This is for any auto detailer who is serious about starting a business in professional detailing.
I believe it is important for you to ask yourself an important question. “Am I pursuing entrepreneurship as an escape from my problems in the workplace or as a pursuit of something I feel a passion for?” If you see operating a detailing business as more of an escape, it is very likely your frustrations will follow you and manifest itself in your business. It is a precursor to failure. For those who have exhaled because detailing is your passion, I caution you to re-read the question. “Am I pursuing entrepreneurship as an escape..?” A major dilemma for many professionals in this industry is our motivation to start a business came as a consequence of our auto detailing skill set not our business acumen.
Many auto detailers can relate to this story. You were that one guy that was always seen taking care of your car. You got the comments “It’s just a car!” “You are a little extreme.” “My car next!” “But seriously, how much for my car?!” Many of us started detailing for money because we were the recognized and distinguished car care guru of our neighborhood and workplace. No one saw us polishing a car and said “you look so business savvy with that machine.” But you can not separate the two. Our ability to run a business generally determines our success.
I put months of thought into my decision to start my business. I created a plan, expected trials, and have no regrets starting a business. Still, I have had moments of angst. When I feel frustration, I will often evaluate myself in three different areas.
- A Flexible Plan
- Business Leadership
- Your Health
A Flexible Plan
I believe in developing a clear but flexible business plan. Writing down who you (business) are is vital to a great marketing plan. One area I worked hard at improving on was making my business congruent to my vision. I made several significant improvements to my business marketing strategy just from having a clear picture of what I want. Objectifying how I stand out from other businesses gave me a great blueprint for success.
Human interaction comes with the territory of entrepreneurship. It is a must that you both set personal boundaries of how you will be treated professionally and also put the health of your business above your ego. There are no hard or fast rules for what always constitutes the right thing to do for your business. But you always want to be mindful of the big picture in customer service. You usually know more about car care than your customers. But your customers do not know you personally and may not have a rapport/trust in what you are offering. Many people have prejudgements about auto detailers that you may not find flattering. This is why being transparent, confident, empathetic, and approachable are great qualities for you to have or develop. I truly believe that how you behave with anybody is how you behave with everybody. You have to carry yourself in a way that is both respectful to yourself and your customers.
Something often not discussed but a very important topic is your health. Detailing for money will take a toll on your body. It is much different than working on your own car. Diet, exercise, and rest become even more important for us. Resting does not just mean a good night of sleep, but also listening to your body when it tells you to take it easy. Also a Foam Roller is a great investment.
Hopefully this helps shed some light on a few things to think about before starting up a detailing business!