During the rapidly evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation, we here at DI had to take a step back and reevaluate certain parts of the business. We already take great pride in our green practices (i.e. recycling, packing paper for orders, invoices on recycled paper and more), as well as the cleanliness of our warehouse, but there are always ways to be even better. With us being located in a gated community and not having a storefront, we do not have visitors stopping in, which greatly reduces foot traffic. We have upped our cleaning schedule to every day and employees have their own dedicated picking and packing equipment. Our warehouse team is small enough and our warehouse is large enough, that each employee can practice social distancing. We also have a few other actions that we’re taking at this time which we listed in our Coronavirus post here, so do not hesitate to give that a read.
The detailing industry is made up of hard-working, dedicated and detail-oriented people. We take pride in cleaning and enhancing vehicles to the point that they look better than new, once we hand them back off to the customer. During this time some detailing businesses will close, while others will stay open. Each option is designed to help stop the spread, one in terms of shutting down for social distancing, the other to sanitize and kill the virus in vehicles that are still being used each day.
Below we have a few topics we wanted to touch on that can help any business and their communities, not only during this trying time but at any time in the future.
Diversifying Your Income Stream w/DI:
As a professional who purchases detailing supplies on a regular basis, you are always looking for sales, specials or you are part of a savings program like the DI Wholesale Program, which ensures you are saving on each and every purchase. Savings are great but have you thought about how you can diversify your income stream?
In these trying times, we mentioned the two options that most shops are facing, closing or staying open. Whatever side of the fence you stand on, there are some ways to help out your business and your customers. We will touch on safety during detailing later on, this section is for how you can help customers and add a little money in your pockets at the same time.
- Shipping Directly to Customers – If you have any regulars that you are close with or have their contact information (emails, phone numbers, etc.), just reach out to them. Ask them how they are doing and if everything is okay with them personally, see if they would like a care package of maintenance products. You can place the order with us and when you’re on the checkout page just change the shipping address to the customer’s address. We do not include invoices with wholesale orders, so you can work out a price with your customer directly. These packages give customers something to do if they are stuck at home and help them care for their vehicle until they can get back in for an appointment. Use it to help build relationships with your customers!
- Affiliate Program – Our affiliate program is a way for you to earn cash or credit by referring customers to DetailedImage.com. Think of it as becoming an active salesperson for our site, you get paid each time someone purchases from us using either a custom link or coupon code. Use affiliate links on social media pages, in emails, blogs, forums, etc. or send your exclusive codes directly to customers looking to pick up maintenance products. You can sign up for the Affiliate Program on your My Account page and you can learn more about the affiliate coupon codes here.
- Wholesale Referral – If you have a wholesale account, do not forget about our Wholesale Referral program. If you know any other detailing businesses that may be interested in the wholesale program, this is a great way to get a $20 DI credit for you and their business. Just log into your DI Account and on your My Account page you can sign up for this program. Send the other business your unique link and after they sign up and their first order ships, a $20 credit will be placed on both of your accounts. This can help you both save on future purchases!
Detailing Safety Suggestions:
Detailing safety should be taken seriously for each and every detail. We generally take measures to protect ourselves from more of the everyday issues that detailing can cause, such as protecting ourselves from detailing chemicals and from the overall wear and tear that detailing puts on our bodies. James Melfi put together a fantastic article covering everything from masks, gloves, shoes to knee pads. You can find this entire article by clicking here.
In these times though, it is more apparent that we need to make disinfecting and sanitizing a much higher priority.
- Disinfected vs Sanitized – Communicate to customers clearly that you’re cleaning the vehicle and don’t guarantee that it’s completely disinfected/sanitized unless you are using the correct products and understand how they work (more on that below). Click here for more information on the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting. With the pandemic going on now, it is worth considering products that disinfect/sanitize and use them on the interior of the car before you detail and after you detail. Performing these steps rigorously will help protect you, your employees and your customers from germs and viruses.
- Safety Gear – Wear gloves, masks, and eye protection at all times. This not only protects yourself from harmful cleaning chemicals, but also from germs and viruses that can also be located in the vehicle. Take steps in making sure you are using these properly. This means swapping out gloves often and do not touch your face until gloves have been thrown out and hands have been washed!
- Fresh Towels – Swap out towels early and often when it makes sense. That may mean stocking up on more interior towels now and washing them more frequently.
- Minimize Interaction – Have customers drop off the vehicle without interaction. This is great for regular customers, but if you have to do a pre-service inspection, try to practice social distancing with the customer. After completion of the detail, accept PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, or Square Cash for payment. This keeps you from handling a credit card or cash and the customer from touching your processor, tablet, etc. You can even take it a step further and offer a drop off after completion. The key here is minimizing interaction to avoid spread of germs and viruses.
- Reschedule – If all else fails, reach out to customers to reschedule their appointments. You can offer to get them care packages to hold them over using the “Shipping Directly to Customers” mentioned in section above!
Recommended Sanitizing & Protection Products:
- RZ Masks
- Nitrile Gloves
- P&S Hand Sanitizer Isopropanol Alcohol Antiseptic 75%
- P&S Finisher Peroxide Treatment
- Steam Cleaners
IDA Press Releases:
Below are two press releases from the IDA. We are dealing with some very trying times and unusual circumstances and you, as professional detailers and suppliers, must not only safeguard yourselves and your families but also protect your businesses and customers. It’s a challenging balancing act and of course, we would never dictate policy for your businesses, but urge you to above all be safe, and treat each other and your customers fairly and respectfully. Whether that is staying open and working to better our cleaning processes or closing up for the time being to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
Key Items to Consider:
- Reach out to government officials if you are interested in staying open and being considered an essential business. Cleaning and sanitizing everyday vehicles, government vehicles, emergency vehicles, etc. can help stop the spread if done correctly. As the IDA mentions, we are in no way telling you to stay open. Just letting you know that this may be an option for you. If interested, reach out to your local government officials to see if this is possible.
- Talk to your employees and establish a routine you expect everyone (including yourself) to follow. This is for everyone’s protection and that of your customers (i.e. gloves, masks, fresh towels, proper cleaning products).
- Talk to your customers and explain your processes and safeguards. You may also want to ask them if they have been exposed or if they have traveled recently either within or outside the US.
- When you talk to employees and customers, do not make your message fear-based, but highlight the positive things you are doing to protect them.
- Do not insinuate that you can make them 100% germ-free, but you will do your best. Always avoid absolutes but list what products you are using and why they are the best for the job at hand.
- Ship maintenance products to customers, provide affiliate codes for them to shop, use this time to come up with better safety practices for your team, etc. Everything listed above can help you now and in the future with your business.
- Do not forget to touch base with your customers regularly during this time. Even if it is not based on services, reach out and build relationships.
- If all else fails and you are having any trouble with your bills, contact those companies. In these trying times, you may be surprised with some of the plans they have in place to help customers out.
Remember, fear is an evil influence on people so exercise patience and common sense…we’ll get through this together!