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Your startup stories for mobile grooming transition.

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  • Your startup stories for mobile grooming transition.

    So.... I am 7 months pregnant... still working full time grooming at a local vet/grooming shop. I'm going to work as long as my body can handle it...but I still am having 10-12 dog days (especially with these first warmer days getting a lot of shavedowns).

    I have been reading this forum for ages and have been doing a lot of homework on here (may shortly buy the grooming business in a box to learn some more and get a business plan)... But here's the plan so far: Smaller trailer (hard to find one used so far, but still looking) So far a fan of Gryphon and GT Trailers. My SUV can only tow 3500 wet so I have to keep that in consideration.

    Found that a loan for a trailer is much like a car loan, so I wouldn't have to deal so much with business financing. Figured I'd get my startup product on a business credit card (shampoos, towels, etc..I have most of the other stuff already, ear powder, quickstop, etc) as well as the design wrap around for my trailer.

    During downtime before or after baby's born I have a lot of background in marketing and web design so I could be tweaking that and working on search engine placement while the van is being built/shipped, etc. I plan to be very aggressive in online placement since so many people use online for searches for business nowadays... I also will find a business to work with to schedule a big "grand opening"... as well as advertise in our coupon circular that comes out weekly.

    All this being said... I am curious about your startup stories:

    1. How long before you had clientele.. what was your build up? (5 dogs first week(s), Starting getting steady after 5-10 months, for example)
    2. How aggressive were you or did you bring along a client base from another aspect? (I will have to start from scratch, as I cannot take clients from my current business and would not think of doing so).
    3. How long before you "broke even" (days/months/years?)
    4. I know this is all relative to your location, but was the BEST advertising strategy you found to work early on, before you were established?

    Mostly.. what was it like?? I'm terrified of having to take such a leap with a new baby, but that is a huge reason for it.. I don't get the vibe from my current employer that the scheduling will be helpful for daycare (my current job expects that, if you start at 7am, can leave at the earliest at 2p, but if you are still working on a dog even at 3p, they will take it in..ie. if they can find you, they will keep taking dogs in). How can I schedule a daycare around that???...I have frequent 7a-7p days and my body is wore out carrying my baby much less just doing this for 14 years. I'd like the flexibility to schedule around my husbands hours and less daycare expenses.

    I'd love to hear your stories and transitions... Thank you!
    Jessica

  • #2
    Im from the Netherlands but here it took about one year to get 2 days planned with dogs (2, 3 or 4 each day) can't really groom more dogs on a day because you need to drive too the people and you can't take a risk. When you just start you don't know the dogs yet what if he's totally matted? So When I need to groom a new dog I plan about 4 or 5 hours for a big dog and write down how long it took in reall so I know for the next time. I saved money and bought the bus in once, so no down payments atm. My payments each month are still around 150(insurence, gas, telephone etc).

    My bus is getting old though, but now I already have my bussiness its going to be easier to lent money from the bank then when youre just starting.

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    • #3
      You have all the right ideas for a mobile startup. I have always pulled a trailer and right now have a Hanvey..was lucky enough to find a new/used one and love it. The only problem I have is the table is secure but I am working on changing that asap. Pulling a small, light weight trailer is much easier to navigate, park and (of course) gas mileage. Backing up just takes practice. Off the top, your biggest expense (other than the trailer) would probably be graphics. Mine ran around a grand for trailer and truck. You can get estimates from a number of graphic places now...and they do vary greatly. My insurance runs around 2k annually. I pay quarterly, but you can pick your payment plan. After reading the advice of this board, I did switch to Governors. I was with Hartford for 6 yrs and they still beat their price...with additional coverage for pet injury(thanks Sibes) and disability.

      I have spent days and days and more days on getting my internet placement for my website. It is a major deal and has changed GREATLY since the last time I did a startup. I would recommend having this done months in advance as that's about how long it takes you to "prove" you aren't spam. It's a time consuming challenge. Make sure you have enough money to cover your expenses for a good six months..it may be longer...it may not before you have a comfortable client base. The nice thing about being mobile is you don't have to spend money on product or supplies while you wait for clients. Shampoo stays good..blades stay sharp so buy what you need now..just make sure you are opening the same year you buy your supplies or you willl miss out on business deductions.

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      • #4
        Write a business plan and be conservative with expecatations and see if the $ work for you during transistion.

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