them what we need to do now is really be better, we have to make sure that we do the best job possible, that's always been our mantra but I had to give a reminder to them because I think people with this economy people do expect more bang for their buck. We always give good service and I want to make sure we continue that so they don't have an excuse to go somewhere else.

See what businesses are doing well despite the recession.