Susy The Groomer

Susy The Groomer

mGroomer interviews Susy Scott, owner of Susy the Groomer in Seattle, Washington. Susy shares how she got started and how she prices her services by the hour.

What is your background in grooming?

I have been a groomer for the past 13 years. I am a CMG through IPG. I have competed in grooming contests, mostly in Creative classes and I placed 3rd at the Atlanta Pet Fair.

I have always had a special way with animals. When I was growing up I had a dog, a bird, rats and cats. I’m married now and I live with 3 cats, 1 parrot, 2 rats, 2 horses, chickens, 3 fish inside and a pond of fish outside. I started my business in February 2006.

How did you get into Mobile Grooming?

I learned to groom through an apprenticeship at a vet hospital I was working at. I took the groomer to cash her paycheck one day and it was twice what mine was and she spent her days with the animals instead of the people. I figured I could really enjoy grooming!

I worked with her on my days off and groomed at home on my own time. Eventually the company I worked for offered me a paid training position in exchange for staying on at a high end vet hospital for at least a year. Lucky me!

I love to drive and I always knew that someday I would go mobile, but I really enjoyed my job at the vet hospital. One day I was unexpectedly let go by the doctor’s wife and the very next day I bought my trailer.

How many vehicles/groomers do you have?

I work by myself and I’m happy that way.

What kind of vehicles do you have?

I drive a 2 door Ford Explorer 4WD and I tow an 8×10 cargo trailer that was converted for me. It was built for me and incorporated all of my grooming equipment that I currently owned. It was designed for my height and reach. I love it!

Why does mobile grooming work for you?

I enjoy being part of the family. I like to be outside in the weather and I love to drive. I get to take my time and really make the pets feel special. I like to be on the move.

What are you doing to manage rising fuel cost?

I only travel about 45 miles a day. I just make sure it’s not cutting into my profits too much.

What is the funniest story or event that has ever happened to you while mobile grooming?

I was at one of my every 3 week stops where there were 2 dogs. One, the Lab, loved her grooming and bath, the other, a little mix, not so much. I never see the owners at this stop, I have the door key and the dogs are usually in the laundry room. Well, on this day they were loose in the yard and as usual nobody was home.

Zoey the lab bounded up to the trailer for her bath, but when it came time for Cody she was nowhere to be found. I wandered the yard looking for her when I spotted her inside. I came around and into the house, and there she was outside. I chased her around the house and the yard for 45 minutes, until I decided that it just wasn’t going to happen today. I sat down on the front step to text the owner and Cody came up and sat next to me. I picked her up and off we went to the trailer. I know she was laughing at me!

Who was one of your mentors and what did you learn from them?

One of my favorite mentors is Barbara Bird. She has knowledge that far exceeds grooming and she shares it in a fun and entertaining way. I have been known to occupy her sidekick position on stage. She has taught me about customer service and ergonomic grooming methods, not to mention grooming and salon tips.

What is your favorite breed to groom?

Havanese or any breed the owner will let me color!

What were some of the challenges you had to overcome in getting your business going?

I trimmed my client base because most of my dogs are monthly or less and I needed to find out how much work I could handle. I went from 432 active clients down to about 125, and now 100 when I went mobile.

I’m a talker and with my older clients I share a lot of my adventures. Many of them live for my tales and I may be the only visitor they get. I care about them. Most have been with me for over 10 years. I still groom dogs for my first clients. They only leave if they move or pass away. I have never advertised. All my customers have come via word of mouth.

What was one of your worse mistakes?

Trying to drive the Explorer and trailer in the ice. Not a good idea.

Pricing is a big deal in Mobile Grooming. How do you handle pricing for your services?

I price by the hour. I have found that pricing by the hour works well for me. Folks understand it and it makes it simple to add charges for dematting and extra needy Pets. If it takes me longer, it costs more. Very basic. I don’t do add on services as a rule. I don’t like complicated bills. I live for simplicity.

Pricing is a big deal in Mobile Grooming. How do you handle pricing for your services?

When I first started I just made my prices 10 to 15 bucks higher than the highest priced in house salon in the area. I also made a list of the dog breeds that were most difficult for me and took the most time and priced accordingly.

Why did you sign up for mGroomer?

I was hoping that someone else would keep my schedule from crashing!!!

How has mGroomer helped your business?

I find it is really great having access to my schedule from so many different devices. I have a Droid Bionic, a Motorola Xoom, and a laptop. They all work great with mGroomer at no additional cost.

What is your favorite feature of mGroomer?

I like the fact that mGroomer keeps my data safe and I don’t have to worry if I lose my PDA or Phone.

What would you tell other Mobile Groomer’s about mGroomer?

I would strongly recommend mGroomer for anyone with a smart phone and decent download speeds. I love it!

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