Blue Wheelers – 25 Years of Success
In 2021, Blue Wheelers turned 25 years old! What an amazing achievement for Blue Wheelers franchisors, Janie and Martin Rose and our many groomers that have been with us for decades. In 1994 Blue Wheelers (then known as HydroDog) was first established on the Gold Coast, Queensland with its first franchise granted in 1996. Twenty five years later in 2021 Blue Wheelers has grown to almost 200 fully trained franchisees across Australia and is Australia’s No1 Choice in mobile dog grooming.
When Martin and Janie bought HydroDog back in 2006 their aim was to take HydroDog into the future and establish a genuine opportunity for dog lovers to make a living from grooming dogs. Back then there was a more simple attitude towards dog grooming and very few designer dogs around. Now that has all changed and dog ownership in Australia has grown into a multi million dollar industry.
“Over two decades ago HydroDog had different brand values in every State; different styles of trailers; different training in each State, different products and very little National standards. We knew we had to rebrand to move forward” Janie explains “we wanted to move away from the sense of HydroDog which was basically water and dog to a more fun brand in Blue Wheelers”. “Over time we changed all our trailers nationally to the Big Blue Dog in line with our Blue Wheeler brand value of ‘Doesn’t Your Best Friend Deserve the Best”. At the same time of rebranding from HydroDog to Blue Wheelers, we also introduced Dash DogWash. This frisky little brother brand served the purpose of filling a gap in the market for a wash only service that was still high quality. Over time, Dash Dogwash has pivoted to become a full wash, clip and groom service too as this is where the market demand exists.”
Covid-19 has only increased demand for this industry as dog ownership continues to grow with many households having 1 – 3 dogs at home. The oodle dog has grown rapidly in popularity and these dogs all require regular grooming to maintain their health and happiness.
One of our longest running franchisees started off as a HydroDog Groomer back in 1999. Katrina, Blue Wheelers Warners Bay has moved her business 3 times and has seen the industry go through many transitions. Katrina says “Being a Blue Wheeler the past 22 years has given me everything I could have asked for. Running my own business has given me flexibility, a great income and I’ve made some wonderful friends, human and canine. Absolutely love what I do!” At the other end of the scale, we have Caitlyn Cheah, one of our newest franchisees who started in July 2021 as Blue Wheelers Narre Warren South. She says that “After a year of contemplative thinking along with seeing how lives were changed due to the pandemic, I was triggered to follow my passion of working with dogs. I decided on Blue Wheelers after intensive research, as their values resonate with me.”
We love celebrating our franchisees’ milestones. This year six franchisees have reached their 10 year milestone, one of our South Australian franchisees Randy Tinkler (pictured) has been with us for 10 years and has already committed to continue being a Blue Wheeler groomer for many years to come. Our 10 Year Awards are handed out at our Annual meetings and it’s one of the best parts of these meetings. Congratulations to all of our franchisees, whether they have been with us for 1 year, 5 years, 10 years or 20!
In 2012, our little brother brand, Dash DogWash was created by Martin and Janie Rose to attend to the growing need for a franchisee to choose the option to be a full grooming service or wash only business. While the grooming aspect is where the big bucks can be made, there are many who just want to keep active and run a wash only service, while still earning a solid income. Follow the link to learn more about Dash DogWash mobile dog grooming franchise story.
During COVID across 2020 and 2021, our groomers were lucky enough to continue working for the much of the time, except for only the harshest ‘Stage 4’ restrictions in each state. We petitioned tirelessly to have groomers recognised as essential workers for the welfare of our dogs. To date our groomers have been off the road for a limited time during the pandemic up. Right now in Victoria it is certainly not ‘business as usual’ with current restrictions but many dogs are still being groomed with approval via a Vet’s letter for their welfare. Working with a COVID Safe Plan and having effectively a ‘click and collect’ service with customers helped our groomers continue keeping Australia’s dogs clean and matt free! Dozens of people who were challenged by their current career during COVID decided to make the bold move to become their own boss with one of our Grooming businesses. Our Grooming and Business Training was typically held at Blue Wheelers Grooming School and the Support Head Office in Melbourne. Now, we have professional Grooming Schools located in VIC, NSW, QLD and WA as well as our National Team Support on the ground to assist new team members. New additions to our team complete their Business and Marketing training modules online and over video conferencing. This has worked really well for us and our groomers, allowing us to keep growing our team with high quality training during these troubling times.
What’s Next for Blue Wheelers?
At Blue Wheelers, we continue to improve industry standards and our business model. Due to high demand for mobile dog groomers in Australia, we are always looking for new dog lovers to join our family. In 2021 we saw our first Dash DogWasher working in the same territory as a Blue Wheeler – something we never thought possible. However, in Rutherford, NSW as the demand for dog washing and grooming services were in such high demand, they’ve been working together brilliantly and they’re on a mission to groom every dog in their area. We anticipate more Groomers joining together in this way in other territories where customer demand cannot be met with one Groomer on the ground.
If you’re interested in becoming a mobile dog groomer and joining the Blue Wheelers or Dash DogWash family, follow the link to learn more and enquire to get your information pack. We can arrange a day out on the road with one of our groomers to experience a day in the life of a dog groomer.