What Is a Grooming Van?

Jeremy Laukkonen

Grooming vans are vehicles that serve as mobile pet salons, providing many of the same services that are offered by stationary pet groomers. These vans can be built on virtually any platform, though one ton and larger vans tend to handle the extra weight better. Some of the amenities that can be found in a grooming van include hot and cold running water, a washing station, grooming table, dryer and all of the cleaning and conditioning products necessary to groom cats, dogs, and various other pets. Mobile groomers sometimes convert their own vehicles, though there are professional conversion companies that also offer the service. Some mobile grooming companies provide a grooming van to each employee, and operate on a rate share program, while others lease vans out to independent contractors and many self-employed groomers purchase their own vehicles.

Grooming vans often provide pet nail clipping services.
Grooming vans often provide pet nail clipping services.

Mobile grooming is a service that typically charges a premium in comparison to similar stationary businesses. In exchange, the pet owner is offered the convenience of not needing to travel to a traditional groomer. Mobile groomers sometimes specialize in just cats or dogs, though others can handle virtually any type of pet. Some of the services that these groomers typically provide include washing pets, trimming fur or performing more complicated cuts, brushing of teeth and cutting nails. Each grooming van is typically converted according to the specific needs of the business.

Being bitten or scratched by the animal being groomed is a routine occurrence for a mobile pet groomer.
Being bitten or scratched by the animal being groomed is a routine occurrence for a mobile pet groomer.

Many different types of vehicles can be converted into grooming vans, from traditional cargo vans, to box trucks and step vans. Groomers typically work inside, so the one requirement is there needs to be enough headroom to stand up, and sufficient space to work with the animals. Since most mobile groomers offer washing services, a grooming van typically also needs to have some type of water storage tank and a way to heat it up. This can be accomplished with a propane heated water tank, or through a heat exchanger that is connected to the engine cooling system. In addition to the water tank and a method to warm it, some type of wash basin or tub is also necessary.

The other main component present in most grooming vans is some sort of table that the smaller pets can be set on. This provides the groomer with the ability to dry the pets off, perform haircuts, and do other work while standing up. These tables are sometimes adjustable as well so that they can accommodate different sizes of pets. Other than that, a grooming van needs to be stocked with all of the other equipment and supplies necessary to perform the specific services that are offered. Storage space is often needed for items such as flea and tick medication or shampoos, tooth brushing materials, chemicals to remove skunk odor, and various other materials.

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