May 16 – ASHLAND – Ashland realtor Chris Hutchinson has added a new business venture to his resume: dog grooming.
Although he doesn’t bathe the dogs himself, he started Groomo, a mobile pet grooming business serving the tri-states and operated through an app.
The idea: After downloading the app, potential customers can view the different packages available and decide if they want add-ons. The basic choices are bath and brush, bath and trim, or bath and groom and include hydromassage, conditioner, brushing, blowing, ear cleaning, and nail trimming. There is a choice of bandana or bow tie. Add-ons include paw massage with moisturizer, facial (to remove eye and mouth stains), tooth brushing, gland expression, and painted nails.
The price of each package and add-on is indicated; the final price is determined after the groomer sees a photo sent to the potential client; the groomer rates it and puts it into a category, which reveals the price.
The Groomo van will arrive at the client’s house at the agreed time, take the dog in the van, perform the services and bring him home.
“The van is a state-of-the-art, $115,000 medical-grade facility, fully equipped, with a generator and water supply, so we don’t need to use customers’ water or electricity,” said Hutchison.
The idea came to him when he realized that two other mobile groomers were no longer in business, but when they were, they were full with a waiting list. In addition, personal experience helped him realize how useful the service is.
“I have a golden doodle over 100 pounds and another big dog and it’s hard to get them to a groomer,” he said. “There’s hair flying everywhere.”
He also noted that it’s less stressful on the dog, and it’s more convenient for some dog owners to just bring the dog to the door.
The whole company was “created from the ground up”, Hutchinson pitched the idea, created the idea of using an app and came up with the name.
“It tells what the business is about in a short, simple but fun way,” he said.
Currently Groomo employs a senior groomer with years of experience and one who is in training. Hutchinson said he interviewed 40 groomers before settling on one.
Currently, Groomo covers customers from Ashland to Grayson to Greenup.
“We’re focusing on that triangle there,” he said, noting that he plans to acquire another pickup truck and expand his territory. He said he thought it would take five or six high-tech vehicles to get around Barboursville, Huntington and Ironton. He hopes to franchise the business at some point.
The application is available in the App Store and Google Play Store.