By Amy Slav
What does a successful mobile groomer look like? A successful mobile groomer is someone who has a plan, knows their worth and sets their prices accordingly, gives their clients the best service, works smarter (not harder) when it comes to routing and scheduling, maintains a professional image, and always looks for ways to improve.
That might sound like a lot, but don’t be overwhelmed! We’ve outlined the 7 Keys to Success that will help you become a successful mobile groomer and business owner.
1 Pricing: Pricing too low is the most common and biggest mistake mobile groomers can make. Your price determines the type of customer you attract—and you want a more affluent client who most likely humanizes their pets and is more than happy to pay a premium price for premium service.
Industry statistics show the average hourly rate for a mobile groomer in the U.S. is $76.25, with some regions averaging up to $90 per hour. Instead of pricing by breed, price the groom by the hour.
To figure out an hourly rate, use this simple formula to set your ballpark hourly rate which should also be the minimum you would ever charge. Determine your monthly overhead costs (van payments, salary, debt, etc.) and divide that by the number of pets you plan to groom in a month. That total will be your hourly rate and minimum charge per groom.
The price you quote should be based on how long it will take you to groom the pet at your hourly rate. Do not communicate this to the customer; simply use it as a guide to quote your price. It’s also best to quote a range in case the pet takes longer, is difficult to groom or in worse condition than the owner described.
2 Sell Your Benefits: Another mistake mobile groomers can make is to quote a price before stating the unique benefits of their service. Remember, you are a professional and skilled groomer providing a convenient and stress–free service for the customer and pet.
When a client knows everything you do for their pet, the price is usually less of an issue. If your prices are too high for them, they probably aren’t meant to be a mobile customer. Do not lower your price. Not everyone is meant to be a mobile grooming client. There are plenty of other clients that will value your service and be happy to pay your price.
3 Scheduling: Choose your service area wisely. Do not service an area too large. 5–10 miles is an average radius for most mobiles to travel in a metropolitan area. If you are in a more rural area, your service area will vary.
When scheduling clients, make sure you focus on specific areas or neighborhoods on certain days. Efficient scheduling will minimize the amount of time spent driving between appointments and lower fuel costs.
Never give the client an exact appointment time. We suggest scheduling a 2–hour arrival window. You don’t always have control over the weather, traffic or if another pet takes longer than expected. Make sure you also have multiple ways to contact your clients. It’s important to communicate if you are running late, early or have an emergency. A simple call or text can make a huge difference in certain situations.
4 Rebooks & Reminders: Your main scheduling goal should be to set up as many clients as you can on a 2, 4 or 6–week schedule. Getting rebooks is extremely important if you want to be successful.
When you have finished the pet and are ready to head back inside, always have an appointment card ready to give the pet parents. It should have the date and time you think the pet should be groomed next. If that date doesn’t work, have your schedule ready to arrange another option. Never leave without giving the client an appointment, if possible.
Ideally, you should try to book at least three appointments ahead. Make sure your clients understand that you get booked up quickly and are even busier during holidays.
It’s equally important to remind your clients of their upcoming appointments to make sure they remember you are coming and prevent no-shows from happening. Email, calling and texting are the most popular ways to remind and confirm appointments. Many groomers send an appointment reminder anywhere from 1 week to 24 hours before the appointment. Make sure you mention your 24–hour cancelation policy if you have one. No–shows and last-minute cancelations equal lost revenue and wasted time.
5 Professional Image: It’s essential to have a name, logo and branding that reflect your business and services accurately. The graphics on your vehicle are your best advertising. Make sure they are professional looking, easy to read, explain what you do and how to contact you. Make sure your website, social media and other forms of advertising all follow the same branding guidelines as well.
It’s also equally important to maintain a professional appearance and keep your mobile salon clean. Many groomers have uniforms that are color–coordinated with their van or branded clothing. Your clients are paying for a premium service and expect the best. A dirty vehicle or salon or unprofessional groomer could create a negative perception of your business. Remember, the first impression people have of your business is extremely important.
6 Maintenance: Properly maintaining your vehicle, equipment and grooming tools is a necessity for your business. Make sure you follow the recommended maintenance schedules for your vehicle and equipment and keep things clean. It’s also important that you schedule some vacation time for yourself and pay attention to any aches and pains you might have. Good physical and mental health are vital parts of being a successful groomer and business owner. Remember, you started this business because you love pets and grooming—don’t lose your passion!
7 Continue Your Education: A great way to stay motivated and inspired is to attend grooming shows and connect with other groomers. Many shows offer grooming competitions, educational seminars and training on grooming techniques, mobile grooming, business advice and new products. There are also many resources online for groomers and Facebook groups.
If you work smart, promote your business and give your clients the best service possible, you will soon be saying, “I’m sorry, but I’m not accepting new clients at this time.” ✂️
Amy Slav is the Marketing Manager for Wag’n Tails Mobile Conversions. Wag’n Tails is the industry leader in grooming van, bus and trailer conversions with over 3,300 units operating across the country. They are a family-owned company with nearly 50 years of experience in the mobile pet grooming industry and have helped thousands of groomers start their mobile businesses. For more information, visit www.wagntails.com or call toll free to 800-513-0304.