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  • Advice for Newbie

    I am currently researching the possibility of starting my own mobile grooming business. I am in the VERY early stages. Still looking at used vans (pricing and comparing), developing ideas, etc. This is actually more of a dream that I want to see if I can make come true within the next year or two. Any advice, do's and don'ts, and things that helped or hurt you that have experience in this business would be so appreciated! Thanks!!

  • #2
    Well, first of all, you have to be an experienced groomer, because there is no one there to help you or to ask questions......and, you had better be a very good groomer since clients are paying at least double to triple the amount that a salon charges. Then you have to decide about location, do you live near large communities that is pet friendly and can support salons and mobile groomers. You also have to take in account how many mobile groomers are within the area you are going to cover. I would talk to them and see if they are still accepting clients or are booked up and could refer some to you. Then you have to review tons of groomer websites, and see what would look good on your site. Purchase a fairly new van, knowing that the older the van, the more repairs you will have. Make sure that your van's logo is cute and memorable......then start advertising.

    good luck

    Happy going mobile

    Dolly's Barking Bubbles, LLC

    www.dollysbarkingbubbles.com


    Good luck

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    • #3
      I agree about the van, buy one who's not older than 5 years! My first was 20 years old, I had a ton of things to repair after 1 year, that was not expensive repair but I had to do them for security and then the younger (and less heavy) the van is the less you use gas!
      If you don't have any experiences to grooming, you should entering a school and then work in a salon until you feel confident about your grooming skills!
      Have a big logo on your van, do visit card with the same colors/logo clients will recognize your van if they see the card first or so.
      Visit all the vets/pet shop to let them visit cards and let them know your area.

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      • #4
        I have completed training and graduated from a grooming school. I have been grooming for two years at a salon and some from my home. Thank you so much for the advice about purchasing a newer van. One question I have is about loans for a van. Since they are so expensive, can anyone tell me if when starting a mobile business can you get a business loan to include the van purchas? Or does the van have to be on an auto loan?

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        • #5
          You could always try house-calls for a while (Grooming inside the client's home) while you get your loans figured out. That way when you get a van, you'll already have clients to groom!

          I'm in Texas, and I've had a really hard time finding anybody who will finance a USED van. Auto loans don't cover the cost of the conversion ( They say "no way a 2008 Ford E250 is worth 50,000! That's crazy!") and business loans will say "well, it's a vehicle, so you should get a vehicle loans instead".

          I'd say if you can finance it (and put up enough collateral), go new and get it with Wag N Tails or Hanvey that does financing. Just keep in mind, your bills will need to get paid, even if you don't have any clients the first few months.
          I would recommend saving for at least 6 months of living expenses and $$ for repairs before doing anything.

          I've been house-call for almost 5 years and while I love it, I am still hoping for a van one day.

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          • #6
            I converted my own van, cost around 15,000$ with a 4 years old van bought at first 12,500$ and almost 2000$ of furniture for conversion into a grooming van (including bathub, and table, not tools) + stickers on the van cost 800$. Over here there were no already converted van, there's one very far and his van cost around 90,000$ he's not even a groomer so I don't even know how they are built!
            If you have a handyman in the family, that's really helpful! My dad did mine I think I could have paid another 1500$ for having a professional doing the whole isolation part, we used expansed polystyrene for isolation which looks like plastic so very easy to clean up.
            I also added a A/C at 1200$, I had it on my last van I just switched it, like the water system, and the bathtub bought with a discount during sales.
            The whole system for having water isn't really expansive neither, you have to found a pump & tanks (bought mine in a caravan shop) 100$ for a pump and another 150$ for the 100L tanks plus water heater (electric one of 30L), and electric part was easy too.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by PamUKfan View Post
              I have completed training and graduated from a grooming school. I have been grooming for two years at a salon and some from my home. Thank you so much for the advice about purchasing a newer van. One question I have is about loans for a van. Since they are so expensive, can anyone tell me if when starting a mobile business can you get a business loan to include the van purchas? Or does the van have to be on an auto loan?

              from what I've seen you have to be in business for 3 years to qualify for a Small Business loan, if you want to build out and buy yourself. My best advice I can give Is to save, save, and when you can, save and save. While you're doing this you want to build clientele. it sounds like you may end up going down the road of financing, so you'll need around 10,000+ for down payment and that steady flow of 50+ dogs a month at least around $50 per dog. there are many ways to go about it, there are people here grooming out of a normal van, and people in top notch trailers. I'm more of a fan of keeping grooming as much of an asset as you can and less of a liability.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by thedoc617 View Post
                I'd say if you can finance it (and put up enough collateral), go new and get it with Wag N Tails or Hanvey that does financing.
                When it comes to their Mercedes products Mercedes finances them.

                UD

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