So, you are down on your luck, out of work, looking to make a couple extra bucks … why do we as professionals allow them to choose the Detailing Industry? We do we tolerate it? Why do some think it is ok?
There are very few industries that would allow such a possibility. Landscaping, House Painting, Window washing, etc. With a low level of investment you can enter, practice a little, and start looking for customers.
Then there are industries you cannot hang a shingle and profess expertise. Can’t be a Plumber or an Electrician. Doctors and Lawyers are not an option.
Yes there are shady tree mechanics, mostly Do It Yourselfers, but the Jiffy Lubes of the world have captured that market. Same with muffler folks .
Yet here we are in the Detailing industry where it seems a constitutional right to cheat. I am having a hard time grasping why some advocate acceptance for those that are down on their luck that it is ok to waltz into our industry and perform a gypsy bucket and hose operation. And far more of the industry simply accepts it as fact and a norm.
Yet when I go to Regulators and Municipalities, they do not think of our industry as the Top 5%’ers, with fancy rigs, nice shops, well dressed uniforms, trained, appropriate equipment for their model … they think of the industry as these stealth operators, who sneak onto properties, create a polluted mess, and leave before the thin ranked enforcement arrives. They see our industry as a water quality issue, not a group of professionals.
The Car Wash industry has a drop a dime program. If a plumber found out that an operator in his trading area did not have the appropriate Certification and License … he turns him in! Yet in our industry, most seem conditioned to live and let live.
This week, in my trading area, a renegade siphoned off a large chunk of customers. Comes into our building without permission and drops flyers … $8.00 per wash. $69 per “complete detail” and yields 50 cars that day. No wash mat, no reclamation, no speak a da English, no right to work. I am sure he and his guys had bills to pay, maybe down on their luck. In my trading area, my nearest competitor is 100 yards, not 10 miles. So there are plenty more rocks where this stealth operator slide out from under.
This is the guy who makes Regulators regulate, and increase our cost structures. This is the guy that sets a price expectation that extra energy is required to overcome, and let’s face it, in this economy, folks are shopping on price, I don’t care what anyone says.
You can avoid price by being in business for 20 years … but I would argue, as you may have guessed, that your business could have been significantly larger if not for these renegades. If we can clean up our industry, I think we can go out and significantly increase the penetration of customers that detail.
I see a day when a group of IDA members can get a national account by linking together and saying “We are the cream of the crop, and we as a group, can demonstrate the benefits of Certified Detailing Business”.
I know that any supplier reading this is thinking, “Yea, that’s all well and good Mr Eco, Senor Green guy, whatever, but do you realize that more than half my business would walk out the door if I set a standard that I would only sell to the people you describe here”. Yes, I get that is a problem, and that many suppliers are the problem, but I also think they can be part of the solution, so long as they do not advocate any cutting of corners. Imagine a day when the Suppliers would openly advocate such positions, because they now could sell to the Car Wash Detail Center from a position of strength and respect. And the Dealerships were now seeking trained and certified Detailers. And Regulators were working with our industry, instead of against us, but there ordinances helped sell necessary equipment.
Ah, wouldn’t that be a great world. Well it can be … if only we are willing to change behavior and thinking … no easy task.
So, I start and end with … LET’M MOW LAWNS!