Category Archives: Photo’s

Starting a Mobile Dog Grooming Business


Many newly qualified dog groomers are attracted to the Mobile Dog Grooming business.  As a new business set-up the advantages are obvious; no premises to secure, no long term lease (and rent) commitments, lower overheads, greater location flexibility, etc. etc.  There is even the opportunity to have all the business set-up work done for you by taking one of the franchises for mobile grooming.

From your customer’s perspective there is the convenience of having the dog groomer attend at their home.  Many people find this less stressful for both the dog and themselves as there is no traveling involved, no traffic, parking, leaving their dog behind, etc. etc.  A mobile dog grooming service is invaluable for any pet owners who are housebound or have mobility difficulties.

Estimates show that there are almost seven million dogs in the UK, with over 85% of owners stating that their pets are for companionship.

The mobile dog grooming business has been around for a long time, but has seen a noticeable increase in popularity in recent years, as our lifestyles have changed.  More and more dog owners have a busy life, giving a greater inconvenience in visiting the dog grooming salon to drop off and collect their dogs within normal opening times.  Obviously, many dog owners simply enjoy the convenience of having the groomer visit their home. Some owners prefer to have the dog groomer visit their home as they find their dog is much calmer and happier about the grooming experience and is out of their home for a much shorter period of time.

There are still many towns that don’t have sufficient coverage from good quality mobile dog groomers and you should research your market and potential operating area thoroughly when formulating your plans.  Even in locations that already have mobile grooming services operating, there is always room for one more!

Whether you’re at the stage where you’re just interested in the possibility of taking a course in dog grooming to enter the dog grooming business, a recently trained dog groomer or a professional groomer looking to branch out on your own, here’s ten good reasons for considering a mobile dog grooming business:

 

  1. You get to know your customers better on a one-to-one basis.  You will have time to get to know their wants and desires for their individual dog.
  2. Higher fees are chargeable.  This is a personalised service and your customers understand that fees for a mobile dog grooming service will generally be higher than those charged at a dog grooming salon. 
  3. You will be able to pick up additional business at some appointments.  Your customer’s neighbours and friends may wish to utilise your dog grooming service whilst at the appointment (your other appointment times permitting).
  4. No long-term commitment to premises.  No leases to sign, premises maintenance and repairs or local taxes to pay.  No fixed opening and closing times and your investment is going into your own vehicle and mobile grooming business.
  5. A convenient way to work.  Less interruptions from other customers arriving and leaving, less telephone interruptions.  The dog which you are grooming will be less stressed and better behaved in the one-on-one environment.
  6. Existing customers quickly spread the word about your unique and convenient dog grooming service.  Generating increased business for you and a quick growth to your determined capacity.
  7. Free daily advertising for your service.  Vehicle lettering on your mobile grooming unit is a constant FREE advertising billboard for your mobile dog grooming business, generating new interest and enquiries daily.
  8. You get a break between clients.  An excellent stress-buster, time to yourself between appointments.
  9. Take time off when you need to.  No need for excuses, just don’t book an appointment during the times that you need to be away from your business  – and if you choose to make up the time,  you have the flexibility to book other out of hours appointments to balance your working time.
  10. Satisfaction and pride.  You’re offering a unique and valued professional dog grooming service; you should take pride in your success.

A mobile dog grooming business has a good future in the UK market, either as a stand-alone business or as a profitable add-on for an existing pet grooming business.  Besides a lucrative business income, working from your mobile grooming van or trailer can offer comparatively low start up costs, lower overheads than a shop-based salon and a stress free working environment.


A Mobile Dog Grooming Business Franchise

 

The mobile dog grooming business has attracted a number of franchising companies to the market.  Buying into a franchise is an easy way to get into the mobile dog grooming business and the grooming marketplace.  You are able to follow an established business plan with start-up and ongoing support from the franchisor with training, advertising and marketing, branding and ‘head office’ back up support.

 

Many mobile dog grooming franchises offer a complete training package for the newcomer, from training in dog grooming skills and operating management right through to the technical support and marketing package that you need to run your day to day mobile grooming business.  A good mobile dog grooming franchise opportunity will provide you with a proven business model, established branding, help and support from the franchisor and a better chance of getting finance to start your business.

 

BUT…..  If you’re considering starting a mobile dog grooming business and one of your options is to take on a franchise business, then you should consider all aspects of the franchised business – often missing from the ‘sales pitch’ from the franchisors.  

 

Normally, a franchise will be granted for a given geographic trading area and if you operate outside this area, it may be considered an infringement of your operating license.  The trading area is often defined by either population/households, or by town/regional boundaries.  You will need to do your homework to determine if your licensed area will generate sufficient dog grooming business  to support you  when it is fully established and working at it’s maximum customer level.  Many franchisors quote example numbers of dogs groomed per day, per week, or per year; take the time to establish if these examples are practical and/or achievable.

Carefully consider the start-up and ongoing costs of the vehicle for your franchised business.  How much are you paying for your vehicle?  What do the vehicle costs include/exclude?  How much will you pay for continued use of your vehicle, and what is its expected life span?  What is the financial position in respect of your dog grooming vehicle at the time that your vehicle needs to be replaced?


Some franchises will charge you a fee to start trading, followed by a monthly ‘license fee’ for continued use of their trading name and area.  Some companies levy a profits-related or turnover-related charge, as well as (or instead of) the monthly fee. Establish how this works and calculate the associated costs to your business.  How is it collected?  …and if it’s collected in arrears, ask the questions about what happens when your license term ends.  If you should decide to terminate your franchise at some time in the future what are the costs and consequences?

We are not suggesting that a franchise is wrong for a mobile dog grooming business, we are simply advising that you should enter into any such agreement with your eyes open and aware of any possible costs or pitfalls.  Bear in mind that the primary interest of the franchisor must be to keep their own business profitable  – if this is dependant on the profitability of your own franchised business then they have an incentive to make sure you’re as successful as possible.  However, if they have built in safety measures in your franchise agreement that preserves their own income whilst not protecting yours, then the motives for offering you such a franchise business may be open to your further scrutiny.

 

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Tips on Washing your Dog

Firstly try not bathe your dog too often because that will dry out the skin, deplete healthy oils from the coat and skin, and lead to scratching and irritation. Frequency is largely dependent on the breed and activities of the dog. Dogs who spend a lot of time outside or engage in outdoor activities that expose them to dirt, bugs and/or debris typically require more bathing, perhaps every 6 weeks or more frequently. Some groomers recommend bathing double-coated breeds only about 3 times a year and suggest that smooth-coated dogs can go a lot longer between baths than can curly-coated breeds such as poodles. Too frequent bathing can cause the coat to soften and reduce its insulating qualities.

To keep your dog clean between baths, brush vigorously and regularly – preferably daily. This is good for the coat and skin, and helps the dog look and smell good. If you are allergic to your pet, wear a mask when you brush…brush outdoors or onto a newspaper indoors to aid in clean up…and wash hands afterwards.

Remember that after being indoors during the colder months, a dog’s fur and skin can become dry. And if your dog grows an undercoat, you need to comb it out in warmer weather. If a dogs fur gets matted, the skin cannot breathe — compelling the dog to scratch and pull out fur, which can result in sores.

If you have a puppy ensure he or she is more than five weeks old before giving him his first bath.

Preparing your puppy or dog for his first bath:

Things will go more smoothly if you introduce your pet to the idea of bathing before actually giving him his first bath.

Help your dog learn to trust you through such actions as touching the paws, handling the ears and opening the mouth several times a day. Praise positive responses and consider reinforcing good behaviour with small treats.

Let the dog sniff grooming tools such as his comb, brush, clippers and toothbrush. As the dog becomes less timid and more accepting of the items, praise and if food-motivated, supplement the positive reinforcement with treats.

Let your dog get accustomed to the sound of running water. You can reinforce calm behaviour and build a positive association by using verbal praise and treats.

If you plan to use a dryer, slowly introduce the dog to the dryer. Pet dryers are recommended over human blow dryers.

If you think the dog will balk at his first bath, you might want to have someone help you the first time. You want to make your dogs first bath to be a good experience so that he will be accepting of future baths.

Before the bath:

Brush thoroughly and remove all tangles and mats, which you won’t be able to unsnarl when the fur is wet. For badly matted fur, you may have to snip mats with scissors. Proceed with caution; it is easy to nick the dog’s skin, and you do not want to do that.

If the dog has any ticks, foxtails or other embedded items, remove them carefully. Typically, you will use tweezers. For details about fleas, ticks, insect stings and skin conditions.

If there is paint, tar, pine sap or other sticky substance caught in the fur, try to soften and remove it with petroleum jelly, or soak the area with vegetable oil or mineral oil for 24 hours. Some people have also had success removing sticky and oily substances with Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent. If these techniques do not work, trim away the affected fur. Do not use a solvent, paint stripper, concentrated detergent, or fabric softener on dogs, since these substances are toxic when ingested and can also hurt the skin.

It’s a good idea to trim and file a dog’s nails before a bath, especially if the dog might claw or scratch the floor, tub or you in an attempt to get away.

You’ll get wet, so wear a smock or old comfortable clothes.

Pick a suitable location for the bath, such as a room with a closed door. This will prevent the dog from escaping and will also keep the rest of your house from getting sprayed with water. Prepare the room by removing items that could be damaged by water and any items that could injure you or the dog as you move around. You can line the floor and other surfaces with a plastic sheet, an old shower curtain, large cut-open trash bags or sheet.

Gather your supplies: shampoo, brushes (you may want to use a shampooing brush), comb, washcloth and/or sponge, towels, cotton balls, mineral oil, petroleum jelly…and detangler and moisturiser if you use them. A soft brush is helpful in cleaning around paws. You can place the items in a plastic bucket for easy carrying and access…and open bottle caps beforehand so that you do not have to wrestle with caps while holding onto your dog. You may wish to put a few small tasty treats in a plastic baggie so that you can reward your dog for good, calm behaviour.

Using a Hydrobath will make the washing process a lot easier; A Hydrobath is a combination bathtub and power bather that uses a specially designed recirculation pump. This pump produces a high volume mix of water and shampoo delivered powerfully enough to penetrate the thickest coats, yet gently enough to massage the skin. All in the fraction of the time taken by normal bathing methods.

Remove the dog’s regular collar. To help you restrain the dog during the bath, you can use a nylon collar and nylon leash. Do not use leather in the water, since the water can cause the leather to shrink and to leak dye on your dogs fur. Many groomers recommend using a bathing tether when bathing dogs in tubs. If you are bathing using a Hydrobath, they have restraining hook for you to attach the dogs lead to at either end of the bath.

If your dog tends to bite when confronted with a bath, you might want to use a muzzle.

Shampoo. Use a shampoo formulated for dogs, and one that is gentle and will not strip the natural oils of the dogs coat. Do not use human shampoo, which is not the right pH for doggie fur and skin. Read the directions, and be aware that some shampoos and soaps are not appropriate for all ages or types of dogs. Oatmeal shampoos are good for dogs with itchy skin. Many people use dog shampoos containing chlorhexidine, which has anti-bacterial qualities. Avoid shampoos with insecticides, since the chemicals can be harsh. If your dog has fleas, use a gentle shampoo containing pyrethrin, pyrethrum or citrus oil.

Use a saline or weak salt and water mix to cotton swab around your dogs eyes to clean away debris.

To protect your dog’s eyes from bath water and soap, apply some petroleum jelly or mineral oil around the eyes. In addition, put a drop of mineral oil in each eye to protect against irritation.

Put a cotton ball in each ear to keep water out. Make sure the cotton ball is large enough that it does not get caught in the ear canal.

You might want to wipe around the dogs anal area with a baby wipe or wet-nap before the bath, and/or clip long soil-prone fur beneath the tail around the anus.

Smaller dogs can also be  in a Hydrobath by using a insert table which is usually purchased as an optional extra. This will lift the Dog up slightly making it easier on your.

Place a non-skid rubber mat in the basin or tub, this is supplied with all Hydrobaths. This will prevent slipping and make the dog feel more secure.

Choose a warm, draft-free place to bathe and dry the dog.

While some people have bathed dogs with garden hoses, there are drawbacks such as the water being too cold, the outside air being too cold or windy, and the hose frightening the dog. Hydrobaths are thermostatically controlled at 40 degrees making it a nice comfortable temperature for the Dog.

During the bath:

Make sure water is warm but not hot. Then, fill the water to knee level.

If you plan to use a nylon collar and leash to stabilise your dog during bathing, put them on now.

Lift your dog and place in the tub or walk him/her into the hydrobath. Be sure to lift in a way that will not hurt your back. For example…place one arm under the chest in front of the dog’s front legs, and place the other arm behind the rear legs and under the tail. Stay fairly upright and lift with your legs — not with your back. For a heavy dog, have someone help with lifting the dog into and out of the tub.

Get your dog used to the water by spraying his back and shoulders. Keep the spray on low. (Remember, scaring or hurting your dog will increase his resistance to being bathed in the future.) Be gentle, work gradually, and give the dog time to acclimate. Try to keep the spray nozzle about an inch from the dog so that the water efficiently penetrates the fur.

After your dog relaxes, wash his head. Never spray water directly in a dogs face. Slightly lift his face so that the water runs down the back of the head. Use your fingers, a washcloth or sponge to move the water around the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Lather up the body with shampoo. You can apply a line of shampoo along the dogs back and back of the head. Massage the suds all the way down to the skin. A Hydrobath would do all this work for you.

Some experts suggest shampooing the body, then toward his rear end and then the head last. Other experts suggest starting with the head and neck to prevent fleas from moving up the body to the head. In any case, avoid getting soap in the dog’s eyes.

You can use a rubber brush on a dog with shorter hair to help work the shampoo into the coat. The rubber brush can also be used to remove debris clinging to hair. For dogs with long hair, massage the coat in the direction of hair growth to avoid tangles.

Work the suds down and under the tail, the underside, legs and all around the paws. And remember to clean under the neck, in facial wrinkles and earflaps. A soft brush is useful for cleaning around the paw pads and other small areas.

If the dog’s ears stand up, cup your hand over the ear opening while washing and rinsing.

Remember, you can reward good behaviour by giving your dog a few treats during the bath.

After thoroughly lathering, rinse the dog with lukewarm, never hot, water. Check the temperature and make sure the spray is not too strong before aiming at the dog.

Gently rinse the dogs face and head first. Cover his eyes with one hand and rinse the top of the head and around the eyes. Next, cover the nose and rinse the rest of the face and neck. Work down the body.

If the dog is rather dirty, you can repeat the lathering and rinsing steps.

Rinse until the water runs clear so that no dirt or soap residue remains. Otherwise, the residue can lead to skin irritation or allergic reactions. The pet may also ingest the residue when licking himself. Knead the fur with your hand to help remove soap.

Mist dogs coat with a detangler spray for easier combing after the bath. You can also apply a moisturizer.

After the bath:

Depending on the dogs coat, use your hands to squeeze excess water from his fur. Start by squeezing water from the tail and paws.

Wrap the dog in a large, absorbent towel. Gently rub him dry. If he has long hair, avoid heavy rubbing that can tangle the fur; blot instead.

Remove cotton balls and towel out the remaining moisture in the ears. Moisture left in the ears can lead to infections.

If your dog has urinary accidents, place a towel under her when drying to absorb any urine released.

You can let him help by letting him shake his fur.

If you prefer, you can also use a pet dryer or blow dryer on a low setting. Dryers are often preferable to towel-drying for dogs with frizzy or long fur. FYI, pet dryers are better suited to dog fur than are human blow dryers. Never aim a dryer at a dogs face. And never use overly warm or hot air, which can dry out the skin and even burn the dog. Use a low setting. We recommend the Allbrooks Tornado Take Off, it allows to you to build heat and speed gradually.

If using an automated dryer that hangs on the front of a crate, test the temperature before aiming it at the dog, and check on the animal at least every 10 to 15 minutes for safety reasons.

Do not let the dog outside in cool or cold weather until he is completely dry.

Between baths:

Brush and comb daily. Check for fleas, ticks, debris, foxtails and skin conditions.

To give your pet a waterless bath, sprinkle on baking soda and brush off the excess.

And remember, you can also have a professional groom and bathe your dog.

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