Hey everyone the guys from DI emailed me and asked to take part in a series in which they will be interviewing each author. They asked me to provide you with a little information about myself along with answering a few detailing questions they provided. If you are interested in learning more about any of the other authors, check out the complete line of the Get To Know Your Ask-A-Pro Author articles by clicking here!
1. How did you get started in detailing?
I don’t know if I would call it “detailing”… But I got started when I was about 15 years old. I was washing my first car before I had a license to drive it! Then that carried on into my 20’s with each car I ever owned. I had a compulsive need to clean it all the time.
After a few steady jobs my brother and I got an idea to start a mobile detailing company. At the time I was working as a cook at a restaurant and my brother had just enrolled into MMI (Motorcycle Mechanic Institute). We needed to do something that would cooperate with his school schedule work wise. So we picked up a used Astro Van (a real clunker) and some cleaning supplies. We did so many things wrong by the way, but we also had no budget, so we worked with what we had. We drove around for a few weeks, practically going door to door asking everybody if they wanted their car washed. That didn’t really go so well, so I went and picked up another cooking job. At the time I could have gotten hired in any kitchen on the spot, I had a 6 year background history and this is when it got serious for me. After about 3 weeks of working in my new job I had turned my last piece of chicken… I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned to the chef and told him I quit. And I walked out. Obviously I came home early that night and I told my brother we have to make this work.
We went out and tried again! We found ourselves in a business park one day doing a quick wash for $20 on a guys Toyota Corolla. Property Management saw us cleaning this car and asked us to leave. So we started packing up our stuff (which was not a lot) and just before we got the keys back to this guy, a nice lady came pulling up to us on a golf cart and asked if we would be willing to set up a contract to detail for them at this business park. My brother and I were very timid and we certainly were not dressed the part to talk about something like this. We tried to get out of there, but this nice lady insisted for us to speak to them about it, so we did. We set the contract (we had to get insurance first) lol! But we did it! And it took about two weeks to be finalized through corporate.
This is kinda were “detailing” started. It did not pick up fast and the first several weeks were very discouraging. But we kept going out there setting up in the same spot everyday. To make a long story short, my brother graduated with honors from MMI and moved on into a motorcycle career (He is currently working at Harley Davidson in Ft Myers, Florida). I personally have found comfort with detailing, I really enjoyed it! But mostly I felt of value. These people loved the service we offered, they became dependent on it and it felt good to be needed! So I stuck with it! I spent about 6 years providing service to the largest business park in Orlando. My customers were corporate divisions of Wyndham, Starwood, Marriot, KBHome, Sea World, Lockheed Martin, the Golf Channel and so many more. This business park was huge and we serviced them all! Thousands of people relied on us being there Monday thru Friday. And we were! Obviously the business grew! The equipment and units got bigger, the vehicles I was using got nicer, my guys were wearing collared shirts and we were knocking out cars left and right!
But this is where it got tricky for myself … I wanted more out of the quality. I was limited with the service we provided. I became never satisfied with every job we did. I was successful in my operation but I was unhappy towards the end. Here is an example: I have Bob as a customer … He likes to have his car washed once a week and waxed once a month. But over the course of say 3 years doing this I started to see through the service I was providing. It was good, but far from great. You see, dealing with many cars over and over again taught me what I was doing wrong and helped me get better and offer better. Unfortunately, I could not offer better in my operation. It was set, it was like a McDonald’s Menu if you will and you don’t go to McDonald’s and ask for a perfectly cooked steak …
So I spent some time transitioning my business and once I felt comfortable with the transition, the service I provided at the business park ended. That was an extremely tough call, it was successful because the people supported me and I was successful to them because I showed up everyday. But it was time to move on.
5 plus years have past since the last time I worked in a parking lot.
For so many years now I always thought I knew what “detailing” meant and as I sit here typing this now, I really haven’t got a clue. I am forever growing and leaning in an industry that I love and I’m pretty sure “that is” what I love about it.
So to answer the question … I get started in “Detailing” everyday!
2. What is your favorite car that you have worked on?
The most favorite car I have ever worked on is the Ferrari Enzo!
If I ever get the right amount of time I would like to do a complete write up on this detail. I have a few write ups here and there on this car, but none of those write ups put you in perspective of just how much detail went into this car! It would take a good amount of time to complete and the detail was done way over a year ago today. But, this one will always be fresh in my head! Such an enjoyable privilege!
3. What is the longest and most challenging detail you have ever had?
Going along with the picture above, both of these two cars (Enzo & F40) were by no means easy. The Enzo being the longest detail I’ve done to date and the F40 running just shy of it. The F40 I would say was the more challenging of the two. I don’t want to go into how much time I put into both of these cars, but it was by no means short.
I loved the challenge and opportunity to run a fine tooth comb through ever square inch of both these amazing machines. Challenges are what help me grow. And I do love a good challenge. It is because of my challenges that help me be a better provider to my valued customers.
One of my favorite quotes:
I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious -Albert Einstein-
4. What is your least favorite area to detail, if any?
This one is easy for me! Without a doubt the inside rear window of just about any car has got to be the least favorite area for myself. Positioning my body for the period of time needed often just knocks the wind out of me. Yeah, that would have to be it!
5. What was the best and worst customer experience you have had?
I cant really say I’ve had a “worst” experience. At least not any that I can remember. I mean if it was that bad, I would probably remember it. Right? So its pretty good if I can’t think of any.
My best customer experience I still get to enjoy often! A man who has stuck with me since day 1! His family has become great friends of mine and I’m honored that he has watched me grow and supports me with everything I do! In the future, this is a family and a friend I plan on one day doing the cars for nothing. No reason for it, It’s just because, thank you Jeff!
6. Imagine that you awoke on a magical detailing island and a VIP client is having their vehicle flown in but you have no idea what it will be. The island has a wash bay, water, hose, two buckets and electricity. What 10 products would you want Detailed Image to ship you?
Oh man… I love this question! A magical Island sounds Fantastic! Especially one that delivers cars!
- The first item I would take would be the Rupes Bigfoot Mini LHR 75E Deluxe Kit!
- The second item I would take would be the RoboReel Power Cord!
- A nice detailing brush (i.e. EZ Detail Brush).
- I would take the Rupes Yellow 4″ Pad.
- A would need a nice fluffy microfiber towel (i.e. reTHICHulous Towel)!
- I would take the Metro Vacuum Master Blaster!
- I would take the Vapor System VX 5000 Steam Cleaner!
- A 2 pack of the Meguiar’s 3″ D/A Cutting Disc!
- I would take the Ultra Cut Compound M105!
- I would take a jar of Celeste Dettaglio Paste Wax!
I feel everything that is listed above would be more than enough to get an excellent detail done!!! I originally picked 3 kits, but that was against the rules! But the list above will now definitely complete my 10 item delivery.
Thank You to all those who took the time to read thru this little questionnaire/bio of myself! I may do anther article on why I choose these ten items later! I thought these were some great questions DI! Thank you! And Thanks again to everybody else! I’m going to get back to my magical island now!