Automobiles have become increasingly more mechanically digitized and in many cases autonomous, diverting consumer’s and auto enthusiast’s attention to the aesthetics and style of their vehicles.
As a detailing shop owner, you want to put your best foot forward in offering quality finish work to your customers. And with a plethora of detailing shops nestled around the world, how do you, as a shop owner, not only provide something unique to keep your return customers coming but convert your new walk-ins into long-term relationships?
Having provided hundreds of detailers worldwide with quality products for years, we have narrowed down a top ten list of what it takes to own and operate a successful and sustainable detailing shop. Hopefully, these will help you identify and better understand what your uniqueness in the industry is.
Ten Tips to Detailing Success
1. Training and Support – Be sure to train and support your team, listening to everyone’s ideas. You are only as strong as your weakest link, so take every opportunity to educate and train internally to function as a cohesive unit.
2. Stay Educated – Human beings never stop learning, especially in tactile trades. Learn everything you can from detailing business leaders and experienced educators in the industry. Having an open mind and always welcoming advice challenges you to constantly improve you and your team’s skill sets. Our own YouTube channel can serve as a great training ground for those individuals looking to learn more about paint correction.
3. Capitalize On Strengths – No one makes history by being a follower. Detailing is an art form in many ways, so make the most of your personal unique strengths and abilities as a pioneer of your specific style.
4. Practice Makes Perfect – A big part of success in automotive detailing is understanding your limitations. Practice your weaknesses on scratch pieces, even after you feel you have mastered the art. The fact of the matter is that no one is perfect. Much like staying educated, stay sharp and face your weaknesses head on.
5. Know Your Customers – Research and understand your potential customers to identify where you fit in the world of detailing. As you do this, get a grasp on what you offer that others do not that draws in your recurring clientele.
6. Keep It Simple – In other words, de-commoditize your shop. Too many businesses in detailing and in other parts of the automotive industry try to offer everything, which may spread your operation too thin. A simple menu for your customers is clearer to understand, more comfortable to sell, and more manageable in the workshop. Once your lane of simple offerings are home-run successes, we suggest exploring other options that can increase your margins.
7. Detailing is Detailed – It is certainly true when they say, “Rome was not built in a day.” There is hard work ahead, and your shop’s reputation and legacy will have its peaks and valleys. Owning a detailing shop is a long-term investment, so stay committed to it!
8. Heed Feedback – They say “the customer is always right.” In our industry of paint correction, appearance, and products use, consumer education occasionally must occur. But in addition to that, we suggest always listening to their feedback. Client testimonials bring you first-hand valuable information about how to grow far more than self-promotion ever will.
9. Have Quality Equipment – While you should invest in quality equipment, polishing pads, and reliable tools, the key is to treat them with respect. If you take care of your tools, your tools will take care of you. Keeping your pads clean is just one part, so be sure to check out our System 4000® Pad Washer, and likewise, our sister company’s (LC Power Tools) Detailer’s Backpack, to keep things safe and organized.
10. Test And Practice – As mentioned before, when perfecting your techniques, buying a demo panel or a cheap old car to practice on can also serve as a testing ground for new products. This gives you a chance at trying new finishes or tools that you may run the risk of misusing on a customer’s vehicle.
Don’t Forget to Communicate
Aside from those ten tips, there is one additional that is equally as important but too often overlooked in our digitally excessive, physically disconnected world: communication. While you work on their car, do not forget to communicate with your clients. Keep them in the loop with pictures, updates, and make the handover feel like a special occasion.
It doesn’t matter if this is the fifth vehicle you have worked on today or the hundredth one of the month; this is a big deal to your customers. Cars may be getting more digital every day, but it is still a physical item they rely on. Make their pick-up day memorable in a positive way and they will always return!
In an effort to provide the best work possible, check out some of our products to add to your detailing tool arsenal!