Is It Time Time to Take the Show on the Road?
By Jonathan David
We live in ever–changing times. And as technology has advanced, the habits and preferences of people and the way we live our lives day–to–day has changed. We’ve become a society that is shifting from going to places that provide a service to having places that provide a service come to us.
ust about every industry that sells something or provides a service has either added or completely shifted their business model to delivery and house–call services—and the grooming industry is not in exclusion from this growing trend.
But why should you consider adding mobile to your existing business—or going mobile all together?
With such a shift towards home delivery services and with a changing retail landscape after COVID–19, the mobile grooming industry is in many ways the future of grooming. However, there are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about starting a mobile grooming business or adding a mobile van to your existing salon location.
First, you should explore how many mobile groomers are operating in your area and make sure there’s a demand for it. In higher population areas, multiple mobile businesses can thrive, but in more rural areas it can be a bit harder to acquire clients that already have a long–standing relationship with their current mobile groomer. The good news is that there are so many pets that are getting groomed regularly, there is still a high demand for mobile groomers, even in some of the smaller population areas.
Next, you should consider the costs to operate your mobile business compared to the prices that mobile groomers are charging in your area. Mobile pricing can vary greatly from city to city, and even business to business, so you should develop a strong business plan and account for all costs associated with the payment, maintenance, advertisement and supplies for your mobile business—and of course a salary that you’re happy with. Compare that to the pricing in your area and what you feel your services are worth and set your pricing. Once you’ve got that squared away, you now figure out how many dogs you need to do per week at the price you’ve set. In most areas, you’ll find that mobile grooming is a profitable venture and in high demand.
Now that you’ve done your research on the costs and pricing, and you’ve decided that mobile grooming would be a smart and lucrative venture for you, you need to explore the options available for buying a mobile grooming van. There are several companies that manufacture mobile grooming van conversions and some that manufacture mobile grooming trailers. There are various features, upgrades, sizes and power sources available with the varying models and brands. I encourage anyone considering the purchase of a mobile van or trailer to explore the models, features and options that the various companies offer, and how they match the needs of your mobile business venture. The various companies offer financing options, and there are also previously owned vans available through private sales or dealers.
So you’ve crunched the numbers, secured the funding and you’re ready to purchase your mobile van or trailer. Now you need to get creative and brand yourself. When you created your business plan, you should have already decided on a name for your mobile grooming business and decided on the pricing for your services. You should have chosen the area you plan to service, and now you should think about advertising.
In today’s world, a website is an absolute must for any business. There are many low–cost, easy–to–use website templates available online where you can create a website that will advertise your services and give you exposure to new customers.
A great way to sell your services is to create a “feeling” that goes along with the service. What I mean by this is, rather than simply listing services as a very generic list with limited information, create a list of services that sound inviting and interesting. For example, in my business, we offer three tiers of service: a bath and basics, a bath and tidy, or a full groom. Although that is, in fact, exactly what they are, we jazz it up a bit to give a feeling along with the service.
Our Services Are Listed Like This:
Aqua Spa Bath: A relaxing bath using our mild, hydrating shampoos and conditioners to revitalize the skin and coat. Included in the session: nails trimmed, ears plucked and cleaned, sanitary cleaning and anal glands expressed. Afterwards, your pet is fluffed dry, brushed and combed, which completes the process. Each dog is finished with your choice of either a bow or bandana.
Deluxe Mini Groom: This maintenance session begins with all the features in the Aqua Spa Bath but then includes sanitary cleaning and a trim of your dog’s face, feet and any loose hairs from the prior trim. The Deluxe Mini Groom will help to prolong your pet’s Elite Full-Body Groom. Also perfect for the long, full-coated dog.
Elite Full-Body Groom: The Full-Body spa session starts with the features of the Aqua Spa Bath and concludes with a hand-scissored cut over the entire body is customized to your specific needs. We also provide additional services separately or as add-ons to the spa sessions that include Brush Outs, De-Matting, De-Shedding, Flea & Tick Baths, Teeth Brushing, Hot Oil Deep Conditioning Treatments, PlaqClnz Dental Treatments and Nail Trimming and Polishing.
As you can see, we’ve created a more spa–like experience for pets and we want to feature those keys elements in our advertising of our services. It makes each service more inviting and it leaves the customer with a pleasant feeling about the experience their pet will have.
And when it comes to grooming pets, peace of mind is very important to pet owners.
Another fun way to sell your services is having a page on your website that shows before and after photos of your work. It’s a great way to showcase your skills and let your customers see for themselves that you’re capable of providing a quality service that goes along with your branding.
Marketing campaigns to let customers know that you’re in business and now offering mobile services is also a must for a mobile grooming business. While marketing through social media ads and direct mailings is a great way to get the word out, sometimes you have to be a bit creative with advertising.
Parking in busy shopping centers while having lunch or reviewing your schedule between appointments is a great (and free!) way to advertise your mobile grooming business as well. Make sure your graphics are clear with an easy–to–read phone number.
Magnetic business cards stuck to the outside of the van are also an easy way to reach customers while parked. Potential customers can simply take one off the van if you’re not there to speak with them.
If your town does street fairs or pet–related community events, those are excellent opportunities to take a space with the van parked and open. Invite people in to see your mobile salon and they can meet you face–to–face in advance. With a little creativity, you can advertise your business at a fairly low cost, and the rest is word–of–mouth.
In this ever–changing world of convenience and service, mobile grooming is an industry that is sure to continue to grow. If you’re ready to be an entrepreneur and be your own boss, or grow your existing business, now may be a better time than ever. ✂️