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  • Thinking about going Mobile....

    I've been thinking about going mobile and I'd really like to hear all the dirty details and harsh realities of this choice. I really want to know what I'm getting it before I make a huge purchase like this! Any info will be extremely appreciated!
    My Blog: <a href="http://groomwise.typepad.com/in_the_dogs_house/">In the Dogs' House Groomwise Blog</a>

  • #2
    I love being mobile, for me it was th best thing I was ever talked into doing!! The ONLY thing I hate about being mobile in IL is the winters! I live out in a rural area and the snow sometimes makes it impossible for me to go out. The snow just blows across the cornfields into the road and they become very icy. That is the only thing I would change

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    • #3
      Cold winters and snow totally bite. Plan on having a mechanic or hubby to do repair work. Other than that I love being mobile. I set my pace, price, and can be selective on clients.

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      • #4
        Ok I have been grooming for 5 yrs now. I have worked in a hospital setting and a kennel, I am now on my own....have my own Mobile business and I love it!!!! Wouldn't take it back for nothing. I can work at my own pace. I have great clients who are wonderful.

        The only draw back is the winter months, everything slows down, problems getting water to my tank at times, having to run heaters in the front and back of my trailer. Of course the snow can be an issue, which is a big one here in Maryland this year....but usually not. But, it will melt and it will pick back up again.

        I would say do it! I don't think you will regret it at all!

        Good luck

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        • #5
          I recently went mobile and love it too!! Yes, you're alone, but that can be a bonus(no shop drama). The dogs behanve better and are happier. Clients seem easier to deal with than when I did shop. Plus, not as many no shows since if they do you end up at their doorstep.

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          • #6
            Being mobile is great, but there are some minuses:

            If you buy new, a good mobile unit can cost as much as a house in some places.
            The equipment takes a beating from being mounted in a mobile, and doesn't last as long as in a shop unless you constantly maintain the stuff.
            When the van breaks down, you don't make money.
            Fewer dogs a day over a shop means higher prices that some people just will not pay, or in this economy, just can't AFFORD to pay.
            Weather. In the north it's snow and ice. In the south it's hurricanes and heavy thunderstorms with flooding.
            "With God's help, all things are possible!"
            Laura Lee Ray
            I am kats_melody on eGroomer. Follow my Twitter tweets - @ZOOMGROOM on Twitter.com

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            • #7
              Ditto Lisa! The winter weather is the only thing I would change!
              What does a dog do on it's day off?

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              • #8
                OK, the down and dirty.
                Winters really stink. Getting in and out into the cold, dealing with snow and ice, freezing tanks (if my power goes out).
                Hot summers aren't much easier as in many of the fiberglass topped vans the A/C's aren't always able to keep up with the heat.
                Moisture is a huge problem in most mobiles (unless you're in a dry climate I would think)
                small space, not a lot of storage in a lot of mobiles.
                A lot of mobiles have no bathroom
                When your van in down, you can't work. If you have a trailer you can always rent another vehicle to pull it, but in my area I wouldn't want to haul a trailer in the snow and ice on all these hills.
                traffic, parking, especially if you have to parallel park
                working by youself, at least for me, is a huge drawback
                having to prep the van. I HATE having to prep the van everyday in the winter time. Just such a pain.
                I clean between each dog like I would a small salon at the end of the day because I figure my clients are going to expect a sparkling clean unit when it gets to their house, no matter how many dogs I've done before them. Takes up a lot of time for me.
                learning how to schedule, still a pain in my rump and something I'm still working on getting down, but a lot of that is my large area and that I only work one full day per week. everything else is at night, one client per night.
                I have shoreline-nothing like cold wet extension cords to wind up after each appointment in the winter.
                Being limited to how much you can run at one, with many mobiles. If you are shore line or have an inverter you have to know how many amps everything pulls, not pull too many at once. I don't know if most rigs with genes are the same.

                I do like mobile. I've got great flexibility, I've developed much more personal relationships with most of my clients, I don't usually feel rushed at all, but there are things I miss about working in a salon. I've been pretty lonely as of late. It used to be a nice break to get out and have some quiet time, now I just feel lonely while I'm working. I'm pretty spoiled I guess cuz I hate not having a bather LOL.
                What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.

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                • #9
                  I agree with everyone here about the weather issues, I've had frozen pipes & frozen grey water tank, sucks. My hubby does all the repairs unless its something he can't do which isn't often. I will add in that clients do get sticker shock with mobile prices. The first 2 yrs I got alot of calls saying "have to talk to hubby" etc etc, which means no thanks most times. My 3rd yr, this yr, i'm expecting the sticker shock & am not getting it. People are booking like crazy. Its really nice since its all on my shoulder now that my hubby got laid off after 10yrs at that place.

                  Also advertizing isn't easy to figure out where the most people are going to find you. I started my mobile on a shoe string basicly so had to rely on the free ads on craigslist which I still do & the basic listing in the phone books which is usually free. Problem with the free listings is if your name doesn't include "mobile grooming" in your registered name people will call thinking you are a shop, then you get even more sticker shock.

                  Shannon
                  The Soapy Puppy

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                  • #10
                    I did write a blog about mobile grooming in the winter dated 12/29/2009. We just had a big snowstorm and I was in the dumps. lol

                    http://groomwise.typepad.com/go_mobile_and_succeed/

                    It sounds depressing but it's the truth. The winters are the pits but other then January and February I love the job. To me, that is the only down side to mobile grooming. Everything else is minor but hey, no job is perfect.
                    www.gomobileandsucceed.com
                    http://thesuccessfulpetgroomer.com

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                    • #11
                      Do your research, does your area have many mobiles, the pricing is more than stationary grooming. Will your area pay up to $20 more per dog. You should count on 2 years to get established. Sometimes quicker. Schedule yourself smart. Don't over pack a day because your clients will fall in love with you and they will think that they cannot live without you. If your pile to many clients on your schedule you will be crazy with people and will have regrets. Try to stick to 6 hours per day 4-5 days per week. Saturdays aren't always the best, we find Sundays a little better. Start right away with planting the seed to leave a key or garage code so you can be more flexible with your schedule. Yes, winters suck, find a heated, with water storage facility. No more frozen pipes or frozen hands. I would also advise to purchase groomer in a box and do your business plan. Good luck.

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                      • #12
                        Thank you all for the information! I'm sure Wisconsin winters will be lovely lol. Anyone here in an area hit hard by the economy? I'm a little concerned that my area won't be able to handle the additional cost for the mobile service. I may just be nervous, but you guys know what you're doing!
                        My Blog: <a href="http://groomwise.typepad.com/in_the_dogs_house/">In the Dogs' House Groomwise Blog</a>

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                        • #13
                          Also in Wisconsin...

                          Hey...
                          I started my new mobile business with a brand new Elite (from scratch, moved here from Texas, so had no clients) in November '08. My main area, Janesville, was hit hard by the economy due to the GM plant closing in Dec '08 and then in turn, some of the plants that were interconnected with GM, which employed a majority of the city. My family thought I was crazy trying to start up such a luxury service in a depressed area (and trust me, I doubted myself a few months in...). But, by March I was booking 5-7 dogs, 5-6 days a week and it hasn't slowed much since! Even these winter months have been very steady for me. I guess my point is that although times are tough here, people still are willing to pay to have their pets taken care of. Some are extending the time between appts maybe but they are still coming and paying the price. I really only have a few that worry about the price, most think I don't charge enough( which I probably don't for the big dogs). One other thing I think is important to know is that it's not the rich that are using my services...yes, i have a few, but the majority are just your average joe wanting to take care of their pet. I'm not saying this will happen for everyone...you need to be a talented groomer, dependable, and good to their pets and people will give you great reviews and talk to their friends. I haven't advertised (except my graphics on my truck) since November '08.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for encouragement! I will have to PM you about more specific questions if you don't mind
                            My Blog: <a href="http://groomwise.typepad.com/in_the_dogs_house/">In the Dogs' House Groomwise Blog</a>

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                            • #15
                              Thanks for asking the question. I've been toying with the same question....I just moved to AZ. (the desert part) so the harsh winter weather is not an issue for me (although 40 is still cold). It's just so scary...spending the money before you have it...and not sure you're going to get it.

                              I hear over and over the "success" stories and I am so glad to know you-all are out there. I worry about being the first groomer to "fail" at mobile.

                              But I keep telling myself I really want to do this, I AM a people person, I love grooming...so I'm doing my homework, research, Business Plan, and then finalizing my decision. OK I'm also working on a name and have already decided on a Van (and options)...so I'm more than 50% decided.

                              Thanks to EVERYONE for all the info on what goes in to the business of mobile! There's a lot of details but somewhere along the way I will just have take the leap and just do it.

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