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  • Leasing Van?

    I have thought about leasing my van to a groomer but,the van is a 98 custom Odyssey in good condition with all the best equip. I am concerned that it could get totaled...as I do not hasve huge groomer insurance w/ Gibson. I have a cheap policy w/ AM fsamiky w/ Acura and homeownes all together. Van is insured as vehicle to use to go to work. Good vehicle coverage...not if conversion or A C gets hurt. Good for regular vehicles, just not as a business. can't afford at part time bus. Not ready to sell. Van would still bring in a good amnt of money. Keeping it(paid for) costs little even if it just sits in driveway. It is there to groom when I need it. I also thought of being the driver...and having a groomer do the work...not a lot of businese now. I could train someone...so I would not loose most of money. Lots to tothink about. What do you think? I would not earn enough ea. week at 50/50. You know after gas, insurance, tires, gen upkeep etc...little profit.lowest gas price is 227. last I looked yesterday. unleaded.

  • #2
    Hi Mustluv, how long have you been mobile? Have you really given it a chance to pick up? Do you refer back and forth with other mobiles? That is what really got me started. Of course I was young enough then to do all the big, and bad dogs and cats that no one else wanted. Now I pass them onto newbies. I am not trying to be mean but when you talk to your customers and potential customers do you talk like you type on this board? I am not concerned about the typos and mispellings but you seem to bounce from one subject to another and half the time it is hard to figure out what on earth you are talking about. I know Meesh and some of the other really successful mobile groomers have a set speech that they give about the benefits of mobile grooming and how it is not for everyone. It really makes the customers feel like they are special if they can afford your service.
    See, now I am bouncing my subjects all over too. I would also be afraid to lease my van, no one is going to take care of it like you would. If you find someone who needs training maybe they could just ride along 2 or 3 days a week. Then you could do bigger dogs on those days when you have help.
    A few years ago I ran into a woman cleaning one of my customers houses. I had also met her at my hairdressers. She told me she just got a job at a local grooming shop and wanted to learn how to groom. I knew the shop had a bad reputation and didn't think the woman would be happy there, but I didn't want to influence her so I didn't say anything. The next time I went to groom that dog she was there again and said that she wasn't happy at the shop. She asked if she could work with me. I didn't think I could afford an employee, but I told her if she wanted to we would give it a try. I paid her a dollar an hour less than what she was making at the shop. She worked for me 3 days a week and it didn't take long until we were able to do more dogs on the days that she was with me. The more that she did, the more I paid her, and the more I was able to afford it. Now she has her own mobile, and I don't have any other employees. Sometimes I miss having someone to talk to.

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    • #3
      Misty

      I have been mobile with my custom van since 1991. Before that, mobile out of my car. I am surprised that you don't understand what I am talking about in my posts,because I have often been told i write a beautiful letter. I am often too descriptive; perhaps because I painted in oil professionally for many years in the 70s. There is so much to say on many subjects, I guess I get off topic.I cant change my personality any more than I can change the color of my blue eyes. I have been successfullly grooming here in Az 7 years. Before that in SF bay area. The price I charged there is just now matchingw(hat I charged there. 7yrs ago I was a lot younger and healthier. I have not had energy like before I had radiation for Breast Cancer 2001. Phoenix and East Valley has now 100s literally mobile groomers. When I started 7 yrs ago, there were only four or five! They( most of them) went out of bus or moved away. Mavis and I are the originals from 7 back. Don't get me wrong, but, I do have regular faithful clients that book in advance. I pay my bills on time with money left for taxes and emergencies (like vet bill) Maybe I am just getting too old and burned out. Had hoped to do part time 2-3 days and teach in summer. Now I don't think I want to work with those people.Until you are really old and your feet are swollen from -who knows why,you can't imagine how hard grooming can become. I'm considering options...I am not getting any younger. Of course I tell people advantages of mobile. Educate clients a lot about doggie issues.I give and get referrals. Pam for one ,who is Azoci on board.Ea. shared vans when one of us was in the shop. Good pals.I won't apologize for being myself. If you don't like my posts than take me off buddy list and you won't have to read them. I never talk about the G word anymore.....I try to be topic specific. I am biased concerning young folks. I think many are rude, inconsiderate, and mean without even knowing it! If the shoe fits......I have mentioned many times I am 61 yras old and have been grooming for 30 yrs....you must not have been paying attrention.I am probably old enough to be your mothers' age.Maybe even her mother.Would you talk to your mother that way? I have good grammar and know the difference between the use of your and you're. Many of you don't.If you can't understasnd me perhaps it is something lacking in you. speak perfect English.Lay off you guys!Insults that start off saying not trying to mean...automaticly ARE mean. Didn't we just post about being kind to one another?Geesh..only asking for bus. advice.

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      • #4
        I read the post and I did not see anything wrong or negative with what Misty said. Sometimes it is hard to read your posts because you do jump from one thing to another. Maybe you are good at writing letters, but when you are writing them I am sure you take your time and proof read somewhat. We all have spelling errors (Stephen where is that spell check). I think Misty was being genuine and not hurtful. We all must have an open mind when "reading" because it can and will be taken in any way. I wish you the best of luck in your business. Hang in there, it will get better.
        If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!

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        • #5
          how you project yourself?

          Hi gang, and Mustluvdogs1, I think a lot of the problem is that of supply and demand. We do have a LOT of mobile groomers here in the Valley, and it is unfortunate that a lot of the new ones on the scene are charging less than what you would pay in a SHOP! I've been getting a lot of "price shoppers" calling... got one today, with 4 Persian cats, said right on her message, she was comparing prices. So my thought, (I have no problem with asking the price, or for that matter letting a client know from the get-go what I would charge for a service) if you are price shopping, Honey you can't afford me!

          I think you have to project professionalism, both in voice and action to be able to get and keep clients. You have to market your self and your abilities. You need to find a "nitch" to fill. Specialize in something.

          You have to be concerned with "details", for instance, are shaved ears edged and crisp looking or did you just shave them and leave the tiniest bit of fringe on the edge? Clients notice the little details. Are your lines clean and smooth or just a bit uneven. Again, clients notice. Do you substitute a #30 blade for a sanitary if your #10 blade is not working? NO, you take the time to hand scissor the tummy, (hint- there is a safe way to do this, one gal I worked with 30 years ago, taught me, as she was more comfortable to hand scissor tummies rather then use a #10...OK, her preference, but never did she have a complaint) We have rules of for the safety of pets and groomers.

          In a market that is so competitive you have to be able to sell yourself by the product you turn out. Changing your personality is not the issue, unless your personality makes clients feel uncomfortable to the point where they look for another groomer. And that is not really a personality change, it's a change of the professionalism that you project, to be professional does not mean you get chummy or personally friendly with clients. Now this is just my opinion. But I seldom call owners by first names, or talk about family issues, religion, or politics on a serious basis.

          OK, so I've blatherd on long enough, I don't have a clear answer. All I know is that I project an up-beat happy mode every time I see a client, no matter the first time or the 40th time and they usually react to that in a positive way. Most of my client dogs hear the rig pull up and I seldom have to ring a doorbell!

          I like to think that my web site offers a nice way for new clients to be introduced to me, my rig, and the quality of my grooms before they call me. If that doesn't speak loudly enough...

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          • #6
            Mustluv, I don't see anything wrong with Misty's response either. And I, too, sometimes have a hard time understanding you. I am sure you communicate much better in hand writing. I'm the opposite. Ever since the computer, I can't write anything by hand, even Thank You notes kill me!

            Ask yourself some questions: Are you spending too much time talking to your clients, or telling them all your life stories and/or problems? This is not professional, and will slow you down.

            Are you grooming well, or do you have problems seeing what you're grooming (vision problems). I doubt it or you couldn't read all our threads.

            Are you REbooking and PREbooking appointments?

            Are you friendly, courteous and professional? If you are too talkative, talk about your private life, or talk about religion with your clients, these are things that can potentially push them away.

            Tammy in Utah
            Groomers Helper Affiliate

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            • #7
              Misty is not being mean Mustlove

              I think Misty is being insightful here. I know Misty personally and she is very upfront. She is not trying to be mean. She is absolutely right about the way you post. Truth be told, I cannot read your posts. For whatever reason, I get lost in them. I try to go back and see where I lost you, I get frustrated and move on to the next one.

              Can it be that this is the way people are perceiving you? Can it be as Azcozi said? Maybe you are tired of the grooming thing after 31 years and not keeping current with today's styles and trends. Are you stripping them down and sending them out or are you beautifully grooming each dog? I cannot imagine that after 31 years you could be hurting for business. What do you think is wrong with your market today?

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              • #8
                I agree with Damienono. When we use this board, some of us really don't use complete sentences, etc. I thought your posts seemed like shorthand, not meaning that you spoke that way, but that you were putting a great deal of detail into something easier to read through. Misty may have not realized this and thought this was how you spoke. I noticed that your reply to her comment was written more "properly" than the first. I wouldn't take what she said as an insult, as she does not know you personally and her only reference was your posts. Now, if in speaking you really did communicate this way, I could see her point. What a lot of us do not realize, is how we get defensive very quickly. I think everyone should let a reply set in before we comment back about it. Take what others say as critique, and accept it. They generally know nothing personally about you anyhow, and nothing good will ever come from going back and forth explaining why you took offense to what they took offense to, blah, blah, blah, etc.

                Now that all the bull is out of the way...start off by writing down what exactly you want on a piece of paper. If you are unsure about what to do with your van, you will only continue to feel that way if you don't do SOMETHING. If you want to make a change, think of the pros and cons to both choices, then pick one. It may have to be the lesser of two evils, but pick one. Write down what you have done for advertising and see what others suggest and compare the lists. Consider training someone part time, as mentioned, to help you do larger dogs and thus broaden your abilities. If you feel you can do less than you used to do, target market the type of pets you can do comfortably. There are ways to get what you want, but you must be confident and DO something about it. Try not to let emotions get the best of you. I know you are older and wiser than a lot of us, but just because you are, doesn't mean you can't still learn from us. I am sorry that you have had people treat you in such a way that you have a bad taste in your mouth about younger folks in general, but you should get past that. If they are stooping to a level to treat you poorly, just know that they are lacking respect and that is an unattractive trait to have. Don't waste your breath on them after that.

                I would love to talk with you sometime, maybe at the next APPGA general meeting?? You can also email me any time! I am not a professional business consultant, (or an unprofessional one at that!) but I do enjoy helping others come up with ideas, because it helps to talk to someone with a different view point...that is a priceless piece to any predicament!

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                • #9
                  Mustluv I have to agree with the majority here, Misty didn't post anything mean. I often have to re-read your post to figure out exactly what you are saying. I think it was mean spirited of you to say all the young people are rude and inconsiderate, You may have perfect grammer when it comes to the spoken word however, your sentence structure is fragmented and hard to follow. Why don't you sell your van and go work as a mgr for a corporate, maybe supervising a bunch of young guns will rejuvinate you. Good Luck.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks Guys

                    I can't fault you for your honesty. Because i have talked to pam about my beliefs to her in person, I guess she thinks I do this w/ my clients. I don't. Some are same belief as I. One very good reg client w/ now 2nd puppy goes to my church. I have a very brief conversation w/ her always about scheduling. Others That do share, barely know I have a sister, let alone much else about me. My logo is pen and ink realistic drawing of one Schn grooming the other sitting on table. I do specialize in Schn. Pam sent me a ref and the lady was thrilled + tip. Perhaps at my energy level and age, I should be glad I can groom 3-4 dogs most days. I need to stop comparing myself to yesteryear and others younger. I'm not Jane Fonda...with all her energy. Or how does she do it...Suzanne Somers same age. If I am not profeseional and don't know how to be yet, I never will be.I thibnk I am just coming to the end of this soon. I just don't want to sell my house yet. I"m sentimental and fearful of change. Sorry to ramble on.With troubles w/ Travelers' Naer death ills, I probably wrote all over the place. Can that be a legitimate excuse? I don't want to be a bother to anyone...least of all Pam. Ah she gets a break in the Spring.........

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                    • #11
                      mustluvdogs1, I feel for you. I know there will come a time in our lives, as groomers, we have to face the fact that we will no longer be able to do this job. For whatever reasons. It will be hard to leave the grooming to those that are younger with ligaments and joints in tact lol Maybe you just need to slow it down a little more...instead of 3 n 4, drop down to 2/3? thats still good pay...downsize some if needed. Do whatever you have to do to be happy. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. make yourself happy first..accept our limitations and make the best of them...its all in Gods plan so just go with the flow. you never know, there might just be a better door to open out there!!!

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                      • #12
                        Re the swollen feet thing...do you groom sitting down or standing up? I think this can make a huge difference for those of us with physical issues that may shorten our careers. I learned standing up but I am forcing myself more and more to sit as much as possible. I have a disk herniation and two bulges that really cramp my style more and more, and I am only 42 and I don't really want to be forced out anytime soon. Also what is helping me force myself to sit is that my table is once again broken and frozen in one position. Luckily it is right where I can sit comfortably so I am forcing myself to sit! I even prop my leg up so I bet you could do that too...especially in a van. I am also using it as an excuse to get rid of all my clients who weigh too much. The dr. told me i shouldn't be lifting anything over 25 lbs. Well, I can't quite reduce myself to that but you can bet I am not doing any dogs over what I feel i can easily lift anymore.

                        And regarding something else you said, I absolutely would talk to mother in the very professional yet upfront way you were addressed. Wouldn't you want someone to tell you if you have a big old green thing in between your teeth and were smiling like a cheshire cat at everyone that came by? I think you have a lot to offer to people on this board with all your experience, but that can't be shared if no one can understand your posts. So, slow down and help others understand you...someone may actually benefit!

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                        • #13
                          Fur Elite

                          First, I want to say that I can't believe that puppy is real, it is sooo cute .Yes, I do have a stool. A nice one with a saddle-like seat from Ryans. One wheel does come off now and then. I find it necessary at times. I also have a lazy susan with fatigue mat ( comes in rolls at Home depot) The dogs are a little bewildered at such a small space on which to stand. I have to put my chest up to edge so they won't spin. Wheeee free rides anyone? I had to take it down alot for larger, yet still small dogs. It now sits in garage. No room to put on and off the table. I think you have to know the dogs weel if you plan to sit in front of one. It seems my nose is closer to bite if I am sitting. I still stand a lot. I got my vericose veins and spider actually, is what they are...lovely vein art on my legs from years of standing: one leg then the other. I have a stool I also like to prop right leg up on. I used to think you coudn't BE a good groomer sitting down. I was wrong about that!

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                          • #14
                            That puppy is my darling Ripley when he was a baby. I know, they do not look real.

                            I think maybe if you spend some serious time with your work station you can help these feet swelling. I don't think a floor mat will help much, you need to have those feet elevated, you need to be sitting the majority of time. Phlebitis is a terrible thing isn't it? Perhaps the key is getting your client list to contain only dogs who behave well, that you can sit comfortably in front of. This is one of the perks and luxuries of mobile. If you are thinking of going to only several dogs a day, you can start this way and build up to more if your body allows it. I would say that 95% of my clients are well behaved angels who I can sit in front of. Some may fight for nails or feet, but i can stand up for those few minutes. Dogs that don't fit your profile for allowing you to groom comfortably can be cut from your list and replaced with good dogs. I can't tell from your post, but is your table adjustable....can you lower it so that it is desk level. Then you can be just as far away as you are standing and not worry about your nose being chewed off. Just an idea, but it sounds like to me you need to figure out how to sit more and relax while grooming and get those feet up.

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                            • #15
                              Hi, I agree! Sitting is great! Now if you would have told me 10 years ago, that I would advocate sitting, I'd have called you CRAZY!, but change happens! I sit to do all my dogs, including my 3 standard Poo clients, MustLuvdogs has a great rodeo stool and an electric table, but it sometimes takes more then just having the tools, you also have to force yourself to change our way of doing, and use the equipment.

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