Welcome! » Log In » Create A New Profile

Why are so many Detailing Businesses Failing or having difficulty

Posted by concoursgarage 
Why are so many Detailing Businesses Failing or having difficulty
December 13, 2010 04:33PM
Several detailer's across the country are expressing the fact they are having difficulty with the business and are considering closing. While the economy plays a role...why is it with the millions of vehicles out there on the roads who need our services... detailing businesses have such a hard time attracting customers.
Re: Why are so many Detailing Businesses Failing or having difficulty
December 13, 2010 08:10PM
To the majority of people having a clean car is of secondary importance. Different than dealers, for example, who definitely need a clean car to present to potential buyers. The average person will often go for years without purchasing a professional detail.

Economy does play a role. The car owners who like regular details will slow down accordingly. Its hard not to be sucked into the whole depression vibe, especially with it being reported everywhere - radio, tv, papers, internet, etc.

It is what is known as a Bullwhip Effect - a small flick on one end results in a mighty crack on the other end. It cascades all the way through the services industry as a whole.

I am feeling it myself, I regret to add.
Re: Why are so many Detailing Businesses Failing or having difficulty
December 14, 2010 03:50AM
Thanks for enlightening me today...I never knew it was called Bullwhip effect.. I thought it was something else.
Re: Why are so many Detailing Businesses Failing or having difficulty
December 14, 2010 03:54AM
As state in the post, economy woes have had a drastic effect on most businesses.

No matter how bad it is, in most cases, when one looks at companies that are not experiencing as drastic of a down-turn, it due to their continuing "everyday, smart marketing" of their company or services.

My question is this, "why don't those who are going through this sort of thing, learn from the one's who are not?"

One has to "sell, with professional approaches everyday of every year."

The average Joe or Julie doesn't really care what kind of wax or whatever, you use!

They are looking at a "reason to purchase your services".

They are not impressed by what kind of wax, etc you use, but are much more impressed by things such as "how do you present your self and your company", are you presenting a professional apperance, are you able to communicate with them in a manner and lanquage they are comfortable with?

Are you able to show them, not tell them, with a professional, some times written, presentation or show and tell, that they can relate to?

No dirty shirts, long, stringy dirty hair, a shop that is dirty with stuff all over, no organization, etc.

Think of when you go to a Doctor, a good attorney, a banker's bank!

Don't you form a "profile" at during those first few minutes?

Just some thoughts, take them for what they are worth.
Re: Why are so many Detailing Businesses Failing or having difficulty
December 15, 2010 07:42PM

The detail business is what is called "a cottage industry." That is, anyone can get into the business for very little investment and can operate out of the trunk of their car or bed of their pickup or work on weekends out of their garage.

It is filled with "wannabee entrepeneurs" who might have some limited skill in detailing but very little, if any skill in business.

As Michael Gerber says in his book, "The E Myth," (must reading for every detail business owner or anyone considering entering the business),

"The fatal mistake that small businessmen/women make is that they believe if you know the technical work of a business you can operate a business that does technical work."

The reason he states that it is FATAL is because IT IS NOT TRUE.

When a technician goes into business (detailer; auto mechanic; baker, chef, etc) they are competent, maybe outstanding in the technical work of that business, but when confronted with business problems they only have technical skills with which to solve the problems and this does not work.

That is a perfect example of the detail business. Most people who enter the business enter with little investment to loose and have no idea how to set up or operate a business.

They are usually under capitalized and when the business does not generate sufficient money to support itself, let alone themselves they go out of business.

There are some detail technicians who have established their business with one big dealer account and seem to be doing well as the dealer is giving them 20 cars per week say. They pay their workers by the car, under the table, paying no employment taxes or social security nor workers comp insurance, etc.

What happens if the Labor Inspector comes in ? They are out of business.

What happens if the dealer stops doing business with them? They are again, out of business.

This person has not done anything to insure that their business is protected.

Hope this helps.

Bud Abraham
Re: Why are so many Detailing Businesses Failing or having difficulty
December 15, 2010 08:54PM
Thanks... when I asked the question I really had in mind established businesses, who are facing problems as a result of downturn in economy and heavy rains in the Northwest. They are not under capitalized, they have excellent trained technicians with good management.. they cannot attract customers due to inclement weather and are not growing due to economy (in their areas)
Re: Why are so many Detailing Businesses Failing or having difficulty
December 15, 2010 09:40PM
The detail business owners I know in the Northwest are either doing well or ailing as you say.

For some who are ailing they put all their eggs in one basket, in one case a dealer who took the business away from his shop. And, he like most detailers has no idea how to market so he does not know what to do to get retail business.

Others had a balance of dealer and retail. While their dealer is OK, their retail has dropped off. The question is what kind of marketing program did/do they have in place to prevent this from happening, or to respond to get more business?

For those who focus on retail only some have experienced a decline, but are readjusting their marketing efforts and coming up with compelling reasons for customer, especially existing customers, to come to the shop for services.

But in all cases it takes time for them to do the creative marketing and money to implement the marketing program with advertising, etc. Most do not have that, have not set aside a "slush fund" for these problems.

There are many operators in our Great NW, where it rains from mid-Sept thru June and a little snow and ice thrown, who take the position that "I am going to service as many cars as I can during the good months, put something away to tide me over during the bad months."

In October it rained 14 days in October; in November 24 days. Do not know a report on December thru today, but I am sure it was at least 7 to 8 days or more.

With any business, as you know Gina, it takes a well thought out marketing plan and creative adjustments. Most detailers I know do not have a business plan, let alone a marketing plan.

Bud Abraham
Re: Why are so many Detailing Businesses Failing or having difficulty
December 16, 2010 02:21AM
Bud, is it not, in a more long explaination, what I posted.
If one is going to be in any business, they must learn how to market their services or products.
Communication with present and potential customers, in a manner that works for them, so they will listen to one's professional advice?
Most vehicle owners have no idea of how the visual impact of the vehicle may negatively or posistively affect it's value.
They have no idea of just what it really takes to make a vehicle more valuable other than TV and print ads from the large consumer marketers of car care product.
These firms spend millions of dollars a year to create that mental image in the consumers mimd.
Yet, detailers, for the most part, only focus on what wax or what they feel is the best buffer, etc.
These detailers must learn to "communicate to the potential consumers" level, reach out to them, provide oppotunities for them to make an intelligent and informed decision, which will benefit them in the long run.
Re: Why are so many Detailing Businesses Failing or having difficulty
December 16, 2010 04:24AM

Absolutely you are right on in your take about the problems in our industry.

Merry Christmas.

Re: Why are so many Detailing Businesses Failing or having difficulty
January 04, 2011 09:04PM
It all boils down to the economy as the reason for the decline of detailing services rendered. From what I've learned, read, heard over the past two years, companies (not just established detail shops) have seen a decline in business between 25%-30%. To piggyback off of what PD stated, detailing is not a primary need in times of a recession, especially a potential depression. People need gas, people need their cars to run. So detailing, car washing all get cut in the time of a family financial crisis. With unemployment near 10%, salaries being cut, and oil and other commodities on the rise, it would be safe to say that "retail detailing" will remain a luxury item.

Like Ron and Bud stated above, we need to adapt to changing times with a new marketing strategy. Boats are the exception -- where two details a year are just as important as changing its oil.

And yes, The E-Myth is a must read. I re-read it a few weeks back since I'm contemplating coming back into the business with full-time help this upcoming season. The business plan is the road map to success. But you already know that, Gina. Hope all is well. Brian

Take care,

Precision Auto & Marine

Learn to detail boats! Visit www.detailtheboat.com
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login