Happy Clean Pets - Mud Bay's Vision of Grooming
This is a draft vision -- it may change radically.
On April 30, 2021, ten Mud Bay locations house Mud Rooms and there are 61 muddies working in the Mud Rooms as Skin & Coat Specialists (SCS). Specialists are Muddies who have completed their First Year Journey and who have completed Mud Bay’s Skin & Coat Academy. Specialists focus on the health of dogs from the outside in as well as the inside out.
In addition to Mud Bay stores with Mud Rooms, there are three stand-alone Mud Rooms near existing Mud Bay locations. These Mud Bay locations did not have the space to have a service area but the demand for services in these neighborhoods is high. Stand-alone Mud Rooms offer all Skin & Coat services, our complete range of grooming tools for purchase, and a small selection of our top SKUs. They coordinate deliveries and inventories with their nearest Mud Bay location. Customers can have their food or special orders ready for pick up at their pet’s appointment.
Mud Bay’s Mud Rooms are designed to provide a low stress environment for dogs. The Mud Room is separated by doors and windows from the retail part of the store to contain sounds, smells and mess. Within, the Mud Room is separated into cubbies. Each cubby has half walls to limit dogs seeing one other and cubbies are gated to prevent escapes. Each cubby contains the bathing tub and the grooming table. The separate areas mean dogs can wait without being in a crate if the pet parent is late picking them up. Additionally, each dog is handled by a single specialist for the duration of the appointment, eliminating the need for and stress of multiple handlers.
Our largest, highest volume stores have a large room with stable, reconfigurable walls to allow dogs to play together while waiting for pick up. Owners receive a text message when their dog moves to the drying stage of their appointment so that parents can plan on a timely pickup. The Mud Room is equipped with several webcams so owners can watch their pets being bathed and feel confident that their pets are being handled safely at all times. Mud Bay has put its usual care into choosing the equipment used in the Mud Room and has added efficiency to the bathing and drying process.
Key to our outstanding service is the accurate scheduling of our appointments. Our highest volume stores have an appointment expert handling the coordination of appointments and updating of wait times for walk-ins. While our goal is a turn-around of about an hour on pet services, times may vary because of coat type, coat condition, service requested, and the temperament of the dog. When we welcome a dog to the Mud Room for the first time, we assess the dog individually to estimate length of appointment, and initial appointments are allowed 90 minutes to give the schedule wiggle room. We track the length of the appointment on the customer profile, from check-in to check-out, so that we can refine our appointment making for individuals on repeat visits.
Pricing is competitive and reasonable, though dependent on coat type (double-coated, long single coat, short coat). A bath price includes the appropriate shampoo and conditioner for the pet’s skin and coat needs, a nail trim, ears and eyes checked and cleaned, anal glands checked for abnormalities, a thorough health check from teeth to tail, with detailed notes and photos taken of anything found and then saved to the customer profile.
At the initial intake, customers are fully informed of what the health check entails. We learn about the dog’s comfort level and offer to help get the dog used to exams of sensitize areas like the mouth, ears and feet. Dogs with special needs are given the care and time they need and will not be pushed past their limits. We offer low stress visits to get dogs used to the environment and the people. Dogs that don’t need baths regularly but could benefit from brush outs are encouraged to come to the Mud Room for a thorough brushing and a health check.
We offer customers use of a mini hand-vac to do a quick detail of their cars in case their dirty dogs left dirt in the car. We also provide a dog-sized towel the customer may take for their car. If they return it at their next visit, they may exchange it for a clean towel or get $3 off their next bath (like a bottle deposit).
Pets visiting the Mud Room are treated to the highest quality Mud Bay private-labeled grooming products. Ingredient lists are complete and readily available for clients. Brushes and combs are our own as well. We offer flea treatments if the customer desires, administered after the bath. If a dog comes in with visible fleas, we can offer a quick treatment before the bath begins. We can utilize the customer profile to keep track of when flea treatments were administered. A text notification can be delivered to remind customers when to administer the next dose.
We offer a vet partnership bathing program. If a customer comes in with a prescription shampoo and bathing instructions from a vet (ex: 3x a week for 4 weeks with an anti-fungal shampoo), we offer a discounted bathing plan to the customer. This will encourage customers to see the prescription through to its end, with proper application of the shampoo and no at-home hassle.
And finally, the health and safety of our Skin & Coat Specialists is a top priority. Safety gear available for Specialists includes dust and allergen filtering face masks, protective eyewear, gloves to be used during bathing and drying to protect hands, and ear protection. Antiseptic soaps are provided so that groomers can wash their hands and arms thoroughly to reduce any chance of irritation. All tools are sanitized with UV between uses to reduce the risk of cross-contamination between dogs.
 Mud Bay’s Skin & Coat Academy is staffed by an initial cohort of Muddies who previously successfully completed similar training outside of Mud Bay, and who worked to develop Mud Bay’s Skin & Coat Academy curriculum. The Academy provides 400 hours of expert education and hands-on learning. Muddies become eligible to apply to the Skin & Coat Academy after successful completion of their FYJ