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  • A few mobile questions.

    Hi,

    I have some questions. I opened in October 2006. I was slow up until a few weeks before Christmas. I was getting many calls up until last week. I've had 1 call about a cat in the past couple days. What is going on? Is it because the holidays are over and people are broke or already had their dogs groomed? I want to know when the slow times are in mobile grooming. Anyone know?

    Anyone do cats? I have never in my van but would like to try it. I have no idea what to charge. I need some help.

    Next question, anyone do big dogs? If so, how big (Pounds)? How do you lift them onto the table and get them in the tub? I ask this because I don't have an electric table. I would love one but they are a big investment. But I get alot of big dogs too. I am pretty strong but I am a petite girl around 115 pounds, so its hard, especially when they want to jump out of the tub.

    Last question, what does everyone do if they are sick and can't groom? What do you do about your appointments?

    Thanks for your help!!

  • #2
    I just started in Oct. too. I did 1 dog this week. Only have 3 for next week. I did not get in the phone book and I think that is killing me.
    I do dogs up to 250 lbs cauz that is what the max on my table is. I have a hydrolic table. Do you at least have that? I also have a ramp. I try to teach them "table". If they won't get up, I make the owner help me.
    If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!

    Comment


    • #3
      I started in July. It took me just about 6 months to be totally booked up. Now, in January I'm booked out at least 3 weeks (doing 5-6 dogs a day). I think I've been pretty lucky.

      As far as cats...nope, I don't do them. I will cut their nails, but that's about it. I've seen some scary things with other groomers, I don't feel comfortable working around them. I'm afraid of being out of work with no income for longer than I would be for a dog (I know, maybe a little irrational, but some groomers are made for cats, others aren't, IMO).

      I don't really have a weight limit. I've done St. Bernards, Newfies, etc. I have a hydraulic table, but it goes down pretty low. I get the dog on the table, lift it up so I don't have to bend at all, and then I just pivot the dog over. I also use a ramp from the table to the tub for some. There are some dogs that just don't like to get picked up and will throw themselves to the ground. With those I ask the customer to help. I tie the dogs in the tub, because it is difficult to keep them, and shampoo them, in if they want out.

      As far as illness...and other problems (such as getting in an accident ), there's nothing you can do except reschedule. If I can I try to fit them in any open spots that may be available. I take Thursdays and Sundays off, so I can reschedule dogs to those days if absolutely necessary. People are generally pretty understanding.
      don't find yourself up a creek without a poodle.

      Comment


      • #4
        Pooch, depending on the area you're in you may have a slow first year. I did. Major metropolitan areas seem to pick up faster. Advertise in a weekly newspaper and be sure to put fliers at vets and let other groomers know that you'll handle barkers, cats (if they don't want to) and HTH pets (if you're comfortable with a pet that may have a behavoir issue) and put your van in a highly conspicuous place at rush hour in your area. Make sure it is clean and the driver's side is there for all to see and get your number from.

        I live in a fairly rural area and mobile was in it's infancy. I found that the slow periods for me are late August into September (back to school) and just after Christmas. After Christmas I book light so I can take some time off and enjoy myself after rushing around like crazy. (Make hay while the sun shines LOL!!) I think the August period is last-minute, before school vacations and back to school. It may also depend on your area.

        I do groom cats and for grooming they start at what I would charge for a Bichon; for a bath about 1/2 way between what I charge for a Shih Tzu and a Bichon if that helps you. Cats are wonderful in a mobile. They appreciate the one-on-one, canine free atmosphere I think

        I do big dogs but I always have the owner help me. I don't need bladder problems when I'm older My personal limit is 60# without the owner's help in lifting. Up to 110 or so with the owner's help. There's only so much I **want** to handle and some of the big guys are a sweet, loveable handful.

        I can work when sick but prefer not to. I do leave myself some wiggle room so I can reschedule if needed. I don't book myself so tight that there's no room for error. I can always book a new client for that time or take the time for me. Good luck to you!!!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          I forgot to mention that I use a tub rack and just hook the grooming lead to the tub rack. In 8 1/2 years I've only had one very determined Chow-Chow come out of the tub. That was one strong dog because he had to lift the tub rack, with him on it, up and out of the tub. I took him back to the owner and charged her 1/2 price for just the bath-no toweling or drying, just the bath. You have to know your limits and THAT was mine

          Comment


          • #6
            bow wow wheels

            Thats one bad a-- dog who can do that.He needs a job.

            Comment


            • #7
              hydraulic tables are nice

              I bought an edemco hydraulic table..it lowers to around 19 inches..so it's easier to get bigger dogs on it..then lift up to working height..also easy to lift under dog when table is up and turn around and set into tub....i've done up to about 125 pound dog ..but im kinda strong..heehehe..
              I'm very happy, i have about 40 something rebooking customers since mid sept when i started my mobile business....and its growing steadily, adding a new one here and there....goal is for 100 steady customers..just takes a while i guess.....

              Comment


              • #8
                For unestablished groomers especially, Jan-Feb is slow. Once you have regulars it isn't as pronounced, however sometimes still it is slow because you try to cram everyone in before Christmas so that they will be pretty for grandma's visit. Spring there will be a pick up in business, many calls from once a year people looking for summer shave downs.'

                I used to do cats, but I have only one cat clients left. I found that most people who called me for cats only called when the cat was matted and needed to be shaved. This is stressful and perilous. No matter how much the people swore to be better and get on maintenance, I would not hear from them again until the cat was matted up. Maybe if you live somewhere where people value their cats and have them done regularly, you will do fine with them. I found, however, that in a matted situation it was dicey...no fun for kitty and kitty would try to bite. I know a person who lost their due to a cat bite (kitten bite, actually) and it was not worth the risk to me. But others do cats and do them successfully. My only advice is to charge plenty for a cat....make it at least worth what you will have to pay to get antibiotics and a drs. appt should you get bitten.

                Regarding big dogs. I have no idea how old you are, but my advice would be to do the big dogs if you have to in order to get by in the beginning, but do what you can to spare your body. Even with an electric table, there is still negotiating the dog into the van, onto the table, into the tub and general wrestling. Initially i would take big dogs, but mostly i believe that big hairy dogs are simply not worth the money. Often I couldn't charge enough to make it worth my while...not only in time but in regard to physically wearing me out. I now limit my weight on dogs to 65 lbs...though I have a couple of dogs over that size but they have been with me and i know they will jump on the table, into the tub and not cause me trouble. I am 41 years old and now have a herniated disk. These things happen as you age, don't do anything to make yourself age faster. I like to cater to small fluffies, so I can groom many dogs in a day and not feel worn out at the end of the day. It is just so much easier on my body.

                Knock on wood, but I haven't been sick in the 2.5 years I have been in business. I think that an added benefit of this job is that you are not as exposed to all the germs as you are in a shop or in a corporate job. You go to the door, get the dog take the dog back. If your client is sick you don't touch anything and then wash your hands. But, if i were sick I would cancel in a heartbeat. I service mainly retired and elderly people. The last thing I want to do is expose them to germs and compromise their health. Plus, I am a big weanie and when I am sick I am in bed. I like to leave a day open every couple of weeks for my own personal time. If something happens and I need to reschedule people (jury duty, mechanical problems, etc) I usually can get it taken care of on that day I had left open. This came in real handy this week as we were iced in for 3 days. I shifted many of my people to that open day and then squeezed the others in other places.

                It took me almost 2 years to be pretty much fully booked where I am booked out two weeks in advance. Like others have said, it really depends on where you live and the demographics.

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                • #9
                  Yeah, I haven't gotten too sick to work in my 2.5 years either ... I do think we're not as exposed to people germs. But, if you DO get sick, or need a snow day, you can always shift everything to your day off. I work Mon-Fri, but if I needed to miss a day I can reschedule everyone for the following Saturday.

                  Alternatively, you can take five of your grooms from the day you missed and pop one on to each of the next days and be caught up by the end of the week. That's what I did last year when we had a few snowy mornings but things had eased up a bit toward the afternoon to keep those appts. I just did the morning appointments at the end of each day for the rest of the week and was soon caught up.

                  The key to keeping things from slowing down is to be sure to prebook all your clients before you leave their house. If they seem hesitant to prebookm you can always offer them a $5 discount to prebook, then once they're used to you and how easy it is to not have to deal with booking an appointment and taking their dog to th egroomer, you can just announce a price increase and bring them back in line with your other clients. I've done that a few trimes and it worked well.

                  As far as big dogs, if you're at the point where you don't want to turn anything away, you can always have the owner help you get the dog onto the table. That seems to be the tough part. Once the dog is up at waist level it's not usually hard to hug it close and get it into the tub without straining your back. Or you can have it walk a plant from tub to table. If you find you are tired from fighting a large dog who struggles you should drop them -- it's not worth the wear and tear on your body. Is it worth $100 if you put your back out and lose a full day or two's pay?

                  Before long you'll be at the point where you can tell them to prebook if they want you to come at all, and where you can really pick and choose your clients. And it really won't take long at all!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    thanks u guys for the advice even though this was not my question! I am wanting to start mobile and trying to learn as much as possible before jumping into it and this site has helped so much! thanks again!

                    michelle

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I used to work for someone else, we didn't have a hydrolic table either. She would take any size dog. I got a 160 lb. st. bernard in one day, wouldnt go onto the table, forget lifting him, I hooked up a pully. Put his front legs up, sat on the floor and pushed his butt up, with my feet. Thank god I no longer work for her. I've heard some where on here about making your own hydrolic table?? It's in one of the posts, can't remember where. But, you can make one from Home Depot or Lowes or somewhere like that.
                      As far as cats, you have to have a knack w/ cats. I have no problems. But it's true about cat bites. They puncture.You do need medical attention when biten. I used to work with feral cats and have been biten, nothing like a dog bite.
                      Seems alot of people are slow this time of year, but then again we've had crazy weather. What helped for me, is I've been handing out notes to all my regular clients that wont or are holding out, not wanting to book standing appointments. It starts by mentioning Spring is just around the corner.. bla bla, basically, (if you want to have your dogs groomed, better make a standing or wait a month to get your dogs groomed.) Seems to have worked.
                      And remember the first year is the hardest,,I keep telling myself that.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by poochpickup View Post
                        Hi,

                        I have some questions. I opened in October 2006. I was slow up until a few weeks before Christmas. I was getting many calls up until last week. I've had 1 call about a cat in the past couple days. What is going on? Is it because the holidays are over and people are broke or already had their dogs groomed? I want to know when the slow times are in mobile grooming. Anyone know?

                        Anyone do cats? I have never in my van but would like to try it. I have no idea what to charge. I need some help.

                        Next question, anyone do big dogs? If so, how big (Pounds)? How do you lift them onto the table and get them in the tub? I ask this because I don't have an electric table. I would love one but they are a big investment. But I get alot of big dogs too. I am pretty strong but I am a petite girl around 115 pounds, so its hard, especially when they want to jump out of the tub.

                        Last question, what does everyone do if they are sick and can't groom? What do you do about your appointments?

                        Thanks for your help!!
                        Being slow in January happens to even the season mobile groomers. It happens for several reasons as stated: Thanksgiving, xmas, company coming, and the weather. Sometimes people are looking for something special for the pets for the holidays. Like the pet would really know why someone else is grooming them. Maybe they had more time off for the holidays to wait for a mobile groomer , who knows.


                        What you need to do!!!! Is to network with all the pet professionals in your area. IE bring cards, meet them, call them, talk to them.
                        While you have a slow period get your books in order for the dreaded tax man, clean you office, make backups, get things repaired, check out other places to advertise, like your house of worship may have a newsletter.
                        park your van at a busy shopping center.

                        Have you been in contact with all the clients to see if they may be ready for rebooking? have you tried to schedule them for the future?

                        Big dogs that I can't lift, I bath on the floor in my van. I had the van made with a floor for just this reason, copied this from a mobile unit I saw at groom expo last Febuary, (his unit could be hosed out from top to bottom and from the inside out).

                        Sick, there was a study on this just recently, "Happy people get sick less." stay happy and don't worry. If it happens call your clients, or have some one call to let them know, don't ever leave a client hanging. Getting sick is like getting a flat without a spare. Jury Duty that's another story........

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Doug View Post
                          Thats one bad a-- dog who can do that.He needs a job.
                          Oh, he had a job alright---being a twit LOL!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            slow times, cats and big dogs

                            Quite often January (particularly the first week or two ) are slower until you get enough clients on a regular schedule to where slow times are no more.

                            If I get sick, I call each client personally, explain the situation and reschedule. I reschedule for the first possible time that I can and that is even if I have to work that Sunday. I want my clients to know that I appreciate their business and their time enough that if I have to inconvienence them, I am willing to accept a bit of inconvienence myself as well. I do the same if I cancel due to weather. I rarely have to work Sundays for either situation as I schedule Mondays off and only work 2 Saturdays a month so I can usually move them to one of those days rather than Sunday.

                            I do cats, I don't do them alone. They are only done on Wednesdays when a former bather of mine is off from his job to come and help me with cats. Cats are charged the same as a LARGE dog. I am paying 2 of us to do them, they are more risky to my health and thus do cost more.

                            I used to do dogs of any size, but now only do those that were on a monthly schedule as I injured my shoulder and would rather be able to groom another 10 years. I do have a electric table and ramp to tub so size was not an issue getting into the tub. You could get a hydraulic table for about half the price of an electric and be able to do the same thing. (just be sure to have your table BOLTED down)

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