This is part 4 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 – 3 of this story, I went over the start and growth of my business. We had expanded and were doing some really great work.
Over the course of just 5 years, my small business has transformed into more than I ever expected or believed it could. We had moved from my single stall apartment garage, to my double stall garage at my home, and now had a large shop that was always full of cars. I had a partner that was just as passionate about our work as I was, we were working on nice cars, we had satisfied customers, a recognized name within the local car community, and we were having a great time. You probably aren’t expecting to hear me say that this would be the end of my time as a business owner and as a professional detailer.
Many people did not realize that in addition to my detailing business, I also had a full time job as an engineer, and more importantly, I had a wife at home that I was often too busy to spend time with. We were now expecting our first child, and as expected, this was a major turning point in my life, personally and professionally. After our son was born, it became clear that my already minimal free time was now reduced to zero. In fact, I was stretched too thin. I had already given up any sort of social life or personal hobbies in order to get my business to grow to where it was today, but now I simply could not manage 2 careers and spend time with my family. I was faced with the decision of attempting to make detailing a full time career, or letting it go all together. I won’t lie… I lost a lot of sleep over this.
Being a detailer was not just a job, it was part of my life. One thing I realized throughout the journey of transforming a hobby into a business was that when you truly love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. When you are truly committed to making your passion a success, it is very easy to get up and go to work. It is very easy to take your work home with you. It is very easy to respond to emails and phone calls at all hours of the day or night. This sort of passion was not something that I felt with my current engineering job, but that was the job that paid the bills. That was the job that enabled me to have complete financial freedom and to take some risks when making changes to my detailing business because I did not have to rely on my detailing income. That was the job that provided the healthcare and retirement benefits that my family relied on. After a tremendous amount of thought, many spreadsheets outlining possible scenarios, struggling to quantify the potential risk/reward of various situations, and many conversations with the people that I loved and trusted about the fear of failure, I decided to leave… both jobs.
That’s right, I decided to leave my engineering job and my detailing business. My wife and I had always planned on moving back home to the St. Louis area to be closer to family, so if we were going to make a change, why not now. As much as I wanted to make detailing my full-time job, I just could not face the risk. I personally could not handle the thought of failure and the unknown outcome of a life changing decision like that… I envy those of you who have gone through this type of dilemma and have chosen to accept the risk, and I applaud those of you who have come out on top and are pushing yourselves to succeed at something you love to do.
With the decision made, we worked on transitioning ownership of the business to Matt. I knew I only wanted someone I could trust to keep building on what I had started, and Matt was the perfect person to continue moving Attention to Detailing forward (make sure to keep up with Attention to Detailing on Facebook). The photo above was the last vehicle I worked on with the guys, and it was a giant, jet black reminder of what I had fallen in love with – restoring beaten up paint to near perfection.
It was an emotional decision to step away from professional detailing. As I had mentioned, it was a huge part of my life, but in the end I knew the best parts of my life were yet to come. I’m excited to say that our move back home has been a great decision for our entire family. Our little dude is being spoiled by his grandparents, and we are expecting a baby girl early next year. I may not be getting paid for detailing any longer, but I am still engaged in the detailing community, always testing products on my personal vehicles, and still look forward to producing more content for the blog. Once a detailer, always a detailer.
It has been fun to relive these memories as I put these articles together. Thanks for following along with my detailing story!