Introduction: This will be the first of a multiple part series to document my 3rd company in the detailing industry. I will include some helpful tips and tutorials, from everything to running a business and starting it up, to vinyl wrapping tutorials, detailing, and even some interior shop design tips. I want to try and help anyone I can and bring you guys along on my journey. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have. Hope you enjoy and are able to learn from many of my own mistakes! (I jump around in this writing quite a bit, but I’m trying to give context in the best possible way in hopes that this can strike some ideas in your own market, whatever that may be.)
It’s no doubt, the correction and coating market in detailing is booming. We see more and more shops pop up on a nearly daily basis. If you have a good location, you can pull in a good amount of work. Pair that with, in general, some nice correction work and long lasting, high gloss protection, and clients are blown away with our work as detailers. I’ve been doing this for a while now, but my success has been deterred by my less-than-ideal location in Rural Wisconsin. I couldn’t help but thinking nearly every time, that there was more that could be done. Not necessarily a bad correction, but more commonly, just not having enough hours with the car due to the price we were charging. Even though we’re charging low 4 figures for a detail, often times I find people just don’t see the value, and we have to keep moving due to hourly being so low if spending too long. They’re used to a $200 detail service for a car wash, shampooed seats, a greasy interior dressing, and maybe a wax. This was where I found high-end in the high-end market, and again, in my less-than-ideal location.
Gradually, more and more work went into each car. Disassembling, debadging, wet sanding, multiple step corrections for complete clarity, coating every. Single. Surface. It became so much more to me than detailing. We were going way past general detail standards. We were spending 35+ hours on a car, but yet, I couldn’t charge more because we were still “detailing”. Clients still were in sticker shock when they called, even when often times I was making $10/hr or less when everything got broken down. It was shortly after this that I decided a change needed to happen, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I studied the market around the country, and commonly, guys were getting $2500+ for a two-step correction and coating. In Central Wisconsin, that was just unrealistic. What else could I do to continue this in-depth work and get paid for it?
I always felt there should be something more. It seemed that our clients that truly have the same OCD tendencies as me could benefit from more. I found a common thread between many enthusiasts, including myself. The supply of manual, analog feeling, new cars was dwindling quickly. These people that disliked all the electronics were the same ones that were driving 10+ year old 911’s, M3’s, AMG’s, and even some of the older Italian supercars. After talking to many of these owners at local shows, I found they felt this analog feel, as well as subtle, but beautiful automotive designs were lacking in the brand new vehicles. They preferred their older car, even though they had money to buy the brand new one. Sound familiar? This was when this new idea and realization came upon me.
These long hours into cars, in-depth detailing and disassembly, were hardly on detailing levels anymore. This was getting into restoration. However, typically, you think of a classic car, getting torn down, rebuilt, painted, new engine, etc., when you think of restoration. What about the “in-between” cars? These 10+ year old driver cars, the 2000’s and newer that wanted their car to be new again, or even taking it back to the classic car owners that want a restoration without intruding on the factory paint, factory interior, etc.
Working a 9-5 as a mechanical engineer, coming home to detail until I couldn’t anymore, and getting up the next day to do it all over again was not how I wanted to spend the rest of my life, but leaving the steady paycheck, obviously, wasn’t ideal.. I did it anyway. It’s been a big step, and a hefty, pay cut, but I’m pursuing this as a way to hopefully grow the detail industry into something that more people can commonly recognize and appreciate.
I present to you, Refined Auto Studio, bringing you the future of car ownership. We will be specializing in Aesthetic Restoration – Priding ourselves in disassembling, inspecting, decontaminating, and giving you a proper finish and long term protection, no matter the surface, and no matter how new or old your vehicle may be. To give the full package for auto enthusiasts, we will also be offering vinyl wrapping, window tinting, and powder coating. This creates a destination for your vehicle to truly get an aesthetic transformation, no matter what your goals may be. We will be available for restoration work and vinyl work nationwide, flying or driving to your location and creating ease of mind, working in your garage.
Expect to see a wide range of different topics from me going forward, and as always, feel free to reach out with any questions you may have at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to watch our transformation more closely or are interested in scheduling with us, feel free to follow us on Instagram at @refinedautostudio, like us on Facebook, or find us at refinedautostudio.com.