When you’re in the professional detailing business being different is important, mostly because there’s more and more competition on a daily basis. If you live in a big city you’re competing with dozens of car washes and detailing shops, and if you’re more isolated, you’re competing with low volume and maybe a few mobile detailers (if you aren’t one yourself). Every situation warrants the same questions: How do I make my detailing business stand out? How do I get seen? The answer is simple, just keep reading.
1. Use quality detailing products and stand by your work.
You can’t expect your detail shop to be the best if you’re not doing the best detailing. Most professional detailers know this… quality matters and your customers will notice it. With an almost level playing field, you can stand out from the competition by detailing with premium car care products that yield longer lasting results. Use poly-sealants over waxes, or even just offer the customer an option to upgrade. Little things like that make you different, more knowledgeable, and a better detailer – both in reality and to your customers.
2. Establish a strong online presence.
I would assume you understand the importance of an online presence, as you are taking advantage of one right this second. A website, a blog, a facebook page… regardless of your location, the modern consumer has made it mandatory to have an online presence. Now that doesn’t mean you need all of the three I just mentioned, but based on the level of competition in your area, it’s always good to cover all the bases. Equally important to having a presence is the content you put out. It should be relative, interesting, and unique to you. Most of all, give the people what they want: beautifully clean cars. If you don’t have a camera, invest in one… you can be pretty successful online with a few facebook posts a week highlighting some cool cars that you’re detailing.
FACT: Being online helps you show up in local map searches (very, very important), improves your search rankings, and increases your exposure to potential customers.
3. Reward loyalty.
In a service based industry such as detailing, “the customer is king.” Now I’m not sure how many salesmen have said that before, probably somewhere in the millions, but it’s absolutely true. First and foremost, you need to reward your customers by showing them impeccable results. Secondly, and only after you’ve won them over, you reward them for picking you over the other guys. You can do this in many ways: birthday coupons, referral discounts, free coffee in your waiting area (if you have one). It adds to the experience, and better yet, it unleashes the most powerful marketing tool of them all: word of mouth. As a rule of thumb, if you don’t show your customers you appreciate their business, they’ll find someone who does.
4. Join the IDA and the BBB.
Professional organizations such as the International Detailing Association and the Better Business Bureau give your business credibility, a very valuable asset in the service business. Customers see these affiliations as almost mandatory for “experts” and, in my opinion, being considered an expert is a great thing in the detailing industry. Aside from the business benefits, being a member of an organization like the IDA gives you resources and tools to be a better detailer. It’s all about establishing yourself as a pro, not just with your quality of work, but with your investment in your work.
Whether you’re considering a new detailing venture or you want to make your already existing detailing business stand out from the competition, the above four tips are meant to help you on the path to success. Using quality detailing products, establishing an online identity for your business, rewarding your customers, and joining professional organizations may seem like extra work or another expense at first, but as I mentioned, your investment in the right places (these) will lead to more customers and more sales.
Got an opinion or helpful tips for success in the detailing business? Comment below and share them!