WHAT I’VE LEARNED ABOUT DETAILERS
Tips To Turn Your Business Into A Thriving Enterprise…
By Bud Abraham, Detail Plus
I have worked closely with detailers all over the world for more than 30 years. They all want to know one thing: How does my detailing operation differ from others.
In reality, because detailing is a fairly straightforward business, shops vary slightly from one another. You find customers who want you to do the work they would not—or cannot—do themselves, you charge a fee, pay your expenses and live off the rest.
The detailing work itself requires a very specific skill set, which is different from running a business. How you run your operation is not just about a paycheck, but rather it’s about being in charge. Which is not always the case. And because detail businesses differ little, we can, in my opinion, group detailers into one of four types.
All Ideas, No Follow Through
Owning your own business can be fun. It gives you a chance to act on your ideas and be your own boss. But I have met many detailers who are brilliant but not very successful.
Stephen Covey wrote a great book called “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” I quote from it often. In my opinion, there is only one habit of highly successful people—they get important things done!
Whenever I consult with detail shop owners, I ask them to write down their goals. Owners who do not have specific goals are typically not as successful as those who have definitive goals of where they want to be in, say, the next three to five years. To be successful, detail shop owners must learn to set realistic and achievable goals. Ideas without goals result in going nowhere.
Nobody Wants To Work
Anyone who owns or has owned a business understands that employees can present some real challenges, especially considering today’s low unemployment rate. You have to build a workforce that will accommodate your—and your customers’—expectations and needs.
Simply put, you need to have a plan that builds an organization that invests in employees who will actually do much of the detailing work. Amid an industrywide worker shortage, employee training and career planning, compensation, benefits and so forth can go a long way to building a productive workforce.
So rather than blaming employees for not living up to your expectations, consider if your practices and ideas concerning employees are out of date—and that you need to make some changes.
I am amazed at the number of detailers I meet who encounter severe burnout. Detailers are often frustrated because they believe in a myth—that if they just work harder, everything will be fine. Not so.
It’s not about working harder. Nowadays, successful people must work smarter. If you work extremely hard, but don’t have a solid business plan, you’ll only dig a deeper hole.
Lack Of Pride
In my experience, there are many detailers who are not proud of what they do. Detailing can be a wonderful profession that contributes to the local economy and provides a worthwhile service.
Yet, many detailers I’ve met are self-conscious about working in a blue-color profession, something I’ve never understood. In this day and age when professional detailing services are in high demand and detailers can earn certifications from recognized organizations in acknowledgement of their skills, detailers have every reason to tout their accomplishments. So be proud of what you do!
What’s The Cure?
If you or any of your colleagues fall into these categories, there is a simple cure. But getting your detail business to evolve from just a job to a true professional operation takes some work.
What’s involved? You need to be professional in every aspect. Accept responsibility for your business. You will make mistakes, but that is how you’ll learn. You will only be successful when you take personal responsibility for your business.
Be willing to adapt and change, although change does not often come easily. Put your business plan to paper and live it every day. Think about how to best develop your workforce and maximize their skills to benefit your business. Always remain customer-focused—without customers, there is no business. And at the end of the day, build your operation—be it mobile or brick-and-mortar—into a professional enterprise that makes you proud every day.