Curtis Hanvey, founder and design engineer of Hanvey Engineering and Design, has
tried to create an essentially maintenance-free truck, but says technology has taken us as
far as we can go on that.
“So, I designed the truck so the client can do the vast majority of the needed
maintenance by themselves, and minimize what they have to do for maintenance in
the first place,” says Hanvey. “It’s why we use inverters for power—generators are high
maintenance. They are used on RVs a couple of times a year, ten hours a day is a lot to
ask from them.”
Besides keeping the design efficient, Hanvey is a realist. “If you are making money,
you’ll have to put some effort into maintenance,” he says. He points out that while
replacing a piece of grooming equipment in a van for $500 or $1000 is not like a
personal outlay of that amount of money, on a personal level it’s a pretty big purchase.
“Most mobiles make $1,000 in two days,” says Hanvey. “Figure out how many days
of grooming it will cost you to replace something, and think of it as a business expense—
that takes the stress out of it. Replacing items is a normal part of business.”
He also suggests putting money away for maintenance and replacement of worn
items. Some groomers use tips for going to grooming shows, why not take a set amount
each month and put it away for maintenance expenses? Figure out how many dogs you’d
need to groom to cover most big issues, and squirrel that away each month until you
have what you need.
Wag’n Tails Mobile Conversions builds redundancy into their major systems to
ensure the business keeps running smoothly. If the generator should have an issue, their
vans can be plugged in. If the owner runs out of propane, they can heat water with
electricity. If the air conditioner stops, the chassis air can be used. Water pumps can be
easily swapped out—there are two onboard—and many
groomers keep a spare.
“Maintenance is the key to minimizing equipment
failures,” says John Stockman, national sales manager.
“Simple maintenance can keep the van trouble-free, but it
needs to be performed per our guidelines. Air conditioner
coils need to be cleaned of pet hair regularly. Generators
need to have routine oil, oil filter and air filter changes.
The bathing system filter needs to be cleaned daily.”
Each new owner is taught how to perform these simple
tasks in the three or four hour orientation when they get
their van. And they have full time customer care available.
“While maintenance will go a long way to prevent
equipment issues, mechanical things will fail from time to
time, and we provide expert advice and assistance with
repairs to the best of our ability,” adds Stockman.
As far as routing and scheduling issues Stockman says
“efficiency is the goal and there are a couple of ways to
get there.” Simply put, mobile groomers should group
clients in a geographic area on a specific day of the
week. There is a balance between accommodating your
clients and keeping your route tight. He recommends
doing this from the start.
“If you accept every appointment that calls in the
beginning, you’ll be zigging and zagging all over the
place,” says Stockman. As you add new clients, put them
into your schedule on the days of the week you will be in
their geographic section.
Another great tip from Wag’n Tails is to make it
easier on yourself with one of the mobile grooming
applications like Navigroom. It works for the startup and
to tighten up existing routes because it maps all your
clients—and has other excellent tools.
Make sure your attention is on doing your
maintenance to prevent equipment failure, keeping a
nest egg in case disaster does strike and following some
of these great ideas for efficiency in scheduling, and
you’ll make sure you get your fair share of the money
people spend on their precious pets. PB
Carol Visser has been involved in the pet industry since 1982 in
various capacities, including grooming in and owning a busy suburban
shop, working as a product expert for PetEdge, teaching seminars and
training dogs. She certified as a Master Groomer with NDGAA in
1990 and as a Certified Pet Dog Trainer in 2007, and she continues
to enjoy learning about dogs and grooming at her small salon in rural
Whenever the urge to travel hits you...
Call 800-526-1526 • Buy Online! www.raypet.net
A convenient travel kit that includes a
collapsible bowl, large WetPet Towel
& small WetPet Towel.