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Category: Business Tips

The Self-Service Dog Wash: Friend or Foe?

Pet care is expensive...understatement of this decade. As someone that owns a mobile grooming business and a boarding/daycare facility, I understand how my clients must be financially creative and acrobatic to afford the comfortable quality of life that they want for their dogs. Between veterinary care, grooming, and daycare, pet care can be daunting on the bank account.

Part of the reason that pet care is so expensive is the lack of hands-on experience by the pet owner. They are just unaware of what to do, what to ask, what to get; it's just like a customer buying a service in any other industry. They don’t know how to do it themselves, so they hire someone else to help. People are too afraid to trim their own pets' nails, groom them, or even leave them for just an hour or two of time to run errands. There is a fear factor that is preventing owners from taking charge of some of their pet’s care or understanding their pet’s needs. If only there was a way to empower the pet owner, build their confidence, and help their wallet a little through knowledge, awareness, and confidence.

I own a self-service dog wash. Contrary to your imagination, it is not an assembly line of dogs on a conveyor belt going through a car wash coming out clean. It's a place where people go to bathe, groom, and clean their own dogs. There are grooming tubs, tables, dryers, and many other supplies to help owners groom and bathe their dogs. I am a groomer and a boarding/daycare facility owner and I 100% believe in a DIY Dog Wash.

Most people love my DIY Dog Wash for just a bath. The Boxers, Pitbulls, Dobermans, Labs, all the short hair dog owners get the high-quality shampoo and conditioner that they need, get in and get out. It's much easier on their backs with the grooming tubs I have available and if they need a dryer, I have a kennel dryer or the high velocity dryers.

I also get the Huskies and the German Shepherds. The ones that take a bit more time and work. And you know what? Those owners put the work into it. They bring all their brushes and back up to help them. When I give them de-shed shampoo, I may get hair everywhere, but they get the hair out and can leave the mess.

Do I get long haired dogs? Absolutely! That's why I have detangler spray, multiple brushes, ear cleaner, etc. And I have other nice amenities that are included in the inexpensive price (tear stain, hotspot treatment, breath freshener). Most things you will definitely not find at another DIY Dog Wash.

That's strange, right? Owning a DIY Dog Wash as a groomer and loving it. Why would I promote that? Aren’t I competing with myself? Isn’t it too much work? Isn’t it a burden?! Quite the contrary. I believe in it just as much as I believe in my own boarding and daycare facility, mobile grooming, and USDA pet transportation. I encourage it so much that I give all my grooming clients 1 free DIY Wash for every groom, and it is unlimited in use for all my daycare participants.

Why? Because all these owners by the end of their dog wash know their dog better. They know when they are anxious, they know their triggers, they know when they are content, and they understand when it's time to take their dog to see the vet. If they see a scab or lump that didn’t grow any bigger due to lack of awareness they can go to the vet before it causes any more of a financial burden to them or potential pain for their dog. They are more in tune with their dogs’ needs.

I have nail trimmers and show people how to trim nails with posters in the DIY Dog Wash. Why? Because then that owner knows how to do it themselves and can tell someone else like a vet or a groomer how to handle their own pet and prevent any additional anxiety. The owner is better equipped to utilize a grooming service if they lack the time to do it themselves; they are more knowledgeable when they hire a groomer about what they need. Even more simply, by taking care of their dogs in between grooms, they save money at their next grooming appointment by not having mats or their dog being cleaner. The dog wash empowers the owner to take charge of their pet’s care and save money.

Does this hurt the grooming industry? Not at all. A DIY Dog Wash should be available to help the grooming industry. Doesn’t it make it easier for the groomer when an owner has more knowledge about their pets’ triggers, or the pet is better cared for in between grooms? It should.

Helping owners financially with pet care starts with building their confidence. A DIY Dog Wash is one of the ways to help.

Ronnie Hanley lives in the wonderful city of Tucson, Arizona. She is the proud owner of Dirty Dawgs Tucson; a pet care company that has boarding and daycare, mobile grooming, a Self-Serve dog wash for pet owners, and USDA certified pet transportation. She loves owning her own business and helping owners find ways to connect with their pets. She enjoys traveling, crocheting, playing the violin, and tending to her Aloe Vera and Venus fly trap plants. She has a family of 5 with her husband of 15 years, her papillon/chihuahua mix Minnie, and her 2 big boxers George and Tubby.

Follow Ronnie and her Dirty Dawgs DIY Dog Wash on Instagram.