Category Archives: 2 Types of Mobile Groomers

Two Types of Mobile Pet Groomers

Which Is For You?

Things have changed a great deal since I and the two other mobile grooming companies started 25 years ago! For an idea that was never going to work, mobile pet grooming is in every state. There is now an additional type of mobile service along with those that do grooming so how do you decide which type of company you want and what questions to ask prior to booking an appointment?

In Colorado there is one franchise company, the balance are those of us who are owner operated non-franchise companies, the ones that were here prior to the franchises. Some are the good old 25 year standards, such as Curbside Clippers naturally, and some have been around for about 10-15 years but just changed their company names.

What are the two types of companies and why the price difference? One is the van type the other are the ones you see pulling trailers behind a vehicle.

The Two Types of Grooming Vehicles

  1. Mobile Pet Grooming Vans:The other companies who have vans are all Groomers. We not only do brushing and bathing but we also know how to do specific haircuts for all breeds. Whether that is the breed specific hair cut or short all over. All the vans have central heating systems, hot water and most have central air conditioning. The first two are VERY important in the winter and hot water is essential all year around since animals are not like laundry… cold wash.Additionally, you do not invest mega dollars in a van and not have some extra medical knowledge to inform people of potential issues or current ones when we are grooming the pets as well as the experience in all breed grooming.
  2. The Grooming Trailers: There are now two types of grooming trailers.  It is rather deceiving to call both “mobile groomers” since only a few of them actually know how to groom.  One group are only bathers as in a grooming shop. All they do is basic brush and baths and cut nails trim here and about. Some of those trailers are not heated in the winter nor have air conditioning in the summer.  When I mentioned that grooming any dog in the middle of winter without heat is not only really flipping cold but VERY dangerous if they bath puppies, older dogs or dogs with certain medical issues.  The response was from both people, we don’t groom when it is in the 20’s. I said, so when it is 35 degrees out what do you do? Well, that is fine and we have space heaters or open propane heaters. Well, you can’t have the space heater on at the same time you have the blow dryer on since it will trip the breaker and having an open propane flame near water, not a very smart idea. Oh, well, it does get a bit cold. YIKES!      The other type of mobile trailer is somewhat newer with improvements.   Most are actually groomers, they do have heat and AC for year around grooming.
  3. The “Hydrobath”: This is a much-hyped pile of crap! It is sold to (sorry) idiots by great sales people who have convinced not only the trailer-puller bathers but also some van groomers that it not only saves water but also is more powerful. How does this idiocy work? Use a measuring cup for ease of understanding but not capacity accuracy as an example. Put the stopper in the sink. Fill the sink with one cup of water and put a pump in the water. Now wash all your dirty dishes and pots and pans. Empty out ½ cup of water and refill with ½ cup of clean water to bring it back up to the original 1 cup of water. Now rinse your dishes with that same water. What have you done? You have just rinsed your dishes with half clean water and half dirty water! That is exactly what a hydrobath for a dog is. Now why for the love of GOD are you going to rinse a clean dog with half-dirty water? According to the groomers and the maker of the Hydrobath, there is a filter that makes it all better. Nope, not everyone was born yesterday!

Why The Price Difference?

Grooming Vans:
Not all the reasons but ones that are on the top of the list. The self contained grooming vans cost anywhere between $60,000 and upwards to $100,000. Obviously, there are not many on the high end since having the option of a bathroom and DVD system is really stupid. Is it done? Yep. On top of which is the excessive operating cost and special insurances and all the other ditty’s that add up. I have watched 17 companies over the past 25 years go out of business since they have tried to financially compete with places like Petco/Petsmart. That cannot be done and obviously stay in business.

The Trailers:
The average cost of these trailers is under $10,000. The cost of the area they buy varies but the average out of pocket investment is around $15,000-$20,000 total. The people have their own vehicle that pulls it, the insurance is nominal and they are not required to have additional malpractice insurance or any other insurance. Again, since they have no heat, they have eliminated the approximate $5,000 heating design. The only additional cost is the percentage that is paid to the franchise owner and if they wish to do any other advertising over and beyond what the franchise owner does.

So Which One Do You Pick?

The trailer puller bathers are ALWAYS going to cost you less than someone in either a van or the one or two people who have properly built trailers, i.e. heated. Mobile van groomers due to the state of the art self contained vans will ALWAYS cost more than the trailer bathers.

  • Do you want a hair cut or just have your pet given a bath?
  • Do you need someone experienced in grooming, health issues and animals in general?
  • Do you care if it is cold out that the trailer puller bathers have to cancel at the last minute?
  • Are you concerned in the dead of summer when dogs can over heat that there is no air conditioning?

If you want to save money, by all means use the trailers for bathing and brushing but as you can see there are draw backs. The bottom line is that only you can decide what you feel is in the best interest for your pet.