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? 

Eco car

Are You Preparing Your Used Car Dealership For Its Electric Vehicle Future?

Today, tomorrow, five years from now, twenty years from now. 

That’s about as accurate as any projection for when we will see an all-electric fleet. At the moment, only one in 250 cars on the road is electric. Battery electric cars comprise just 2.1% of new global auto sales -about 2 million passenger vehicles. 

If you are working out any sort of long-term plan for your dealerships, electric vehicles should be part of your equation. 

Regardless of your preparedness, car companies are moving ahead with E.V. production. Huge investments in electrification have already been announced by all manufacturers. Volkswagen has committed $50 billion, Daimler placed a $23 billion order for E.V. batteries, G.M. and Ford are restructuring their business around electric cars. Like it or not, automakers are preparing for an electric future today, and so should you.

And yet, dealerships are steadfast in their resistance to this change. Who’s job is it to take a dealership that has sold gas vehicles for generations and switch it over to electric? Is it your fault that automakers are banking on an all-electric future?

The Europeans are offering to help the new car dealers, Domestics, not so much. 

The head of Volkswagen Group of America Inc., Scott Keogh, offered to cover half the costs of getting their dealership facilities ready for electric cars at NADA last month by providing fifty cents on the dollar for any electric vehicle improvements among its dealers. This incentive includes building charging stations, training technicians, and inventory changes. It was a unique value proposition because, for the first time, an automaker offered some skin in the game towards the success of their E.V. program and future.

Most automakers, including General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., regularly advertise that they are fully committed to an electric future. Still, they stick it to the dealers, leaving them to pay for upgrades that can amount to tens of thousands of dollars. This mismatch will ultimately stifle sales of E.V.’s in the U.S.

And where does that leave independent used car dealers?

As we move towards the all-electric future, investments will need to be made in charging stations, specialized tools, and training for repair and reconditioning staff. You may have difficulty finding reconditioning vendors who can handle the needs of Electric Vehicles. Your dealership will need to get comfortable with servicing a vehicle whose battery and design are nothing like the vehicles they are selling now. Can your techs swap out an electric vehicle battery currently? What will you need in terms of training and equipment to make this happen?

The debate right now is whether new car dealers will need to fund their own investments in the electric vehicle. But unless you are part of a new car dealership, you will be left having to make these investments yourself.

The success of Electric Vehicle sales “hinges on this partnership between manufacturers and dealers,” said Rachelle Petusky, a research manager at Cox Automotive.

Last year, Petusky co-wrote a survey of more than 300 U.S. auto dealers and their relationship to E.V.s. It found that only 9% of dealers thought their parent auto company was pressuring them to reach E.V. sales targets.

Are your salespeople ready to sell used Electric vehicles?

The Sierra Club did a survey of 900 U.S. auto dealerships. It found that less than 25% of them actually sold E.V.s, and those that did often did little to highlight or promote them. 

Additionally, salespeople were uninformed on crucial selling points such as sales rebates available and where to find charging stations.

The study found that ten percent of the dealerships selling Electric vehicles, the cars weren’t even charged and were unable to be driven. In other dealerships, the E.V.’s were shoved so far in the back of the lot that they took a long time to move the cars in order to retrieve them.

The demand is not there yet for electric vehicles. But that could change rapidly if the sales of these vehicles take off. In that case, you have one to two years to begin your preparation to handle the sales and service of used E.V.’s. Why not start preparing today for the inevitability of tomorrow?

ReconPro Starter mobile app 3.6.2

Approve work orders, select a service group when adding services to repair orders, allow adding services to work orders and repair orders, and other improvements

New Features

  • Approve work orders
  • Select a service group when adding services to repair orders
  • Allow adding services to work orders and repair orders

Improvements

  • Part categorization for question answer services
  • Link part and labor bundle items
  • Prevent users from adding new customers and changing customer mode
  • Support for layout configuration of repair order list
  • Improvement for getting MOTOR data
  • Support for generic repair bundle operations
  • Delayed showing of the ‘Cancel’ button when wizard loading
  • Showing the ‘Save’ button instead of the ‘Back’ button on repair order details screen

See the details of the new features and improvements here.

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