How to Be Prepared for Mobile Vehicle Repairs

By Mary Oquendo

As groomers, it’s been drilled into us to have spares of our equipment—spare blades, clippers, and don’t get me started on the number of spare scissors I own. But as mobile groomers, that list grows. There is nothing worse than having to reschedule a day or three over a simple fix just because we don’t have what we need on hand.

Many of these items can be sourced at a local RV, electrical, hardware, or plumbing supply business, or from the manufacturer of the mobile grooming vehicle. Providing, of course, it is in stock and doesn’t have to be ordered. So, in addition to spare grooming equipment, mobile groomers need the following extra equipment:

Fresh water pump

It always seems to go on the coldest day of the year with a large soapy dog in the tub. It is super easy to replace. Self-priming pumps are best so as to not have an issue getting the water to flow after the new installation because it became air bound. Water pumps come in a variety of sizes, as well as PSI or GPM. PSI is pounds per square inch and GPM is gallons per minute. It refers to how fast and hard the water comes out of the pump. The screws to install the pump to the wall are found in different areas for different pumps. Having a spare of the exact same pump you already have makes installation much simpler. If the screw holes are different, then you will need to drill new holes in the wall to accommodate the pump.

Recirculating pump

While we can finish up any pet by washing by hand, it takes longer and uses significantly more product. It’s a quick swap out providing you have the spare in the vehicle.

Duct, electrical, & plumbing tape

I don’t believe there is anything duct tape can’t make a temporary fix with so you can get through the rest of the day. Use electrical tape to prevent shock, shorts, and electrocution (ouch) due to cuts or slices in cords. And use plumbing tape around all water connections to prevent leaks.

All in one screw & nut driver, multi–tool with pliers, scissors & blades

Multi tools are basically Swiss army knives on steroids. These two tools are practically an entire tool box unto themselves.

Hose clamps & washers in the correct sizes

Most water leaks are due to worn connections.

Drain pump

Some tubs need them. The drain lines are not gravity fed and the only way to drain such a tub is with a working drain pump.

GFI outlets

Ground Fault Interrupter outlets will shut off (pop) if they get wet. They don’t last forever. If they pop on a regular basis, they need to be replaced.

Circuit breakers

Note where all your circuit breakers are. Some vehicles have more than others. Some are located on or near the generator and invertors. Others are sprinkled throughout the vehicle on boards and large plugs. My rule for them is that once a circuit breaker pops, I get the replacement. Like GFI outlets, if they pop on a regular basis, it needs replacing.

Dryer

Most of the time a dryer does not work because it tripped a circuit breaker. The second reason is because the brushes need to be replaced. While it’s best to have a spare of the dryer you are currently using, having a smaller dryer will still dry the pets even if it takes a bit longer.

Outside rated, heavy duty, waterproof electrical cord

You may need this in order to keep working if the generator or invertor is acting up. Keep in mind that not every household has an outlet with enough spare juice to run everything we would like to.

Vehicle key

Keep a spare in your pocket or around your neck for when you lock yourself out of the vehicle. That’s not an “if” by the way, but a “when”.

$20

You may need it for when you forget your pocketbook/wallet and need gas or something to eat. I keep mine in the envelope with the registration, insurance card, copy of driver’s license, and any important business information.

Extra phone charging cord

Our phones can be the lifeblood of our business. We use them as GPS, texting ahead to a client, setting up the schedule in between appointments, or accessing client information from our files. A dead battery can stop us in our tracks.

Other

Anything that breaks on a regular basis particular to your vehicle.

Many repairs to the grooming part of your vehicle are quick and easy if you have the spares with you and a nominal tool kit. Replacing a fresh water pump, for example, could take you 15 minutes as opposed to driving home or worse, trying to find an open RV store and rescheduling the day. Take that one step further and the RV store now has to order a water pump because it’s out of stock. Being prepared will go a long way to prevent irritated clients and lost income. ✂