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Self Service Dog Wash?

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  • Self Service Dog Wash?

    We are a new business (3 months) and we are trying to find ways to make extra money in this tough economy. We currently have a few retail items and perform full service grooming. We have however had several people ask us if we do "self service" washing. I have worked at a couple of places that did, and it didnt seem to be too big of a hassle, however it has been quite a few years since I have been involved and was wondering if anybody had any suggestions as to how we should price, what we should include etc. Also, are there any other concerns you might have that we should think about?


  • #2
    I worked at a petsomething that did self service. I personally hated it because some people are just plain irritating. Some can't even figure out how to turn the water on and use the sprayer. They use a 1/2 load of towels to dry a lab and leave the place really gross. My favorite was when they would go around the corner and steal stuff out of our own bathing room. We once had someone take the nozzle from the blow dryer with them. Who would need that? It doesn't even make any sense. I would say if you decide to do it make sure it's good and separate from everything else so you can be assured they won't be able to take anything. Also make sure you have way more towels than you need because they always use way too many.

    I forgot about the lady that decided to butcher her dogs toe nails and then blame us because we weren't watching her to make sure she was doing it right..Then who do you think had to go and quick spot all the nails to get them to quit bleeding, and she just left all the blood all over the floor and never offered to clean it up...Sorry, using your thread to vent. I'm done now.


    • #3
      I had a shop with a dogwash. If you have the space, it is a great thing to add to your income. We had a separate room and offered towels, shampoo, brushes, dryer, cologne. Nail clipping was offered by our groomers at an extra charge. No shears, clippers or anything they could potentially injure the dogs with was made available. We had a receptionist who was responsible for getting them set up and cleaning up at the end. There will always be people who do not get their pets groomed but dont want to wash them in their shower at home. Also, when you are so busy you cant take in that last minute bath dog, you can always offer them the option of doing it themselves. Plus, many of those clients will buy their pet a treat or a toy when they are finished. Many of them asked to have their pets nails trimmed. We offered that at a discounted rate with the dogwash. The winter time was the busiest time and I was in a more suburb/rural area.
      Good luck!


      • #4
        I'm with "Goner" on this issue.

        The gal I work with was thinking of doing self-service, then wisely changed her mind. As it is, there is a self-service dog wash set up around the corner at the local car wash. One look at the dog wash area tells you what sort of slobs frequent the dog wash.


        • #5
          I have 3 stalls in my salon for self-bathe. The weekdays are kinda slow but still have our regulars that come during the week to beat the weekend rush. Weekends are really busy and it makes a great add on for my bottom line. We have a front end who takes care of the DIY and they walk first timers through it and are available for questions. It is separate from our grooming and bathing areas. We don't allow any cutting and they can get nails and glands done by us. I have gotten a lot of clients from our DIY and have clients that started using it in between grooms. We price by size, little, med, large, giant and it equals to a little less than half of our in house bathing prices. Sure you will get the ones that use a lot of towels and leave a huge mess but hey that is why they dont want to do it at home right?


          • #6
            At my self-serve, we limited the number of towels to 3-if they needed more, it was a 50cent charge. Many would bring extra towels from home. My receptionist was in charge of keeping it clean and disinfected. Yes, there are some people who leave a mess that you wouldn't believe possible, but most would at least rinse the tub out. Sometimes we could hear them picking up the bath mat for a really good rinse! We got a lot of extra retail sales from these people, and it paid the salary of the receptionist.
            Old groomers never die, they just go at a slower clip.

            Groom on!!!


            • #7
              There's good and bad to everything aspect

              Before I was a groomer I had an Akita and OMGosh what a mess and back breaking to do him at home...I found a wonderful little shop in a near town that offered DIY washing and it was great! When I eventually get a large shop I too will offer self washing. I think its great to have and gets people in your shop that normally would not enter! Possible retail sales and more word of mouth to their friends that may be looking for a full service groomer! Don't let the few slobs stop you from building your business!


              • #8
                isn't that the point...

                That they bath in your faciliy and you clean up the mess... Maybe I should open a do it yourself... I wonder how well that would take off, all on it's own....


                • #9
                  DIY Wash and go

                  We have extra tubs set up at the place that I work. One place only has 1 extra tub while the other has 2. The self washers sometimes do make a mess but the groomers are not responsible for the clean up. The store help is responsible for the clean up and the disinfecting between washes. In one of the places the tubs are set up next to the grooming room and the customers will often "help themselves" to extra towels and sometimes our equipment.
                  We have an extra charge of $1/towel which many will pay for. Some do bring their own as well. We provide lower speed dryers for them to use if they want. No nail clipping is allowed unless it is done by a groomer.

                  We charge $15 per bath.

                  Groomers have 1st preference for tub use. If we need to bathe a dog the DIYs have to wait until we are done.

                  It seems to stay pretty busy especially in the winter and around the holidays.


                  • #10
                    I've been thinking about this for down the road but have some concerns.

                    Mainly about brushing and people bathing mats and making them worse, then blaming you for not helping/stopping them. Do they 'get' that they need to make an appoinment and not decide half way through the bath that maybe paying a groomer would be better and think they can just get it done then? I'm thinking of the people who walk in here quarter to closeing and think ...anyhoo, you get the idea. The talkers, who wont let you work, or "just need to ask a question..." I like the nothing they might harm a dog with allowed, what about dips? Non tearless shampoo etc, etc, etc

                    Is there a thread or site that goes into stting up a self service?

                    Mary <><


                    • #11
                      Pro self-bathing

                      We have a U-bathe-um program at the shop I work at and it seems to work very well. We mostly just have big dog clients that use it labs, goldens and many mixes. We let them use our shampoos our dryers and as many towels as they need but most people only use like 2-3 per dog and even if they do use more we have 3x more towels than we use in one day anyway.

                      We charge anywhere from 10-20 dollars depending on how mucht he dog weighs and the length of coat they have. It only like like 2 min. to show them how to use the hose and dryers plus we ask a few questions to detemine which shampoos to use and tell them if it needs to sit on or something. This is done by whoever is watching the front of the store at the time. Most people dont leave too much of a mess might need to mop up the spills of water and disinfect the tub and table but most people will either hang the towels on the side of the tub or put them in the laundry basket.

                      We only have 2 tubs total so they have to wait until the bathers are done for the day to use the tubs. They also can't come in passed an hour before closing time. Most people that do the U-bathe-um are returning customers and love it. They have to make sure that a groomers is gonna be there if they want the toe-nails done. Its a great way to boost a little income.