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The material on this page is from:
An article written by David A. Grass.
It may be used only with permission.

This Town IS Big Enough For The Both Of Us!

Self-Serve Dog Washes are being warmly welcomed by the public in areas where they are available. And they are becoming available in more and more places all the time. It is now apparent, as people are becoming more aware of the concept and gaining greater access to this type of service, that this is only the beginning. The industry is here to stay, and it will continue to experience significant growth for years to come. In other words, it is a good time to get involved.

Published statistics range from 35% to 45% for U.S. households with one or more dog. Moreover, people are taking better care of their pets and spending more on them, than at any time in the past. It has been estimated that $25 billion is being spent on pets each year in the U.S.—and that figure is rising. There is plenty of room for self-serve dog washes and full-service grooming shops to coexist. In fact, an ideal situation for many is a facility which offers both. That way there is something to offer everyone from the “do-it-yourselfers” to the “I-haven’t-the-time-or-the-inclination-to-do-it” folks.

My particular facility (now under new ownership) did not include professional grooming, although I began offering nail trimming after seeing that most dogs had overgrown nails, and that many if not most people fall somewhere between “uncomfortable” and “terror stricken” when it comes to the thought of trimming their pets’ nails. (Being amazed by what I saw, I ended up writing a book titled, “How To Trim Your Dog’s…Nails! And Why You’re Probably Dumber Than Your Dog.”)

Soon after opening my self-serve dog wash, I found that while many people were intrigued and excited by the concept, I typically received a few inquiries each week about full-service grooming. It became apparent that there are four kinds of dog caretakers:

  1. Those who have their pets bathed/groomed by a professional groomer;
  2. Those who want to bath/groom their pets themselves;
  3. Those who have their pets professionally groomed, but do their own bathing and/or minor grooming between regular visits to the groomer;
  4. And unfortunately, those whose pets are rarely, if ever, bathed or groomed.
The first group needs professional groomers, the second group needs self-serve dog wash and groom facilities, the third group needs both, and the fourth group needs education!

Since I did not offer professional grooming, I soon developed good relationships with a couple of groomers I felt comfortable with (i.e., had heard good things about), to whom I referred prospective customers interested in the services they provided. Likewise, they referred people asking about self-service availability to me. Thus, rather than having adversarial relationships while vying for the same resources (customers), our networking benefited each of us…as networking typically does.

© Copyright, David A. Grass, 2003.
All rights reserved.

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