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  • new member and getting started!

    Hi Everybody!

    I am new to the forum and SUPER excited about this business/lifestyle. I am currently doing research on vehicles (mostly vans) that i want to convert for mobile grooming. I am in a location that doesnt have this service. The closest provider is over an hour away! Pretty basic questions i am sure but need them to get started.

    1) What type of van do you recommend? I have seen Ford E-350's (box style) and think those would be easiest to work with
    2) What should I expect to put into the vehicle to get it ready? recommendations on items, products, baths, tanks EVERYTHING is welcome
    3) How long did it take you to get your business flowing? How many of your customers are repeaters?
    4) Is grooming a requirement? I dont have grooming requirement but can clean a dog VERY well (i have 3 to practice on every other week!)
    5) Do you do ALL the washing and grooming yourself or do you have employees to help?


  • #2
    I worked mobile for a while and am currently saving up to go mobile myself, but I'll try to answer as many questions as I can

    1) I absolutely HATED the Aussie vans, from what I've researched and tried I love the Wagntails vans.
    2) This list is potentially HUGE. has free 'shopping lists' that could help you get a general idea, and there are a lot of threads on product preferences.
    3) Since I worked for someone else, I can't give you the exact numbers but I will say the franchise I was with started with 1 van/1 groomer and after 18 months had enough business for 3 vans/3 fulltime groomers. I had a rebook rate of 70-85% and by August I had my schedule booked through the end of the year.
    4) I'm not sure how successful your business would be if you were bath you have any grooming training? Is school or an apprenticeship a possibility for you?
    5) As mobile, most groomers are 'one-man-shows,' they do everything themselves. Most vans aren't really roomy enough to have two people working, and unless you are doing a lot of multi-dog households, you'll only have one dog at a time. When I worked for a franchise, they did hire someone to do all the phone calls (she was the "dispatcher") but I wasn't planning on hiring an employee at all when I go mobile myself. Some people hire someone to use the van on their days off, or even hire someone to run a second van but it has its pros and cons.


    • #3
      Welcome to the board. There's tons of great info here for you. If you look in the Mobile Groomer section, you will find answers to many of your questions. Good luck in your new venture.
      "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go." ~Dr. Seuss


      • #4
        We went with a high top camper van (fiberglass top). We got it cheap because the windows had leaked so it was moldy. We too pictures of the lay out, ripped it all out & built in the grooming stuff in the same lay out the camper had been layed out. We were able to keep the grey tank which was under the van, the propane furnice, propane hotwater tank, water tank & bench seat which hid the water tank. We had to redo all the water plumbing with pex pipe to help so it doesn't break when frozen. I do it all, I have no room in my rig for an employee.

        I know of a mobile in my state that does mostly bath dogs. She does know how to groom but prefers to do mostly bath dogs. She loves doing the really big dogs. So it can be done. I know in my area the demand is for grooms, very rarely do I get just baths. The owners would rather do it themselves then pay to have a lab or chi bathed around here. I am starting to get calls to get Lab's, Aussies, Golden's etc shaved. So far no one has booked with this week calls for this. I do have one elderly lady that has me doing her Boston for bath every 4wks, that is my only reg short haired bath dog.

        The Soapy Puppy


        • #5
          I think, I have done it all so far. I've worked for a corp store, a vet, private salons and now I have my own mobile.
          Area is going to really make a difference. If I ONLY did bath dogs I would never be able to make my business work. 95% of my dogs are haircuts, full haircuts. My employee has more bath dogs than I do, but still not enough to keep a business afloat. I rarely get calls for bath dogs. I think around here a lot of people with the little short haired dogs do them at home. Plus there are a lot of self service places and a salon that has bath dog days for less than $10, any size dog.
          Before putting all this money into converting a van I would seriously consider looking into becoming trained as a full fledged groomer. There is so much that goes into what we do. I never want to discourage anyone from following a dream, but I would hate for you to put a ton of money into a vehicle and then not have a successful business.
          I have a Ford E350 extended van with a fiberglass high top. Inside I have two 35 gallon tanks, a human bath tub that is raised up on a frame, hydraulic table, and I run on shore line power. The floor is sheet vinyl. It's not fancy, but it works. Mine is an old gal. I am in the process of converting an E450 shuttle bus. This one will have 50 gallon tanks, roof top air, 8000 watt gene, rhino lining floor, hydraulic tub and table and even a doggy elevator (wheelcahir lift that's converted). A lot goes into a conversion. I am no electrician or carpenter, so I asked a friend who I knew could do it and he's taken on the challenge.

          I have pics of my current van on my website
          Last edited by mylady; 04-09-10, 11:17 AM. Reason: I put I was going to have an inverter and I'm not-major brain hiccup there
          What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.


          • #6
            you all ROCK!!

            Thank you everyone for the recommendations! I am looking into books on grooming but I am having a hard time finding a place for formal training on this. Any recommendations? Is there a webpage I can use to find locations?

            I really like the shuttle bus idea. I have a few links for vehicles for sale for not too much, but I wont even go into that unless i get this grooming thing figured out.

            Ill look for those listings on items needed for a vehicle.

            THANKS AGAIN!!


            • #7
              recommended grooming books

              So far i am not finding a grooming school near me. I have see a lot on grooming books/dvd's for home based teaching but what do you all recommend?

              Also, might be a random question but do you think there is a trust issue with men doing grooming and not women? Wouldnt let something like this stop me from my passion but just curious

              Stephen: Be sure to take a look at the TALK forum here dedicated to books and dvds, tons of comments in there.


              • #8
                I have met a couple male groomers & they do pretty good. Being mobile you might run into women dog owners that might be nervous about a male groomer, don't know. As far as dogs I have about a handful of dogs that are super happy to see me the groomer. The rest the owners have to catch them & hand them over, most run & hide from the groomer. Since I am women I haven't run into an issue with dog not liking me because of that. Today I did my reg Maltese / Pom mix, she met me in her driveway at 8am barking her yappy head at me, wouldn't let me touch her. Owner had to pick her up & hand her to me. Owner was trying to tell the dog to be quiet, I bet her 10neighbors are real happy with her today lol.

                I am picky on who I groom. I have enough stress in my life that I don't need any bitters or unpredictable snappers that come unglued at different things, I have let my last stressful dog go. This is my 3rd yr mobile & am gaining so many new clients that letting one go isn't bad.

                It does help to know what area you are in so we might be able to help find something near you. I didn't do school. I found a cocker spaniel breeder that was in need of help with kennel cleaning & grooming so she helped teach me how to groom. After almost 2yrs there I got married & found a shop that was willing to help me with the fine tuning of other breed clips & pet trims. I worked in 3-4 other places before I went mobile. Each place I learned a little more. I'm coming up on 12yrs of grooming.

                The Soapy Puppy