TEKNOPET’S FIRST CONVERSION
Reliable - Powerful - Economical
After assessing all the PROs and CONs of each type of set-ups, after talking to mobile groomers and their daily issues, and after experiencing the ups and downs in the fields ourselves for 7 years, the choice was obvious to go with a self-contained diesel van and generator.
We have talked to hundreds of mobile groomers in the past years, and more importantly, we've listened. Some of you are looking for the most economical set-up to get going, but most of you are looking to buy a solution that will last for years to come, that will be reliable and get you through each day with peace of mind, and that will be economical, in the short and in the long run.
We are working with Premier Motorcoach in Santa Ana, CA, Mercedes Master Upfitter, and construction of our first prototype is on its way. We work with Lavey Craft Motorsports for the designing portion, making sure our plans are maximized for water and humidity conditions. One of Teknopet's unique offering is a completely slick, waterproof and seamless fiberglass interior. We are working very hard at developing the best solution, which will include the latest technology, easy to clean custom molded fiberglass panels, full containment, etc.
We are aware that it's impossible to design a set-up that pleases everybody, so that's why we will do our best to give you as many customizable options as possible. We can't reinvent the wheel, but we are doing our best at making it spin a different way.
We know how hard mobile groomers work and you have our utmost respect. That is why we are doing our best at developing a product that will make your life easier.
We researched and struggled to pick the best chassis for our conversion - below are the main reasons why we picked the diesel Mercedes Sprinter 3500.
Our first prototype will use the 170’ wheel base extended version of the van, not much longer to park, but much more versatile to include all the goodies we are integrating. This model will be fully equipped and offer unique features.
Our subsequent prototypes will use the shorter diesel chassis and will be a stripped down version as far as equipment, so it is more affordable while still being a great vehicle/generator combo that will last you many years, and which will also be much more economical in the long run fuel wise.
DURABILITY - It's diesel, so much more efficient, economical and durable than a gas vehicle. Click here to read more about the PROs and CONs of gas -vs- diesel.
ECONOMY - A diesel van also means having a diesel generator which is the best investment:
It will last much longer than a gas generator. The life expectancy of a gas generator is on average 7,500 to 10,000 hours, a diesel generator is about 25,000 to 30,000.
It is water cooled compared to an air cooled gas generator, so you won't have to stop grooming because of your generator overheating during hot summer days.
The Onan diesel generator is variable speed, so you considerably save on fuel because the generator only revs up when it needs to, depending on the tools you are using - it burns as little as 1/10th of a gallon an hour. A gas generator runs full speed at all time and uses on average 1 gallon per hour.
Fuel economy for both van and generator. The graph in this section is the real life example of going from a gas van to a diesel one, while serving the same clientele in the same area of a 5 miles radius (Nathalie's business in West LA). The reduction in diesel expenses between 2015 and the first half of 2017 is due to the diesel price going down, as well as securing a better schedule/better routes with time, but still grooming an average of 30 dogs a week.
MERCEDES IS NOT MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OTHER BRANDS - Contrarily to most people's first reaction, the Mercedes Sprinter chassis is not much more expensive than other brands, it's actually very similar. The service can be more expensive though, but you can buy the extended warranty which will give you peace of mind for years to come, covering regular maintenance and warranty repairs.
FINANCING - Mercedes will work with you/us to finance the conversion, other brands will not.
NO WINDOWS - We opted for no side windows in the back, for the following reasons:
We want to offer privacy for the Porta-Potty option.
This offers a lot more storage area.
More privacy and security when you work in the evenings and it’s dark outside, because when you have windows and with the lights open, everybody can see inside.
Less distraction for the pets. For some pets, seeing outside is a constant reminder that they "could" get out, which can make them misbehave on the table, they bark at dogs and people passing by, etc.
COMFORT - This vehicle drives, well, like a Mercedes!
UNIQUE FIBERGLASS INTERIOR
We are very proud of our unique fiberglass, 100% waterproof, color/graphics customizable panels for Mercedes Sprinter vans. Not only can they be used for grooming vans, but also for RVs, plumbing trucks, electricians, toy haulers, etc. Please visit our dedicated website, California Sprinter Interiors, for more information on our fiberglass interiors.
Our gelcoated panels:
Are extremely durable and easy to maintain.
Interlock and fit perfectly together (no gaps).
Offer curved edges, so hair, fluids and dirt can't and won't get stuck.
Can be any color you wish, although white is favored for maximum brightness when grooming. We can incorporate graphics, logo, etc., and also make them look like wood panels, concrete, etc.
Offer an anti-slip pattern for the floor, integrated in the fiberglass panel.
Can be repaired, although it would take something major to damage them.
Details coming soon.
We are designing this van so you can operate it anytime and anywhere - No need to stop but at your clients during the day.
POWER: Our conversion has the most economical set-up with a reliable generator, inverter and battery bay, providing plenty of power for all your needs.
WATER: 50 gallons of fresh water and the option of having a bathing system to reduce your water consumption.
FOOD & DRINKS: Some like to stop to eat, some prefer working through lunch and eat on the go. In any case, you will have the option to have a cooler and/or microwave on board. It allows you so much more flexibility, and saves a lot of money as convenient stores and restaurants get expensive very quickly.
RELIEF: You will also be able to relieve yourself without having to find a restroom along the way, and also save time doing so. Think about all the places you've stopped at that didn't have a public restroom (or a disgusting one), all the time you've lost making the detour/parking/waiting in line, and all the discomfort you've experienced of holding it in. We are designing our conversion in order to fix this problem, and you will have the option of a Porta-Potty and w
CALCULATE YOUR PROFITABILITY
Please CONTACT US if you'd like to receive our Profitability Calculator (Excel spreadsheet format). It was developed with realistic figures, no hidden or bad surprises.
Once you receive the Excel file from Teknopet, just type your own data in the yellow cells. We haven't locked/protected any cells, so if you type something outside the yellow cells, it may affect the formulas, therefore the results may not be accurate. Please let us know if you need help with this form, we are here to help you figure things out and make sure you'll be successful.
A few tips on how much to charge per grooming:
You should charge at least $20 more than what salons are charging in your area.
Many mobile groomers price their services in a different way - they ask for a minimum charge, and then by the hour (ex: minimum charge of $100 for the first hour + $80 per additional hour).
Charge what you feel is right for the amount of time you'll spend on a particular grooming (a 20 minute session for Chihuahua compared to a 2 hour one for a Goldendoodle). Don't forget to include your driving time and the cleaning time you'll need after the grooming, which can be quite extensive after a de-shedding.
We do not recommend that you start with a lesser price in order to attract clients. Start posting your real price, and maybe offer a "new client" discount for a short while to build your clientele, but insist on the fact that they will be charged the regular price after the first visit.
We do not recommend offering all kinds of discounts unless you have some good causes at heart (army veterans, etc.).
Announce a price increase during the summer months. People are happy during that period, and they don't have extra expenses like around the winter holidays. Plus, you will get extra tips during the winter holidays, so it's a bit awkward to ask for a raise at the same time.
Charge what you are comfortable with and in line with your experience level ... but do not underestimate yourself!
Here is a brief list that will take our conversion above our competition:
MARINE GRADE QUALITY: We are used to dealing with water, have access to the best technology/equipment for water conditions, and use high-end marine grade quality materials.
CUSTOM FIBERGLASS INTERIOR: Our custom fiberglass floor is easy to maintain and will not have vinyl baseboards that rip, catch/trap hair/fluids/dirt, as well as get damaged after just a few months. The curved edges of our floor allow for easy cleaning. Our smooth custom fiberglass interior is very easy maintenance, and will keep your van looking new for years to come. The van's interior only have 5 pieces (ceiling, 2 walls, floors and front cab separator), compared to the dozens of pieces in our current competition.
STORAGE: Maximum and thoughtful storage space.
SWITCHES & GAUGES: All switches and gauges will be located in very convenient places, grouped for when and where you need them.
GROOMING TABLE: You will have the option of choosing between a few models.
ACCESSORIES: We will not drill holes and install accessories where you don't want them (blade rack, etc). We will work with you and only install what you want, and where you want it.
We are not ready at the moment to give firm pricing on our first model, as well as on the additional options, but we can say that it will be priced right around our competition in the market, that is to say somewhere between $105,000 and $115,000 for the fully equipped model.
Teknopet doesn't offer direct financing at the moment, but we are working with Mercedes-Benz/Daimler, assisting you in financing the whole conversion.
Details to come.
Have you thought of cat grooming? It's pretty big on the East Coast and Canada, and it's slowly catching up on the West Coast. Actually, there is a serious lack of mobile cat groomers for the demand as far as we know. Cat grooming is not for everyone, but when trained properly, one can be very successful.
We do not advise venturing in cat grooming without proper training, as cat grooming is completely different than dog grooming: the techniques, the products, you can't just get up one morning and decide to do it. There are different schools that offer classes, but the best place to go is the National Cat Groomers Institute of America. Not only will you have access to the best education there is about cat grooming, but they will help you with the business aspects as well (how to promote your services, pricing, scheduling, etc). They will also offer you great support.
Most cats have limited patience, which means that after 30 to 45 minutes, they are done with grooming - if you do it right, this is just enough time to properly groom a cat. On the plus side, this means that you can groom several cats a day, which also means that this business can be very lucrative. Although, just like dog grooming, don't do it just for the money. You have to care deeply about the animals, as grooming is a lot more than just a business.
At Teknopet, we will be able to incorporate the proper equipments in our van conversion to make it easier to groom cat, like a stainless steel top table, a Catty Shack Vac, etc.
We live and learn
"I've had the tremendous luck of experiencing different types of settings in my grooming career, from having a grooming salon back in Canada, to buying a used gas grooming van after living in California for a few years, and then purchasing a brand new diesel grooming van. All those set ups have allowed me to evaluate what are the basics and what is luxury, in my point of view anyway. And through all those experiences, I've become much more efficient ... and demanding.
I know that I can't have my cake and eat it too, but wouldn't it be nice when one pays that much money for a new van?
I would love to say that the purchase process of my new grooming van years ago was great, but it was unfortunately not. I won't go into details, it's bad karma, but I'm bringing this up as I truly believe in the saying "treat others the way you want to be treated", and at Teknopet, we want to do just that. We will not push anything down your throat, nor will we make you feel cheap, and we will tell you the truth. We are determined to give you the best experience there is and total respect."
Nathalie Sampson, Teknopet