Five years ago at this time, Raylene Johnson was a cosmetologist but had her sights set on dog grooming for over a year. She started working on a business plan, saving for a trailer, and training to become a dog groomer. You may have seen her around town because she’s a mobile dog grooming business; Raylene started Wags on Wheels in 2017.
“I started thinking about a mobile dog grooming business in 2016. That spring I started to explore grooming and that summer I started my business plan. In the fall of 2016, I received my business loan. Then I had to wait for my trailer to be built in TN. January of 2017 I went and picked up my trailer in TN. By the end of January or beginning of February 2017, I was grooming part-time and working at my salon job as a cosmetologist. By the end of the summer of 2017, I was only working 1 evening at the salon as a cosmetologist. Then by Thanksgiving of 2017, I was able to have Wags on Wheels as my full-time job. I was very surprised and grateful for how fast it took off!”
If mobile grooming is new to you, you’re not alone. But the list of benefits is long! An obvious one is that it’s essentially ‘delivery’ of a service! “I come to you! If your pup has anxiety with car rides, other dogs, or it’s just hard for you to get your puppy to the groomer in general, I can provide that convenience. The grooming appointment itself is faster, too, because it’s just me and your pup – no other interruptions. The owner doesn’t have to be home either (kind of like having a housekeeping service.)”
Raylene is originally from the Iron Range in Northern MN but moved to the St. Cloud area when her family relocated when she was 16. She finished her high school years at Sauk Rapids High School and still lives in Sauk Rapids, with her husband. “I couldn’t have been so successful so fast if it wasn’t for my husband. I like to call him Wags on Wheels Maintenance Man. He has helped insulate the trailer to make the grooming experience for the pups more comfortable in the winter, and to help the trailer not freeze. He also made some adjustments to the trailer to make it easier for me to groom. And when something goes wrong with the trailer, he is taking on the stress with me on how to get it up and running so I don’t have to cancel grooms.”
Inspiration can come from many places, and in Raylene’s case, it was a friend in the industry who got her thinking about a mobile dog grooming business. “I have a family friend – Billie Jean – back home on the iron range that had a mobile grooming business who I knew was really successful. I realized that St. Cloud didn’t have one and thought it would most definitely be a successful business in this area. So, I started doing my research. I also went home and shadowed Billie Jean and instantly fell in love with everything. Then, a friend of my husband mentioned a free program called SCORE that guides women in the right direction of starting a business. They helped me make a Business plan and how to go about all the steps.”
“As much as I would love to groom all the pups in the area, I am only one person! Currently, about 80% of my clients schedule their pups grooming appointments for the whole year. It’s hard to say what the average “wait time” is once you are on my waitlist to become a client.” Although Raylene and Wags on Wheels is not currently accepting any new clients, she is looking for a Groomer to hire! “It’s tough finding a groomer in general, and I need one who can haul a trailer and who I can trust to uphold my business name.” If you’re a good fit, you can get more information on the Wags on Wheels website.
“I would love to take this opportunity to thank the St. Cloud Community for getting the word out about my business and helping me grow this business into something one of a kind and special. I truly love what I do and spending my days with all these amazing pups. I have an amazing clientele and I love getting to know them and their precious fur babies.”