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Editor’s Note: This article is continued from Abraham’s previous article in the January 2007 issue of Professional Carwashing & Detailing®. That article discussed the fundamentals of offering express detail services.
The amount of equipment you have or do not have, like space, will also affect the volume your express detail operation will enjoy. You cannot have a high volume express operation with an orbital, one extractor and a few bottles of chemicals.
To perform a complete service in 15 minutes with two attendants, they must be working simultaneously on both sides of the car. This means double the equipment.
For example, if an operator has two bays dedicated to express detailing services, they should have the same equipment in between both cars; on the right side and on the left side. Now four people can work on two vehicles simultaneously.
If the equipment is not setup in this way you will have workers waiting for the extractor; orbital, etc.
This is a waste of paid manpower. You will lose revenue-producing volume and make customers wait longer than they should.
It is a classic case of “tripping over dollars to save dimes.” You are paying for the equipment without receiving the benefits of increased productivity and decreased labor expenses.
Minimum equipment requirements
For a simple express detailing operation you will need the following equipment:
Portable detailing equipment
For a more organized and efficient express detailing operation you can choose the portable express detailing machines that feature the following:
For the most efficient express detailing operation you should have a portable detailing cart on each side of every car. So, as mentioned above, you would need a unit in the middle and one on the left and right of the vehicle allowing two people to work simultaneously on each car.
Permanently mounted detailing equipment
For operators who are more committed to express detailing or who build an exit-end express detailing operation, you may want to consider installing permanently-mounted express detailing equipment that provide the following:
There are two reasons:
a) Purchase equipment that increase productivity, and
b) Reduce labor.
If equipment does that, then it pays for itself.
Because express detailing is typically limited to a few services, the demand for supplies is relatively small. The following is a list of necessary detailing supplies:
In an express detailing operation, experienced detailers are unnecessary. This is because of the following:
Personnel to hire for a carwash express operation are those with good values, who want to work, and who are trainable and motivated. Then you can teach them what you want them to do.
Depending on the volume of your express detail operation you can have express detail employees only, and/or you can cross train people to work in both the carwash and the express detail operation. If you have a high volume carwash with predictable daily carwash volume you can easily anticipate what you will do in the express detail area and staff accordingly.
Employ a certain number of people trained to work only in the express area and a few of your better carwash people cross-trained to help out on days when you are extremely busy.
Operators constantly ask how to pay express employees. Assuming you have some very good employees, I would pay them hourly and pay them a little more per hour than your carwash wokers. This will motivate your carwash employees to want to “move-up.”
Set a mandatory program standard of two express services per person per hour. That is two services per hour per person. And, if you have two person teams on a car then they should process four cars per hour.
However, if they can process one more service per hour then give them a $5 bonus. Why so high? Do the numbers.
If you make an extra $35 gross on the service, at most you would have a $10 cost in this service. That means an additional $25 revenue to you, because the worker(s) did one more car. If you give them $5 you are still putting $20 more net revenue in your pocket. And, at $5 per additional car you will have a real motivated employee who could make up to $40 to $50 more per day. That is an incentive, and it is possible to achieve if they work hard.
The final and most important part of an express detail program is management. There can be three levels of management:
He/she should meet weekly with the department manager to review the performance of the area. It is absolutely critical that the GM buy into the express program and not let it get lost in operating the carwash which can, and often does happen in many carwashes across the country.
There you have it — the benefits of exterior washing with express detailing, and what you need to do to make it work. If you are considering a revision of your current full service operation to an exterior wash or considering building a new carwash you should definitely add express detailing services.