The dog has widely been considered man’s best friend because of its unflinching loyalty, unconditional love and excellent companionship. But these special friends will often need special care and attention when their human moms and dads are at work or otherwise unavailable. Many dog lovers will take up a career in dog walking or grooming because of their special affinity to these terrific animals. This is especially needed by those who have to be at the job but want their four-legged friends to enjoy fresh air, exercise and proper grooming.
Today, dog care has become a booming business. The popular website, The Good Dog Guide, was launched in 2011 and lists over 10,000 dog care professionals, providing support to millions of UK dog owners. For many people, the life of a dog care worker is ideal, but many more will find the setbacks are considerable. Did you know that London has the highest number of dog walkers per capita In the UK?
In the following article we will take a closer look at the various activities of the average dog walker or dog groomer and take a look at what types of features they should consider when choosing a van that will suit their needs. We will then take a look at some of the options on the market now and examine what it is that makes some vans more ideal for dog walkers, groomers and those that care for dogs.
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Why do dog walkers and groomers need a van?
The average dog walker will charge £10-£20 an hour for their services and this often means taking out more than one canine out at a time. This means that they will certainly need space in their van to collect several dogs of several sizes and transport them to a place where they can be walked. For this reason, the size of the van is very important.
If you are a mobile groomer for canines and felines, you will probably need a large enough space in the back of the van for you to set up your equipment and various cleaning agents and still have space to work on an animal that can be very large. Your grooming center will include hairdryers, baths and benches where you will work on hair and nails. Then you will need enough space to accommodate your size and allow you to move and work well.
What size vans do dog walkers and groomers need?
We have spent time looking through forums on the topic and the general consensus is that dog walkers often work in teams of two and therefore need the capacity to comfortably transport as many as 10 medium sized dogs at a time.
Some professional dog walkers have mentioned that an average sized car is sufficient for transporting 2-3 dogs at a time. But when it came time to upgrade their businesses, they found that getting a van was the most logical step. The Peugeot Partner had the capacity to hold up to four good sized cages. If you will be considering working with greater numbers of dogs, you will need to consider how many cages can be properly fit in the back of your van so that you can safely transport more than a few dogs.
If you are a groomer you need to consider that not all the animals you will be grooming will be petite felines or chihuahuas. This means you will want to consider getting a van that can potentially hold a large St. Bernard and allow you the space to address the animal adequately.
If you are a mobile groomer you will need to consider how the fixtures, appliances and benches will be arranged in the back of the van you choose. It is a good idea to have some idea of how this will work before you choose the van.
What modifications need to be made to the van?
The dog walker can take advantage of some special additions and modifications that can make their work considerably easier. The most common thing is a set of cages in the back of the van. Different cages, designs and materials will vary in their costs. Some of the more costly options will even have climate control to keep your canine clients cool in the summer and warm in the winter. There are even vents and motorized airflow channels that can keep the dogs as comfortable as possible during their transportation. Then, you will probably want some storage space for poop scoops, towels, leads and anything else you may need on hand to function optimally.
You should also consider that your dogs will probably have some “accidents” in the back of the car and this can include vomit, urine or fecal matter that will need to be cleaned regularly. Make sure the floor and sides of the van are easily cleaned and hosed down.
If you are looking to break into the dog grooming business — the cat grooming business has also been booming recently — you will need a different set of modifications for your van.
The inside of your van will have to be 100% waterproof, because you will be bathing animals. You should also make sure that the temperatures can be controlled because you will be working in the van during all times of the year and this can include the extreme cold and you will want to be comfortable and make sure that your clients are also comfortable.
You will need to have a bathing area that comes complete with a shower head. You will also need the work bench complete with restraints so that clipping nails and trimming hair is an easy task. In addition to these essentials, you will need the right storage space to accommodate a wide range of storage for brushes, clippers, scissors, towels and brushes. Because you will be working all hours of the day, you will also need to ensure that you have ample lighting.
Naturally, you are not going to find many vans on the market that already come equipped with your parlor on wheels. But you will be happy to know that many different companies provide this service.