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how did you get started?

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  • how did you get started?

    I've been thinking of going mobile and was wondering how you got started out, what advertising did you use to get the word out....? we would be starting out with Zero Clients without a number in the phone book untill the new books come out again!

  • #2
    Hi KY, there are many things you can do...

    1. Go to the Dog parks.

    2. Go park your truck in nice subdivisons and groom your own dogs. People will call you quicker if they think that you are doing their neighbors dogs (before long you will be).

    3. Take your truck to Vets that don't have a groomer. Set up a deal where you come and groom their boarding dogs.

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    • #3
      Step one -- RELAX!

      Being a mobile groomer is like printing your own money! You're offering a service people want and need and it seems that even with several of us mobiles working the same general area, there are WAY more people wanting mobile groomers than there are mobile groomers. So they'll find you, don't worry!

      I have never been listed in the phone book and was quickly booked solid, so don't fret too much abut missing the deadline. By the time the book comes out you may even regret being in there as you probably won't need it and it's kind of pricey.

      Get listed on all the Internet search engines you can; list yourself with findagroomer.com. Get yourself a Web page -- it doesn't have to be fancy or have flash animation or be anything more than a glorified brochure (unless you like doing that sort of thing, than have at it!)

      If there are other mobiles in your area get in touch. Introduce yourself, let them know where you want to work, whether or not you do cats, and ask if they can refer people they are unable to accommodate to you. Ask them the same and if you can refer callers to them that you cannot take for one reason or another. There are about a half dozen mobiles in my general area and we do it all the time. Your client list will ebb and flow, you'll find yourself overbooked at times, then maybe a few older dogs pass on, some clients move away, and you need some new blood.

      Stay away from the dog parks unless you want to be grooming big, hairy dirty bath dogs. Nothing wrong with that, they can be good money, but they can be tiring to groom and sure do make a mess in the van!

      Run all your local errands in your van -- it's your bill board!

      Park it for a day off or during the evening rush hour at a strip mall in a neighborhood where you want to be grooming. I just had to drive my van to the gym (next to a PetSomething) because my daughter has my car and when I got back to the van after 40 minutes I had two messages from people wanting to book appointments -- I have nothing available till the end of August unless they want to sit it out on my cancellation list until something opens up.

      Network with the local vets. I park at a vet clinic one day a week and groom there. They book my dogs and I get 80% plus hefty employee discount for up to four of my pets. I'm down to three now, but before my cat had to be put down he would have have run up a $2K bill if it weren't for the discount! Plus it's a day I don't have to worry about and the van gets seen and it's generated a lot of mobile clients, plus let me keep clients who moved out of my area or who's dogs need a second pair of hands to groom. I can tap someone from the clinic if I need to.

      Advertise in the local newspapers. I advertised for my first nine months and haven't run an ad since; been booked at over capacity for some time now.

      Stay away from ValPak ... you get bargain hunters. I ran one at the beginning against advice of others and the clients I got from it were the only clients I got that did not want to get on a regular schedule and who did not rebook with me. EVERY other groom I did became a regular.

      Your best advertising will be word of mouth and once that kicks in you're golden. I have one happy client that brought me six of her neighbors! It's great, they're all on the same schedule and very pleasant to work with. She even explained how I work to them all and got them all trained for me!

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      • #4
        That is how I started and 6 months later, I am busy. Most times I am booked at least a week and a half out. I drove my trailer EVERYWHERE. It is a moving billboard. I put fliers everywhere and it just happened. I also go to every dog function around with my trailer.
        If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!

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