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  • Mobile grooming/Portable Eq/Alternative mobile thoughts

    My mobile business has been great but the gas prices are killing me. Does anyone work out of their regular vehicle with portable wash tubs, water heater and table. If so does this work successfully and what are the pros and cons. I would appreciate any input.

    My 1998 Wag n Tails van is fantastic but I am in the only state in the union that requires the food catering industry to give my vehicle a health permit inspection and they are giving me problems about my grey water disposal.

    They want a letter from wherever I am going to take my bath water stating it is OK to dump it there. I called the waste water people in the city I live who told me I can dump it in my yard to water plants. So when I called back to ask for a letter they called the county and the county told them they can't give me a letter because I may do dogs from out of state that may have vermin on them (HOW RIDICULOUS)

    Also, the home owners association has made me move my van to a location I have to drive to and then go to my clients. They say I can't have a commercial vehicle in my yard. Mind you, I have magnetic signs that I take off the van so there is no advertising or phone numbers. The vehicle has been in my driveway for 9 months and they suddenly decide to make me move it. I now park it at a nice ladies house but I am sure she will tire of this big vehicle in her front parking area eventually.

    I have become frustrated with the entire situation especially the cost of gas I am about to post my van on used mobile equipment for sale.

    What with those road blocks and the gas prices I am trying to look into alternative mobile grooming. Please let me know if anyone works with portable eq at the customers home. Thanks folks.

  • #2
    i think i would get really tired really fast of lugging all the portables to peoples houses to groom their pet. what state do you live in? sounds like a really big hassle. i don't blame you for being frustrated. also, i thought it was no problem to dump the grey water on your lawn. sounds like you irked the wrong person. some people can really make your life a pain.when i lived in NJ., i was in a lake community. i didn't know i bought the house right next door to the v.p. of the lake assoc.......big mistake!

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    • #3
      Ask Aarooh

      Pm Aarooh. She is at a dog show this weekend but she will get back to you and tell you how she does it. If you really don't want your van, maybe hairdevil would. I understand about HOAs. I had my first van in driveway at 8 unit condo. My mom & I were owners too and she was the manager cuz no one else wanted the job. Day after she retired and came home form hospital after mini stroke and colon cancer surgery, of an 87yr old lady! They post a sign warning no vehicles allowed in driveway! I tought she would have another stroke she was soooo angry! She made them take the sign down. Soon we decided to move to Arizona. They thought we were kidding! Haha We put a color real estate pic and info of our beautiful bigger new house by the mailboxes announcing our move to our new AZ home. Buh-bye. I am lucky no HOA here. I can't move til I sell my van. Everyone now is HOAs. When my mom was manager and I had two vans, one for sale, I parked them both in community driveway and no one said Bo til she retired. Everyone there were seniors, I was the baby at age 54. We had a garage for cars, van didn't fit of course. No one used the driveway much...just liked to complain. Soooo glad we moved to our own house. That was July and we were gone before Oct 17th moved in here.Rambling...sorry. HOAs can be rediculous and county rules vermin? Please!!!! One neighbor said he was afraid my dogs would give him rabies!!!! yea it carries thru the air!!!! watch out, her it comes now!!!! Jax drooled on your door knob. Had to show proof of his shots.

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      • #4
        For 8 months I groomed out of my Toyota Solara, Lugged everything into their house and used their bathtub to wash the dogs. It got really hard on my knees after a while. Also you never know where they are going to allow you to set-up your equipment. Sometimes I was in the kitchen, the garage, one time I was in a laundry room with only the width of the table to work in.
        Got old really fast. Then you practically had to clean their house for them after you were done. I put drop cloths on the floor under the table but hair still blows around alot.
        When we moved our first request was a house with no HOA and an RV slab for the rig. I then had a garage built so the van is tucked away every night.
        I dump my grey water at a free RV dump station (also a car wash). I did not want any problems with my area regarding dumping.

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        • #5
          I would start by re-evaluating your rates. I tow a trailer and have to store it at an RV storage facility. It is 15 mins from my house. It has a grey water dump station and I can refill my fresh tank there for free. I use a lot of gas between the Onan and my Titan, but the clients pay for it. I eventually want a van/inverter system, but this is what we have to work with for now. I am in AZ and the food handling board is who I had to get a permit through here, too. I feel for you! I started out as a housecall groomer, and it was a pain in the butt. I wouldn't do it again unless I had no other way, but it can be done.

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          • #6
            Can't you dump at an RV place or a car wash? I am so glad no one gives a **** here.
            If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!

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            • #7
              Gas prices shouldn't be killing you. Even with gas at this high point, and driving a WagnTails with a generator running, I put about $100 a week of gas into the tank and gross over $2K per week. I drive about 100-130 miles per week over the course of my grooming week. Gas is a very small percentage of my monthly expenses. Are you driving too far? Is your route efficient? Are you charging enough for your grooms?

              As far as dumping your grey water, it's comparable to washing a car in your driveway. But if the rules in your area are unreasonable you may just have to be sneaky and do your dumping after dark.

              But do be sure to go over your grooming prices and your expenses. And try pulling your route in close; if you live in a relatively densely populated area try pulling in as close as 6 miles. That should improve your bottom line quite a bit.

              Meesh

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              • #8
                Dixie, I'm not mobile, I have my own shop. After reading your post, I can see why you're so frustrated. Instead of having one issue to resolve, you're dealing with several.

                I've never done grooming in someone's home, but once I went to a client's house to show her how to deal with her little dog's chronic anal gland problem. She was a neighbor/friend, elderly (now deceased), and I just wanted to help her out. While there, I realized that I could NEVER groom in someone's home. kneeling on her bathroom floor, dealing with her bath mat, shower curtain, figuring out her hot/cold faucet system, personal stuff had to be moved then put back. It was just too much hassle all around. After all that, of course, she was unable to master the "technique" and had to bring the dog to me regurlarly just to have the anals expressed.

                I also would have trouble with the equipment transportation. Again, too much hassle. I used to teach cake decorating, just hauling my mixer and other tools around was one of the reasons I stopped.

                I know I sound discouraging, but I wanted to point out some pitfalls before you decide to try this route. I'd hate to have you give up the mobile unit because of the hassles only to find home grooming just as frustrating. If you can't find satisfactory solutions to the mobile situation, would you consider owning your own business at a vet hosp. or similar location? Because you're a mobiler, I assume you like to work alone and run your own show. If that's true then you're like me. Maybe you could rent a parking space somewhere to keep your van and work out of that location...have the clients come to you. Just tossing out a few thoughts.

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                • #9
                  Thank You

                  Thanks for the input folks. You have some great suggestions. As far as selling the van, the add is already in progress. Working part time at Mobile Grooming will only have me break even. Like I have said in other posts I am retired, I don't want to work weekends or fulltime 5 days a week. As a Cop I worked graveyard, 2nd shift and weekends most of my 21 years. I love the grooming but I want it to be somewhat, mind you again I say somewhat, stress free. The dogs have been great but the van has poxed the situation. The right road will come to me whether it be petsitting, petgrooming back at a salon parttime or in house grooming. Heck, maybe later I will buy a small itsy bitsy trailer with a tub. I have even thought of doing dog walking all day I need to shed 40 lbs.
                  Thanks for your replies folks!

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