This is part 3 of a 4 part series, where Zach McGovern will share his personal detailing story. Zach will cover his love for detailing, his own shop, a growing business and ultimately, where all of this led. To see all of the articles in this series after they post, click here.
In Parts 1 and 2 of this story, I provided a bit of background on how my detailing hobby had turned itself into the start of a small business, and how my business had grown. In this segment, I’ll walk through the next evolution of my business as I moved out of my garage and into a shop.
It had been a few years since my professional detailing adventure had begun, and we were as busy as ever. So far, I had been able to double my annual revenue each year, and this trend looked like it would continue. As the detailing season drew to a close, I received a request to inspect a Ferrari at an address not far from my home. I set up an appointment with the owner, and we met the next day. As it turned out, this would be one of the most important inspections of my detailing career.
The owner of the vehicle requested I meet him at a small warehouse space that was managed by the real estate company that he and his brother led (his brother was a previous customer of mine). The warehouse was fitted with a two-post vehicle lift, furnace, air conditioning, floor drains, power, water… everything anyone would need to work on cars. I remember thinking it would be a great place to hang out. Upon inspecting the vehicle, and discussing a plan for detailing the car, I had explained that with the colder temperatures of early winter, I wouldn’t be able to work on the vehicle until the following year. The owner mentioned the car would be stored in this warehouse space all winter, and suggested we work there as it was climate controlled and had everything we needed to get our work done. Perfect! Our conversation continued, and he mentioned that he had spoken with his brother about renting the warehouse space to us. He felt we would be a great fit for the space.
This caught me off guard. I had always thought that my small, part-time operation would remain at my house, in my garage. I hadn’t imagined I would ever have the need or the means to move into a shop. I will cut right to the chase – we moved into the shop the next week, and it ended up being the biggest turning point in my business so far. With actual room to grow, we were slammed before we could even clean the place up.
You may have noticed my transition to “we” instead of “I” when I am referring to our detailing work. Somewhere along the way, I had acquired the help of a good friend of mine, Matt. Matt was a fellow engineer, gearhead extraordinaire, and he had become infected the same detailing obsession I had while we were working on his Audi S4. He began helping me when I was working out of my garage at home, and his continued support was a major part of why I had been able to continue growing as things literally got done twice as fast. Matt was a natural when it came to paint correction work, and was soon able to take complete control of a vehicle without my assistance. He was passionate about the work we were doing, and we pushed each other to get more cars in and out, improve our skills, maintain superior quality, and make Attention to Detailing a name that people knew and recognized in our area. With Matt’s help, we had more time to be creative and produce memorable photos and content that vehicle owners and our followers could enjoy.
I had created a completely new look to my website featuring a lot of the great photos we were capturing, created high-quality vehicle inspection forms and documents, professional looking invoices, and many other details that just made our business feel more developed. Now that we had gone full steam ahead and were booking up to 4 cars each week, it became apparent that we would need even more help. Detailing enabled me to connect with many people that I may not have ever come to know outside of the “car world”. A few of these people became very close friends and would lend a hand in the shop as needed on a part-time basis. We were just a few guys who love cars, hanging out in a garage all weekend, music up, polishers running, making things shiny… needless to say, these were memories I will never forget.
So, to recap – business was booming, we had a shop to grow in, we were busier than ever, we had more work coming in than we could handle, and we were making money. I bet you wouldn’t expect me to tell you that this was nearly the end of my time as a professional detailer…