First, thanks for visiting AutoDetailGuide.com. I want to mention here that this website is a labor of love. This isn’t something that was thrown together by some teenagers that washed a few cars and decided that they were experts at auto detailing. I designed the site to include information that wasn’t available anywhere else when I was starting my own auto detailing business. After 20 years in the detailing industry, I’ve learned many things that I wished I knew back when I started.
It All Started with One Guy
I started as a single proprietor detail shop, so in the beginning, it was just me detailing cars. I had a great time, but it was hard work. As I grew my business I added employees and a ton of new opportunities opened up. I also found a lot of new headaches to deal with as I increased expenses and the stress of dealing with employees. I made a lot of mistakes, but I learned from each one and it helped me to be a better employer and business owner.
Expanding the Team
My business was growing so fast that it was hard to keep up with the growth. Over time my team grew to keep up with all the new business. There were times when it seemed like I was just adding services to make enough money to pay for the added equipment and employees. That’s when I learned how to cut expenses while making sure I took care of myself and my team. Eventually, I added dozens of full-time detailers and teams handling mobile service rigs, industrial pressure washing, boat detailing, and specialty cleaning services.
If You Want Respect Be a Professional
Every business has barriers to entry. This is the cost of starting any business. Unfortunately, an auto detailing business has a low barrier to entry for some people. They look at the business and think, “well heck, I can wash cars, I’ll start a detailing business out of my house garage.” Never mind that a great professional detailer spends years perfecting their art. I used to tell people it took a lot of years cleaning a lot of dirty cars to make this look easy. Everything looks easy until you try to do it yourself.
If you want to be respected in your field of expertise, then be a professional in every aspect of all that you do.
This means you should not only be and act professional but also look great in company uniforms, branded website domains, and everything else involved in developing your business and making it easy to remember.
Auto Detail Businesses Need Insurance
Every auto detail business needs contractor liability insurance. If you aren’t properly insured, that $80,000 car in your garage that caught fire will wipe out everything you and your family love.
Even small accidents can cost serious money. Try getting water in the engine of a brand new Mercedes and then tell me how having contractor’s liability insurance coverage isn’t important.
Insurance is important and you need to talk to your local insurance agent about what types you need for your business. Obviously a commercial business coverage policy with general liability coverage. But you probably also need a contractor’s liability policy, unless it’s built in the commercial business coverage you have. And you might need Garage Keepers Liability Insurance if you keep cars inside your building, or move them anywhere. Basically anytime you have care, custody, and control of customer vehicles is when you need good Garage Keepers coverage.
You also need to talk about workers’ compensation coverage if you have employees.
Become an Expert in Your Field
One of the things I got really good at coming up with systems and processes for everything that we did in the shop and the business. I learned how to build a solid business through processes and systems used by companies many times my size. That’s how I was able to sell my detailing business for such a premium after 20 years of building it.
You want to have everything running smoothly so systems and processes are how you do that. But you also want to become an expert in your field.
Become Known for Paint Overspray Removal
My shop got great at paint services. We were able to remove paint overspray quickly and we got really good at it. We also fixed scratches and got really good at bumper scuff and scratch repair along with paint chip repair. But the thing we were known for was paint overspray removal. I don’t care if you had industrial epoxy overspray covering your vehicle’s clear coat, we got it off and made it look perfect. Using clay bars, high-speed orbital buffers, cutting compounds, nano-ceramic polishes, and a lot of elbow grease and sweat, we became highly sought-after experts in paint overspray removal.
Design the Business to Run Without You
If you design the business to run without you, then it doesn’t matter if you are there or not. This isn’t just important when you decide to sell the business. It’s a big deal if you want to take a vacation with your family or leave early for your kid’s soccer game. Without the processes and systems in place to run the business, you are the only thing that keeps everything together. Are you able to take a vacation without shutting your business down? How many customers do you lose during the week or even a few days that you shut down to spend time with your family? That’s not a good way to run anything.
Stay Involved in the Industry
I have built a ton of relationships with suppliers, detailers, and industry leaders over the past two decades. I write about many of those on the site or in my detailers blog. I included pages on auto detailing equipment, auto detailing supplies, important business insurance, training, organization systems, and more. The only way you build relationships is to stay involved in the industry. Even after selling my detailing shops and mobile rigs to a larger company, I kept my relationships so I could continue helping other detail shop operators in their own businesses.
Detailing Techniques That Work For Amateurs
What if you aren’t interested in starting your own auto detailing business? No problem. Instead of having you pick up a high-speed buffer, we’ll go another route. Over the past decade, I have developed some great alternatives to many of the “old school” auto detail training methods that detail pros use to make cars shine. Essentially I’ve developed techniques that work for amateurs and professionals alike. When I was creating ideas and thinking about Auto Detailing Guide themes, I also wanted it to be a place where you could just stop by and get some great tips on detailing your car at home. Check out our Home Auto Detailing Guide Tips and Techniques page and pick up some great new ways to clean faster and better than what you are probably doing now.
Auto Detailing is a Rewarding Business
So thanks again for stopping by and checking out AutoDetailGuide.com. My hope is that you walk away from our site having learned new ways to do things that will increase your profits or efficiency. If you have questions on anything that we haven’t added to the site yet, feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help out however we can.
We are always adding new areas and information, so please stop back. If you want to get notified when we update the site, consider subscribing to our opt-in-only email newsletter. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.