D.C. mobile dog groomers keep pets looking good on the go

D.C. mobile dog groomers keep pets looking good on the go

If you’re thinking about using a mobile pet groomer, chances are the reason is the same as your Washington neighbors — convenience.

The mobile dog grooming concept is booming around D.C. and the Virginia and Maryland suburbs, which doesn’t surprise those in the grooming industry, who say busy residents want a quality product with no hassle.

“Clients can simply give the dog to us and they can go back to their business,” says Guzal Arslanova, owner of the highly rated VIP Pet Salon and Boutique, a mobile pet groomer in McLean, Virginia.

It doesn’t get much easier than a groomer's van pulling up into your driveway.

Dog grooming on location

These animal grooming machines on wheels are equipped with water, electricity and everything else needed to transform your pooch from shabby to chic in about an hour.

At first, Arslanova says she expected most grooming customers would have dogs with special needs, but that wasn't the case.

“It’s all about convenience in this area,” she says. “That’s the No. 1 reason people here use a mobile groomer.”

Trevor Burkhart of the highly rated Bark In Style couldn’t agree more.

“People are busy and they want the convenience a mobile groomer offers,” says Burkhart, who operates his mobile grooming business out of Rockville, Maryland, and concentrates mostly on upper Northwest D.C. and southern Montgomery County.

These at-your-door services are changing how dog groomers operate in the Washington area.

Burkhart started his grooming business 10 years ago with one truck, and he had only one mobile competitor at the time.

“Now, we have four trucks and nine competitors,” he says. “That tells us just how high demand is in this area.”

This popularity, from Burkhart’s perspective, has created a friendly relationship among his competitors. “D.C. is such a large market that mobile groomers have no reason to be adversarial,” he says.

He also adds that in general pet owners take particularly good care of their animals in the Washington area. “The population in Washington is highly educated, and those people tend to wait longer to have a baby,” he says. “A dog tends to fill in that gap. It’s like their first child.”

Customer experience

So what can customers expect from a mobile pet groomer?

First, it’s personal attention from start to finish. There’s no “assembly line” for grooming where your dog spends most of the day in a crate and only a small portion of time being groomed.

“Many owners simply don’t want their dog put in a crate,” Arslanova says. “That's something we never do.”

Your pets also will have an easy transition, especially if they have phobias or don’t handle travel well. A trip outside to the driveway is less demanding and keeps their anxiety in check.

Some of Arslanova’s clients give her a house key so she can retrieve the dog while they’re at work. The dog can be groomed, pampered and returned within an hour and without ever leaving the owner’s property.

Mobile grooming costs

In terms of cost, Arslanova charges $80 for a basic groom for small dogs under 10 pounds.

“The price all depends on the breed size, and the services the customer wants,” she says.

That’s comparable to Burkhart, who charges around $60 for a basic grooming for a Jack Russell and up to $140 for a full grooming package for a standard poodle. Bark In Style also offers mobile grooming services for cats.

But no matter the type of pet or its size, it’s smart to book pet grooming appointments early.

“We’re often booked up to two weeks in advance,” Burkhart says.

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