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How to Start a Mobile Pet Grooming Business

I would first like to mention that it is simply not enough to be an animal lover if your thinking about a career as a pet groomer. It takes a great deal of patience and the willingness to master your craft.

Some Groomers go mobile after being stationary in a salon/shop. Going mobile offers more freedom. The ability to set your own schedule. A person can actually groom less pets and make the same amount or even more money than what they make in a shop. You can charge more because this is a premium service.

Mobile Grooming is just what it sounds like. It can take place in a van, motorhome, trailer, etc. Service takes place in the customers driveway or curb. It is outfitted in such a way so as to completely groom most any dog or cat. Some mobile groomers groom in-house but that is different from what I am writing about today.

There are a lot of benefits to both the animal and owner. It saves time and money going back and forth to the groomer. The owner can actually be absent from home. In some cases, it can actually cost just about the same as going to the grooming salon.

There are many benefits to the animal as well. It lessens anxiety for the animal. The dog or cat can be groomed faster than in a shop. The pet gets one-on-one personal care.

You can buy a new or used van or trailer equipped for grooming. You can also, convert a vehicle. I have seen motorhomes converted, even an ambulance turned into a grooming mobile.

When you buy used especially, in this industry, you do not always know what you are getting. There may be problems with plumbing, electrical not wired properly, moldy sub-flooring.

Not only may there be problems with the vehicle itself but the equipment as well. There are dryers, hydraulic tables, vacuum system, etc. to take into consideration. When a vehicle is customized by an outside vendor. There is no such law, as a “lemon Law”. So, buyer beware!

I personally bought my van new through a manufacturer that only builds mobile grooming vehicles. I got an SBA loan. to make my down payment. I was lucky enough to receive financing as well. I was able to purchase all of my necessary tools, accessories, etc. and still have capital to keep me going.

Some of the advantages of going mobile are no commercial real estate, minimal capital investment, no inventory, high client retention, low advertising costs, vehicle is a tangible asset to the business.

The basic expenses are as follows: vehicle and generator fuel, vehicle & business insurance, van or trailer payment, supplies, maintenance (oil changes, tires, etc), Phone (business line or cell).

There is currently not any state requirement for being a Pet Groomer. I personally believe we should have something like this in place. If you are not already a Professional Pet Groomer, you will need some schooling. There are a few ways to go about this.

There are quite a few good schools around the U.S., Canada and Europe. I feel this is really the best way to go if you have the ability to do so. You get hands on practical experience and your learning curve will be much higher. The big plus here, is that you will have an instructor to critique your work.

If you do not have any school’s in your area or you cannot leave due to other circumstances, there are a few good schools available online. This is how I went about it. I could not just up and leave as I had to work at my current job. You can learn at your own pace and how your schedule permits. Make sure your online school offers support and maybe a forum to voice your questions.

Another option, is to call on some different grooming salons to see if they are in need of bathers. This is a person that bathes and brushes the pets. This is an important step in the grooming process. This will at least get you in. Maybe, you could work your way up. You will quickly discover whether this career is right for you or not.

Volunteer at your local animal shelter. This will get you working with different breeds and to become comfortable with unfamiliar animals. Shelters have grooming departments so this is a perfect place to begin! Offer neighbors, friends, family, etc. a free groom for the family pet to get hands on experience.

When going mobile you will need to schedule a route. You do not want to be at one end of town one minute and then have to be on the other side the next. Schedule yourself so your appointments are close together. In the beginning, you will want to take everything that comes your way. Just schedule yourself so clients are somewhat close together.

Pricing will depend upon what part of the country you work in. The cost of living is higher in some states than in others. You could charge by the hour. For example $45.00-$55.00 is not unreasonable. Plus, a service/convenience fee of say $15.00-$25.00. You could also go by a flat rate, rate by size of the dog or by the number of dogs. Some mobile groomers charge an extra service fee after the third dog in a multiple pet household. You can have add on services such as, teeth brushing, facials, nails polished, etc. Learn canine massage and add this on. You can retail products as well out of your vehicle.

So, in conclusion, if you are interested in Mobile Grooming, as a career:

*Check out the different manufacturers out there. There are websites that list new and used grooming vehicles for sale. Some of them offer good incentives to purchase a new vehicle.

*If you are not already a Groomer, get your grooming degree or learn in a shop.

*Volunteer at your local animal shelter. Become familiar with unfamiliar animals.

*Offer your services free of charge to friends and family when just starting out.

*Secure a loan if need to. You will need working capital while starting out.

*Be sure you have business registered and you have all necessary licenses.

*Think about how you want to price your services. This may take a little trial and error.

*Decide on a route. Maybe, you will only want to work one particular side of your town.

Most importantly, have fun! If you truly enjoy what you do. You will never have to work a day in your life.

Good Luck!

Source: Internet

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