No announcement yet.

Going Mobile - Never seen before!!!

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Going Mobile - Never seen before!!!

    Hi Everyone. I need some advice. I have the opportunity to start a Grooming Business, and I am very interested in mobile. The only hurdle I see, is I live in an area that has never seen mobile grooming (no mobile groomers within at least 4 hours of me). I am in a small(ish) town, with a few grooming shops, some of whom are not taking any new clients, so I know there is business to be had. I am about one hour to a big city, that I know would be a good place for mobile. So, has anyone started in this type of environment? What did you do to get yourself going? Was pricing a concern? I have worked as a groomer, and in sales, so I am very confident in my marketing abilities, just not sure if it will be a hard sell here, especially with the extra cost for grooming mobile. Any advice/thoughts/experiences would be appreciated!

  • #2
    when i got started, i was the first in my area. i do live in a large suburban/rural area. there is no real median income to refer to here. everything from seniors on social security to millionaires and everything in between. predominately my client base is middle of the road. my biggest piece of advice is to make sure you are price higher than the shops and stick to your guns on price. it took me 4 and a half months to have fully booked weeks. sometimes, the fully booked week was a result of the call the night before. 6months until i was fully booked out 2 weeks in advance.
    good luck
    Certified Master Pet Tech Pet CPR, First Aid and Care Instructor
    "Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation." Henry Ward Beecher US Congregational Minister 1813-1887


    • #3
      Have just gone mobile myself after years working for others in grooming shops. There are things about having your own biz that is definitely harder than working for someone else (like worrying about paying the bills!) but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love mobile, I love the one on one, the connection with pets and customers....really can't be beat for me. I got Ellen Erlich's book Go Mobile and Succeed (she has a blog on here too!) and it helped me a lot. I would really suggest it....also keep asking questions on this board because these folks are the best and will encourage you a lot!!


      • #4
        Well, at one point mobile was new to every area! So you might as well be the trail blazer. To be honest, even though there are other mobiles in my area, most people that call me to book have never heard of mobile grooming and think it's such a gerat idea. They always seem to credit me for thinking of this wonderful idea! HA! Always makes me laugh. I often get "what a great idea, how did you come up with it?" LOL.
        I think you know your area better than we do and if there is business to be had, then there is room for mobile. If the economy in your area is not extrememly depressed I think mobile could be a great hit. I'm in upstate NY and my business has just taken off like a shot. I didn't do much in the way of advertising either. A website, some CL ads, my graphics on my van and a few articles written in local publications and then word of mouth was all I needed. I think it could be great. Best of luck!
        What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.


        • #5
          I started my business as a hobby to start. I brought my 3yr daughter at the time, she's now 5yrs. We started it on a shoe string basicly, bought a truck camper. Converted what I needed & I was ready to go. I made paper signs for my windows of the camper. Yeah bad idea since they got wet I was replacing them alot till I could afford more professional vinyl signs. I grew slowly, I didn't do much advertising except for name in the phone books & craigslist. Sticker shock was a pain & frustrating but I stuck to my prices. I am only about $5 under what WagnTails suggests. Petco moved in about 2yrs ago & just this yr my 3rd yr I'm hardly getting anymore sticker shock. Its nice & I'm finally filling up my weeks. Last yr I was doing 27 dogs at most a month. This yr so far its been 38 in Jan & 28 in Feb. So it really is picking up. If you can sell your business to clients you might do pretty good. I was new to running a business, new to trying to sell mobile to people & at times I still have trouble selling it to some.

          I have a converted van now so its much more professional looking.

          I do travel 30 mins to a bigger town which is 6 - 15 miles depending on what part of that town I need to go to. I do go to 6 towns. For me everything is within 30 mins. The traffic to the bigger town is starting to get worse so it might take me a little longer now. Even though I am seeing more & more mobiles out there, there are still alot of people that don't know about mobile.

          The Soapy Puppy
          Last edited by Starshan; 03-03-10, 11:41 PM.


          • #6
            Michelle, my partner and I are in our 3rd yr of mobile in Toronto. Seems here in the "frozen north" of Canada we're one of only a handful of mobile groomers brave enough for the changeable weather! I must say, it works really well in any weather if you invest the right equipment. You don't want to scrimp just to save a few bucks on things like a reliable (AND QUIET!) generator/inverter, air conditioner etc. Those things make the difference between being busy and having more downtime than you can afford.

            Now, in year 3, we're seriously considering a 2nd van and feel we can easily keep both busy week after week year round. Most of our business now is from people seeing our van out and about. In the beginning we would just go to a really busy part of town on a weekend (a mall with a PetSmart (!), dog park etc.) and just talk to everyone who passed by & hand out some discount flyers. Do a good job on the van's exterior & it'll be your moving billboard!

            Best of luck to you!


            • #7
              Yeah I am in the same boat

              Yes I agree with everything the others said. Your most important advertisement is your Van or Trailer because of the graphics on it. My graphics are very simple and only black on a white trailer. but that gives me the most calls. I have never advertised anywhere and I have no website. Word to mouth is the second big advertisement. This way it took me 2 years to have a full appointment book for at least a week in advance. I started on the weekends beside my old job, until I had enough that I could quit the other job.
              I live in a rural area and the smaller towns are 20-30 minutes away and the big city San Antonio is 45 minutes away. But I also go to 2 other towns what is an hour because I have alot of customers there who book every two to three weeks. Then its worth it. Unfortunately I chose my pricing a little too low in the beginning, and now I have a hard time to get it as high as I want like other groomers here on the board. So my advice, dont start too low, do your research first. I just called one grooming salon before I started and it happend that it was the cheapest in town. I thought they are all that cheap, lol.

              But I couldn't think of a better job. Every day is different because I go to different areas. I have customers who are like friends to me. with one of them I go to the movies from time to time, another one always invite me for lunch at her house, another one is so cool, they are 3 ladies who are friends and meet at one of their homes with 5 dogs. I do them all there and one of the ladies goes to get lunch from a burger place or something like this and we all joy lunch together. You dont have these things when you work in a shop I guess. I love my job. I also like that you can be a little more picky about the dogs you are doing.

              My advice, read some old post here too. That's how I started. I was reading all the old posts and got really adicted to this website, lol. Because you get so much out of here, normally you dont meet so many great groomers at one place. Even after years I am still learning every day with reading the posts and asking questions.


              • #8
                Wow, sounds like my situation...

                there are no mobile groomers in my county but me...and frankly, I commute to a more urban area out of county, an hour away. There, I have lots of clients willing to pay the price of mobile grooming without batting an eyelash so to speak. Here in my home area/county? I have maybe a dozen clients, but mostly when a local prospective client calls, the price hits them like a ton of bricks. But then, my area has always been like that, and I started grooming in this area back in the early 80's [salon location]. left and went to AZ for a number of years, moved back but to the urban area for a year, then back here where my kids are. Nothing has changed.

                I've been back in the county now for 2 years mobile, and like I said, maybe a dozen local clients, and only a handful of them are pre-book. My commuter area, I'm pre-booked out on average 3.5 days a week for the rest of the year.

                I did some YP ads the first year in my home county -brought me almost no clients but lots of calls for 'price' choke-choke! I've discontinued those ads. Most of my new clients come directly from my web site, and those are the clients I want. No quibble on price, and will pre-book. I give my all to those clients. I have very little use for the "lets make a deal" client. Maybe I'm just getting cranky in my old age, LOL


                • #9
                  I had the same question last year but I decided to go for it. When I started another shop groomers closed down thier shop and went mobile at around the same time. I don't know them. I have a van, they have trailers. I advertised more than them because I was a brand new groomer. Most people never heard of mobile pet grooming before. Some people didn't care about the price, some still think it is too high. I get used to with people calling to check my price now. My price is about $5 less than what Wagntails suggest as well but it is still $15-$25 higher than the average shops price. People in my town have money to spend but some just don't like to spend it. I don't book a lot of dogs per day because I want to have time to spend with my family. So I average about 4-5 dogs a day and I started to book out about 1-2weeks. I only stay in my town. If I have to go out more than 15 miles, I charge extra travelling fee. A lot of people on the board do not spend money on advertising but I do. I do newspaper ad, which gives me the best result. i will not do phone book ad next year. Not that many people call me from the phone book so I will take my chance on that.


                  • #10
                    Things to assess

                    Please go to and enter your town's name and see the info on it. You mostly want to look at population and average income. It will compare the average income of your town with the average income of the state. If your town is low, I would not want to do mobile there, personally.

                    Sometimes the reason that there is no mobile yet is because others have not seen it as a good "sell". Also, if you have to travel miles and miles - and miles - to get to your clients, your expenses are higher and your paid time is lower. That's bad news.

                    I know of several mobiles where I was in a low-income, basically rural area that had to sell, move, or shut down. One of them was run by a previous shop owner who was so busy that she was going crazy, so she figured she could go mobile and keep a portion of her clients at a higher price and make her money a bit easier. Wrong. She had to leave town to go where there were more people with money!!

                    So beware, be careful, and don't just go on wishful thinking....