How our Groomers Thrived During Coronavirus

During COVID-19’s peak in Australia, many businesses, unfortunately, had to close or suffer losses under restrictions. Fortunately for Blue Wheelers and our franchisees, mobile dog grooming is an essential service that can work with no human contact. Our groomers put social distancing & extra sanitizing methods in place to ensure everyone’s safety. 

Many of our franchisees told the support team that they were experiencing an increase in enquiries and were busier than ever! This was due to a range of factors:

-People being at home, noticing their smelly dogs more;
-Other dog grooming salons having closed in some areas;
-People wanting a groomer that comes to them so they don’t have to leave the house;
-More dogs being adopted and bought across the country.

Blue Wheelers was recently featured in ‘The West Australian’ newspaper talking about a major increase in new franchise enquiries. Martin Rose, Franchisor, Blue Wheelers, said that ‘we have had a 40% increase of franchisee enquiries last month compared to the same period last year’. 

Rob James from Blue Wheelers Upper Coomera had the following to say regarding his experience grooming during COVID-19. 

“Like most Australians when the Coronavirus was first reported my initial thoughts were, well, it’s only like the flu on steroids isn’t it?. All of a sudden things escalated and we are all told to stay home. These businesses can’t open, people losing their jobs associated with those businesses closing, and the media coverage creating absolute panic within the general population. 

Panic initially set in, but I kept on the road knowing that the conditions Blue Wheelers had implemented were easy for us, in the most part, to adhere to. I did the training, educated myself, displayed the required signage regarding social distancing, implemented it and kept going. Importantly I let all my customers know in their confirmation text that I would be adhering to all the required protocols, have zero contact and that my preferred payment method was EFTPOS, but cash would be accepted.. I’d read the article by the Australian Mint and was personally satisfied handling cash had zero chance of passing the virus on. In a previous life I was a teller for a major bank for around 6 years and never got sick from handling any of it. Of course you would also sanitise before and after.

I focused on what we could do rather than what we couldn’t. Together with regular updates provided by Blue Wheelers it was ‘game on’ for me. During the entire time, I have lost one regular booking, because his son lost his job and he wanted to help him out with his mortgage. Though he said he will return. I think he will.

On the flip side my bookings have jumped in a big way. The busy pre Christmas trade pales to what’s been happening here by a long shot. Enquiries, phone calls & responses to my own marketing have all increased and paid off. My book is full for some time  to come, with a full cancellation list happening each week. Perhaps it’s because people are home with their pups more and they realise they need a bath or groom, perhaps they see their neighbours dog looking great and were told it was me who did it. 

The reasons behind it don’t really concern me. All I know is it’s here, and no sign of a slowdown yet. I’ve had dogs pushed out of screen doors, leashed up to gates, put in the trailer or just let off the lead to run to me to keep within the restriction protocols.

People generally respected the fact it was for their safety and mine. Kids peering through the window were an issue, though I just asked them to stand back which they did. If they innocently crept forward, a blast with the dryer bought realisation and a lot of smiles and back they went.

One of the extra positives for me was that I met a lot of spouses or partners who I’d never met before as they would normally be at work. It gave me an excellent opportunity to cement the relationship I’d already had with their other half. I’ve been proffered beers late on a Saturday afternoon, coffees in the morning, biscuits, cake and water. The PR must be working.

As they are all home and now talking to their neighbours I’ve gained a fair bit of work from word of mouth as well.

I’ve done my job of presenting “doesn’t your best friend deserve the best?”. I’ve increased my business dramatically and the ball remains in my court to provide the service so they keep coming back.”

The pet industry in Australia is booming! Now is the best time to join the Blue Wheelers team or Dash DogWash. Whether you’ve lost your previous job due to COVID-19, want a stable, ‘recession-proof’ career change or have a passion for dogs – Blue Wheelers or Dash DogWash could be the perfect fit for you. If you are interested in learning more about starting your own Blue Wheelers dog franchise, click the link and submit an enquiry for your no-obligation information pack. 

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