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Inside Detailing Network

Jim Fitzpatrick's Detailing Column.

The views expressed on this column are the views of Jim Fitzpatrick and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Auto Detailing Network. Questions regarding any information on this blog should be directed to Mr. Fitzpatrick.

Jim can be reached at prontowash@msn.com

Thursday
Sep242009

Let'm Mow Lawns!

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!

Monday
Sep072009

The Leaky Bucket

I suggest marketing the environmental benefit and water conservation opportunity to bring your car to a commercial car wash or detail center!

Last week, I was on the local TV station … marketing green.

Today, I was on the local Radio Station … marketing green.

Next week, I will start a weekly column in the local news on local water issues … marketing green.

It is easy & fun, gets me very involved in the community, provides an outlet for my passion about water ... and it is FREE.

Coupons are a tool.  They provide a call to action.  I sold them for almost 10 years.  Val Pak & Money Mailer are full of local car washes trying to pull in the local trading area.

 

Trouble is that it is mass marketing.  Try and give a high offer to stimulate trial and you wind up wasting money as it is a fire sale to an existing customer base.  To low a value, and you will not attract new customers.

 

Maybe the best tactic is to have multiple offers.  One to create awareness & trial, one to drive repeat and another increase services per occasion. 

 

Try as one might, those are the only 3 ways to increase volume.  I am a fan of the “Leaky Bucket”.  Think of your business as a bucket.  In order to grow volume, you must do 2 things.  First, plug the leaks.  Leaks are because they moved, started washing at home, chose a competitor.  Strategy is to increase frequency and services per occasion, preventing them from lapsing.  Then, you can turn on the tap of bringing in new customers.  Once new, then they are a customer, you can shift to the tactics of frequency & services per occasion.  Businesses that decline have leaks, with nothing from the tap, or they leak at a greater rate than the volume of new cusotmers.  Those that are flat mean that the tap is flowing at the same rate of leaks.  Those that grow plug leaks and turn on the tap!

 

I am not a big fan of a discount, so I try to do throw ins vs $ & % off.  Although, I operate in shopping malls, where every store has a big ole 40% off sign, or something screaming discount.  So I must often face my own reality.  Once they have come to you, then awareness & trial have been accomplished, now you have to give’m a reason to come back.  These days service and a smile may not be enough … don’t let’m leak!

The Leaky Bucket is a conceptual approach to thinking about your business as a bucket.  There are lots of tactics, but the process is always the same.  First, you have to create awareness.  That leads to trial.  Once a customer, then there are only 2 ways to grow their business and it is to change behavior.  Either increase frequency and / or increase services per occasion.

Thursday
Aug132009

Industry Association ... What if?

So, I have an opinion on an Industry Association, and I believe that the Industry needs one. I think this Industry has, is and possible will be challenged to develop a strong and meaningful Association.

First, some thoughts about an Association, then some suggestions.

Let me share some “what ifs”… 

What if one day we could work with our Car Wash Detail brothers, and collectively define an acceptable definition of “Detailing”. Perhaps even define subcategories of the Express, or what I call Maintenance & Protection that is clearly different from the Reconditioning segment. What if we could not only establish peaceful coexistence, but a healthy relationship that mutually benefits as we all educate customers and grow the Detailing pie?

Wouldn’t it be great if our industry had a seat at the table with the Car Manufacturers? To have a credible discussion about how cars are designed so they can be cleaned and maintained. What if we got some service intervals introduced, like when to change you oil, only when to apply a wax?

 What if there we standards applied to basic and high line Detailing. An Association certifies a Training facility, the Industry gets trained to a standard.

How about gaining credibility with Regulators? What if membership in an Industry Association carried credibility that you could demonstrate to Regulators, or City Enforcement that you are compliant to the standards set forth in the Association.

What if an Association gave a seal of approval for products or could influence products of manufacturers. Instead of the manufacturer focus on the DIY segment, maybe we could get real focus for the pros. How about a Car Dealer who an Association could educate to elevate status to a “new detailer” from lot boy, porter, shuttle driver or sweep up guy?

One industry guru dreams of a day when Detail Shops could be certified to prepare certified used cars. Or an Association could influence and partner with a Manheim on standards. 

What if our Associating was more open? What if we could see Agendas, Minutes, etc. What if the Bylaws were amended to necessitate transparency, so we knew what the Board was doing at every step? What if when a Board Member resigned, it was Membership that decided the new Board member?

Saved the best for last … What if the IDA contacted the NAPDR and suggested a merger? My opinion is that the Industry cannot support 2 Associations. So, rather than let one, or even both fail, why not combine forces? Offer any NAPDR Member a year membership into the IDA.

What if we kept the President and Executive Director and used this Industry Event as a spring board to have new elections for the combined Board?

Anyway, I think we need an Association, with a Board that can muster Membership participation.

What if we had a strong Association with Members who actively participated in the greater good? To steal a line from JFK … “Ask not what your Association Can do for you … ask what you can do for your Association!” So what if each current Member actively recruited 10 new Members … then we would be a powerful Association with over 1,000 Members strong!

What think?

Tuesday
Aug042009

Beer Summit ... just what our industry needs!

I feel a little bit like Al Gore … I invented the Beer Summit. Actually, I am Irish, so I am sure I stole it from an ancestor or 2, and the genes are predisposed to finding such an event to my liking. And, I think Guinness is Mother’s milk. It is my preferred meeting place, and often necessary when challenging discussions are to take place, or some levity is needed to break the ice.

But the Beer Summit does have an aspect called the “Teachable Moment”. I think that is an important concept to consider here, in our industry, right now. This industry, maybe like others, has the ever presence of massive egos. Honestly, I know I do. Maybe we can all take some time for a teachable moment, we have so much work to do within our business and together within our industry.

Here’s another concept, called the Radio Dial Concept. Think of a cars tachometer. Measure RPM’s. for the visual sake of the argument, let’s say it is a semi circle, one to 10. Round about 7, it starts to redline into a danger zone … warning warning, she’s a gonna blow!

Now, think about your greatest strength … mine is aggressive, assertive tenacity. Tremendous strength, has served me so well in converting activity into achievement. Couldn’t have done the things I have done without it, can’t imagine me without it. However, my greatest strength is also my greatest weakness … Radio Dial Concept. When I am humming along at 6 or 7, I am un freakin stoppable! Hit 7 and wagon wheels start coming off. I take my foot, only because my head is too bloody, and crash through the door. Only to find, ooops, wrong door, or with a little patience, I was about the get handed a key and invited in.

So, you are patient and thoughtful … but you did not act! Thorough and great analytical skills … you get bogged in the details. You have tremendous technical skills yet sometimes cannot see the forest for the trees. Put yourself on the Radio Dial Concept, find that Red Zone, and avoid it.

An ego is a wonderful thing … makes us who we are and often is the genesis of great things … but not in the RED ZONE. Just a friendly suggestion try and keep it in check.

I need to work hard to develop relationships, and improve the ones I have.

Feel so strongly on a topic … then perhaps we could act like Mother Theresa. No way could you get her to an anti war demonstration … but sign here up for a Peace March! Use your ego, find the positive.

And, let’s all have a Beer Summit separately together. Next time you raise your glass, Beer, NA Beer, Wine, Milk or my second favorite beverage … water … take the opportunity to put your ego in check and see if we can’t all find the Peace March.

Bottoms up! Slainte (That’s Irish for Cheers)

“Can’t we all just get along” Rodney King

Friday
Jul312009

Are you a Triple Bottom Line Company?

What is the definition?

Wikipedia defines it as …

The triple bottom line (abbreviated as "TBL" or "3BL", and also known as "people, planet, profit") captures an expanded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organizational (and societal) success: economic, ecological and social. With the ratification of the United Nations and ICLEI TBL standard for urban and community accounting in early 2007, this became the dominant approach to public sector full cost accounting. Similar UN standards apply to natural capital and human capital measurement to assist in measurements required by TBL, e.g. the ecoBudget standard for reporting ecological footprint.

In the private sector, a commitment to corporate social responsibility implies a commitment to some form of TBL reporting. This is distinct from the more limited changes required to deal only with ecological issues.

In practical terms, triple bottom line accounting means expanding the traditional reporting framework to take into account ecological and social performance in addition to financial performance.

The phrase was coined by John Elkington in 1994.[1] It was later expanded and articulated in his 1998 book Cannibals with Forks: the Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business.[2][3] Sustainability, itself, was first defined by the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations in 1987.

The concept of TBL demands that a company's responsibility be to stakeholders rather than shareholders. In this case, "stakeholders" refers to anyone who is influenced, either directly or indirectly, by the actions of the firm. According to the stakeholder theory, the business entity should be used as a vehicle for coordinating stakeholder interests, instead of maximizing shareholder (owner) profit.

Most times, you get way more when you give

I was contemplating taking a sabbatical, and wound up taking a 2 week trip to Haiti with a close family friend and priest. It was a mission to bring supplies, and we also built a bakery. I went as the arrogant American … here I come to teach them a thing or 2. Yes, I did transfer knowledge, and had an absolute blast introducing a sampling program at the local “Farmer’s Market” for Pan VERITAS .. Bread of Truth.

I met a kid, maybe about 17. I was visiting a school, and walked by a group of kids. “hello” said one in very good English. We struck up a conversation and spent some time together. Towards the end of my stay, I had $100 bucks in my pocket. I asked, “If I were to give you $100, what would you do with it?”

I was prepared for all the American like answers … Nintendo, a new bike, maybe a Sunday – Go to meeting suit, you should see how this poor community dresses to go to Sunday church. They sing the roof of too! So get this … he replies “I will use it to become an important man!” Blew me away. Handed over the $100 with great pleasure as that comment was worth so much more to me!

In this new economy … will it reward Triple Bottom Liners?

My Mom & Dad work with the physically & mentally challenged, my Grandfather and Mom are elected officials, I spent my summers volunteering in a variety of camps and events. So maybe I am genetically wired for this kind of stuff, but it also plays a role in my professional and business goals.

Maybe I am a dreamer, but before the Economic collapse, things were really crazy. Yes, I benefited from these knuckle heads, not much education, but were making $20,000 a month in the mortgage industry, 2 cars, detailed once a month whether they needed it or not! Just felt wrong to watch people.

Here I am, well educated, busting my ass for my family, trying to do some good in the world, struggling to pursue my dream as an entrepreneur and the world seemed upside down to me.

Well, turns out, many of these individuals and companies got a big ole spanking. And I believe that things are changing. My City is known for the surfing and action sport apparel industry. At the local barbershop (big change for me, no more fancy hairdo’s for this hombre), I met an Executive. I asked him, “How much longer do you think you can sell $70 Board Shorts made in China” … see, I VOTE EVERY DAY!

What can one do to be a Triple Bottom Liner?

I got a call from a Beach City that had just approved my Business License after a long and arduous process. Two weeks before I opened my fist location, I had all my equipment sitting in my garage. The Code Enforcement guy was a former Marine, calls me and says “I just had to deny a Fund Raiser Event at a high profile location … it is across the street from the Bay, can’t allow the run off. We would support you if you hosted the event with your system” I said sure, and blindly went to the event. Greatest luck ever! We have done over 2 dozen events in about to be 14 Cities. Raised over $175,000 for the Marines, been on local TV, in newspapers and literally rubbed elbows with Mayors and City Managers. We have also turned this into a healthy revenue source. Wash 300-400 cars with 40-60 gallons of water. One City put out a Press Release that we saved 40,000 gallons of water at this event.

I often donate a mid range service for Silent Auctions for things like Youth Employment, Injured Marine Funds, my kids school fund raisers.

I hope one day to finally execute a strategy of 10 Job Creating 2) In the declining automotive sector, 3) of jobs that green and 4) cannot be exported. Someday, maybe, hopefully.

Just thought I would share this concept. Have a heart. Focus on things other than profit. Define greed in terms of things that you can do to give to your community. You will feel better, and it just might be the magic bullet that catapults your business to the heights you had always dreamed of.

VOTE EVERY DAY!

jim

PS You know the difference between a Recession and a Depression? A Recession is when you are on a train track in a tunnel, and you can see the light at the other end. A Depression is when you find out that the light is a train coming the other way!

Tuesday
Jul282009

Proud Parent Moment ... VOTE EVER DAY!

My daughters, age 5 & 4 wanted to build a Lemonade Stand. Several other kids have done it on our street and we have a Lemon Tree in our side yard. Great Idea! 

I am an advocate of Water $mart Eco Detailing, but I also embrace the expression “Vote Every Day”. This concept is one that uses the American right to free speech, and the Constitutional Right to make choices. Vote Every Day is a concept that encourages one to go to the local coffee house, and ask the owner what green practices they have.  What happens is that the owner becomes aware that their customer base is making decisions on sustainable practices, and the person asking the questions gains valuable knowledge about sustainable and green practices that can be applied to their business and everyday life. 

So my kids are often with me when I Vote Every Day! When my wife asks the kids where I am, sometimes they say … he’s over there talking to that man about saving the earth … or, he’s on the phone … again. 

So I did not know what my kids would say when I told them that we would build a Lemonade Stand and that we needed to use recycled stuff to build it. Then I asked them if they knew what recycling was … after a little pause, they both said they did. I asked them to tell me what it meant. They looked at each other and then said “OK, we can show you”. One came back with a Picture Frame that they made out of Popsicle sticks for Father’s Day. They other came back with a Yogurt bowl, cover and spoon. The night before, she and her sister wanted to make some music, so she recycled the yogurt stuff by shoving the spoon through the base, and that made music to my ears! 

Although I have had failed experiments like the time I brought home a composting bin, some of my efforts worked. It was a proud parent moment to see your kids be able to be so happy telling you something and expressing a desire to do something together with you. We worked on a drawing and talked about where we will get the materials to build the Lemonade Stand. We talked about the sign, and my wife chimed in with her marketing knowledge “It is not a display unless you have a price on it!” A true family project … now all we need is a company name! 

It was refreshing and exhilarating. I did not have to here “just another chance to be taxed”. Or I did not have to explain my position on climate change. Proves my theory that the best investment of time and energy is in the next generation. 

I also hope that sharing this story can provide some energy and ideas of how to make this whole green thing more than just a business decision and offer some creativity of how to truly enjoy doing it.


Vote Every Day!

Wednesday
Jul222009

NPDES Regulations ... need to know and my opinion

So, what does the Mobile Detail Industry need to know about controlling pollution … and my Opinion! 

As many know, I am passionate about Water, and believe it is the new Oil!

I wanted to share some of the facts and data, as I see them, and then editorialize on what it means to the industry, in my not often humble opinion.

The Clean Water Act is described by Wikipedia as the primary federal law in the United States governing water pollution.[1] Commonly abbreviated as the CWA, the act established the goals of eliminating releases to water of high amounts of toxic substances, eliminating additional water pollution by 1985, and ensuring that surface waters would meet standards necessary for human sports and recreation by 1983.

The principal body of law currently in effect is based on the Federal Water Pollution Control Amendments of 1972, which significantly expanded and strengthened earlier legislation.[2] Major amendments were enacted in the Clean Water Act of 1977 enacted by the 95th United States Congress[3] and the Water Quality Act of 1987 enacted by the 100th United States Congress.[4]

The NPDES Permit (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) is the element that most directly influences our Industry. This regulates pollution discharged into the waters of the United States

You need to focus on the MS4 Permit, the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System. This will most influence the Mobile Car Wash & Detailing Industry.

Basically, every 5 years, each governing body is required to renew the NPDES Permit. This was always intended to be an iterative process where each time the requirements and restrictions get ratcheted up.

After several years of trying to educate myself to the process, I would offer that the most important outcome of this whole thing as it relates to the Permit is that once adopted, each Co-Permitee (City, County, tribe, etc) has one year to develop Best Management Practices (BMP). These BMP’s are how each body determines how the local entities will comply with eh Permit. The do some education and outreach, and more & more, require Enforcement.

I have the most knowledge about Southern California, although the NPDES permit is in effect in every part of the US. There are regional differences, so the EPA has allowed for these differences in the Permits. A Beach community may differ from those inland in a desert.

I will share some examples, but wanted to make one point. In many cases, the Permit will state that pollution is to be controlled to the Maximum Extent Practicable (or the MEP). Practicable is the most debated term in the Permit.  However, the one definition that the environmental community is aggressively pursuing is that if it is being done successfully in on area, then the restrictions or requirements are reasonable. And the mere fact that it is being done satisfies the requirement of Practicable. So think about that as you review the examples.

Orange County California has and is engaged in renewing the NPDES MS4 Permit. In North Orange County, here is what has been adopted:

Link to Actual NPDES Ms$ Permit

Key areas relevant to our industry

Page 11

Further refinements to the commercial inspection program are included in this order and these include: moving mobile businesses into their own program;

 

Page 37

7. The permittees shall annually review their water quality ordinances and provide findings within the annual report each year on the effectiveness of these ordinances and associated enforcement programs, in prohibiting the following types of discharges to the MS4s (the permittees may propose appropriate control measures in lieu of prohibiting these discharges, where the permittees are responsible for ensuring that dischargers adequately maintain those control measures):

 d)Wash water from mobile auto detailing and washing, steam and pressure cleaning, carpet/upholstery cleaning, pool cleaning and other such mobile commercial and industrial activities;

 

PGE 45

x.8) Within 12 months of adoption of this order, the permittees shall develop a mobile business pilot program. The pilot program shall address one category of mobile business from the following list: mobile auto washing/detailing; equipment washing/cleaning; carpet, drape and furniture cleaning; mobile high pressure or steam cleaning. The pilot program shall include at least two notifications of the individual businesses operating within the County regarding the minimum source control and pollution prevention measures that the business must implement. The pilot program shall include outreach materials for the business and an enforcement strategy to address mobile businesses. The permittees shall also develop and distribute the BMP Fact Sheets for the selected mobile businesses. At a minimum, the mobile business Fact Sheets should include: laws and regulations dealing with urban runoff and discharges to storm drains; appropriate BMPs and proper procedure for disposing of wastes generated.

 

Page 62 Public education & Outreach XIII 4)

The permittees shall continue their outreach and other public education activities. Each permittee should try to reach the following sectors: manufacturing facilities; mobile service industry; commercial, distribution and retail sales industry; residential/commercial landscape construction and services industry; residential and commercial construction industry; and residential and community activities. Individual workshops (or regional workshops) for each of the aforementioned elements shall be administered by each permittee (or on a countywide basis) by July 1, 2010 and on an annual basis thereafter. Commercial and industrial facility inspectors shall distribute developed educational information (Fact Sheets) to these facilities during inspections.

 

Further, for restaurant, automotive service centers and gasoline service station corporate chains, new information or that which has been previously developed shall be provided to corporate environmental managers during outreach visits that should take place twice during the permit term. Some of these outreach activities could be conducted through the chamber of commerce or other similar establishments. The outcomes from all outreach requirements contained herein shall be reported in the applicable annual reports.

 

Here is the proposed language for South Orange County Region 9

Section F.3.b.(3) (new language)
(3)BMP Implementation for Mobile Businesses
(a) Each Copermittee must develop and implement a program to reduce the discharge of storm water pollutants from mobile businesses to the MEP and to prohibit non-storm water discharges pursuant to Section B of this Order. Each Copermittee must keep, as part of their commercial source inventory, a listing of mobile businesses known to operate within its jurisdiction. The program must include:

(i) Development and implementation of minimum standards and BMPs to be required for each of the various types of mobile businesses;

(ii) Development and im plementation of an enforcement strategy which specifically addresses the unique characteristics of mobile businesses; DRAFT Order Changes 18 June 09 Page 31 of 56

(iii) Notification of those mobile businesses known to operate within the Copermittee’s jurisdiction of the minimum standards and BMP requirements and local ordinances;

(iv) Development and implementation of an outreach and education strategy; and

(v) Inspection of mobile businesses as needed to implement the program.

OK … time for me to editorialize a bit … I have posted this topic many times on the Forum. Occasionally I get some supporting comments, but most often it is in the form of a challenge. “Not in my area”, “Another government effort to levy a tax”, “ “Might be the case, but as long as there is no enforcement, they will have to rip the pressure washer from my hands or make me put down a wash mat”. I am paraphrasing, however these sentiments of our industry come across loud and clear to the regulators.

The Regulators, they are very aware of our industry, they get complaints all the time. Their opinion is not someone with a beautiful trailer or van, nice uniforms, been through extensive training. They see the majority benefiting from such a low barrier to entry. Bucket & Hose, maybe a business card and they are a Detailer! The pictures they use are not elegant, but are often a sad representation of our industry.

I know there are lots of other great innovations in our industry. I also believe that our industry will not take reasonable steps to control pollution unless the Regulators force an Ordinance where the Detailer will be fined the Industry will not self regulate. Never has, never will.

Once this occurs, I think we will see a change, not drastic, but a step in the right direction. We need credibility with Regulators, but we also need it with the Car Wash Industry, the Dealerships, Body Shops, Auto Manufacturers, etc. And until we “Clean up or Industry Act”, I think we will be perceived by the masses as a gypsy industry, that this fella is here because they could not cut it in a real job type of prejudice.

Those are some facts as I see, and my opinions on the topic. Hope you will respond with facts first, and opinion based on your facts.

Tuesday
Jul212009

Introduction of a Water $mart Eco Detailer

My name is James Michael Fitzpatrick. I was born in Boston, lived just south most of my life. Went to a great prep / private high school. Graduated from the University of Notre Dame. Worked in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry. Finally was a Country Manager as an International Business Executive for a company traded on the NYSE. So I have had a great deal of big company & corporate experience.

I got into this industry because I wanted to get off planes, trains and automobiles. I wanted to be local , be involved in my community and be accessible to my family.

 

I came to Mobileworks a while back, and my user name is RELAITED … I knew before I ever had my first post, that I was a backwards Detailer. It was quickly verified that my ideas were not traditional. I was captain of football and Baseball in High School, so I like Team sports and collaborative efforts. Did not find much of that here, but I did when it came to Water $mart Eco Detailing. Those that embraced the concepts were those that I have had good conversations with, even built some relationships. And I have enjoyed conversations on topics unrelated to the Water $mart Eco Detailing, as there is something about an early adopter, a frontiersman, an innovator, that yields common thinking and bonds.

 

Yes, it is true, I am a Master Franchisee with ProntoWash in Southern California. But no, it is not true that I am here trying to sell something. First off, most entering the industry do not have sufficient capital to invest. Right or wrong, we require investments in all areas of the business, and that can be a challenge to start up, and sustainability as you need to charge on the higher end of prices. So the first reason is most do not have the money. Second, for the more seasoned industry veteran, they are successful enough to sustain the business, or have enough experience to adapt to be successful. It would be an unlikely fit on both ends. It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

 

So why spend time posting and not more time with my family … good question. I am a strong advocate of Water $mart Eco Detailing. I think it is a superior model. It has lower costs of entry to allow a newbie to properly invest in things like image, insurance and all other necessary elements of a legitimate business. The model will meet or exceed requirements. I think that changing the perception of the City and Regulators is a necessary part of the evolution of this industry … trust me, they do not think very highly of our industry. So I advocate in areas that most in the industry either do not focus on or ignore. As a result of my efforts to educate myself on 2 principle attributes of my business, ultra low water usage and no run off, I have developed a passion for water, in many aspects and will run for an elected water position in the next election cycle.

 

Please remember that I am a champion of Water $mart Eco Detailing. A broad and inclusive definition. Yes it has “waterless”, but also advocate a No Rinse, Steam and conservation of water with policing of pollution.

 

I do not plan to take on many soft issues … not my style. I want to take on the issues that will really make a difference in the industry. If I am not doing that, I am open to the challenge.

 

I have enabled the comment feature, and I look forward to your comments.

 

Talk soon,

 

Jim Fitzpatrick