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Get the Details on 25 Years of Detailing History

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“If my customer can afford me, good…I don’t compete on prices because that degrades the quality of the service.”
—Jose Peza

John Ireland of Dayton, MN has owned Ireland Interior Repair for 13 years and Shamrock Detail Supply for 6.

Jose Peza of Redondo Beach, CA has been detailing cars for 25 years. You can get in touch with him at his site, DetailTek.

Jose believes in customer satisfaction, flexibility, and that you get what you pay for, and he has the experience, education, dedication, and tools to prove it.

Over 25 years how many different detail companies did you work for?

Around three or four. When I was working with them I held all of their full-time jobs, and in my spare time I was doing detailing.

You worked for many companies, some were very successful, more successful than others. Why were some of the companies successful, and why were some of them not?

Delegation and management. People delegate management to people that do not understand the business. They are only concerned about production without taking into consideration other aspects of the business, like time management, customer service, or customer satisfaction.

Okay, so problems happen when the lead manager’s number one priority is just detailing as many cars as possible in one day.

Yes, I definitely see it as a problem because too much production means less quality. Whoever the owner is, yes they want to see bigger numbers, but in the end they harm themselves: one season they might get really high numbers, but at the end of the next one they will decline because of unsatisfied customers.

Okay. So, what is your advice for detail shops with this problem?

Primarily I would suggest an image. Everybody should be wearing a uniform for the shop. And everything should understand what kind of promotions they have. I would encourage everyone to understand the concept of customer satisfaction. What they are working for: they are not just working for the hours or to have a job, they are working to detail a car for a customer, and have that customer come back.

That’s true. Its more than just making a clean car, it’s about delivering happiness.

Absolutely, absolutely.

Now, what techniques, equipment, and tools do you find most effective at finishing jobs faster?

Well I have been fortunate enough to have training for different commercial companies like Auto Magic and Detail King. What I have done is to make a combination of all of them, both products and techniques.

For instance, take carpeting: you have absorption, extraction, and transferring. Personally I don’t work with an extractor, I use multi-absorption methods and that has done well for me for so long.

What’s your absorption method?

Well you can just a towel on top of it, and let the towel absorb the wetness of the carpet or car seat.

I agree, I think that saves a lot of time. I think the extractor should be used maybe 15% of the time, and towel absorption the other 85%.

Yeah yeah, but everyone has a preference. As I said most people learn to do detailing…lets call it the good way. Once the beginners start to get educated they will be willing to consciously offer a better service to a customer.

Now, 25 years of cleaning cars what part of the job makes you the most happy.

When I deliver a car. When my customer says wow, that looks like a brand new car. That’s my most exciting moment.

Okay good. So maybe making the customer happy, if you make that your number one goal, you will have the money later. Because happy customers keep coming back, and then the money comes.

Yes unfortunately in the area where I work there is so much competition. One thing I am trying to teach the people who are helping me, my associates, is that I do not compete on prices. If my customer can afford me, good. I am willing to make a deal you know, but I don’t compete on prices because that degrades the quality of the service. And I am definitely convinced about that.

Okay good question. So, a lot of customers, how do you convince them that you are worth the extra money?

You know what? That is just a lack of trust. Lets say for instance, how do you sell a customer a cleaning service? They don’t see it. But once you show them the tools and the results, they will pay you what you are worth. But you have to show them, otherwise they don’t believe in you.

Right. It’s not words, they gotta see the tools, they gotta see the work, and then they pay the money.

Yeah, yeah, and besides that if some people are skeptical you have all your certifications posted on the web or posted on the wall. You show them that you know what you are talking about.

You’ve done so many cars, you’ve seen so many cars. Everybody sees some very strange things, like animals, food, guns, drugs. What is the strangest car you have ever detailed?

Dead rodents, either inside or somewhere where you don’t see inside the car.

Yeah I’ve seen live rodents. I was cleaning a Toyota Prius, we opened the glove box and a rat jumped out and ran across the street.

No no, I found this dead rodent. They take this car to a detailer somewhere, I don’t know where, and they detailed it. They delivered the car to me and it looked marvelous, it looked clean, but the smell though? I knew right away it was a dead animal, it was just the fact that you had to find it. The seats had this little flap to cover the hole when you folded them back: the rodent was hidden deep into that.

And that was just one location. Another customer took the car to detail it, and the rodent was just right at the entrance of the air filter vent outside the car. So when you turned the AC on, oh it was a bad smell.

Oh man, dead rats. That’s life as detailing, its really dirty work.

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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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