What Would I Do Different?
Hundreds of times a year I am asked one particular question more than any other: “If you had to do it over again, what would you do different?”
Ego drove me in the early days. I wanted to be the biggest, baddest detailer in the United States. I worked very hard and within just a few years of starting my business, I had locations in several states. The money was there, I had a sizable staff, I had fame as I was starting to get national and international attention, and I had reached my goal of being big and bad. But there was one huge, massive, uncontrollable problem… all I did was work, and I hated every minute of it. I had a very young and growing family and was rarely doing the things I loved to do with them. Also, the largest portion of my profits went to staff and overhead. I kept very little of the gross sales yet worked my fingers to the bone. I had given up my lifestyle for what the world views as success, and it sucked.
Here is what I am doing today, and this is what I coach, teach, and mentor others to do:
- Be very organized in your business and have a clear vision of who you are, and what you desire out of life and your business. Anyone can work pointlessly. The smartest, happiest, and brightest work and live with purpose.
- Specialize within a certain market. I like to “follow the money” within a market and offer the services that deliver the highest profit points. This might be a $99 express detail or a $400 stage II detail. You will need to research the market, find the services your market wants, then build the services that match market expectations with your own profit expectations. Not all detailers are created equal. Build your menu based on what your market wants and the profits you need!
- Ask yourself: Am I going to sell hot dogs or steaks? There is money in both but you can’t sell a steak-level detail for the price of a hot dog and that is what the majority of the detailing industry does. It’s a major reason why so many detailers struggle.
- Network with successful people. There is a great quote that I have in my office and read daily: “Stupid people surround themselves with smart people. Smart people surround themselves with smart people who disagree with them.” -Aaron Sorkin
- Enjoy life and when work is done, it’s DONE. Make sure to have hobbies and enjoy them. For me, my kids area huge part of my life so taking time to do things as a family is important to me.
- My wife is a central part of my business and day care did not raise our kids. She helped build my reputation and assisted me in the sales and management of the business. Together, we have had a great deal of fun raising our kids in the car culture that detailing can offer. We are a small mom-and-pop business, and proud of it.