When purchasing a grooming table, stylists should consider that this tool is the basis of their work environment.
It should be compared to a carpenter’s tool bench or an artist’s easel. The grooming table is, after all, where much of the magic happens. It should keep pets secure, and enable hard-working groomers to perform their work safely and comfortably.
In the past, tables were stationary affairs. The first moving grooming table was invented and marketed by PetLift.
PetLift started out in the beauty industry. It developed the first hydraulic lift table for dogs by putting a tabletop on a hydraulic chair base. That original design was so successful that PetLift still makes it to this day.
Nancy Apatow, the company’s CEO, said they are always working to develop new products to help the grooming industry.
“Our guideline is to produce tools that are safe, durable and functional,” she said. “We have groomers tell us they have used one of our tables for 20 years or more.”
Since that first table, PetLift has developed multiple models of both hydraulic and electric tables, including one with an illuminated top.
“I get a little passionate about our products, because I know that good tools make a difference in a groomers career,” she said. “One woman came up to me at a trade show and hugged me. She told me that she had lost three years of her grooming career because she had injured herself at work. After rehabilitation she was starting again … She told me, ‘If I had your table to start with, I wouldn’t have become injured.’ Groomers think nothing of spending hundreds of dollars on scissors, but they scrimp when it comes to their work station, and that can cost them in the long run because they get hurt and cannot continue to work.”
When Sean Dowling, groomer and owner of Laurel, Md.-based Sean Patrick’s Pet Spa, opened his business 7 years ago it was important for him to invest in quality equipment that would look good and last.
“I wanted to convey a very professional appearance,” he said. “I bought a Forever Stainless Steel hydraulic table. I’ve bought three more since then, and it’s impossible to tell my oldest table from my newest; they all look perfect despite constant use. The pets appreciate how sturdy the tables are; there is no wobble. The removable rubber mats keep the pets secure and comfortable, and are easy to clean and sanitize in the tub for use the next day.’
Adjustable tables can be either hydraulic or electric. Electric tables move more quickly and smoothly, but cost more to purchase.
“Electric tables save time, and time is money in grooming. They also save wear and tear on the groomer,” said Bob Lutz, owner of Ultralift. “Hydraulic tables do not go up and down as smoothly, and dogs may be reactive to the movement, especially when they are lowered.”
Whichever type you choose, know that keeping pets safe is a major benefit of lift tables. Tables lower close to the ground so that dogs can step on and off without injury. An additional safety product is the Groomers Helper. Invented by Chuck Simons for his groomer wife, Beth, this tool is a pet safety and positioning system.
“It’s like having a second pair of helping hands,” said Simons.
When purchasing tables and grooming arms, it is important to make sure they will work with the Groomers Helper safety system.
“We also have developed the strongest 1-inch stainless steel table arms and locking table clamps,” said Simons. “They are guaranteed never to bend.”
Bath tubs that lower to admit large and giant breed dogs are fairly new on the grooming scene.
“We have tubs that will lower to 14 inches, so there is no need for two or more groomers to have to lift that Newfoundland up and over,” said Lutz. “This means it is safer for the pet and really prevents back injuries in groomers.”
Nancy Apatow is excited about a line of new stainless steel tubs that they will be introducing soon.
“They are very innovative and I believe they will revolutionize the industry. We hope to have them ready by the end of the year.”
Tubs and tables that do the heavy lifting are wise investments for groomers who want to stay passionate about their work for years to come.