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Shop Life vs. Mobile Life


When I first started this business, I loved the aspect of being mobile.  I could load up my car, get on the road and commute to work, get to the clients house, perform the work, and get back on the road to commute home.  I didn’t have the added expenses of having a brick and mortar shop setting which would necessitate more volume in order to pay for those expenses.  It was great to offer my clients the ability to carry on with their day at home while I detailed their car for them and most loved it.  However, there were always those times when some clients lived in an apartment and don’t have access to power and water for me (I never ran a trailer setup), they don’t want to leave me in their garage while they weren’t home, or they simply wanted to drop the car off somewhere.  For as far and few between those clients came around, I hated not being able to take care of their needs.

While being mobile is very convenient and allows for a bigger pool of customers stretching from one end of the county (or beyond) to the other end of the county, having a shop offers much more and allows more services to be performed at the same time leading to higher customer satisfaction and higher profits.  For example, I can now offer clear bra installations, paint correction services, vinyl wraps, dent removal, wheel repair, window tint, bumper resprays, coating applications, and more all at the same time.  One guy doing the film installs, the wheel repair done by another, I can do the paint correction, and we will have a dent repair going on all at once.  Customers can drop off their car at one place and have all their service needs done with one appointment instead of having to make several and have it take up more of their precious time.  Its a win win situation for everyone!  I can stock products to sell as well in order for a client to maintain their freshly detailed car, add a sealant to their new clear bra, or take home some quality microfiber towels instead of having to run to the local store and buy cheaper ones that are available.  Providing a simplified process and great customer experience is what I am all about these days!

Some other great benefits of shop life I have found:

  • Never forgetting any supplies at home
  • Ability to work earlier and work later if necessary (not in a clients house at 10pm trying to finish a job)
  • More controlled environment where one can oversee everything being done
  • Less wasted work time due to less driving
  • Display products to sell to clients
  • Capacity to offer more services at once
  • Ability to now leave work at the shop instead of doing more work at home after going mobile (more family time)
  • Take on more jobs at once in order to never turn anyone away due to a busy schedule
  • Ability to take on dealer volume type of work to keep the schedule full at all times if necessary (I haven’t done this yet, but plan on doing it in the future)

Some drawbacks of having a shop:

  • Added expenses of rent, insurance, utilities, etc
  • More supplies to stock and carry due to increased volume
  • Adjustment to scheduling around jobs
  • Not being mobile to get to those people who need work to be performed at their house or who live further away
  • Added costs for more office supplies, lobby furniture, pictures and banners, etc.

There are other benefits and drawbacks from having a shop location, but the static location proves to be more advantageous with each passing day.  I encourage anyone to go from mobile to a shop setting if they have the opportunity.  I flirted with the idea for a while (2 years) before I pulled the trigger and it was honestly the best business move I could have made for both my business and personal life!  I still go mobile from time to time for some clients, but the shop is where I would rather work!

Once we get some things settled in, I will do a photo spread of the move in with before and afters.  There are lot of expenses I never saw beforehand!

Eric Schuster Envious Detailing
Eric Schuster
Envious Detailing
Orange County, CA

5 comments on Shop Life vs. Mobile Life

  1. Jean-Claude says:

    Awesome to hear it’s working out well for you Eric!

  2. mark stone says:

    Finally, an article on mobile vs shop. I did mobile before landing a shop, now i’m back to mobile after years working in a garage [the building was sold]. From looking on both sides of the “garage”, a shop has very good advantages, opportunities, people [conversations and th like] – miss it. Mobile, has the same, but limited in some key areas [new beginnings]. Still searching for that right spot. Great write up!!!!!

  3. Robert Price says:

    Looking for a detergent/wash for washing microfiber in my HE washing machine. The only product I could find is made by Wolfgang, which DI does not carry. Your suggestions will be much appreciated. Thanks.

  4. Dan Rueb says:

    I am contemplating whether to put all of my money and career oriented efforts towards buying a shop to detail out of. I have been offering mobile services for years and am just hesitant due to how much extra business I will need to bring in to cover larger fixed expenses of having a building. Offering multiple services is definitely a big plus, to make it a one stop shop covering many customer needs, which I have also thought of. There is many ideas I have, but it’s a matter of time and making the essential mind shift to fully.committing. it’s a risk, but in order for reward sometimes you need to take that risk. Wouldn’t mind contacting you personally, to see how you went about searching for a good location. Is that something you would be okay with?

  5. eric says:

    Feel free to. Check out http://www.enviousdetailing.com for my info!

    While the shop has extra expenses, those can easily be offset by extra services! I’ve grown it slowly, it’s more effort and money than i thought originally. All in all, I ended up having my highest grossing months ever the first two months in the shop.

    I went in with another complimenting service, dent guy. We kick work back and forth, but it’s easier for me to sell him a dent job compared to him selling a multi-step correction and coating job. It’s been a great learning experience thus far, one I would encourage everyone to go through.

    Mobile has its time, I still get asked to go mobile a lot. Sometimes I can make it happen, most times I cannot!

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