Grooming a dog
(Image credit: Dog Father Mobile Grooming video)

Some dogs love to travel, but others find riding in a car stressful.

Those timid dogs may appreciate Matt Harwood’s mobile grooming business, Dogfather. His team drives to a client’s home and grooms the dog right there, inside a specially-equipped van.

But with 10 vans in his fleet, Harwood was spending a lot on fuel, especially because each vehicle had to be outfitted with a generator to power clippers, running water, a dryer, heat, AC, and lights.

“I ran the generator pretty much all day,” Harwood says. “My fuel cost was outrageous.”

So to save money and reduce his environmental impact, Harwood started replacing his conventional vans.

The new vans he’s using combine a gas engine with a heavy-duty battery that can be charged while driving. The battery can power most of the equipment, so Harwood only needs to run the generator if he’s using the air conditioner or a blow-dryer.

“So for a dog that takes an hour and a half,” he says, “instead of running the generator for the entire hour and a half, I only run it for 15 to 20 minutes while I’m blow-drying the dog.”

He says that’s reduced his fuel costs by about a third.

“It’s a lot better on my pocket,” Harwood says. “I love that. It’s better for the climate. And overall, it’s just better in every aspect.”

Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Jan Ellen Spiegel

Jan Ellen Spiegel is a long-time Connecticut-based journalist whose career has included radio, television, print, and digital reporting. She has won awards for her reporting on energy, environment, climate...