Alena LaSoya always knew she wanted to work with dogs, but didn’t know in what capacity.
She found an answer two years ago, shortly after moving from Houston to Odessa, when she decided to open her own mobile dog grooming business.
Since then, his business, called “Woofers Mobile Dog Grooming”, has taken off as his client list has grown steadily.
âIn 2014, I was a dog trainer, but I didn’t know what field I wanted to be in,â LaSoya said. âI knew I wanted something to do with animals. So I started to orient myself towards grooming. I worked in a salon and then discovered that I enjoyed the one-on-one time with animals. This makes it easier for them. It is so much quieter for the animals and peaceful.
Not many people may know that there are mobile dog grooming businesses, let alone in Odessa, but it’s a concept that LaSoya says seems to be catching on.
âThere are so many people here and the idea of ââmobile is starting to catch on and they are starting to like this idea,â LaSoya said. âMy name is spreading like wildfire. I was mentioned.
This includes his list of clients.
âIt’s pretty neat,â LaSoya said. âSome of them didn’t know. I’m from Houston and it’s a huge thing there. I didn’t know if there were any mobile businesses. I came here to work for someone but found out that everyone had their own business and so I did. I started in a trailer and got ready to get this pickup truck.
One of the benefits of having a mobile dog grooming business is that it allows them to take their business to people rather than having to bring their pets. This can make it calm and relaxing for dogs who may not like having their hair cut.
âBeing mobile, dogs know they’re home,â LaSoya said. âThey are much more relaxed. It is much easier for parents and dogs, especially if the dog is older or larger or if the owner is old and cannot move around much. It’s just more convenient for them.
With the mobile business, she takes her van to the customer, brings the dog and washes and dries them and does the grooming directly before bringing them back right away.
âWith mobile, it’s completely straightforward,â LaSoya said. âNormally, for a small breed dog, it can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half. A lot of people are really surprised by this because they leave their dogs in the salon for four hours or even more sometimes and no one likes it.
LaSoya sticks to dog grooming, adding that cats are a bit more picky and require another level of expertise.
âI tried to see if I wanted to make cats, but it was just difficult because their skin is more delicate and they are a little more dangerous,â LaSoya said with a laugh. âWith cats and other animals, there are different techniques to use, different blades. It’s just a whole other skill. With cats, there are other practices for that.
Being a dog person, LaSoya has always been surrounded by dogs while growing up.
âGrowing up, my grandparents had a poodle,â LaSoya said. âI have always been around animals. I had my first dog when I was 10 years old. After that I haven’t had a pet for too long but once I moved and got my own place I got a bunch of them and now I have four in total. “
She currently has four dogs including a Yorkshire terrier named Lilly who is between 5 and 8 years old.
In addition to his lab mix and heel mix, his 6 year old mastiff named Bruce is featured on the Woofers logo on his van.
One of her favorite things about running her dog grooming business is spending time with her four-legged friends.
âIt’s really peaceful,â LaSoya said. âI’m getting to know their eccentricity. I guess my favorite part is picking up a dog that a lot of people couldn’t handle and finding what they didn’t like about grooming and letting them know that everything was fine. I have had a lot of dogs that scream or try to bite. They would be restless, but I’m taking that long to let them know it’s going to be okay. I have been around a lot of dogs.
But there are also a lot of challenges that come with it, including its wearing shoulders.
âThe longer I’ve been doing this, the more of a body issue it has become like with my shoulders,â LaSoya said. âThis is probably the main one. Other challenges are when I lose dogs; like if they die it’s hard because i build relationships and it can be hard to go our separate ways.
When managing her busy schedule, she should consider how long it will take to groom each dog, as well as how long it takes to get from client to client each day.
âI can usually groom between five and six dogs maximum,â LaSoya said. “It’s about five or six hours and there’s still an hour or two of driving.”
Because of this and also because of the rising price of gas, she can only operate her business in Odessa.
âI had to start staying here in Odessa instead of going to Midland,â LaSoya said. “I have a lot of people who have contacted me from Midland, but I can’t do it anymore.”
At the start of her business, she operated from a homemade trailer that her father had made.
Since January, she has been operating from her new van.
âThis van, I had them install an inverter so that I could turn on a generator or the inverter that has a lot of batteries,â LaSoya said. âAlso, with this generator, the exhaust gas escapes relative to my trailer (where) I had to open the rear so that all the fumes could escape. This makes everything so much easier and easier to get around.
His van includes all the accessories necessary for his job.
âIt’s a neat pickup truck,â LaSoya said. âThey designed it for the place where I have two grooming tables. There are two hairdryers. I have a vacuum cleaner and a trash can. My tub can accommodate fairly large dogs. I have fresh water.
Shortly after starting the business, COVID became widespread, forcing him to take a few weeks off.
However, that didn’t sideline his business for long.
âLike everyone else, I took two weeks off, but I had some payments to make, so I went back to work and people want their dogs groomed,â LaSoya said.
While it got off to a slow start in 2019, LaSoya says the business took off quickly and has been doing well ever since.
âOnce I reached December, all of the salons were very busy and other people started reaching out to different places to bring their dogs in and after that it caught fire,â LaSoya said.
To make an appointment with LaSoya, call 432-599-2177 or go to his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/woofersmobiledoggrooming/.
Mobile Dog Grooming Woofers