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  1. #46

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    There`s a lot of money to be made in the $30 wash/vac/wipe down market...it`s a huge market.



    The problem, and the reason I`ve avoided the service, is that you have to run a 5 - 10 man unskilled crew. The management problems are huge: immigration, punctuality, mistakes, drugs, theft, etc.



    I choose to manage a small, skilled crew and get a good night`s rest every night.
    APPLIED COLORS

    PROFESSIONAL GRADE PAINT TOUCHUP KITS

  2. #47
    Holden_C04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AppliedColors
    There`s a lot of money to be made in the $30 wash/vac/wipe down market...it`s a huge market.



    The problem, and the reason I`ve avoided the service, is that you have to run a 5 - 10 man unskilled crew. The management problems are huge: immigration, punctuality, mistakes, drugs, theft, etc.



    I choose to manage a small, skilled crew and get a good night`s rest every night.


    That`s definitely the way to run a shop.

  3. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by DutrowLLC
    My tone was probably a little too surly when I wrote this. It was not my intention to knock people who do Exotics. Or to complain about the board. My intention is to offer a different perspective and add some new information, new ways of thinking. This forum is really great and I`ve learned a lot from it that is essential to my business.



    You`re right, I don`t do a lot of exotics. But you know what? I do a lot of Mercedes and BMW 5 and 7 series`s, Land Rovers, etc...



    And yeah, I can train a new guy in a couple of days. But it takes months to work out the kinks with someone and get them to where they are working efficiently. I have a low turn-over rate because hate training new people and finding out if they are any good or not. I had a lot of growing pains learning to run my business. But now I have an extremely low complaint rate, my detailers are very solid and I run a right ship. Its just that I`m always reading about people trying to one-up each other on here, doing more and more complex and delicate jobs. I just read about a guy who put 17 man hours into restoring holograms from the paint on a Corvette. He used strong soaps and alchohol to remove all polishes and oils from the paint to be EXTRA sure the holograms were out, he even taped up the whole thing to do the polishing. Thats really impressive, but so much stress. I`d rather send a few guys out to clean up some toddler-trashed mini-vans and then spend my time figuring out how to secure a $50,000 annual fleet account by charging less money and providing better quality than the compettition (and making more money)



    So I guess my alternative point of view is this:

    - Porsche Carrera GT`s and Ferrari`s are great. They are beautiful cars. Their owners are probably wealthy enough to pay well too. Also, it is prestigious to do this type of vehicle, and I think very fulfilling to so many people on here to work with such beautiful pieces of machinery. Thats really great to be doing a job that you love.

    - However with so much talk of these exotics, its easy to assume that this is the only way to go, the only version of detailing, the only way to satisfy the customer, the only way to run a respectable business. But you know what? Not very many people own exotics, the market is small. A lot of people have cars that a pretty too, but cost less, they want their cars to look good too, but they don`t want to pay someone to put 17 man hours into removing holograms from their clear coat when a $5 spray sealant and 15 minutes can conceal them for months and some kind of sealant or wax should be maintained on the vehicle at all times anyway. Or heck, put sometime into it, take an hour or two and compound it with some Meguiars, then seal it with some Bead Max or Zaino Z-2.



    And heck, the day I did 70 quick vacs, wipe downs, washes, and waxes for $30 a piece? Those cars looked great when I was done and I made $1000. Its no 17 man hour corvette detail, but it was definitely a good value for everyone involved.




    The details that you are doing are what I call "Mini Details" They do not take as long, and if you do enough you can make some good money. I also have a few client`s with BMW`s, Lambo`s, Benz, to name a few. These client`s want the works, and don`t mind paying for it. I`ve been detailing sine I was 14 for pay. I actually started this business 5 years ago. I have run into all types of cars and client`s. The thing that I think is the big difference, some know what a real full detail consist of,eg: the time and processes involved. Others just want their cars clean and shinning. There are enough cars and clients for all of us detailers to find a specific group to cater to,and make some cash. jmo

  4. #49

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    "I`ve learned that it`s better to polish less, fill more and to try to get my customers to agree to a 4-6 week quick wask/wax." -Junebug



    So I gues in some folks eyes I`m not a real autopian (whatever that means) or I`ve turned into a hack - whatever! -Junebug



    Using filler products does not make on a hack in and of itself. What makes a person a hack is using filler products, and telling the customer they actually did a correction. If you use a filler product, and are upfront with your customer about the process and products used, then that does not make you a hack - it makes you honest. Just my opinion.
    Ridding the world of swirls, one car at a time!

  5. #50

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    I`m a big fan of the cheaper products. The only time that I find big money = big results is on polishes, I use SIP, M105 and Ultrafina only because the time savings from those products well outweighs the cost of using them.



    The Meg`s D-Line is *highly* underrated. I swear by Hyper Soap with the pump dispenser (a $20 gallon will do 250 washes), their Wheel Brightener saves a ton of time on most wheels, and APC+ is a boutique-level product.



    I`m also a big fan of time-saving tricks - I can turn out a 90% job in 1/5 the time of a 100% job. When I`m back home for the summer, I find that I do a lot of 2 hour, $90 jobs. In 2 hours, I can usually make a car nice without "cheating the system" too much.
    Once you buff black, you never go back

  6. #51

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    Welcome Dutrow. I welcome detailers like you here because we can learn a lot. Not soo much detailing to your standards, but time saving and efficient tricks to help us, stretch our products, reduce work time sow e can get to the good stuff, and cheaper more cost effective alternatives.

  7. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by weekendwarrior
    "I`ve learned that it`s better to polish less, fill more and to try to get my customers to agree to a 4-6 week quick wask/wax." -Junebug



    So I gues in some folks eyes I`m not a real autopian (whatever that means) or I`ve turned into a hack - whatever! -Junebug



    Using filler products does not make on a hack in and of itself. What makes a person a hack is using filler products, and telling the customer they actually did a correction. If you use a filler product, and are upfront with your customer about the process and products used, then that does not make you a hack - it makes you honest. Just my opinion.


    +1:buffing:

  8. #53

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    Any Joe Blow can detail a car. You can go to your local wally world, pick up some gold class and a bucket and a mitt and wash your car. But, a lot of people I know still use dish soap and an old towel to wash their cars. Those people will never pay $200+ to have a full detail done. Those people do not drive exotics either. They are your normal DD mini vans, honda`s, etc. 99.9999% of "most" people out there dont care about having all the swirls removed. They want it clean and shinny and want the wax to last a while. They want the inside to be cleaned out and free of dirt and dust. The people who do "mass" or commercial detailing normally dont post on here. Why? Because most of the people who post on here are looking for different products to use that helps remove swirls, better waxes, etc. Commercial detailers already have a system down and dont care about the vehicles they are working on. If their customer is happy, so are they. I can work on a Ferrari or a Chevy and I give both 100% of my effort. I detail to pay for my products and to make a little bit of money. I dont care if 95% of my clients cars are DD`s, I do it for the car. I do it to satisfy a need and desire inside of me to have that car looking as nice as possible. Do I ever post in C&B? Nope, I dont take pics of my clients cars because its wasted time. I get to my clients cars at 7 in the morning everytime and dont leave till 8 at night or later. I eat lunch for 5 min and dont sit the entire time. I use a camelbak and it gets refilled a few times. After a detail I am completely exhausted. I do all my own work and take pride in it. I dont have photos to show other people nor future clients, its all based on word of mouth. If people want to do commercial detailing, fine by me. I do it for my passion for taking a normal DD 01 chevy malibu with 200k on the clock and make it brand new. I started out just doing it to my truck and making it perfect and then other people wanted me to do theirs and it boomed after that. I will detail whatever a customer wants me to and I never say no. If they dont want to pay me enough, fine, Im in college and have ample free time and I do it because I like it. If I just had my supplies covered it would be fine by me. Sorry, I got off on a tangent. Basically, if you`re always trying to find the easy way out and the cheapest way, it will grow old and you will never be able to take pride in yourself the same way you would if you gave it your all.

  9. #54
    Forza Auto Salon David Fermani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DutrowLLC
    MakitaNinja - You asked me which line do I stand on? Well, let me make one thing clear first. Ego and Insecurity are death to an entrepreneur. These things allow a man to be manipulated and/or swayed from what is his primary purpose: to grow his business and turn a greater and greater profit. That being said. Its not a black and white issue, most things are not black and white issues. A good analogy is that I try to be the Chipotle of the detailing industry. Did you know that Steve Ells, the founder of Chipotle is a 5 star chef? His dream was to start a 5 star restaurant and be the lead chef/owner and pioneer his own menu. But he realized that 5 star restaurants are risky and the demand for them is low, so he started Chipotle as a "cash cow" to finance his 5 star restaurant. I don`t know if you`ve ever eaten at Chipotle, but the food is a good value. The ingredients are all fresh and healthy. The food is tasty, comes fast, but also pretty cheap. He applied his 5 star knowledge of foods to create his fast-food concept. He`s now one of the richest people in the country. He doesn`t have his 5 star restaurant though because his goals have changed. Instead of creating a 5 star restaurant that only a few priviledged could enjoy, he created a healthy, tasty fast-food option that in my opinion is superior to almost all other fast food.


    Great comparision! Maybe that`s why I love eating at Chipotle. Aren`t they owned by McDonalds?

    Again, if *I* was doing detailing as a full time career, I`d focus on the market (and service) that produced the highest amount of income for me. I`d also concentrate on making sure my overhead was a lean as possible without affecting quality.
    Metro Detroit`s leader in cleaning, preserving & perfecting fine automobiles!

  10. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by gators241987
    Any Joe Blow can detail a car. You can go to your local wally world, pick up some gold class and a bucket and a mitt and wash your car. But, a lot of people I know still use dish soap and an old towel to wash their cars. Those people will never pay $200+ to have a full detail done. Those people do not drive exotics either. They are your normal DD mini vans, honda`s, etc. 99.9999% of "most" people out there dont care about having all the swirls removed. They want it clean and shinny and want the wax to last a while. They want the inside to be cleaned out and free of dirt and dust. The people who do "mass" or commercial detailing normally dont post on here. Why? Because most of the people who post on here are looking for different products to use that helps remove swirls, better waxes, etc. Commercial detailers already have a system down and dont care about the vehicles they are working on. If their customer is happy, so are they. I can work on a Ferrari or a Chevy and I give both 100% of my effort. I detail to pay for my products and to make a little bit of money. I dont care if 95% of my clients cars are DD`s, I do it for the car. I do it to satisfy a need and desire inside of me to have that car looking as nice as possible. Do I ever post in C&B? Nope, I dont take pics of my clients cars because its wasted time. I get to my clients cars at 7 in the morning everytime and dont leave till 8 at night or later. I eat lunch for 5 min and dont sit the entire time. I use a camelbak and it gets refilled a few times. After a detail I am completely exhausted. I do all my own work and take pride in it. I dont have photos to show other people nor future clients, its all based on word of mouth. If people want to do commercial detailing, fine by me. I do it for my passion for taking a normal DD 01 chevy malibu with 200k on the clock and make it brand new. I started out just doing it to my truck and making it perfect and then other people wanted me to do theirs and it boomed after that. I will detail whatever a customer wants me to and I never say no. If they dont want to pay me enough, fine, Im in college and have ample free time and I do it because I like it. If I just had my supplies covered it would be fine by me. Sorry, I got off on a tangent. Basically, if you`re always trying to find the easy way out and the cheapest way, it will grow old and you will never be able to take pride in yourself the same way you would if you gave it your all.


    If you ever need a job, you got one up in DC.

  11. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Fermani
    Great comparision! Maybe that`s why I love eating at Chipotle. Aren`t they owned by McDonalds?

    Again, if *I* was doing detailing as a full time career, I`d focus on the market (and service) that produced the highest amount of income for me. I`d also concentrate on making sure my overhead was a lean as possible without affecting quality.


    Yup. One spin that I put on it, is I`ll throw money at quality. I`d rather make less money and provide greater quality because its less hassle for me. Its also probably a better long term strategy, but mostly, I hate hassle.



    After Chipotle got going, I think they invested like $100 mil, they either sold it for $350 mil or thats what their stake is worth now or something. But apparently they wisely kept their noses out of the operations and limited their involvement as being purely an investor.

  12. #57

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    David- Micky D`s sold their majority share in chipotle a few years ago.



    DutrowLLC- Ive got 2 jobs now with detailing on the side. Although I will be in DC for a week, perhaps I can learn "quick detailing".

  13. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by gators241987
    Any Joe Blow can detail a car. You can go to your local wally world, pick up some gold class and a bucket and a mitt and wash your car. But, a lot of people I know still use dish soap and an old towel to wash their cars. Those people will never pay $200+ to have a full detail done. Those people do not drive exotics either. They are your normal DD mini vans, honda`s, etc. 99.9999% of "most" people out there dont care about having all the swirls removed. They want it clean and shinny and want the wax to last a while. They want the inside to be cleaned out and free of dirt and dust. The people who do "mass" or commercial detailing normally dont post on here. Why? Because most of the people who post on here are looking for different products to use that helps remove swirls, better waxes, etc. Commercial detailers already have a system down and dont care about the vehicles they are working on. If their customer is happy, so are they. I can work on a Ferrari or a Chevy and I give both 100% of my effort. I detail to pay for my products and to make a little bit of money. I dont care if 95% of my clients cars are DD`s, I do it for the car. I do it to satisfy a need and desire inside of me to have that car looking as nice as possible. Do I ever post in C&B? Nope, I dont take pics of my clients cars because its wasted time. I get to my clients cars at 7 in the morning everytime and dont leave till 8 at night or later. I eat lunch for 5 min and dont sit the entire time. I use a camelbak and it gets refilled a few times. After a detail I am completely exhausted. I do all my own work and take pride in it. I dont have photos to show other people nor future clients, its all based on word of mouth. If people want to do commercial detailing, fine by me. I do it for my passion for taking a normal DD 01 chevy malibu with 200k on the clock and make it brand new. I started out just doing it to my truck and making it perfect and then other people wanted me to do theirs and it boomed after that. I will detail whatever a customer wants me to and I never say no. If they dont want to pay me enough, fine, Im in college and have ample free time and I do it because I like it. If I just had my supplies covered it would be fine by me. Sorry, I got off on a tangent. Basically, if you`re always trying to find the easy way out and the cheapest way, it will grow old and you will never be able to take pride in yourself the same way you would if you gave it your all.




    Not true. I take pride in my work, and I love making people`s cars look good. Are they swirl free or do they reach so-called "autopian standards"? No. However, my customers are thrilled. I take pride in taking that daily driver and making it look as good as reasonably expected. I take pride in running a profitable business. I take pride in happy customers. If I spent all day making the car look perfect, 99.9% of my customers wouldn`t even notice. I would feel stupid spending the time for perfection that went completely unnoticed, and unpaid for, as this is a business, not something I do for fun or to satisfy some inner need to make someone else`s property look perfect.



    Oh, and I do feel as though I give it my all. I don`t have the skills to take things as far as many of you do, but I work my tail off for what I do, and for the money I make. At the end of a day`s work, I feel good because I worked hard to make a vehicle look reasonably good and made someone happy, giving my all to the abilities that I currently possess. What would really be self-defeating would be working for hours on end to make a car look perfect, only to realize that the person doesn`t even notice and will just turn around and trash it again in a couple of weeks, as it is their DD.



    Oh, and I may not live up to many standards of work, yet I`ve done many Porsche`s, a Ferrari, many BMW`s, Mercedes, etc. Why do those people let me touch their car? Because they aren`t willing to pay $300+ for a detail that in their eyes looks the same as the one I do. Most people around here just don`t care or probably even realize the swirls and scratches on their vehicles. If they do, they don`t care enough to have them taken care of. Right now I have 17 vehicles waiting to be done, as the rains here have gotten me behind. I take pictures of the details that I do to show the pride I take in my work, and I`ll have pictures of those too. No, I won`t put them on the C&B section here, or necessarily even up on my website, but I like to look at the job I`ve done and take pride in it, though not perfection. As a recovering perfectionist, I`m learning that it is okay to be really good (or even bad at some things in life), though not perfect.



    I love to play basketball, yet I`ll never be Michael Jordan with his skills and athleticism, yet I play for the love of the game and the fun of playing. I even take pride in the skills I have. Could I go to the gym 24/7 and get out on the court constantly to make myself better? Sure I could. However, that doesn`t mean I don`t take pride and enjoy what I do on the court now. Could I be a better detailer? With practice and some extra training and tools, sure I could. However, that doesn`t mean I don`t have fun and take pride in what I do now. If perfection was the goal in everything in life, it wouldn`t be much fun because we all fall short.

  14. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcc
    Not true. I take pride in my work, and I love making people`s cars look good. Are they swirl free or do they reach so-called "autopian standards"? No. However, my customers are thrilled. I take pride in taking that daily driver and making it look as good as reasonably expected. I take pride in running a profitable business. I take pride in happy customers. If I spent all day making the car look perfect, 99.9% of my customers wouldn`t even notice. I would feel stupid spending the time for perfection that went completely unnoticed, and unpaid for, as this is a business, not something I do for fun or to satisfy some inner need to make someone else`s property look perfect.



    Oh, and I do feel as though I give it my all. I don`t have the skills to take things as far as many of you do, but I work my tail off for what I do, and for the money I make. At the end of a day`s work, I feel good because I worked hard to make a vehicle look reasonably good and made someone happy, giving my all to the abilities that I currently possess. What would really be self-defeating would be working for hours on end to make a car look perfect, only to realize that the person doesn`t even notice and will just turn around and trash it again in a couple of weeks, as it is their DD.



    Oh, and I may not live up to many standards of work, yet I`ve done many Porsche`s, a Ferrari, many BMW`s, Mercedes, etc. Why do those people let me touch their car? Because they aren`t willing to pay $300+ for a detail that in their eyes looks the same as the one I do. Most people around here just don`t care or probably even realize the swirls and scratches on their vehicles. If they do, they don`t care enough to have them taken care of. Right now I have 17 vehicles waiting to be done, as the rains here have gotten me behind. I take pictures of the details that I do to show the pride I take in my work, and I`ll have pictures of those too. No, I won`t put them on the C&B section here, or necessarily even up on my website, but I like to look at the job I`ve done and take pride in it, though not perfection. As a recovering perfectionist, I`m learning that it is okay to be really good (or even bad at some things in life), though not perfect.



    I love to play basketball, yet I`ll never be Michael Jordan with his skills and athleticism, yet I play for the love of the game and the fun of playing. I even take pride in the skills I have. Could I go to the gym 24/7 and get out on the court constantly to make myself better? Sure I could. However, that doesn`t mean I don`t take pride and enjoy what I do on the court now. Could I be a better detailer? With practice and some extra training and tools, sure I could. However, that doesn`t mean I don`t have fun and take pride in what I do now. If perfection was the goal in everything in life, it wouldn`t be much fun because we all fall short.


    I shall clarify. Its no knock on people on here, for the most part, you guys really care about your work and take pride in that. But, Ive been to shops around here and the people dont care about the cars, they are just doing it for the money. And thats fine, its their job and they dont make as much if they did 1 car a day opposed to 5. I understand, believe me, if detailing was my sole source of income, then Id do the same.



    I agree, I removed every single swirl the other day from a z71, and the owner came over from fishing asked me if I wanted a beer, sat on his tailgate and talked about everything else other than his truck to me for 30 min, paid me and asked me if I would come back in a few weeks and do a wash. Did it bother me? Nope, I know I did a great job, and too me its worth more than money or customer satisfaction. I dont stop until Im satasfied, which is way beyond the point of a customer being satisfied.



    Detailing is a learned art. Ive been doing it for 6 years and have a long way to go. I will never fully perfect it. Im not knocking anyone for taking pics, its just a personal preferance that I dont. Although, I can tell you every single vehicle Ive ever done, cant remember darn calculus stuff but I can name off 200+ vehicles and paint color, problems, etc.



    I admire anyone who details, pro or not, its hard work and I appreciate anyone who puts forth effort.

  15. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by DutrowLLC

    And the $30 details? This was a gift from the company to its employees. People who make average wages. Most of these people would never have the means to pay for a detail. But they got a great service for a great price all while they worked at their desks.


    I have a company that does that as well but for simple one steps, I charge double what you do and all the employees tip me an average of $10. I can do 4 of them in 5 hours by myself. That works out to about $50 an hour for some pretty easy jobs.



    The market you are aiming for is different than what most of us are looking to conquer. I`ve cut back on my weekly wash customers because I can make significantly more doing details. I won`t give them up completely because that is guaranteed money each week but I`ve been able to find more than enough customers who want high end details to fill out the rest of the week.



    There will always be a place for both kinds of detailers. However, a lot of businesses that cater to your market do pretty lousy work (not saying you personally do) that hurts all of us, including companies like yours.
    www.scottwax.com

    Certified Opti-Coat Pro/Pro 3 installer

 

 
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