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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Temple, PA
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    Unconventional Marketing and Advertising


    I have 16+ years of auto detailing experience but only have had my own business for the past several years.

    I started with a $750.00 + utilties shop which consumed a lot of my profit not to mention a few rough winters that only my car lot clients saved me!

    Now I`ve switched to a fully mobile set up with an indoor location as needed.

    During the first year I struggled with keeping costs as low as possible and found creative ways to market and advertise.

    I started with all my investment in the shop and the thought of if you build it they will come mentality. I was wrong!

    I of course had the basic start up advertising stuff - business cards, t-shirts, flyers and even pens and after a few months seen I needed more but I didnt have much more money to put in. So, I searched for the best way to get the most bang for my buck.

    Yes, I did the whole Craigslist ad thing and guess what? So did dozens of other "detailers", I placed a small ad in a local paper with 2 responses in a month,

    I had better success with doing door knob hangers in better neighborhoods (they were a little pricey but well worth it - out of 1000 hangers I got 50 customers) PLEASE note that usually you need to get a permit from your local town office to distribute hangers and NEVER hang them or place them in a mailbox!

    I found a site called and I have gained over 100 customers in the past year and never had to pay a dime to list my service. NextDoor targets your local neighborhoods which was perfect for my mobile business.

    I also found 2 larger companies local to me with 100+ employees that had an employee of the month program and offered a free exterior only (wash, wax, windows, tires) gift certificate to the employee of the month, I agreed to 3 certificates, In exchange I was allowed to post 2 flyers on the company breakroom billboards and was included in the companies newsletters. This was by far a huge success. I was able to get over 60 new clients for a very low investment plus they told family and friends which resulted in more customers.

    I have a few used car dealers that I also work with. Many used car dealers don`t have a detail department and some cant justify that expense. So I work with them where they give the buyer of a vehicle a certificate for a free detail just for that car (not transferable) and when the customer has me detail the car the dealer pays me our pre arranged price. This helps the dealer as well as myself since I get more work and more exposure.

    NEVER under estimate the power of referrals. I offer discounts to current customers who give a referral that uses my service.

    I have an info box on my trailer door with flyers for walk ups while I`m on-site detailing

    Yes, this year I did put a half page ad in a local magazine with fair results but did it more for the professional angle and upper end clients.

    So I hope some of these ideas can help and I wish everyone much success in our great trade!

    Joe Zeidler
    C & J`s Precision Automotive
    2018 IDA (International Detailing Association) Member
    Simoniz Diamond Plate and Express Detail Certified
    AMSOIL Synthetic Oils and Lubes Authorized Dealer
    Thanks RaydiantDetail thanked for this post

  2. #2
    RaydiantDetail's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Re: Unconventional Marketing and Advertising

    Thank you for providing your experiences with starting your own detailing business Joe!
    I currently run my business part time from my home garage but there is always so much to learn and grow on both the detailing side and the business side.
    In the next few years I am planning to open my own shop.
    It sounds like you are now doing very well which is great to hear! Keep on growing and wish you much success.

    My favorite quote on the matter (As I have failed many times in life): "Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm". - Winston Churchill



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