Great to Go
Mobile groomers love their work because it’s a passion with many perks. Four share a look into their businesses and their workaday lives.
Groomer’s Lucky Pick
Monica’s Mobile Grooming in Hollywood, Fla., doesn’t groom all dogs, just lucky ones. It’s a company motto that goes hand in hand with the notion “work smart, not hard,” according to owner Monica Harper, who has been in the grooming industry for 10 years.
Harper started the mobile grooming business about six years ago after deciding she wanted freedom and flexibility.
Harper is very selective when it comes to her clients and even describes her company as the Gucci of groomers. For instance, Harper and her two staff groomers focus on small-breed dogs, such as the Yorkshire terrier and Maltese. Grooming smaller breeds is easier on the back and takes less time, meaning more bookings per day, according to Harper.
“There’s big money in little dogs,” she said.
Monica Harper owner of Monica’s Mobile Grooming in Hollywood, Fla.
Harper attributes the company’s success to her background in business.
“I consider myself an average groomer, but I’m great in business,” she said.
This includes selecting and retaining clients, managing an effective mobile route system and keeping her employees happy, both of whom have been with Monica’s Mobile Grooming for more than three years, a length of time that defies the typical high turnover rate in her area, she said.
Harper also contributes to her employees’ 401(k) plans and pays for continuing education. In addition, employees receive bonuses and a 40 percent commission.
The day starts very early for Bonnie Saher and Michael Snellings, owners of Salty Dog and Cool Cat in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Bonnie Saher, Michael Snellings owners of Salty Dog and Cool Cat in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
The husband-and-wife team gets up at 3:30 a.m. for the first appointment at 7:00 a.m.
“There is a lot of traffic getting into L.A., and we are about one hour away,” Saher said. “We sometimes have a parking problem, as we have a large Sprinter, but with two of us, one can always get the pet, and go on from there looking for the closest spot.”
Despite the traffic, being a mobile-based company has advantages, Saher said.
“In mobile, it is really true that you can make your own hours,” she said.
Saher also likes the quiet a mobile facility can provide. Cats and nervous dogs are much easier to groom in such an environment compared to in a shop, she said.
Saher speaks from experience—50 years of grooming experience to be precise. Saher’s grooming career began when she was a teenager.
“It was many years later after working at a number of shops and finally getting my own business that I met my husband, who came from a mobile grooming background,” Saher said.
Grooming has changed quite a bit since then, she said. For instance, people didn’t pay to have cats groomed.
“Cats groomed themselves, was the saying,” Saher said.
Mobile grooming also didn’t exist back then, she said.
Grooming Brings a Lifetime of Friendship
Lori Palladino, owner of Rover Done Over in Staten Island, N.Y., said her typical day is 10 hours of good, clean fun. But grooming dogs extends beyond that.
Lori Palladino owner of Rover Done Over in Staten Island, N.Y.
“One of the things I love most about my job is that over time, a friendship develops that lasts a lifetime,” she said.
About 30 years ago, she graduated from the New York School of Dog Grooming and immediately opened Clippendales K-9 Review. She founded Rover Done Over along with her husband, Gary, in 2005.
“After 20 years in a shop, I decided to go mobile for a one-on-one, stress-free environment for both the dogs and myself,” she said.
The company’s self-described “lean, mean, dog-cleanin’ machine” hits the streets seven days a week, booking morning, afternoon and evening appointments. Among five employees and two mobile vans, Rover Done Over is able to service Staten Island and Hudson and Union Counties in New Jersey.
A lot has changed in the grooming industry over the years, said Palladino, from the array of grooming equipment available, such as clippers and dryers, to mobile vans.
Palladino’s advice to upcoming mobile groomers?
“Never go out alone; have an assistant on board at all times to help with difficult dogs and keep the truck clean in-between jobs,” she said.
Grooming a Star
One thing Jordan Riverz loves most about being a groomer is the creativity it affords.
Jordan Riverz owner of FlyyStarPetz Mobile Pet Styling and Grooming in St. Louis
“I love how I can create images with my passion that I have for dogs and pets,” said Riverz, owner of FlyyStarPetz Mobile Pet Styling and Grooming in St. Louis. “Every [dog] has a different personality, and it draws me to create their image.”
In addition to basic grooming, Riverz offers a fur-dye service, pawdicures (nail coloring and designs) and pet styling for photo shoots, fashion shows and events.
Riverz entered the grooming industry about seven years ago as a hobby when he was working as a veterinary technician. He had begun grooming his own dogs at home because of the stress they encountered at grooming salons. Then he started grooming dogs belonging to family members.
“I found that in-home grooming makes for a calmer dog,” he said, adding that it’s a service that is becoming increasingly popular.
“Many of my clients love [it],” he said. “It relieves them of the stress caused when some dogs leave home, and they also love the convenience of how they don’t have to travel with a pet in the car.”
This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Pet Product News.