Aussie Pet Mobile Earns Our Disdain

For a couple of years we used a service called Aussie Pet Mobile. This is a company that has Chrysler Sprinter vans nicely modified to perform pet grooming at your home. It’s a really good idea and we loved the service here in Houston. I think we used it from very early in the life of this particular franchise.

The service is simple enough. You call the local franchisee and book an appointment, then they come to the house and groom the pets. It’s fast and convenient. We always had a great experience with the field staff who came to do the work.

Until relatively recently we had two dogs; Dickson a large German Shepherd/Labrador mix and Shadow, a purebred Labrador retriever.  We also only had one vehicle, which made the groomer coming to the house even more convenient. Since I work from home we’d book the appointments around my availability.

The company made note of the fact that we had large dogs and would generally send a male groomer so that he’d be strong enough to lift Dickson into the bath. I’ll say it again, we deeply appreciated that care and concern that the field staff showed for the animals. This in concert with the convenient made the service worth the price, which was over double what the local PetCo/PetsMart charges.

As you can tell from the image the van they use is notable, easily spotted in any neighborhood. We know that based upon our earlier experience several of our neighbors now use the service.

Some time in 2009 the original owner of the Houston franchise moved out of the area and so the franchise was sold. From this point onward our experience with the service went into sharp decline.

We had a difficult time getting the scheduling person on the phone. It turns out that this is in fact the new owner. At first it appeared that she only answered the phone between 9am and 5pm, or so the outgoing message stated. It also noted that appointments can be booked online via the national franchising body.

As far as I can tell the new owner doesn’t answer the phone…ever. She screens all her calls, only returning messages when she sees fit. The past few times that I have called they simply never responded.

Shortly after the transition to the new owner the groomer who most often handled our dogs was fired. He has since gone on to create his own small grooming business.

I’ve recently checked with a neighbor who also tells me that she also has a difficult time reaching the company. So much so that she now calls one of the field staff directly. Further, when they had a misunderstanding about something she found the management to be brusk to the point of rude.

I went to the companies web site to find out about making a booking online. I was shocked and amazed to find that the web site’s landing page is dominated by an all singing and dancing Flash animation. It’s loud and there’s no volume control or stop button. It’s a triumph of cutesy over carefully considered.

If someone working in an office was to visit the site the noise it makes would surely alert their management to what the person was doing. So I feel that the web site does its customers a serious disservice. I passed this comment to the franchising company, but got only a form email in response.

For a service business tending to the pets of people who have jobs only answering the phone 9-5 is terribly inconvenient. In fact, it’s inconsiderate. Screening all their calls only underscores their lack of concern about their customers.

We’ve made a considerable effort to put aside our feelings about the management because the service was very good. However, the local franchisee is not returning our phone calls. Further, when I made a booking online they never followed up or showed up.

So I offer you this warning; Beware of the Aussie Dog Mobile service in Houston. They clearly don’t have an understanding of what it is to run a service business. They treat customers poorly, and if you mention this fact they simply ignore you evermore.

Or as Shadow would say, “No bickies for them!”