By Jennifer Higgins
If groomers are artists, and the animals they groom are their canvases, then the tables and lifts on which they perform their trade must be their easels! Try sitting on the floor to groom a dog and you’ll understand… just about the time your back and knees start aching.
Sure, you can stick with a rudimentary “flat surface with four legs” structure, but what happens when you hire a groomer who is, dare I say, “vertically challenged” and the table’s height makes it uncomfortable for said groomer to perform his or her craft? Consider also, what happens if a 100-pound Irish wolfhound walks through the door of the salon. Without a lift, how will this heavy weight get safely onto the grooming table? There are more than just a few reasons why having the appropriate equipment or apparatus is essential to run a successful and safe grooming business—whether it’s a small, local shop or a franchise operation.
On the Market
Boasting its position as first in the industry to manufacture tables exclusively for pet grooming, PetLift makes grooming tables that stand out from the competition in a variety of ways.
“Our tables are all American-made, and we stand behind every product we sell,” said Nate Ditchfield, general manager of PetLift. “Over the past 50 years, we have asked and listened to groomers and their specific needs when designing our tables. Every detail of our design manufacturing process is structured to provide ease of operation, function, practicality, durability and superior quality.”
When asked which PetLift tables are in high demand or most popular, Ditchfield points out the classic MasterLift Low-Rider Electric Grooming Table as “always the top seller” but that “there is a huge demand for the Rotating Arm ‘Surfboard Top’ table, which includes all the features of the Low-Rider Electric Grooming Table, but with an extended 54-inch radius top and the most-convenient and durable rotating arm in the business.”
PetLift has also introduced its grooming table Designer Collection. These tables “allow groomers to express their character, style and attitude right at their work station with unique table designs and colors and even customized photos, logos and images.” Even better, this additional, personalized detail can be added to any of PetLift’s existing table models.
Manufacturers can say all they want about the craftsmanship, quality or durability of their products, but the only true proof of a product’s worth lies in what the “end user” says about it.
Friendly Grove Resort and Spa for Dogs, located in Olympia, Washington, can’t seem to say enough good things about PetLift Grooming Tables. As Friendly Grove’s website reports, “We proudly use PetLift tables, a division of VetLift, the premier manufacturer of quality veterinary electric tables for over 40 years. Every piece of the table is fabricated in the United States by S&B Metal, a family owned steel company since 1974.” Friendly Grove’s two main tables are 24 inches by 54 inches long with an oval at one end and have features that include the 3000 Ultra Post that rotates 180 degrees. Where many grooming tables rely on hydraulics for up and down movement, causing the lift and lower motion to be jerky, PetLift tables are built with comfort and safety in mind, resulting in a silent, smooth lift.
Though it may appear as though there aren’t a lot of options when it comes to individuality and innovation in the manufacturing of something as seemingly rudimentary as a grooming table, consider the technical and engineering detail involved. Every table and lift manufacturer will have its own signature design details to set it apart from competitors. According to Holly Gibson, manager of marketing and innovation for Shor-Line Animal Equipment, “Shor-Line is known for its high-quality grooming tables that stand up to decades of professional use.” In response to a growing trend of larger dogs visiting grooming salons, Shor-Line introduced its Big Top Grooming Table which has a grooming top measuring 24 inches wide by 48 inches long.
Gibson cites another “Shor-Line signature feature” that adds to its unique style, which is the table’s grooming arm. Made from high grade stainless steel, the grooming arm possesses superior durability; so much so that last year, ShorLine started selling its grooming arm as a retrofit for non-Shor-Line tables. Gibson informs buyers that “durability is the hallmark of Shor-Line equipment. [The company] designs products that let groomers be groomers, not mechanics and maintenance people. [Its] electric lift tables stand up to the kind of commercial use professional groomers dish out.”
Where Shor-Line may have cornered the market with its signature grooming arm that has unmatched durability, ComfortGroom offers its unique “spin” with the Rotating Ultra Low Z-Lift Electric Grooming Table as well as the Accordion Lift Electric Grooming Table. Elisabeth Low, marketing coordinator for ComfortGroom, describes the Accordion Lift as having “our largest height adjustment from 10 inches to 48 inches and is versatile for all grooming areas, especially for mobile groomers.”
“The Rotating Ultra Low Z-Lift offers 360 degrees of compatibility and eliminates the need to constantly pace around the grooming table to get the best angle,” she said.
Necessity aside—be it a dog crate, cat tree or litterbox—it seems we cannot escape the need for product accessories. Grooming tables and lifts are no exception.
After all, you might be able to lower a lift to the ground for a dog to walk onto it and then adjust it to the appropriate level, but how will your subject be kept from leaping off the table without some sort of attachment to secure them? That’s where grooming table arms, clamps and straps/loops come in. After 30 years of running his own professional grooming operation in New Jersey headed by a Nationally Certified Master Groomer, Ed Berger, CEO of Groomers Helper, said that, “Groomers Helper manufactures the most ‘overbuilt’ arms and clamps in the industry.”
Groomers Helper’s one-inch by 48inch grooming arms are made from 16-gauge stainless steel and are guaranteed never to bend, according to the company.
“If you bend it, we replace it,” Berger said.
Just like these sturdy and, seemingly indestructible, arms, Groomers Helper also manufactures table clamps.
“[The clamps have a] stainless steel core—which prevents any rusting to any arm—and swivel cup washers on hardened steel bolts [to] prevent damage to the underside of your table when you tighten it,” Berger said. “It is the only clamp in the industry with a locknut system to keep it in place once set on the table and has a silicon pad on the top to protect your tabletop.”
Groomers Helper also manufactures a Universal Clamp that will fit “almost every table in the industry today,” according to Groomers Helper.
“The Groomers Helper Safety & Positioning System, our grooming loops, adjust both with and without safety panic snaps,” Berger added. “[All these accessory pieces are] an integral part of the necessary table and lift accessories to work safer and more efficiently.”