So You’re Thinking About Adding a Second Mobile Unit

A classic mobile grooming article from the archive of

by Dina Perry, Wag’n Tails Mobile Grooming Conversions
© 2001 Dina Perry – Wag’n Tails Mobile Conversions All Rights Reserved
Published here with the permission of the author.

This is a sure sign of success. Usually the statement is made to me when you are so busy you can’t see straight. You’ve taken every client you can and have fired all the ones you don’t want. What to do? First, if you’re that busy make sure your prices are high enough. Raise your price and sit back and select your clients. Choose customers who are scheduled every 4 weeks or less. Get rid of the biters! Now life is good.

This is the point a lot of you are at after a few years, some in a few months, and the new clients are still calling. If you seriously want to start a fleet, or just a second van you need to remember just how hard good groomers are to find. Why did you go out on your own? Money, freedom, security? This is what you will need to provide to a qualified groomer to find and keep them. If your prices are low, they can’t make a great income. So check that out first.

You can easily give a mobile groomer 60%, of the grooming charge, if you have a service charge you keep along with your 40% of the grooming charge. This could never be done in a salon. Think about it. The groomer makes 60%, at least 10% more than a salon, and hopefully the price is a good 10 to 20 percent higher in the mobile for grooming. After all, in a mobile the pet gets one on one service. The very best should cost more than the assembly line. Make sure you give a groomer benefits if they need them. Most HMO’s cost around $100.00 to $150.00 a month for a single person under 35. It’s well worth the cost and will help keep good people. Be flexible on days and hours. Remember that’s one of the reasons you aren’t working for someone else. Do make sure they understand appointments are made and never canceled. Nothing loses a client faster then a cancellation.

Lynn Edwards, a client of ours from New York State had great idea. She had been in business less than a year and she was swamped. She said at least half of her clients were B&B’s. Goldens, Shelties, Yorkies, labs, and etc. She could teach a person to B&B (Brush and Bath) in a few weeks. If they quit and she had two payments it would only take a short time to find and train a new Bather. Good Thinking Lynn! If you have a groomer out there and they quit. Ouch!! It could take months to find someone qualified.

The best idea for multiple units is to have your first unit paid for or to know the person you hire is not going to leave. Many of my clients are now family businesses. The money is great, the job a breeze with only the best clients on the books, and your spouse or mate is looking at you with envy in their eyes. A daughter or son is thinking this looks pretty good to them. These people don’t leave without notice.

A young man from California once called inquiring about a new van to replace his aging one. He told me he worked very hard for five weeks and took the sixth one off. He always had time for the “honey do” list his wife had saved for him, or a 10 day vacation. This young man had thought out his life. He had found the best of the job, flexibility and freedom. Smart guy.

If you don’t have a person you know well to fill a second van than maybe the best bet is to pay off your first one and then get the second. Cori, a young client from Michigan told me she was 3 payments ahead. I was extremely proud of her. Make double payments and in no time you can have a second van. If the groomer quits and it takes a few months to fill the spot with the right person. No sweat, you can make one payment very easily.

When writing this I am assuming the person reading it is not able to invest $50,000.00 into a new van in cash. If that were the case, the suggestions would be quite different. A fleet of mobiles is a very profitable enterprise when well run  To summarize:

Make sure you are charging enough to provide you and a groomer with a good profit.
Think about the B&B’er van.
Pay off your first van making double payments, then breathe easy with only 1 payment.
Look for people you know and trust to fit into your business.
Pay them well, find out what they expect from the job, and provide it.