When it comes to purchasing equipment for mobile and storefront
grooming businesses, industry insiders agreed that education is
“Groomers need to do their due diligence when it comes to pur-
chasing a grooming table,” said Simons. “If they purchase the wrong
one, they will pay for it every day.”
Visser agreed, adding that education allows groomers to make in-
formed buying decisions to get the right tools or equipment to meet
their needs. For example, mobile groomers must consider how a pur-
chase will fit their limited space, she said.
Grooming tables represent a significant investment, so Austin emphasized how important it is that groomers understand what they are
getting for the money.
“It’s important to understand the warranty, if replacement parts
are available and the durability,” she said. “If you work with a lot of
big dogs, you need to make sure to select a table that is rated for higher
weights and is stable going up and down with significant weight.
“Mobile groomers have limited space to work in, and electricity
can be a challenge,” she added. “It is important for them to have a
clear understanding of their units’ capacity and space before select-
Key methods of groomer education include trade magazines, man-
ufacturer literature and websites, social media and shows.
Vanessa Bland, head groomer, co-owner and manager of Healthi
Paws in Valparaiso, Ind., said groomers at the store read grooming
magazines, service magazines online, and attend shows and conventions to educate themselves.
Bailey also uses shows and company literature to stay educated.
“There are many grooming shows all over the country, which
are great venues to discuss tools, tables, tricks of the trade, etc. Many
groomers do not attend and need another outlet such as bloggers,
grooming sites, newsletters and grooming catalogs.”
Rust pointed to several Facebook groups that she frequents for
groomer education and equipment recommendations.
“People are always asking about solving problems on these sites,
and when looking at ordering a major purchase like a hydraulic table,
I’ll ask about people’s preferences,” she said. •
Professional grooming is a physically demanding career, and an individual’s equipment choices can make or
break their business—and their back. The industry has
taken notice, and innovative ergonomic solutions keep
groomers healthier for the long haul.
“In my early years of grooming, there were not any
electric tables that I was aware of—only hydraulic,” said
Connie Bailey, owner of The Pet Spa in Phoenix. “Thanks
to groomers’ understanding what they need to save
their backs and time—and time is money—industry
manufacturers came up with the electric tables. [And]
they continue to improve with input from groomers.”
Holly Gibson, manager of marketing and innova-
tion at Shor-Line in Kansas City, Kan., said that more
people want grooming services, which is great for
groomers, but cautioned that larger volumes also
demand more work.
“Professional groomers combine both superior art-
istry and technical grooming skill to help dogs keep
their coats not only good looking, but also healthy,” she
said. “It takes a physical toll on groomers’ hands, wrists,
back, shoulders and elbows. When the table takes on
some of the burden, then the groomer can be the artist
and pamper the pet.”
Hydraulic and electric lift tables are designed to
quietly raise pets to comfortable heights for groomers
to work, and grooming arms enable professionals to
choose the best position for each client, she added.
“An electric table is now the standard, which is a big
asset in preventing work injuries,” said Michelle Austin,
director of marketing/purchasing at Ryan’s Pet Supplies,
based in Phoenix. “Grooming is physically demanding,
and any time a piece of equipment can increase work
safety or reduce repetitive movement, that is a plus.”
Other advances have included tables with wheels
and casters to enable easy movement around the
grooming salon, as well as products that lower enough
for large dogs to step on and off instead of needing to
“The science of ergonomics provides information to
help both professionals and casual enthusiasts brush
and groom dogs efficiently to help minimize the physi-
cal stress on the groomer,” Gibson said. “By training
yourself to lift, bend and change grooming positions in
certain ways, you can help protect your body. Just mini-
mizing torso twisting with good positioning can protect
She added that even the little things such as
rounded edges and easy-grip surfaces on tables make
grooming easier for the professional and more enjoy-
able for pets.
“Square tables get the job done, but groomers kept
telling us they would be bruised at the end of long days,”
she said. “The rounded corners are more forgiving.”
“The Groomers Helper system lets dogs
hang out when set up. I find that without
restraint they have too many choices on
where to look; with the system, they relax
better. I am pressed for time, and if a dog is
trying to fight with me or escape or lick my
arm, it’s hard to be time efficient.”—JULIE
RUST, owner of The Fluffy Ruff Dog Spa in
Bainbridge Island, Wash.
“Durability and quality. I have not
seen any cases as cute as Top Performance. Even at grooming shows, I
see Top Performance pulled around all
the time.”—VANESSABLAND, head
groomer, co-owner and manager of
Healthi Paws in Valparaiso, Ind.
What do you look for in cases, arms
and tables for your business?