Car detail cleaning

7 Things No One Tells You About Starting A Car Detailing Business

From Detail King CEO Nick Vacco

For anyone looking to start a car detailing business, it has the possibility of being an extremely lucrative venture full of exciting opportunities and endless room for growth. Detailers are in high demand and dealerships struggle to find and keep detail staff and vendors. Unlike other specialized fields in car repair, such as SMART and PDR, car detailing doesn’t require extensive training or even a significant investment to make it happen. Blazing new paths is what business is all about, however, listening to the experts can sometimes get you where you want to be much faster than if you figured it out on your own.

Nick Vacco started his mobile detailing business over 30 years ago from the trunk of his car while he was still in school. Today, Detail King is a two-building, 9500 square foot space that is “regarded as the premier leader in the auto detailing industry for supplies, equipment, training, and customer support.” 

Here are 7 of his expert tips you need to know before starting your own detailing business: 

  1. Get the right training: Unlike other fields in car repair, detailing doesn’t require a certification or degree before you can begin. However, you do need to get the proper training to know how to perform the services offered at detailing businesses. According to Nick, “if you’re working on somebody’s vehicle, especially with today’s new cars costing around $40,000, you have to know how to perform the various detailing and protective services.” You want to be educated on the business side of the industry, so you’re always up-to-date on anything that’s happening and new methods.
     
  2. Get Experience: What better way to become skilled in car detailing than on the job experience? Depending on where you train, most courses at training institutes will have you learn different methods of detailing and cleaning. Then, you have to practice these skills repeatedly, so you might want to consider working at a detailing business to gain experience. You’ll improve your abilities and can see first hand how a detailing business is run. That way, you’ll know what you would do similar or different when opening your own. 
     
  3. Start…but only when you’re ready: You never want to rush into working on cars until you’ve received the proper training and have the right experience. This business doesn’t require you to dive right in until you’re ready. Many times, you can build up a strong reputation with the services you offer and even have a customer base while working for other businesses before you even open up the doors of your own. Once you establish that, this would be the perfect time to start your own business since you’ve created a reputation backing up your work.
     
  4. Get licensed: Forming an LLC or another type of corporation isn’t just to legitimize your business. It’s also to protect you if you have any personal assets. You never know what might happen, so it’s better to be prepared than to have to deal with something that could have been avoided in the future. 
     
  5. Invest in what you need: Whether you plan to start off as a mobile business or at a location, you’ll need to invest up to $10,000 in the necessary equipment. Some of these basic necessities would be towels, hot water extractors, pressure washer, buckets, buffers, and sponges. 
     
  6. Create a marketing plan: Nick Vacco stated, “you should consider every vehicle on the road as a potential customer.” This is where having a good marketing plan comes in, which is pretty much essential for running any business. A marketing plan will help you narrow your focus on what you want to do, who you want to reach, and answer any potential questions customers might have. If you haven’t already, create a good-looking website detailing your services and contact information. Engage with customers on social media, which can be another great platform advertising your services and showcasing previous work. 
     
  7. Never stop learning: You never want to give your competition any reason why they should be ahead of you. This is why it’s critical any time a new method or service comes out, you (and your team) get the necessary training to offer the latest services. Just think of the amount of profit you can generate simply by offering something your competition doesn’t. 

There’s no secret ingredient for running a successful car detailing business, other than having the proper preparation. Be sure to follow the above steps that will guarantee business longevity. Otherwise, you may not get the results you want, and you’ll be struggling to figure out your next steps. And when you’ve got your business up and running, consider using software like AMT’s ReconPro to help keep you organized and professional. The car detailing world offers so much creativity and growth potential, so why not see what can happen when you open your own detailing business? 

Dealership happy customers

5 Tips From Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec To Improve Sales At Your Dealership

Robert Herjavec

When a person comes to your dealership, they’re in the market for a car. Whether they make a purchase is an entirely different story. As a result, you may find selling your inventory takes a lot longer than it should. 

According to Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec, selling can be “easier than most people think.” Whether you’re a seasoned dealer or are in your first year, there’s always room for improvement. 

Here are 5 tips straight from the entrepreneur himself on how you can improve sales at your dealership: 

  1. You’re not just selling a car. You’re selling yourself: If a customer shows up and doesn’t like you, they aren’t going to want to do business with you. Dealers are notorious for being overly pushing, trying to sell anything on four wheels. Be the dealer you would want to buy a car from, and you’ll be more effective in building that trust with your customers. 
  2. Listen: The highest-performing salespeople in any business listen just as much as they speak, if not more. Customers can tell when someone is genuinely interested in what they have to say, versus someone who’s just nodding their head and eager for the commission they’d make off the sale. The more you actively listen to their wants and needs, the quicker you can help them find a car and have a faster deal. 
  3. Know your customers: It’s essential to know every customer has their own wants and needs, including sticking to their set budget. Dealers often make the mistake of trying to sell the car that’s out of someone’s price range, and as a result, end up without a sale. Be realistic and fulfill your client’s needs by helping them find a car that sticks to their budget. You’ll both be more satisfied in the end.
  4. Discover what’s important to them: Part of knowing your customers is discovering what’s important to them when making their car purchase. What will the car be used for? What features of a vehicle are important to them? This shows you’re paying attention and want to help meet those needs. The more you understand their needs, the better you will be able to promote a vehicle that can meet them. 
  5. Keep it simple: Less is more when it comes to selling cars since you don’t want to overwhelm them with information to sound knowledgeable. According to Robert, “the mark of true knowledge in anything is how well you can explain to the average person.” Focus on the key points, listen, and guide how your customers will feel. Once you do that, you’ll have no problem improving sales at your dealership. 

While 2020 is the start of a new decade, automotive pundits were predicting another decline in auto sales even before the strong economy faltered. It can never hurt to get into the habit of huddling up with your sales team and reviewing sales tips from expert salespeople, like Robert Herjavec.

ReconMonitor Back Office 3.5.9

The team of the currently assigned technician is automatically preselected when you change the technician assigned to the repair order phase

Improvements

  • Changing the status of matched parts to ‘Quote Received’
  • Showing preselected team when changing repair order technician
  • Changes in the ‘Part Quote Request’ email template
  • The ‘Repair Order List Report’ file has been renamed and sender email has been changed
  • Right side view has been improved in terms of interface elements consistency

See the details of the new features and improvements here.

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ReconPro Classic Back Office 2.14.1.0

Use the ‘Stock #’ column to the ‘Commissions with Vehicle Info (New)’ report to review commissions with your technicians, exclude specific services from the repair order services approval process

Improvements

  • The ‘Stock#’ column for the ‘Commissions with Vehicle Info (New)’ report
  • The ‘Auto Approval’ setting for work order type services

See the details of the new features and improvements here.

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Credentials

What is Your Strongest Credential?

The dictionary defines a credential as, “anything that provides the basis for confidence, belief, credit, etc.”  In business, we use credentials as a shortcut in persuading customers or partners to trust us enough to do business with us. The credentials, “MD”, “PhD”, and “JD” convey that the holders have mastered the knowledge required to obtain them, and that alone can give a client confidence in their abilities. Technical certifications, diplomas, testimonials, accolades, licenses and franchises are also in this broad category of credentials.

Whether you have letters following your name or not, everyone has credentials. What are the ones you choose to share in your business? In other words, what qualification, achievement, personal quality, or aspect of your background do you use to indicate that you are suitable for business?

A credential, plain and simple, promotes trust and confidence. It can be anything. For detailers or cosmetic repair technicians, their best credential could be before and after photos of their work, a mechanic may have ASE certification or OEM endorsements. Dealers have their own designations, like 20-group or association membership. Your years in business alone is as valid a credential as any to elicit confidence and overcome doubt. 

Think about your other credentials, too. When I was shopping for a car, I noticed the salesman had pictures of his wife and 3 children on his desk. He didn’t remark about the photo, and neither did I, but when he described the safety features of the car I was considering, knowing that he had children made him more credible to me when discussing safety. For all I know, it might have been a stock photo that came with the frame, but in that moment, it was his credential – the connection point that told me he was believable.

We all have a drawer full of credentials that we might share. Climbed a mountain? You have fortitude and determination, Single parent? You’ve got organizational and time management skills. Backstage pass? You know somebody. Fly fisher? You have patience and value detail. Played sports in school? You understand the value of teamwork and shared goals. The list is as endless as our life experiences.

So when you are trying to persuade a customer or partner, reach deep into your drawer and find the right credentials for the occasion. Find the thing of yours that connects you to the other’s needs, and gives them the confidence to say yes. 


Want to learn more about AMT’s credentials? Click here.

Open for business neon

Re-creating Your “New” Business

No matter how many years or how many generations your business has been in existence, you are starting a new business. Changes in our economy and society related to the pandemic have reset nearly everything from employment to operational practices to consumer priorities. Your business will need to adapt in order to survive. Now is the time to reinvent your business to operate in the new environment.

What probably hasn’t changed: 

  1. The quality of your products and services.
  2. Your commitment to your customers, employees, and stakeholders.

What has changed:

  1. Everything else

Our society is interconnected, so when one element changes, it affects related elements across the society. High fuel prices led to subcompact cars. Lower fuel prices and greater vehicle efficiency brought on increased purchase of trucks and SUVs. Stay-at-home restrictions resulted in record sales of personal grooming products, jigsaw puzzles, and computer audio/video equipment, and effectively paused fashion and apparel sales.

Setting up your post-pandemic business plan (you need one) requires the same considerations as with any new start-up. The four P’s, product, price, place, and promotion, are still the foundation for your plan. Chances are, at least one of these variables will be different moving forward. Is your product still relevant? Is the demand and perceived product value changed and can you adjust price as a result? How will your product be consumed now? Do you need to modify the way you deliver your product to your customers? How many other people do you need to help you deliver? Finally, what changes should you make to your advertising and promotion in order to engage or reengage your buyers in the marketplace?

The answers to these questions and others will inform your way forward, but your need to assess and develop will continue. Markets and businesses may reopen more gradually than anyone would like. Volumes and budgets will be smaller, and consumer confidence will be tentative until employment and payroll numbers stabilize again.

If you run an existing business, you may benefit from your experience with other hard economic times and take the lessons learned from them to plan your own recovery. Regardless of prior events, this sudden national and global shift is more extreme that anything we have seen in our lifetimes, It is an opportunity to reinvent ourselves and our businesses in response. Every one of the four P’s is on the table for examination.

I would add another two P’s to that list, too. Examine your process and the productivity it generates. You may find opportunities to improve efficiency in your process, either by making changes or by better enforcing the processes you have in place. Management software by AutoMobile Technologies could be the right solution for running your automotive repair and reconditioning operations, and now as you reimagine and redefine your business, it’s the right time to enhance your command and control of the operation. Contact AMT and let us show you how we can help.

ReconPro Classic Back Office 2.13.5.0

View all the changes made to the mobile app on a particular device in the extended audit log on the ‘Active Devices’ page

Improvements

  • Extended audit log for device management

Fixed Issues

  • The ‘Phase Categories’ page layout was not displaying correctly after adding long descriptions without spaces

See the details of the new features and improvements here.

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Credit First: Missing Link in Dealership Digital Sales

Craig Sims, Vice President of Equifax Automotive Services, once said, “In the ideal world of the future, customers will be able to shop for and find the right vehicle for them, with the right payment, well before they walk into the dealership, and that is a big challenge.” 

More and more customers are going directly to their bank or credit union for financing on their car instead of the dealer because they’re getting a better deal that way. Often, dealerships will have a vehicle price listed online that hardly ever reflects the actual price that a customer signs. This can cause customers to walk out of your dealership doors without a purchase, especially when they feel they’ve been misled by information online. But what if there was a way to increase digital dealership sales that benefited both the customer and the dealer? 

The missing link here is to establish a credit-first strategy on dealership websites that would accurately reflect what the customer would pay, based on their affordability criteria. This would include their monthly budget, down payment amount, credit criteria, and trade-in equity. It’s unique to each customer and gives them a personal experience with the dealership instead of feeling like a dealership wants their money. 

“This credit-first strategy,” said Sims, “helps dealers deliver a more personalized shopping experience.” 

By establishing a credit-first website, it makes the ideal world of the future that Sims spoke about a little more realistic. They can view what cars are available based on their budget and feel excited about the car buying process. It also creates “browser curiosity,” even for the consumers who aren’t actively looking for a new car. The ability to have the dealership work with a customer on the financing with a unique credit-first strategy is a quick way to entice and collect information about even those who are “just looking.” 

It’s a convenience that is long overdue, especially since we are now more than ever in need of real digital solutions. According to Marcus Sheridan, over 70% of customers decide if they want to purchase with a business online before they ever initiate any form of communication. Considering the auto industry has plenty of data and systems out there for dealers, OEMs, and lenders, it’s time that something is created to improve the process for the customer. 

So if you want to be ahead of your competition and increase your digital sales, establish an online credit-first strategy for your customers.

ReconPro Starter mobile app 3.6.39

The ‘N/A’ part position is now automatically pre-selected when adding services with a predefined category, subcategory, and part to inspections and work orders

Improvements

  • Pre-selected ‘N/A’ part position for categorized services
  • Showing tasks for ‘Work Queue’ and ‘My WIP’ quick actions

Fixed Issues

  • In some cases, images added on the ‘Questions’ screen in the mobile app were not displayed in the Back Office application

See the details of the new features and improvements here.

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ReconPro Classic mobile app 2.20.8 for iOS devices

Assign technicians to a work order without extra taps because the work order and all its services are already preselected.

Improvements

  • Preselected work order services on the ‘Assign Technicians’ screen
  • Work order approval threshold settings are removed from the Back Office application and not supported in the mobile app

Fixed Issues

  • Quick notes were not displayed for inspection and work order services
  • An intermittent application crash occurred after tapping the ‘Summary’ action for an invoice created from a team work order added on another device.
  • An intermittent application crash occurred after adding recipients for sending work order by email
  • An intermittent application crash occurred when downloading images.

See the details of the new features and improvements here.

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