When it came time for Tanya Klein to name her mobile pet grooming business, she had a handful of ideas floating around: The Grateful Dog, Bark-N-Bubbles, Luv-N-Sudz.
Ultimately, Luv-N-Sudz won out.
Finding a name was one of the easier steps in the process that brought Klein's business idea to fruition.
It took contacts at trade shows, market research and a trip to California before she was able to start a business that allows pets to be washed, trimmed and cleaned without having to go to a pet shop.
Equipped with a bathtub, grooming table, hot-water heater and a pet version of a hair dryer, the Luv-N-Sudz van comes to customers' homes or offices to groom their pets.
Two other pet grooming shops exist in Steamboat, but Klein is the first to take her business on the road. She said the closest mobile pet grooming business is in Breckenridge.
Klein has 14 years of pet grooming experience and spent a year and a half grooming dogs and cats at Shampoodle.
Klein always thought it would be fun to start a mobile pet grooming business. So, when her boyfriend, Wes Peterson, took a business class at Colorado Mountain College, the wheels started rolling.
With the direction of Scott Ford at CMC's Small Business Development Center, Klein and Peterson did market research and developed a business plan. Using the number of pets per household in Routt County and the percentage of pets nationwide that are groomed every six months or more, Klein saw a demand for her business.
"Market research showed that plenty of dogs could use something like this," Klein said.
A conversion van that has all the fixings for pet grooming is not an easy find. After going to trade shows, Klein said they looked at vans as far away as Boston and Pennsylvania before settling on a van in California. She flew out to Los Angeles and drove the 1995 Dodge back to town.
Klein decided to go into the business because she saw a niche. Operating out of a van would save the cost of Steamboat's high price for commercial space.
Klein can provide everything a stationary grooming shop would, she said. Her services include trimming and filing nails, cleaning and deodorizing ears, removing hair, brushing and detangling coats, hydro jet massages in a bath, nontoxic flea shampoo, high quality skin and coat conditioner, warm air fluff drying and trimming coats.
For customers, two of the biggest draws of a mobile groomer are avoiding the hassle of picking up and dropping off pets and sparing animals from coming into contact with other animals, Klein said.
Klein plans to charge $40 for small dogs, $55 for medium-size dogs and $80 for large dogs. Because of the extra time it takes per animal and the cost of gasoline, Klein said her rates are slightly higher than the local competition.
"It is a little more expensive than a groom shop, but it is a luxury and more convenient," she said.