The material on this page is from:
The SelfServeDogWash.com Message Board & E-mails.
Coin-Op Wash Systems?
(Thoughts from contributors to our Message Board)
I love your site and have a question about your book prior to purchase. In order to keep labor and hassle costs down I am hoping to create an coin operated, unattended, self service, dog wash. Similar to a Laundromat or coin operated car wash. It seems like all of your equipment you sell requires on site staff to collect payment?
MAIN QUESTION: Does your book offer advice and resources for coin operated, self running, DW's?
I have come across...equipment for coin operation and integration of soap, flea/tick, but I like your tubs, dryers, and accessories better. Your commentary on their equipment would be appreciated.
Response from Dave Grass:
Thanks for your nice comment about the site.
The book doesn't currently cover coin-op systems, although anyone reading it would surely realize that they are probably not a good idea. Perhaps I will add a bit about this in a future addition.
I don't think there is such a thing as a "self running" SSDW--at least not a good one that is likely to keep bringing customers back.
I have looked into the system you refer to and cannot personally recommend it. I believe these systems are impractical in actual use, and offer no real advantages.
The following is largely from a response I recently provided to an e-mailed inquiry similar to yours:
They are very expensive--2 1/2 to 10 times as expensive to set up a facility.
The system cannot be used with any tub, and the design of the one included is, in my opinion, very poor. For one thing, it has no significant splash walls. This means huge messes, poor control of dogs in the tub, and possibly dangerous situations involving tub restraints.
Customers cannot be counted on to adequately clean up after their wash (and one of the big selling points for standard SSDWs is that customers don't have to worry about that like they would at home). Even if they were all inclined to do so, and had the wherewithal to do so, would you be comfortable making a powerful shop vac available to everyone for use in cleanup of the floor, for instance? I don't think that is a good idea due to improper use and safety issues (I mention in my book an incident I once witnessed, where I came upon some customers who were attempting to vacuum hair from their miniature dog with my 6HP industrial shop vac! I rest my case.). Washing dogs isn't the same as washing cars. And that's really the problem: These systems strike me as having been designed by people involved in the car-wash business rather than people with dog washing/grooming experience.
Having a friendly, knowledgeable attendant present is very important to a lot of customers. Many customers seek advice and/or need a bit of assistance. Just one example is the use of tub restraints which keep dogs in position and make the process far easier than it would be otherwise. Most people need to be shown how to use these properly and safely at least the first time or two.
Automated systems apparently don't make as much money as standard setups with an attendant. Not only are initial costs high, but they also tend to have to charge less (I assume due to the fact that they offer less: No assistance; no availability to accessories that can't be left in an unattended area, such as clippers; no assurance that an arriving customer will have a clean tub/wash area; etc.).
I agree with David.
It makes a good add-on to an existing ss care wash, but I don't see the idea running.
I thought about this idea about 5 years ago, and what I came to realize was, I would be providing a public dump-sink. Would I find a gutted deer in my facility one day(?!) Less dramatically, just the hygiene issues are concern. SOMEONE, needs to clean up the mess, and disinfect, and it's not going to be the customer.
I totally agree with the previous two comments about the cleanup situation that you would be in. If a customer arrives at the SSDW to wash the pup and there was wet hair everywhere, they would probably turn around and leave.
I just read your list of reasons for not opening a coin-operated (unattended) dog wash. And you really hit the points. But let me add a little "emotional" response to some of the posting I see on the message board:
Although the purpose of opening a business is largely financial, I also see it as part of a caring community... providing a needed service, helping people live more pleasant lives. I really enjoy my local (well run) dog wash and it makes my life (as well as my dog's) more enjoyable when it comes to bathing the pooch. I often read postings here and wonder "does this person even have a dog? or have ever washed a dog? or have they ever been to a SSDW?"
As SSDW customer for about 10 years now, I could tell you right away that an unattended SSDW would be a DISASTER. It makes about as much sense as laying carpet in your SSDW. (and i bet that question has been asked too!)
Its great that people want to open a SSDW because the business provides a wonderful service to pets and pet owners. But I hope that someone venturing into this business has had the pleasure of sharing many many MANY bathings with their beloved pet... because if you have, it would answer many of the questions asked on this site. And if you're just looking for a effortless "cash cow", stick to cars or storage units or laundry or something less personal. You're not going to do well in the pet industry because pet owners want someone who cares about their business as much as they care about their pet.
Response from Dave Grass:
Excellent points and very well put!
I know there are some car washes that are using coin-operated dog washes. I have looked into these recently. There are two manufacturers of such systems that I'm aware of. One is integrated with a tub that I believe is a very poor design. The other can be used with standard dog tubs, making it more useful. They are both quite expensive.
I have to be honest and say that I have a very hard time imagining these being a good idea for the following reasons:
- I doubt customers can be counted on to adequately clean up after their wash. Even if they were all inclined to do so, and had the ability to do so, it would have to entail making a powerful shop vac available to assist in cleanup of the floor, which I don't think is a good idea due to improper use and safety issues.
- A lot of customers need various advice and/or a bit of assistance. Just one example is the tub restraints which keep dogs in position and makes the process far easier than it would be otherwise. Most people need to be shown how to use these properly and safely at least the first time.
- They apparently don't make as much money as standard setups with an attendant. Not only are initial costs high, but they also tend to have to charge less (I assume due to the fact that they offer less: No assistance; no availability to accessories that can't be left in an unattended area, such as clippers; no assurance that an arriving customer will have a clean tub/wash area; etc.).
I just don't see these systems being practical in actual use.