This past weekend’s California Car Care Expo was a great experience that I’ll remember for a long time. For three days I was privileged to meet many outstanding professional detailers, brand new detailers, motivational speakers and representatives from companies like Meguiar’s, Glass Mechanix, Rupes and Solution Finish. People came from as far away as Australia, Italy and all around the US. Everyone who came regardless of their background not only left as a better detailer but also as a better person.
The show is put on by The Detailing Pros (TDP), led by the ever enthusiastic Mel Craig. Mel’s energy and passion for detailing and training detailers is something that can simply not be duplicated. The Detailing Pros offer training for new detailers, experienced pros and those looking to start a detailing business. At DetailedImage.com we are confident these services can benefit any detailer and we’ll now even offer them on our website for those looking to take any TDP classes. We’ll have more information on TDP training in the coming weeks about each program or you can visit TheDetailingPros.com. Not only does this training help you with your detailing skills but the TDP licensees become part of a family of detailers that help each other out both professionally and personally. Despite the distance between each TDP members home city, they are a very close group and it really felt like a family gathering that they genuinely welcomed me in to.
Now I’ll do my best to recount some of the highlights and add in some pictures from the Expo! I attempted to “be in the moment” at the show while also taking notes so please bear with me as this is my best attempt to recall all the information and events of the weekend.
Jason Rose and Mike Stoops from Meguiar’s
These two individuals from Meguiar’s brought a wealth of knowledge that you can rarely find in a traditional training class. Jason Rose led a lot of the Expo and really made a huge impact on the detailers and myself. Jason absolutely loves Meguiar’s and helping detailers ascertain the knowledge needed to maximize their time and efforts. In my opinion one of his best assets is that he openly admits his love for Meguiar’s but it doesn’t blind him. He has great perspective on the industry as a whole and puts high quality detailing as his priority, not any personal agenda. I found myself asking several questions along with others and his answers were thorough and thoughtful. Mike also brings a passion for quality detailing that detailers really took to. He explained many advanced techniques for improving your detailing work and customer relations so they understand you. TDP has a slogan “Detailing Made Simple” and Mike loved this slogan and emphasized how to do this both as a detailer creating a routine for yourself and when speaking to a detailing client.
Meguiar’s and TDP arranged for several experts to be on hand to help with the training of some Meguiar’s products so we could work in small groups where everyone got a turn. Ed Terwilliger from Vehicle Appearance Specialists and Cyprus College detailing professor, was one of the instructors I got to work with. Quick side note Ed helped train Jason Rose from Meguiar’s years ago and brought a lot of wisdom and advice to the Expo. Meguiar’s even brought in Barry Meguiar’s personal detailer to be one of the trainers. Detailers got to use the Meguiar’s Microfiber Correction Kit with both the Meguiar’s DA Polisher G110V and the Rupes Big Foot Buffer. Seeing so many different detailers with different styles was great and it definitely helped me further refine my polishing process. Another day we got to use the brand new Meguiar’s Rinse Free Wash and Wax and practice a rinse free washing process. This is an amazing new product that can really help detailers quickly clean and protect a vehicle. It can be diluted anywhere from 4:1 to 8:1 so it’s a great value when diluted properly. You can use it in a wash bucket with great results but it really shines in an atomizer or spray bottle misted on the paint. For maintenance details where a quick cleaning and light protection is needed this product will be tough to beat.
In the past Meguiar’s noticed such dramatically different results with their products in different areas of the country that they now often test all over the country to ensure they understand how the products react under varying conditions (ie temperature, humidity, local water, etc.). Often times people asked Jason “How much product do you use”, “How much pressure do you use” and “What do you dilute it to” and his answer was often “It depends”. There is often not one single right answer even when conditions are the same, but when you add in the varying conditions from different climates it’s almost impossible to provide universal guidelines. Therefore they recommend you use the directions as a guide but ultimately there will be some variation so use what works best for you!
Marco and John from Rupes
Marco took the lead for all the training and seminars and it was really an honor to hear him speak about the Rupes buffers and just polishing in general. Marco deflects a lot of the credit to the team at Rupes but John was quick to point out that Marco was one of the most important people in the creation of the Rupes Big Foot Polisher and it showed. Marco exudes an engineering mind state that obsesses on perfection and in our eyes he achieved it. Rupes has long been in the polishing, grinding and sanding business and has a very large business primarily in Europe, but it’s growing fast. A few years ago they set out to come up with a new polisher that could remove more surface imperfections while removing the least amount of clear coat and in the least amount of time. They theorized there was two basic means of getting the increased power needed for improved correction. The first idea was simply more speed but no matter what they tested it just created more work on the finishing steps that idea was abandoned. The other idea was to increase the distance of the orbit and this is where they eventually struck gold. They literally tried every possible distance they could reasonably test and ultimately thought the 21mm orbit with the 6″ – 6.5″ pads was the ideal combination. The 15mm size was developed later on for those looking to work in tighter spaces or simply in love with all of their 5″ pads. By increasing the orbit size and fine tuning the counterbalancing of the mechanism they were able to increase polishing results while dissipating the heat so it finished down incredibly well. It hardly rattles and feels much smoother then most dual action buffers that can not compete with the polishing results it provides. If you haven’t used this machine yet you are absolutely missing out on one of the best inventions this industry has ever seen.
Marco also emphasized that using this buffer really requires virtually no pressure. He was routinely using it with one hand and applying no downward pressure for best results. He said occasionally he’ll add a tiny bit of pressure to increase the polishing power on a specific area but overall he discouraged the practice with some vigor.
When I spoke to Marco privately I inquired about any new Rupes products coming out to the detailing world. He bashfully said nothing right now but he invited me to their booth at SEMA this year where they will have an announcement. He wouldn’t give away any hints but I have a feeling it’s going to be a relatively big announcement judging by his reaction. I don’t think it will be a little accessory, it seems like something they believe will truly impact the detailing world. DetailedImage.com will be at SEMA 2013 reporting live at the Rupes booth with the breaking news, pictures and videos.
Meguiar’s and Rupes Play Nice Together!
Many detailers here in the US have been blown away by the results of the Rupes Big Foot Buffer paired with the Meguiar’s Microfiber Cutting and Finishing Discs and Meguiar’s polishes. It’s a combination that has truly earned the name “game changer”. Detailers are getting better polishing results in less time than ever before in what is traditionally the most time intensive step in a full exterior detail. Knowing that each company had two reps at the show I was wondering what their interaction would be like. I was happy and somewhat surprised to see each company embrace the other companies strengths so readily. The Megs guys openly loved the Rupes Big Foot buffer and Marco loved the Big Foot Buffer paired with the Meguiar’s Microfiber Pads and Polishes. It was great to see two big companies with very proud company history’s work with each other and compliment each other openly. Marco even went as far as to say that in most instances when you want more polishing or compounding the power the Meguiar’s Microfiber Discs work much better then foam pads. He generally reserves the foam pads for finishing and/or soft finishes that can be more challenging.
Meeting Barry Meguiar was a huge highlight and I’ll have another article out about this shortly. I was also privileged to briefly meet his daughter, Nicole Meguiar Northcote, and learn a little about her. She is another car care expert who worked for Meguiar’s customer support center for a long time. Despite all the knowledge she possessed many many male callers simply wouldn’t accept her thorough explanation and they would demand a man….unbelievable. She now works for an amazing charity called Teen Challenge of Southern California that helps teens with housing, various substance abuses, vocational training and so much more. It’s an incredible organization that has helped so many people recover and regain happiness. You can sense her passion and dedication for this noble work and I commend her for her efforts that better our world on a daily basis.
Janne Kouri – Motivational Speaker
Janne Kouri came to the TDP group as motivational speaker and this is truly an amazing man with an amazing story. He was a football player in college and very active afterward living in California. One day after some beach volleyball he went in to the ocean to cool off and dove in hitting his head on a sand bar, paralyzing him instantly. He laid there in the water unable to move wondering if he would survive but luckily he was pulled ashore. He later awoke in a hospital and was told the grim news that he wouldn’t be able to move from the neck down. After two months in the hospital he moved to Louisville for a while to be in a specialized facility that would help him in his recovery and gain back some mobility defying the odds. I highly recommend watching this video to see and hear the full story that was featured on ABC News, it has a great twist towards the end that is tear jerking and truly moving. Janne didn’t just stop there he began a charity called Next Step that brought some of the amazing rehabilitation services he received in Louisville back to California. He hopes that many more people in similar circumstances can utilize these resources and improve their life. TDP has made Next Step it’s charity of choice for this year and will work hard to provide Janne with a donation at next years California Car Care Expo. Ultimately he encouraged us to do what makes us happy and make a difference in this world. I was proud to shake his hand when he left and I’ll try to keep his message with me for a long time.
Kristine Gunn -Manager and Organizational Development
Kristine talked to us about how to be successful on the business side of detailing. Removing obstacles and focusing on your true goals instead of getting caught up in the day to day work. She reminded us that at times you have to be “working on your business” not just “working in your business”. Her presentation brought a nice balance to the Expo to cover a variety of topics.
Glass Mechanix and Solution Finish
Both of these companies did impressive presentations and demonstrations with their respective products. I really enjoyed learning from each of them and getting hands on experience. Glass Mechanix will be stopping by DetailedImage.com in August and we’ll have a more detailed write up about their products then.
Chris West from Solution Finish
Chris Murch – Constant Contact
If you are not super technical with computers/e-mail don’t worry there is a great solution for you. If you want to continuously stay in touch with your detailing customers this is one of the easiest and fastest ways to do it. You can e-mail all of your customers or just a targeted group with receipts, appointment confirmations, promotions, follow ups, etc. the possibilities are endless. Do you want the e-mails customized with your logos, fonts, etc. they will do it for you! It’s cost effective and has a great success rate, if you don’t have something like Constant Contact you should highly consider signing up.
Awards and Prizes
Several awards were handed out to honor various members, vendors, etc. It was a great way to recognize outstanding efforts and contributions to TDP and the Expo. Several detailers were recognized, Barry Meguiar received an award and I was privileged to receive one on behalf of Detailed Image for Vendor of the Year. Vendors generously donated prizes and almost everyone walked away with something awesome! Detailed Image gave away shirts, bags, stickers, banners, gift certificates, including a $100 gift certificate.
Below are some additional pictures from the event I hope you enjoy!