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Finding the Cream of the Crop

Posted by

Author Mark Barger.  Marion IL.

Author Mark Barger. Marion IL.

If you want customers who appreciate and pay more for quality detail work, read on and I’ll share with you how I did this for my business, Visual Pro Detailing.

In this article I’m going to focus on the following:

  • How to improve the quality of your customers.
  • How to phase out clients who are not a fit for your business.

Improving the quality of your customers.

Let me first off start by saying a high quality client is not always a client with the nicest vehicles. A high quality client will respect your time, your craft, and your business practices. This excellent trio of qualities is hard to come by.

People willing to pay for the best detail work will often be attracted to your business for several different reasons:


While I don’t agree that word of mouth is always the best form of advertisement and vehemently disagree that is should be the only form of advertisement, I do agree that word of mouth is the most effective form of advertisement. When prospective clients hear from people they know and trust that you provide quality services, this will build a bridge that will lead to increased business like no other. Even people who would not regularly want their vehicles detailed will be interested once they hear you are the best, not just that you do affordable work or have a lot of marketing gimmicks.


I’m going to get more in depth on pricing later on, but people who are high quality clientele are rarely attracted to bottom dollar pricing.


Looking professional goes a long way towards people treating you like a professional. Having a quality website, business cards, and well-fitting clothing with your logo on it goes a long way toward attracting the right people. You don’t have to have the best and most expensive of everything, but you do have to let prospective clients know what you care about the little things, and that a professional image is important to you.

Customer Service.

Society is saying that customer service is dead, so it is your responsibility to go out and prove otherwise. You would be shocked the amount of people who are willing to pay a premium price just to be talked to with good grammar, to have someone arrive when they say they are going to arrive, and to have someone who will do what they say they are going to do. I make it a personal to habit to mentally go over every single phone call and client interaction I have to try and figure out what I excelled at, and what I can improve on next time.

Phone skills are extremely important in this business. If need be, have one of your friends call you up and pretend to want to schedule a service with you. Record your call and listen to yourself later. If your phone skills need refinement, it will be blatantly obvious.

There are other aspects that go into building quality clientele, but these are the one you should hit on really hard on a daily basis. Even experts in every field can improve somehow. Set yourself a goal to improve yourself in at least one field every week. Over the course of months and years you will find as your skills and desire to improve your clientele increases, so will the quality of those whom you provide services.

How to phase out clients who are not a fit for your business.

Business owners need to understand that it is not mean or insensitive to say that certain clients are not a match for your type of business.

One of the biggest mistakes detailers make when starting out is to try and be everything to everyone.

You should not be offering high level paint correction if you have never done that type of work before. You should also not be trying to schedule five $75 production details in a day if you are operating by yourself.

You should be focusing on the type of clientele that will lead to the success of your business, not everyone else’s.

Up your Prices.

Nothing keeps away clientele with trashed cars like pricing your services properly. As a general rule of thumb it is best to be priced at least 10% over the local market price for your services. Meaning that if the average exterior detail in your local market is priced at $120, you would price yours around $135, minimum.

This creates a twofold positive result for anyone willing totake this bold step.First, it keeps people who are looking for your type of services solely based off price away from your business. These types of people are known as price shoppers, and often they are looking for the best service but at the cheapest price. High quality clientele know they are going to get what they pay for, so they don’t expect the best possible detail if they pick your lowest price package!

Secondly, it sets you apart as a market leader. This is very important here, so I’m going to go all out! High quality clientele equate price to the level of service they are going to receive. I have had many clients over the years tell me that they would never use the other local detail shops because their pricing was so low. Think about that, theyexpected low quality work just because of the price.

Turn away the ‘bad apples.’

Do not be afraid to walk away from jobs or clients that you do not want to work for. I’m a true believer that you should treat people the way you want to be treated, so I do not let people treat me poorly just because of what I do for a living. If someone is criticizing your work before you even perform the detail, or if someone is belittling to you on the phone or in person, beware that you should probably politely turn down the job.

If the prospective client is unhappy with you before you even do any work for them, think of what they will be like after you perform the job!

Always be ‘pruning’ your customer base.

A high quality client base will be like a tree that grows strong roots in your business. They will be a living advertisement to the quality of your work, business, and character. You should embrace and support them however possible and try to expand their reach within your business. Do not ever stop trying to build high quality clientele; they will be the backbone of your business for years to come. The detailing industry is in dire need of business owners who respect themselves, respect their clientele, and will bring integrity to their detailing business.

-Mark Barger

How We Started

It was 2006. A car detailer couldn't find affordable, easy-to-use add-on equipment to grow his business. So he made it himself.

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