You're totally worth it.
Either you are new at mobile grooming and want to go the whole nine yards, maybe one's van has a gazillion miles and very tired equipment, or you just want to upgrade to the latest technology; the only solution is to buy a new van. It is very hard to make that decision, because so much money is on the line, it's nerve racking.
On the other side, a new van will make you happy, and keep you healthier, body and mind, for years to come. The plush comfort for you and the pets you groom, the time and energy savings, the peace of mind; you're happier and it then reflects on your family, as well as your whole life.
We are working very hard at developing the best solution at an accessible price, which will include the latest technology, easy to clean custom molded fiberglass panels, full containment, etc. We also realize 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!
You can click here to learn more about the Teknopet team and its brilliant engineers and designers. They have been building magnificent boats and off road custom body parts for decades, and they are applying their knowledge of maximizing everything from space to energy, efficiency to durability. And of course who says boats says water, so this van will be built with real marine grade materials and set up in a way where you will not have wood panels inflating because of water, or any other problems of this nature.
We will sit with you and discuss your budget and goals. We know how hard mobile groomers work and you have our utmost respect.
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Give peace to your mind, and body.
A Mercedes Sprinter 3500 as our first chassis
We researched and struggled to pick the best chassis for our first conversion. Here are the reasons why we picked the Mercedes Sprinter:
- It's diesel, so much more efficient, economical and durable than a gas vehicle.
- A diesel van also mean having a diesel generator which is the best investment. Not only will it last much longer than a gas generator, but it's also water cooled compared to an air cooled gas generator = no overheating and you having to put your business on hold mid-day during those hot summer months.
- Fuel economy. This graph is the real life example of going from gas to diesel 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 from year 2 to year 4 is due to the fuel price going down, as well as securing a better schedule/better routes with time.
- 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 expensive though if you go to the dealership, but you can buy the extended warranty which will give you peace of mind for years to come, covering regular maintenance and warranty repairs.
- Mercedes will work with you/us to finance the conversion, other brands will not.
- We opted for the extended version of the van, not much longer to park, but much more versatile to include all the goodies we are planning.
- We opted for no windows on the sides for the following reasons:
- We want to offer privacy for the Porta Potty option.
- Way more storage area.
- More privacy when you work in the evenings during the winter months, 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 makes them misbehave on the table, they bark at dogs passing by, etc.
- And this vehicle drives, well, like a Mercedes!
We are designing this van with maximum self containment. Being able to plug in at clients is more economical in so many ways, but if you groom in the city, then that means that you have to give up a lot of business because of people living in apartment buildings, no or too small drive ways so you have to park on the street, no accessible outlets, etc. Our conversion will have the most economical set-up with a reliable generator, inverter and battery bay, providing plenty of power for all your needs.
Some like to stop to eat, some prefer working through lunch and eat on the go. In any case, it is awesome to have a refrigerator and microwave on board. It allows you so much more flexibility, gives you access to cold beverages at any time, cold/hot food, and saves a lot of money as convenient stores and restaurants get expensive very quickly.
Wouldn't a toilet or a porta potty be nice? Yes please! 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.
The whats and what nots
Things that are possible and that we will happily do for you:
- Listen to your needs, then advise you on the best options for you, your business, your budget and your location.
- Do the calculations with you (dollars, power, options, etc.).
- Include you in the building process, and make sure that we install the final touches where you want them (blade caddy, etc.).
- Train you on all the equipment, maintenance, and give you continued support for you to be successful.
Things that are not possible:
- Offer several different floor plans, although, there are certain things that can be moved around to accommodate you.
- Modify our custom molded fiberglass panels. Creating the molds is very labor intensive and it's not something that can be changed on the fly.
- We can't think of anything else at the moment!
Here is a brief list of other things that will take our conversion above our competition:
- The same people with decades of experience as award winning boats manufacturer are designing and manufacturing the Teknopet conversion.
- 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.
- Our floor will be easy to maintain and will not have vinyl baseboards that rip, catch/trap hair and dirt, as well as get damaged after just a few months.
- Our smooth custom fiberglass panels will allow for very easy maintenance, and will keep your van looking new for years to come. The van will only include a few panels, compared to the hundreds of pieces in our current competition.
- We will maximize the storage space inside the van.
- All switched will be located in very convenient places, regrouped for when and where you need them.
- 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.
- And more!
Calculate your profitability
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 there 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 the cleaning time you'll need after the grooming, it can be quite extensive after a de-shedding.
- Do not 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.
- Do not offer all types 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!
Cat grooming anyone?
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 in the Los Angeles area 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 grooming van after living in California for a few years, and then purchasing a brand new 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 three 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. We are determined to give you the best experience there is and total respect."
Nathalie Sampson, Teknopet