- Buyer's Guide
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Successful entrepreneurs will pursue a focused strategy that involves building the company with a commitment to operational efficiency. This requires the right systems, accompanied by recruiting and training the right personnel.
What is needed is pragmatic business knowledge, assessing consumer behavior accurately, and finding customers.
Rather than using the typical primitive “squeeze and spray bottle” technology found in a lot of operations, a successful entrepreneur seeks to integrate the latest and most efficient technology into their new detail business.
By eliminating manual handling of chemicals and use of plastic bottles, this will eliminate the largest problem in detail operations today.
In addition, by eliminating portable shop vacuums and portable extractors, a detail business can be on the road to efficiency and profit.
Employees are taught what to do, what to use, and are given time standards to meet. No more moving around the shop looking for this and that. They stay at their workstation until the work/job is completed.
Without new technology, this can never happen in a typical detail operation.
Instead of doing one or two cars per man, the technologically advanced shop can achieve three and four cars per day, per man. In addition, working in two-person teams, the turnover is even faster. More cars per man-hour paid. This is only possible in a business based on modern technology.
Some say they cannot afford the technology or they do not need it. That is a “head-in-the-sand” attitude. They are paying for the new technology and not owning it. How? Lower production (fewer vehicles detailed per day) and higher labor costs. Not to mention savings on chemical waste and theft.
If a potential employee rebels against learning something new and challenging, advise them politely to seek employment elsewhere.
Please note, the emphasis should not be on technology as such, rather, the focus falls on what technology helps you accomplish ― far greater efficiency and a more economical use of your resources. It will always be about providing superior service. The technology helps you provide that.
The detail industry is an exciting industry, full of potential. If one is willing to learn, they can benefit.
To assist you in choosing the best equipment for your operation, here is a list of the most modern technology available today that will increase your productivity and decrease labor.
Before considering what equipment you need, consider what you really need to accomplish. This is based on the detail jobs you will perform. Various jobs include vacuuming interiors, shampooing and cleaning interiors, polishing and waxing paint. For these tasks, you will need a variety of equipment. What is suggested here is not the traditional equipment used in a detail shop; but what a professional detail shop needs to compete in today's auto service industry.
With air, you can use Rotary Shampooers, smaller vertical air tools equipped with a round, nylon shampoo brush. With these units, you can shampoo carpets, upholstery, vinyl, and convertible tops quickly, effortlessly, and with improved quality. They are variable speed, and the trigger can be “feathered" to avoid damage.
You can also use Mini-Orbital Waxers to apply and remove waxes and sealants. The waxers only weigh two pounds, allowing the detailer to wax an entire car in less than 10 minutes without fatigue.
And, there are now Dual-Action air tools that equal the performance of electric dual-action tools.
For your information, let me make a few suggestions. The solution/recovery tanks should be large enough to handle your daily capacity; the vacuum lift should be over at least 130”. It should be heated, and the price range should be between $1,100 to $1,600. There are lower and higher cost units. You will have to decide which direction you want to take. There are smaller units (two to three gallon) that are quite effective and may be the answer for the detailer who just cannot afford an expensive unit. These are priced less than $650 to $700.
To install, you simply mount it on a wall, connect a water supply or hose (to one end and select the dilution ratio you want). Each station has a plastic fill hose and another hose that goes into the chemical container. The water pressure draws the chemicals out of the container and through the orifice that determines the mixing ratio. The water and chemical are then delivered into your container, bottle, or tank. The cost for a single station should be less than $100.
The function of the workstation is to hold literally everything the detailer needs when working on a vehicle. Typically, a workstation will dispense from eight to twelve chemicals through application hoses and guns, and, it offers two airlines for tools. The station also includes a built-in vacuum and/or soil extractor with two vacuum/extractor hoses and nozzles, and, provides for electric power outlets.
Chemicals are usually stored in a central distribution system that automatically dilutes and delivers the chemicals to the Workstations placed in the equipment room. With these stations, you have the best in professionalism and management. The expense is justified by increased productivity and more efficient use of labor.
There you have it, my professional equipment recommendations. You need to objectively consider these equipment recommendations and how they can help your business. Do not jump to a conclusion that you cannot afford the equipment. In a sense, you are already paying for the equipment by higher labor and chemical costs and lower productivity.