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  1. #1
    ShaneB's Avatar
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    Reaching new heights

    A question for other detail professionals and business owners. Just doing some research here for furthering my own business.

    What types of things did you do with your business that helped you reach another level from a business standpoint. New services? Better services? Marketing? Changing product lines? Etc. Etc.

    Want to continue growing my business rather than become complacent and want to know other`s experiences

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Re: Reaching new heights

    Believe it or not, we doubled our prices a few years ago. That removed the wash and wax people and brought us people who genuinely care for they’re car. Also, training, training and more training. You need to be able to answer any questions they may have and be able to deliver what you charge for. Also, find a brand you like and does what you need it to do. If you do coatings, find one no one else does in your area. Good luck to you!
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  3. #3

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    Re: Reaching new heights

    Shane B:
    Here`s some questions about the detailing business (or ANY business for that matter) that I you may ask yourself as an service business owner:
    How BIG do I really want my business to be? Remember, bigger in NOT always better.
    As far as marketing or advertising; what percentage of my overhead should that be or more precisely, how much of my business profit am I willing to spend on such marketing or advertising?? I ask because I see advertising as something I, as a consumer, PAY for in the purchase price. Some things sell themselves. How many Ferrari car ads or commercials have you ever seen? The best advertising is "word of mouth" from existing customers. Are you willing to reward those existing customers for referrals to generate NEW customers? Most legit business have a web site of some sort in this day and age. How "technically elaborate" does it need to be?

    Where are you going to generate capital if you do, indeed, want to expand your services? Private investors? GoFundMe web account? (Which is NOT a bad way to do things in this financial economy if you despise the red tape required in the current corporate financial loan process.).

    I do think that Mike`s advice is well worth considering on being "specialized" and "the best in that service business". The hard part is finding PAYING customers who view your detailing services as a VALUE (IE, worth the cost of the service for what they receive) AND will come back to you and PAY for more of the same service in the future, and become that loyal customer who refers others to you. It`s not how many NEW customers you can generate, it how many NEW customers you can retain. Detailing services are not a once-and-done (like a funeral home!) but rather something that should be sold as an investment in a vehicle`s appearance and, hence, enhanced value to that vehicle that WILL require returning again to maintain that "value". Convincing most vehicle owners today of that aspect for a vehicle is very difficult because many are lessees who do not , technically, "own" the vehicle and will lease another one three or two years from now, so WHY invest money in a vehicle that I have for a short time. You will probably have more business from owners who bought used vehicles who DO feel that way about their vehicle and plan on retaining it for several years to come, hopefully beyond the life of the vehicle loan.

    The other question, and this is key, who is your completion? Is your area saturated with vehicle detailers, whether they are legitimate businesses or fly-by-night home garage underground enterprises? What will differentiate my detailing service from them? Price? Products offered? Level of service, like loaner cars or vehicle pick-up?

    Put yourself in the place of a customer and ask yourself this question about ANY service company or business you would use and will pay for; WHY do you want to do business with them in the first place?
    GB detailer
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  4. #4

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    Re: Reaching new heights

    Excellent!

  5. #5
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    Re: Reaching new heights

    Thank you for the feedback. Much of that I`ve already done or been doing (cept doubling my prices). I actually get a lot of my new customers from referrals and between 2017 and 2018 I doubled my sales. Looking to insure I continue that trend.

    Definitely don`t want to become a volume shop where I`m just a manager of my business, I like to be involved in every car. Actually thinking about hiring one person this spring when things pick back up (slow going in the winter right now) and seeing what happens. I did miss out on a number of potential customers based off the fact they didn`t want to wait 3 weeks for an appointment (good problem to have I guess).

    I`m going to start dipping my feet into coatings right now and see where that goes. Also need to work on upselling things like windshield coatings and headlight restorations

  6. #6

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    Re: Reaching new heights

    I should have also pointed out that there are companies and organizations that are willing to mentor and help small businesses and entrepreneurs get started in developing a business plan. Some of them are fee-based, some of them are government-grants that do this for a small fee, and some are community-based that may be for free. One of the best places to start is your local Better Business Bureau or a Chamber of Commerce that may put you in touch with the right business development organization for your business needs. You may have a local government (municipality or county) department for small business economic development or a state agency specifically for small business development that may help you out as well.

    Mike talks about learn, learn ,learn. We are fortunate in Wisconsin to have a Technical College system that allows individuals to learn while continuing to be working adults and have classes that fit their schedules. You know as well as anyone that there are SOOOO many things to consider and do when running a self-employed business like:
    1) Business Insurance
    2) Quarterly Tax filings and business expenses that can be used as tax deductions
    3) Book keeping and financial business records (like how do I use Quick-Book to do this)
    4) Government safety and environmental laws and regulation compliances (Occupational Safety and Health Organization and Environmental Protection Agency) AND/OR local municipal ordnances (What, I cannot run by detailing business from my residential garage or I cannot use water to wash a vehicle from what hours?)
    5) Buying products and equipment
    6) Using products and equipment (Yes, we have a detailing class that dovetails with auto body associate degrees)
    7) Product or vendor seminars (Which are normally free if you are enrolled in a class because they want your business)
    8) Current marketing techniques and trends (like do-it-yourself web design software or getting the most out of Social Media)
    9) Customer relations and consumer laws and rights or employee-employer (boss) relations (AKA, management skills)
    .
    All of these are classes that are available in some form at the Technical Collages, and if not, they try to find enough people who may be interested and develop a class with an accredited teacher/trainer/facilitator for that business concern. Obtaining Certificates of participation and/or Degrees or Licenses give credibility to your detailing abilities and legitimate business acumen.


    You also know that there are host of car-care chemical manufactures and vendors/distributors/re-sellers who have regional seminars that may be worth looking into and attending. They are usually fee-based and many are on weekends or are at car-related events or shows.

    And lastly, you have this forum and its members, many who are highly successful detailing professionals that have their own business. There is no higher form of flattery than imitation, so reading about their detailing business exploits here may give you ideas that you can incorporate into your own business.

    The best business advice I`ve heard of is an extension of the Golden Rule: Treat a customer like you want to be treated.
    That, and there are ONLY two rules in business:
    1) The boss/owner is always right;
    2) When the boss/owner is wrong, see Rule No.1!!


    "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity" is attributed to Roman philosopher Seneca. It`s also something Indy-car driver Johnny Rutherford said to a reporter who wished him better luck next year after being forced to drop out due to a mechanical failure at the Indianapolis 500 about the preparedness of his race car.
    GB detailer
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  7. #7
    Administrator Liz@Autopia's Avatar
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    Re: Reaching new heights

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
    5) Buying products and equipment
    I suppose that`s a good excuse for me to throw in a shameless plug for our Detailer`s Wholesale Program. For any of you in the business who aren`t aware, we offer a wholesale program for professional detailers. No minimum purchase required, just fill out the application and include a link with your website or business social media pages showing that you offer professional detailing services.
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  8. #8
    ShaneB's Avatar
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    Re: Reaching new heights

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
    I should have also pointed out that there are companies and organizations that are willing to mentor and help small businesses and entrepreneurs get started in developing a business plan. Some of them are fee-based, some of them are government-grants that do this for a small fee, and some are community-based that may be for free. One of the best places to start is your local Better Business Bureau or a Chamber of Commerce that may put you in touch with the right business development organization for your business needs. You may have a local government (municipality or county) department for small business economic development or a state agency specifically for small business development that may help you out as well.

    Mike talks about learn, learn ,learn. We are fortunate in Wisconsin to have a Technical College system that allows individuals to learn while continuing to be working adults and have classes that fit their schedules. You know as well as anyone that there are SOOOO many things to consider and do when running a self-employed business like:
    1) Business Insurance
    2) Quarterly Tax filings and business expenses that can be used as tax deductions
    3) Book keeping and financial business records (like how do I use Quick-Book to do this)
    4) Government safety and environmental laws and regulation compliances (Occupational Safety and Health Organization and Environmental Protection Agency) AND/OR local municipal ordnances (What, I cannot run by detailing business from my residential garage or I cannot use water to wash a vehicle from what hours?)
    5) Buying products and equipment
    6) Using products and equipment (Yes, we have a detailing class that dovetails with auto body associate degrees)
    7) Product or vendor seminars (Which are normally free if you are enrolled in a class because they want your business)
    8) Current marketing techniques and trends (like do-it-yourself web design software or getting the most out of Social Media)
    9) Customer relations and consumer laws and rights or employee-employer (boss) relations (AKA, management skills)
    .
    All of these are classes that are available in some form at the Technical Collages, and if not, they try to find enough people who may be interested and develop a class with an accredited teacher/trainer/facilitator for that business concern. Obtaining Certificates of participation and/or Degrees or Licenses give credibility to your detailing abilities and legitimate business acumen.


    You also know that there are host of car-care chemical manufactures and vendors/distributors/re-sellers who have regional seminars that may be worth looking into and attending. They are usually fee-based and many are on weekends or are at car-related events or shows.

    And lastly, you have this forum and its members, many who are highly successful detailing professionals that have their own business. There is no higher form of flattery than imitation, so reading about their detailing business exploits here may give you ideas that you can incorporate into your own business.

    The best business advice I`ve heard of is an extension of the Golden Rule: Treat a customer like you want to be treated.
    That, and there are ONLY two rules in business:
    1) The boss/owner is always right;
    2) When the boss/owner is wrong, see Rule No.1!!


    "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity" is attributed to Roman philosopher Seneca. It`s also something Indy-car driver Johnny Rutherford said to a reporter who wished him better luck next year after being forced to drop out due to a mechanical failure at the Indianapolis 500 about the preparedness of his race car.
    I suppose I should be adding that I have been doing this for 5 years and and pretty far along from where I started in terms of getting a business going. What I am doing is working, I`ve been building a client base, I have loyal customers, I have formed an LLC (years ago). Not really looking for help so much in terms of starting from scratch as I am looking for things like Mike Lambert had said about raising his prices and picking a brand that is unique to my area.

    My business is up and running. I`m simply looking for others examples of how they continued to set themselves apart and the things they have done to take their business to the next level. Businesses that aren`t constantly evolving and adapting are doomed to failure. Lining up my next stepping stone is all.

    I dont mean to discount ANY of your advice. It`s a great bit of information you`ve posted and I know other`s browsing here will find it tremendously helpful. It`s just not exactly the type of info I`m looking for at the moment.

  9. #9
    ShaneB's Avatar
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    Re: Reaching new heights

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
    And lastly, you have this forum and its members, many who are highly successful detailing professionals that have their own business. There is no higher form of flattery than imitation, so reading about their detailing business exploits here may give you ideas that you can incorporate into your own business.
    I suppose this little bit here is the thinking behind my original post

  10. #10
    ShaneB's Avatar
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    Re: Reaching new heights

    Quote Originally Posted by Liz@Autopia View Post
    I suppose that`s a good excuse for me to throw in a shameless plug for our Detailer`s Wholesale Program. For any of you in the business who aren`t aware, we offer a wholesale program for professional detailers. No minimum purchase required, just fill out the application and include a link with your website or business social media pages showing that you offer professional detailing services.
    Awww heck I never knew you changed the terms of it from it`s original rollout. I was intrigued by the wholesale idea at first until I read you had to make a $500 minimum order or whatever it was before.

    I`ll definitely be applying for it now!

    Question though, when there is offers made like this past Monday for 25% off and free shipping over $100 are you still elegible to redeem them or is being a wholesale member exclude you from those promotions?

    I guess I`m curious as to what would be cheaper for me as I`m usually only spending $100+/mo

  11. #11
    Administrator Liz@Autopia's Avatar
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    Re: Reaching new heights

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneB View Post
    Awww heck I never knew you changed the terms of it from it`s original rollout. I was intrigued by the wholesale idea at first until I read you had to make a $500 minimum order or whatever it was before.

    I`ll definitely be applying for it now!

    Question though, when there is offers made like this past Monday for 25% off and free shipping over $100 are you still elegible to redeem them or is being a wholesale member exclude you from those promotions?

    I guess I`m curious as to what would be cheaper for me as I`m usually only spending $100+/mo
    Discount codes are not applicable to wholesale orders because you would already be getting discounted pricing. Typically the wholesale pricing is better than a lot of the discount promotions, but you could always have a wholesale account and then set up a separate regular customer account under a different email address to use for times when the promotion might be a better deal.
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  12. #12

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    Re: Reaching new heights

    Quote Originally Posted by Liz@Autopia View Post
    Discount codes are not applicable to wholesale orders because you would already be getting discounted pricing. Typically the wholesale pricing is better than a lot of the discount promotions, but you could always have a wholesale account and then set up a separate regular customer account under a different email address to use for times when the promotion might be a better deal.
    Are there items that are never a part of the wholesale pricing or is it wholesale pricing for every item on the site?

  13. #13
    Administrator Liz@Autopia's Avatar
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    Re: Reaching new heights

    Quote Originally Posted by RZJZA80 View Post
    Are there items that are never a part of the wholesale pricing or is it wholesale pricing for every item on the site?
    The wholesale pricing is based on brand. Off the top off my head I don`t know of a brand that doesn`t have a wholesale discount, so as far as I know it`s pretty much across the board. The idea of the wholesale program is to help our professional customers grow their businesses. I think you`ll be happy with the savings.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Reaching new heights

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike lambert View Post
    Believe it or not, we doubled our prices a few years ago. That removed the wash and wax people and brought us people who genuinely care for they’re car. Also, training, training and more training. You need to be able to answer any questions they may have and be able to deliver what you charge for. Also, find a brand you like and does what you need it to do. If you do coatings, find one no one else does in your area. Good luck to you!
    Ive started raising prices (not a FT business for me tho) and have noticed I get fewer and fewer of the bottom feeder calls. If your prices are high enough some dont even call. The ones who want their cars done right will still call and be glad to pay. Totally agree with you.
    Don

    1989 Formula 350
    2004 Saturn Ion Quadcoupe
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  15. #15
    dansautodetailing.com Stokdgs's Avatar
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    Re: Reaching new heights

    Shane,
    I am so happy to hear your business is going so good !!! Congratulations !!! All that hard, detailed, all hours of the night, etc., labor of love is paying you back ! Great news !!!

    The Wholesale Program Liz talked about sounds great !!! Most other places want you to spend a lot of money yearly, and the level of money you spend is tied to the level of discount... And if you don`t meet the level, well, down you go, or out you go...
    Sometimes, you can find really great people who are willing to help you out because they are those rare people with kind hearts...

    You already know what I have suggested for years, so I wont keep repeating myself..

    Dan F
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