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  • HELP!!!

    Okay, my Mobile Groom Family,
    I desperately need your advice. As a few of you may remember I launched my business as in-house grooming until I can go mobile. That's not going to well for me because I got two offers for housekeeping positions. One of my clients I went to groom their dog but the bathroom was so nasty, I had to clean the tub before I could put the dog in it, then I cleaned the bathroom better than how I found it (I was offered a cleaning position) and then I went to an retirement home to groom a dog, again, the bathtub was disgusting, daughter offered me a weekly cleaning job. I politely declined. That was enough for me.
    I submitted my application for a van (new/used), I was turned down because my LTV is too high and my income does not support my debt (two houses/three cars) - otherwise, credit score is great. Then I submitted a request for a trailer (purchase/lease), turned down again - same reason.
    So I now am thinking outside the box and decided if they won't give me one, I will just have to build my own. Do it the way I want it. A lot of folks on this board have done it, I think I can too!
    I found a box truck (one ton, its 7x6, I think), an old U-haul truck (small one). I like the way that it has steel or aluminum walls, floors and ceiling. My questions are:

    1. Do you think this is a good truck to use?
    2. I want an inverter, what do think? Not sure where to place the battery bank. how many batteries to run everything? (Doug?)
    3. where would I put the water tanks, front or back?

    I am concerned about the design and how to position the equipment so that its balanced inside the truck. Any suggestions or advice. Everyone's input is welcome.

  • #2
    putting it together

    Hi LC, OK, this can be challenging and fun. We did the same thing with my little RV, but I had to work around existing things, like the bath room I wanted to keep, and existing plumbing and tanks, hot water & fresh, and thnking weight distrabution, and where to put the battereis...Yeah, been there done that.
    people there, figuring weight of 2 large bodies at maybe 500 pounds, almost what the batteries would weight in at...I incorproated my bearrier wall into that system too, yes it comes apart so I can check the batteris.

    Doug was a super great guy with suggestions on "how" to do this.

    Curtis had some great suggestions on other points I had not even considered! Like Rhino-lining to keep floor and walls sealed!

    In your little you have to open the whole back roll up door? Will that be a problem, doing the in and out thing?


    • #3
      Cant see it from here

      it sounds like it would work Tex, how high does it stand?How hard will it be to get in it?Will it need a an rv place to install a side door with the step?If it needs a step and door they normally take up some room inside. That would change the lay out of the interior and the possibillties. Go look at the how the doors are done an rv. I have seen a number of this type of vehicle used ,it works. By chance does it have four wheels in the rear or just two?


      • #4
        It's still going to cost you dineros to build your own van. Have you tried a small, local bank? Especially if your credit rating is excellent, dealing one-on-one with the head of the loan department may get you waived through. A credit union is another venue where you may be able to bypass the "formula" or "checklist" loan approval process.

        Failing that, is it possible to sell one or two of the vehicles to make you more loan-suitable? If your credit score is otherwise good that may be enough.



        • #5
          Buy a starter

          So you can get a truck to convert as I understand it? Why not get one of the "starter" vans in the used mobile ads here? Sometimes they are $5000 to $8000, and get the cash flow going and move up later to a better vehicle. Cash flow is everything.
          Most questions regarding GroomerTALK are answered in the Board Help Talk Forum. Thanks for coming to our community a part of


          • #6
            I did house call grooming for a very short time, but fortunately had very clean tubs to work in!! It was difficult and back breaking though, that is why I stopped doing it.

            I do think if I were in your shoes, the starter van idea would be the choice for me. If you could get a trailer that could possibly be even better---no need to worry about how many miles are on the engine and other expensive maintenance under the hood.

            There are many possibilities but I think you'd be happier going mobile than cleaning everybody's tubs first. The thought hadn't even crossed my mind that people would have dirty bathrooms. Eeewwww!

            I'm very excited at your prospects, I hope everything works out for the best!

            Tammy in Utah
            Groomers Helper Affiliate


            • #7

              trailers as well.You at least start out with most or all the parts needed,toss in a little cosmedic repair here or there and bingo off you go. Maybe the site wiz can put up a revolving slide show preveiw in a little window on the left of the page to show off these used units under the hot spot at pet pic.


              • #8

                Azoci, thanks for the weight distribution analogy. Yes, it does have a roll up in the back and I want to put a door on the back with two side windows. Probably will need to place the tub and tanks towards the front. Not sure yet, still working on the layout. Great idea: barrier wall! I like that.

                Doug, the standing height I believe is barely 6' but that's okay because I am only 5'3/4" (license says 5'1" LOL). I think if I want to put the door on the back because it already has a step, I don't see a problem. I have an RV place here that does conversion and I am waiting on them to give me some conversion prices. In order to run everything how many batteries do you think I will need? I was thinking of making a battery container in the back by the door. Not sure if its four wheels or two. I will check it out tomorrow and let you know.

                Meesh, I am done with loan process thing for right now. All the inquiries this past month and a half has killed my credit score. Everything you mentioned, I did and was turned down. Its either more money down than I have right now or get a cosignor - which I have neither. There is no one that can cosign nor anyone that I would ask. In my family, everyone comes to me - I am "Cynthia ATM" LOL!!!

                Admin, I tried talking to the folks with the starter vans and was not successful. One of them wanted $10,000 but did not want to clean the van (outright told me that it was dirty and she was not going to clean it or get it clean) and the cabinets were broken/missing which she said she was not going to fix. For $10,000, you would think she would. One, she sent pictures of the inside where parts of the van was rusted, I was told by my mechanic to leave that one alone. One, they declined my offer and I was not willing to give what they wanted. AND they are all PLUG-INS, I want to be totally self-contained, the inverter! I think by building what I need for now and upgrade later is my road map.

                Tammy, a trailer would be a great idea but for me, I would also have to buy a truck or suv to pull it because I found out that my Honda CRV (which is paid for) will not be able to tow it.

                Great thoughts, idea and advice, keep it coming!


                • #9
                  LC, OK, sounds like you are on top of really won't be thathard to do. I was constrained by very tight quarters, I had only 6x12 feet to work with...and most of the 'ready made" stuff wouldn't fit in my limited space. So we had to make it, learned how to use fiver glass, resin, bondo, and lots of sand paper! LOL

                  Yes, the inverter is a super idea if you are making your own. I have 8 batteries. One thing you 'll want to do, is to go to a battery store and have them do the cables, soldered, not crimped, with big heavy cables. Something Doug really stressed when we did ours. It sure pays off. I can do 10 dogs in 10 hours, and still have power and I do not have the ability to charge off the engine. have to learn to count your amps! You may have to choose equipment that pulls less amps then if you were in a shop with unlimited amps and equipment that will draw a lot of amps...I use a Kool Dry that only pulls 9 amps when it's up on high, rather then an amp eating K9II that eats 17 or more (the heat takes the amps) and I have a stand dryer that pulls as low as 8 and as high as 14 (with full heat). You just have to learn to count in amps.

                  It is do-able. I also have the RV's converter and 9-volt system, seperate from the Inverters pump, light (original RV lights) run off the one coach battery that charges when I plug in the HW tank for a hot start for the day...half an hour and I've got hot water, then as the day goes on, my WH tank draws from the fresh tanks, the engine keeps it hot.

                  I think you are going to have a ball doing this.


                  • #10
                    Just an aside

                    never been to a house with a dirty bathroom for housecall grooming. People here with messy houses don't want people in. Usually I have to make sure that the tub/sink/laundry tub/shower is as clean as when I got there. Sorry you had such and odd experience. Good luck with the truck.
                    Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.


                    • #11

                      Arrooh, for the words of encouragement. I am truly going to need them in the days ahead. This is something totally new for me but exciting at the same time.

                      Azoci, keep that advice coming, I love it! You are bringing up things I need to know. I have spent the whole weekend going over books and catalogs, looking at the different conversion websites, trying to get an idea of how I want things laid out. I think my space may be smaller than yours. Are you still using your 6x12 right now? I am thinking of doing everything in stainless steel (i.e., tub and cabinets) only because I have read on this board how ceramic gets scratched and wood warps.

                      Counting AMPS is a good one to keep in mind. This will be something new for me. I have made a list of everything I would like to have to start off with but the great thing is that I can pace myself in putting it in my truck and do it the way I want it. I am looking at the positive side of the situation.

                      I will keep you posted.
                      Be Blessed!


                      • #12
                        Arrooh I have not been in any dirty bathrooms, but did just do a housecall groom on a bachelor guy(single) and his teenage son and as I was bathing the dog in their only bathtub my mind began to think about what lonely men did in their showers and was kinda grossed out. So now I bring my trusty bottle of bleach water with me every where I go!


                        • #13
                          Update #1

                          Okay, heard from the RV place. Giving estimates only - electricity around $12,000 (WOW!) Can't I get the electric done cheaper than this?; Plumbing around $3,000-4,000; I think the cheapest thing was doing the side door and 2 windows for about $1,000. He lost me then, we didn't even get to the walls and cabinets.

                          I have some more looking around to do.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ladycee View Post
                            Okay, heard from the RV place. Giving estimates only - electricity around $12,000 (WOW!) Can't I get the electric done cheaper than this?; Plumbing around $3,000-4,000; I think the cheapest thing was doing the side door and 2 windows for about $1,000. He lost me then, we didn't even get to the walls and cabinets.

                            I have some more looking around to do.
                            Unless you have a handy friend or family member to do this, buying an inexpensive plug-in truck may be your best choice. Upgrade later. RV places are expen$$$$ive.

                            Parts (wiring, tub, WH, insulation, walls, flooring, lights, cabinets, etc) to build a basic plug-in unit will cost 1000-2500 or so on top of vehicle cost if you're a careful shopper but you certainly won't get stainless steel tubs or cabinets unless you can scrounge used restaurant equipment. Roof AC will run over a 1000 installed and an inverter system can also cost several thousand dollars. To save any amount of money, you will HAVE to literally build it yourself or have close to free labor.

                            You CAN still do this but you need to really start thinking do-it-yourself to succeed.


                            • #15
                              You really have to do as much work yourself as you can. I spent less than 4 grand on the conversion on my shuttle bus. Most of that was for the inverter, batteries and the tub. The hardest thing for us was fastening everything down. I got a chest of drawers from IKEA, and plastic cabinets from Home Depot. Everything doesn't match, but it all works. This is really a business that you can start on a shoe string and add the bells and whistles as you go along.