This is a great question and it really made me think. It made me think of how LUSTR Detail started and why it kept going. It started like quite a few other detail shops, just a guy sitting in a garage detailing his car. Then searching forums for hours to find good products and techniques. Then spending countless additional hours in the garage to try things out. Then finally getting pretty good at it and making some drinking money in college. This was 2007. After a few years of evening/part time work, I started doing detailing full time. Soon after, I was joined by my partner Roman in 2012 and he’s been with LUSTR ever since. Back on topic…
So what motivates me after 15+ years of running this business, talking to thousands of clients, managing employees and ordering a TON of products from Detailed Image? It comes down to 3 things…
Clients Being Extremely Happy, Even with Brand New Cars
Since the first day I was always happy to see someone’s reaction when their car finally looks its best. LUSTR started off mainly with basic detailing and paint polishing/correction. Most of those initial clients either never had a proper polishing done or had really bad experiences elsewhere (greasy fillers in the paint, holograms left over, or worst case was always burned paint), so they were always hesitant about scheduling a service but extremely pleased after picking up the car. The business slowly evolved from detailing, adding services like ceramic coatings, paint protection film and window tint. More and more new cars came through our doors and whether we did a quick prep with ceramic coating or a full car PPF wrap, clients always praised our work. Most clients have become regulars and most regulars have become like friends, so those relationships are definitely a big motivation.
Logistics of Running a Business
I’ve always been big on math, organizing stuff and learning new things. Running a business puts all those skills to the tests and MUCH more. Learning proper detailing was a challenge itself and keeping up with products, services and techniques keeps that challenge going. However all the little details like working on the company website, figuring out how to organize the shop and dealing with clients are a lot more challenging. A lot of work goes into running your own business and while I’ve learned to delegate some of the work, a lot is still on my plate. Stuff like accounting, keeping inventory and scheduling services all require different skills, software and lots of patience. All of that keeps being a huge motivation because just like with the actual services, I always want to improve personally and professionally. And of course there is the setting of new goals, growing the business and hiring new people, which keeps things very interesting.
The Shiny, Shiny Cars
Maybe because I’m a car guy, maybe because I like clean things, but the awe of doing a good job never ceases to amaze me. By now I’ve polished what feels like square miles of paint and it’s very boring, repetitive work. But every time the car is done there’s a feeling of amazement, especially if it’s a used car that went through a huge paint correction transformation. It also still sometimes surprises me how paint improves through different stages of detailing… improving a bit after initial correction, getting really shiny after final polishing and showing even more gloss after a ceramic coating is applied. Starting paint protection film was another, completely different ballgame and pushed us in a new way to get better and better. That too provided a lot of motivation to get better. Even though our installs were really good and much better than most installers in Chicagoland, overcoming some struggles, learning how to use the film and making even nicer, cleaner cuts was extremely rewarding.
All in all I can say pretty much everything still motivates me the way it did before, but new challenges (and there are always some) keep the motivation going and in new directions.