Grooming Salon Or Mobile Grooming…The Pros And Cons From A Groomer Who Has Experienced Both

If you are currently seeking a groomer you are probably running into two options: Grooming Salon or Mobile Grooming.  How do you know which one is right for you and your pet?  What are the pros and cons to each?

I started my grooming career working in a corporate stationary salon for a year and a half. Following my time there, I left to start my own mobile grooming business which I have been running for the last 6 years.  There are many benefits to mobile, and I’m a bit biased towards it, of course, but I assure you I am writing this article as unbiased as I possibly can.

A pet owner’s expectations of a groomer differs based on the quality of groom, the way the pet is handled and treated, price and convenience. So you should weigh the pros and cons after reading this article and choose what’s best for you and your pet. You could always try both and make that decision after a test trial, but hopefully I can provide some additional useful insight for you in this article.

Grooming Salon

A grooming salon is the first place one would think to take their pet to to be groomed.  Every town has at least one and the level of pampering can vary from your very basic grooming experience to a VIP chic pet grooming boutique filled with all the bells and whistles pet grooming has to offer.  But what are the pros and cons to using a stationary grooming salon?

Pros:

  • Price.  Grooming salons are normally much more affordable than mobile grooming.  Since grooming salons have the capability of taking more pets in per day than a mobile groomer, they are able to keep their prices lower with a higher volume of pets.   A lot of shops will also offer discounts, run promotions, or advertise with coupons.
  • Multiple Groomers.  Having more than one person in a salon is especially helpful with difficult or large pets.  There are many dogs who require two people to trim their nails,  large dogs who require two people to help each other lift the dog safely, or difficult cats who may require an extra set of hands.   Another advantage of having multiple groomers is the possible elimination of canceled appointments due to a groomer being sick.  Groomers will often cover for each other in a shop if they can.
  • Cage Drying.  If your pet is sensitive to loud noises and would not do well with the high velocity dryer that is often used in mobile grooming, then cage drying might be a more relaxed stress-free option.
  • Flexible Scheduling.  Making an appointment or needing to reschedule an appointment is generally much easier to do in a shop setting.  There are multiple groomers who can take in more pets a day than a mobile salon, which means they can have more openings to move your appointment to or to schedule your pet to.
  • Longer Grooms.  While this may also be a big disadvantage, it could be an advantage if you have an older dog or difficult dog who needs breaks during the grooming process.

Cons:

  • Longer Groom Time.  One of the biggest cons is the length of the groom time.  While some shops offer quick start to finish grooms, most do not operate this way.  Pets could be in there for hours or even all day, most the time in kennels, waiting to be groomed.
  • Cage Drying. Cage drying can increase the length of the groom time tremendously. The pets are dried with a cool air dryer in the kennel.   Most shops use it as their primary method for drying.  Some shops may have different options for drying that can be quicker, so be sure to ask.
  • Distractions.   While some shops may have a receptionist some do not.  The groomers, will be distracted answering the phones, possibly helping other groomers with a difficult pet and checking the pet appointments in and out.
  • Transporting Your Pet To The Groomer.  Taking your pet to the groomer can be a hassle.  Not only are you making two trips, one to drop your pet off and then another to pick your pet up, but you also have to deal with the pet hair, slobber on the windows, and your pets anxiety (if they are the anxious type).
  • Kennels.  If your pet is not used to kennels, this can be a disadvantage.  Some shops do offer kennel free grooming, however a majority of them do not.  Being in a kennel for a long period of time for a senior pet, large pet, or anxious pet is not ideal.
  • Noisy Environment.  A grooming salon is a much noisier environment than a mobile salon.  Dogs barking, phones ringing, customers coming in and out, clippers, dryers etc. can all contribute to a stressful surrounding for some pets.
  • Multiple Groomers.  Having the same groomer for each groom can be a familiar comfortable feeling for your pet.  In some salons you are not guaranteed to have the same groomer for every groom.  You may have a different one work on your pet each time.  The consistency of the groom and comfort level for your pet may be affected.

Mobile Grooming

A growing trend in the pet industry, mobile grooming gives a more one-on-one experience than a stationary shop, and can be more convenient for the pet owner and less stressful on the pet.  But what are the pros and cons?

Pros:

  • Convenience.  With mobile grooming the groomer comes to you.  You no longer have to worry about loading your pets up and taking them to the salon.  Your car stays clean, pets stay less stressed and you have one less errand to worry about running that day.
  • Stress Reduced Grooming.  Your pets anxiety can be lessened as they are groomed directly outside of their home.  You also may feel some relief knowing your pet is right outside your home being groomed.
  • Dog Free Environment.   Mobile grooming limits the anxiety your pet may feel by the loud barking dogs that are usually present in a grooming salon.  Do you have a dog who is aggressive around other dogs?  Not a worry with mobile grooming.
  • No Kennels.  Your pet is never in a kennel.  The whole grooming process is done start to finish.
  • Same Groomer.  While most mobile groomers are self employed, you can expect to have the same groomer for every groom.  Your dog can take comfort in the familiarity of having the same groomer and the quality of the end-result will have a better chance of being consistent each time.
  • Faster Grooming Times.  One of the biggest benefits for mobile pet grooming is the fast grooming time, which, depending on the breed of the dog, can range anywhere from 1-2 hours on average.  This is ideal for any pet, but especially for senior pets, anxious pets, or rescue pets.
  • High Velocity Dryer.  Mobile groomers normally use a high velocity dryer to help speed along the grooming process.  This can also be a great piece of equipment to help with deshedding a dog.
  • One-on-One Attention.  With no distractions, pets to check in or out, other groomers to help, your pet is worked on non-stop from the start to finish.

Cons:

  • Price.  Mobile grooming is usually more expensive than a grooming salon.  The groomers can only do so many dogs a day.  Also, considering travel time and the cost of gas, it is easy to see why the price would be more.
  • High Velocity Dryer.  While the high velocity dryers are useful for speeding up the grooming process, they can be too noisy for some pets.  It all depends on the pet’s temperament.  There are some pets who do better with a quieter drying option such as cage drying which is offered at grooming salons.
  • Limited Schedule.  A mobile groomer may only service certain neighborhoods or towns on specific days of the week to help keep their travel expenses down.  They also tend to book out quicker and farther in advance because of their limited availability to take in a high volume of dogs.
  • One Groomer.  Mobile groomers often work alone, and very rarely have help (although some do).  This can be a disadvantage if you have a very large pet or a pet that may require the help of another groomer.
  • Mechanical Breakdowns.  Mobile groomers rely on a lot of mechanics to keep their operation going.  Cancellations can occur if there is a flat tire, broken down engine, or faulty generator.  When the vehicle or generator goes in for repair there is often no alternative other than waiting for the repair to be done until they are back up and going.

To the best of my ability, I tried to list all the pros and cons to both grooming service types. I am sure I may be missing a few so please feel free to add them in the comment section below!  Maybe even add your own personal experience so others may benefit from the input. I am partial to mobile because that is my life, but when I get that difficult dog that needs two people, or a dog who does not like the force dryer and would be more comfortable in a cage dying situation, I often find myself referring these clients to another great local groomer in town who is stationary and would give the dog a safer less-stressful groom.

Photo credit: vijairaj / Foter / CC BY-SA

Top 5: Breeds I Like to Groom

This week we will take a look at my Top 5: Breeds I Like To Groom and why each one is a joy to have on my grooming table.

5.  Miniature Schnauzer


sally9258 / Foter / CC BY

Miniature Schnauzers, in my opinion, have the most expressive faces.  Maybe its the eyebrows and the beard, but they show so much personality through their face,  The reason they are in my top 5 is because I like being the one to chisel that expression on their face out of all that hair.  Though the cut looks complicated, to me it is a quick and easy groom.  In my history of grooming Miniature Schnauzers I have found that most behave well on the grooming table.

4. German Shepherd


PeterJBellis / Foter / CC BY

I love grooming German Shepherds.  It’s a guessing game each groom, “how much hair am I going to deshed out of this one?”   The amount of hair I am able to blow out or brush out of them each time excites me, which may seem crazy to some, but watching it all come out reminds me of why I love my job.  I love being able to see the dramatic change in their coat with just a bath, blow out, and brushing. They always look so shiny and smooth after their groom, leaving their owners very impressed.

3. Pit Bull


stephskardal / Foter / CC BY

While some might be shocked to see this on my top 5 favorite list, others will not be surprised.  Pit Bulls are my most well behaved clients, which is why I like grooming them. They just stand there, or sit, and take the grooming process quite well.  They are also a quick groom which is a favorable factor when grooming dogs for a living.

2.   West Highland Terrier


a4gpa / Foter / CC BY-SA

Besides the fact that I own a Westie, there is just something marvelous about whitening a Westie with some whitening shampoo.  Making the coat change from a yellowish tinged coat into a sparkling bright white is the best feeling.  Not to mention they are so cute after they are groomed!  So much personality comes out from their fluffy round white head and dark round inset eyes.

1.  Airedale Terrier


tara.airedale / Foter / CC BY-ND

Airedale Terriers are my number-one favorite breed to groom, which is too bad really because I don’t see very many of them.  They are not a very popular breed.  I love the child-like playful personality that Airedale Terriers have, there is just something fun about grooming them.  Their cut is an exciting change from the normal routine grooms I do.  In fact, I am so favorable to this breed that I see owning one a possibility in the future.

There’s my top 5 favorite breeds to groom.  What is your favorite?  Let me know in the comments below.