First, how long has the manufacturer been in business and how much thought has been put into the lay out? I’m not saying always go with the company who has been in business the longest, but it stands to reason that the newest guy in the industry is still fine-tuning his product and the guy who’s been doing it longest has a lot of experience, but may not be as innovative. It’s important to ask who designed the interior lay out? Did they at least have the input of a groomer or is the inside based off an experienced groomer who knows time is money and an ideal layout equals profitability.
Second, what equipment comes standard in the trailer? You’ll need a bathing tub, dryer, grooming table, generator and bathing system. Is the standard equipment top of the line or did they sacrifice quality to save a buck? “The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done.”-John Ruskin. Not only should the equipment be top of the line, but placement of the equipment is key for the reason mentioned earlier (time=money).
Third, what materials are used in the interior? Some manufacturers buy cookie cutter trailers and modify them for grooming so you must be careful and verify that your trailer was designed for grooming and not modified for grooming. You’ll need to make sure the manufacturer has done his research to insure that all of the interior can stand up to moisture, heat and can even be hosed out at the end of a particularly busy day. If you hose out the trailer, does each piece of equipment have a protective enclosure so you can clean without fear of damaging your nice stuff? When it comes to the walls, I recommend aluminum. If it’s durable enough for the exterior of a trailer, it’s definitely going to hold up on the inside as well. Moisture is your number one concern in a mobile grooming trailer so you want to make sure that not only the best materials have been chosen but the best construction techniques have been utilized as well. You’re going to be spending a lot of time at your business so it needs to be well built and comfortable.
Fourth, resale value. If you want to have a high resale value, you need to start out with something valuable and then take care of it. We all know in this life, you get what you pay for, it’s true for jewelry, furniture and mobile grooming trailers. If someone is offering you the highest quality and the cheapest price don’t walk, run! As Mr. Ruskin mentioned earlier, the two cannot exist together. He also says “there is hardly anything in the world that someone can’t make a little worse and sell a little cheaper-and the people who consider price alone are this man’s lawful prey”. (but I digress) A nice trailer will have safeguards in place to protect against rot. It should be undercoated for protection from outside elements. Interior walls should be water proof and rust proof, be properly ventilated (remember you’ll have a dryer running in there for a considerable number of hours daily) and have a heavy duty, commercial generator. These are just a few items. I’ll add to this in a future blog or feel free to call me. I won’t charge you a dime to pick my brain.
Fifth and final is support after the sale. Some manufacturers are available during business hours (keep in mind groomers’ business hours differ from a manufacturer’s). Others will give you their personal cell phone numbers so you’ll want to keep that in mind when comparing one company to another. Groomers are a lot more savvy than they get credit for. Most groomers have been their own boss’ for years, and their own marketing department, sales staff, land lords, etc. Whether you’re making the move from store front to mobile or adding value to your business by getting in on the mobile grooming trend, you want to get the best trailer your money can buy. The bottom line is every grooming trailer manufacturer promises high quality, but that’s just marketing. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, quality and durability are things that can actually be measured and compared and we hope you’ll do a lot of research and become informed before you make a purchase.