By Jeff Andrews
Everyone is slow this time of year, and it’s a good time to go through your grooming equipment and shop equipment. This is the calm before the storm—the snowbirds are coming back and usually their pets are a mess, so our equipment has to be ready.
Even though your blades are cutting now, they may give out later. If you can afford it, get all of your 7s and 10s sharpened now. Go through your drawers in the shop and look for blades you may have thrown in for some reason or another. If they are still good, get them sharpened. Start oiling them and washing them in blade wash to keep them cutting longer.
Check every clipper you have for broken cords and worn hinges, and change the blade drive. Check all the screws to make sure they are tight. Now is the time to get them serviced so they don’t quit during a shave down. And don’t try to groom having only one clipper; you need a back-up. The money you lose because you can’t work may buy several clippers.
Same thing. If you can afford it, get them sharpened now. If you start a process of wiping them down and lubing them every night, the edge will last longer. Scissor lube is very important; it lubes the pivot of your shears, and it also protects the screw so it doesn’t start rusting and loosening up all the time. Shears will rust if you don’t wipe them down. You can get scissor lube from any grooming catalog or any beauty supply store.
Dryers need to be cleaned out weekly, sometimes daily. Take the filters out and clean them by blowing them out with a second dryer or washing the filter in warm soapy water and let dry overnight. When too much hair accumulates on the inside of a dryer, the motor over heats and blows the fuse on the switch. Carbons should be changed yearly. I change them every spring whether they need it or not. It’s simple to do if you follow the instructions in the manual.
This is usually a mess when I start on it. First, I gather up all the nooses and get rid of the broken ones. Next, I go through the towels and toss the ones with holes or ones that are all frayed up. Soaps and mixing bottles are next. I get rid of bad mixing bottles that have lost their markings. I combine soaps of the same kind so I can order new supplies. Check the tub for leaks, and make sure the hair filters are good and still able to catch the hair. If you’re using fiberglass tub inserts for a bathing tub, check the bottom of the tub with your fingers and feel for holes caused by the dog’s nails. You can pick up fiberglass patches from a home improvement store. Fix them while they’re small, or you’ll be replacing the tub.
Drawers and Cabinets
If you have any drawers or cabinets in your shop, go through every one and throw out stuff that is broken or unusable. If you have a box of clippers you’re saving for parts, remember that if they sit around in that humid environment for a year or two, they may not run anymore. Moisture will ruin the armature, but cords and body parts should be okay.
Most of us have regular customers that come routinely, so a large card file may be okay. If you have a big shop with multiple groomers, you may want to go through the card file and see if the cards are current. If they haven’t been back in two or more years, you may want to move that card out of your active files. We did that one year and got rid of 300 cards. Some haven’t been back in over five years. A card file does need to be cleaned up once in a while. You can also make cold calls on the cards that are non-active and try to get their business back.
You basically have the same chores to do but on a smaller scale. Vehicle maintenance and generator maintenance are the big concerns for you. Time to get everything checked now before you get real busy.
I just wanted to make everyone aware of some things you can do to get your shop ready for spring and summer. You can use this list again after the kids go back to school this fall to prepare for the Christmas rush. Being proactive with your equipment and shop could prevent surprises and untimely bills.
Hope this can help someone. Be safe, and remember to read those labels.
Jeff Andrews is a World Class Sharpener and owner of Northern Tails Sharpening,
Inc. He is an author and pioneer of many equipment maintenance videos and how-to articles that are appreciated by groomers worldwide at no cost. Jeff is a member of NDGAA, IPG, and NAPCG, and still grooms at his shop in Mobile, AL. 251-232-5353 www.northerntails.com