Since its inception in February 2016, Teknopet has received hundreds of calls and messages, as well as inquiries on key forums. We've collected the most frequent questions in hope to help you better, and find answers faster.
Can I buy a Teknopet conversion today?
We are currently working with Premier Motorcoach in Santa Ana, CA, Mercedes Master Upfitter, and construction of our first prototype will resume in 2019.
I have my own van and would like to do a custom conversion, can Teknopet do that?
We, at Teknopet, have recently decided to limit our offerings to vans for sale and for rent only. We do not have a prototype yet, but when we do, we are planning to build new vans for sale, and some that we will own and will be offered for short or long term renting.
The decision to not offer custom conversions anymore is that, after a few hundreds of phone calls regarding this subject, the major problem we have encountered is that people do not plan for a proper budget. By the time all major components are quoted, we are talking between $25,000 to $50,000 for the conversion only (van not included), depending on the set-up of course.
Why are conversions so costly?
First, the equipment is very expensive and that's the bulk of the cost. Second, conversions require a lot of time/labor.
Why pick a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter over a Ford Transit?
Because the financing is easier with Mercedes-Benz and the van will last longer in the end.
Contrary to popular belief, the price difference between the two chassis is only a few thousands dollars.
Why can't you use a $1,000 generator from a hardware store, instead of a commercial Onan that cost $10,000?
Because they are completely different. The generators that you see at hardware stores are not meant to be used in an enclosed area, they are meant to be used outside. If improperly used, one could literally die from the fumes. They could be used for grooming purposes if mounted outside of a van or trailer, on a special hitch, although what do you do when faced with mother nature's nasty weather?
The commercial Onan generators that we picked are built to be used in an enclosed area (other brands have similar models at similar costs). We have to install proper exhaust system and box enclosure around it as well.
In addition, there are different "sizes" of generators. You have to calculate the power you need to operate your equipment. Many generators at hardware stores do not have the necessary power to run the equipment you need, especially when running them concurrently (ex: AC + dryer).
Can I have a different floor plan than what you offer?
We have spent a lot of time and effort developing the best floor plan for our platform, the Sprinter 3500. There are a few pieces of equipment that can be moved around, but all main components (generator, batteries, water tanks, etc.) need to be left as per our floor plan in order for the van to have maximum efficiency.
Can I run my equipment off batteries only?
The current battery technology is not advanced enough for you to run your equipment only off batteries all day. Especially when it comes to energy hungry tools like a dryer, AC, ClipperVac, etc., these equipments require a lot of power and would deplete your batteries in no time, no matter how many batteries you'd have.
Plus, you need to recharge those batteries at some point, so only having batteries is not a viable option at all.
Can I run my equipment of solar panels only?
First, the role of solar panels in a grooming van is to recharge batteries, and second, the rest of the answer is pretty much the same as the previous one.
The current solar technology is not advanced enough to recharge your batteries fast enough to run your equipment only of solar power all day. Especially when it comes to energy hungry tools like a dryer, AC, ClipperVac, etc., these equipments require a lot of power and would deplete your energy in no time, no matter how many panels/batteries you'd have.
Why can't I run my AC off batteries?
An air conditioner requires too much power to run off batteries, no matter how many batteries you have. Please refer to our POWER = MATH page for more details.
Why are my batteries not fully charging?
You need to be plugged into your house to fully charge your batteries. You cannot achieve that with your generator and or engine's alternator.
If you have a generator, your batteries can be recharged very quickly to about 80%. If you use your van's engine/alternator, they can also be recharged to about 80%, but not as fast as a generator would, it depends on how long you are idling your engine, how far you drive and how fast you drive.
I don't want anything fancy or expensive, I just want to plug-in at my clients.
We get it! You don't want to invest in a generator, battery bank, inverter, etc. That will for sure cut the conversion costs by a lot, but here are the facts if you go that way:
Unless the majority of your clients have big driveways (usually outside the city), this set-up is far from optimal. Many pet owners live in apartment buildings and most of them don't offer the possibility to plug-in for power and/or water. Many houses in the city also pose a problem as their driveways are small and/or in a slope and/or inexistent. If you park on the street, you have to run the power cord and hose over the sidewalk and that's just a lawsuit ready to happen if somebody trips over that and hurts themself.
The other huge problem with this setup is the very limited amount of power that you have access to.
Click here to read more about the PROs and CONs of that type of conversion.
Bottom line, this set-up will cut several business opportunities for you. At Teknopet, we do not believe that this set-up is a viable one, as we get many calls from people who regret it dearly, therefore our conversion will offer full containment and will be self-powered.
Why do I keep jumping breakers when I plug-in at my clients?
Please refer to our POWER = MATH page in order to calculate the equipment you can run concurrently, depending on how much power each tool require individually and how much power is available at your clients.
How much support and help can I get from Teknopet to help me figure out the problems with my current van?
At Teknopet, we have your success at heart. We have spent hundreds of hours in the past year, giving phone or email support for free, helping you solve your problems. We are grateful in many ways, because it gave us the chance to really understand the recurring issues in the field, and also allowed us to streamline our offerings.
That being said, we are happy to give you some basic support in the future, but we also have to start charging for extensive support and consultation. Our fee for one on one consultation services is $125 per hour.
We have recently added a LOT of technical information on our website under the TOOLS section, in order to help you figure out many things on your own, and in return, avoid you having to pay for consulting fees.
Can you make fiberglass interiors for other vans than the Mercedes Sprinter?
No, we can't at the moment. Making fiberglass molds that fit perfectly the inside of a van takes tremendous talent, time (we are talking months of labor) and money, and we decided to limit ourselves to Mercedes Sprinter for now.
Do you do service or repairs on existing grooming vans?
We, at Teknopet, have decided to not offer service or repairs starting in 2018. This decision might change in 2019, so please stay tuned and join our mailing list to receive updates and news.
I am not sure mobile grooming is for me?
Second, we offer you to do a ride-along with Nathalie who is a mobile groomer in the West LA area, in order for you to see what a day on the job looks like. Because doing a ride-along vastly affects Nathalie's efficiency during a normal day, we have to charge a fee in order to compensate for the loss in grooming revenues. The fee for the day is $300.
The ride-along is not a place to learn about grooming itself; it is meant for you to evaluate if the mobile set-up is for you, along with picking up tips and tricks on how to handle the mobile environment and equipment.
I am interested in buying your fiberglass interior only, can I do that?
Yes! Our interiors are perfect for any kind of uses (RVs, plumbers, electricians, etc). The walls are 100% waterproof, and can pretty much be of any colors or patterns you can imagine (wood, concrete, etc).
Please visit our website for our new division dedicated only to our fiberglass interiors, California Sprinter Interiors.
The Teknopet conversion sounds expensive?
Actually, our pricing is right along our competition in the market, somewhere between $98,000 and $110,000, depending on the additional features you may opt for. Pricing for our stripped down version to come.
Do you offer financing?
Teknopet does not offer direct financing at the moment, but we are working with Mercedes-Benz/Daimler, assisting you in financing the whole conversion.