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Picking and promoting the perfect detail department additions

Operators should look to customers’ cars for inspiration when it comes to selecting seasonal services.

November 14, 2013
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I hope your fall has been great and the past few months have seen a good upswing in your business overall. Here we are, now going into winter, and for some of you on the East Coast, you will be entering your busy season. For us on the West Coast, we are anticipating a good winter, and the sunny Saturdays will be much appreciated until we reach spring.

What should a business add?

Let’s look at the past summer and fall, and the wear and tear on some of our customers’ vehicles, and let’s try to address some of the detailing concerns with those vehicles. First and foremost, what comes to mind here on the West Coast are water sprinklers and the water rings they leave behind on car finishes. Water spotting is a huge problem, and it is caused by city water systems using hard water. The hard water has calcium and mineral deposits which make rings that literally “burn” into the clear coat. While the sprinklers may be bad for the car’s finish, they can be very good for a detail department’s profitability.

Some of the newer detail kits that you can buy from companies like Detail Plus, and others, have lots of options for treating clear coat, removing water spots and can even treat faded headlight lenses. Contact them or your local distributor for more information on ordering these restoration kits.

Out on the East Coast, the humidity and summer wet season have probably found a few rolled down windows and interior details are a great thing to focus on now that winter is here. Again, Detail Plus or other detail supply manufacturing companies can provide a host of interior detail products including extractors and complete upholstery treating equipment.

How can they be marketed?

Now let’s look at the marketability and viability of offering such services and some ways to improve our salesmanship and overall ticket average. Some of the ways that I do this is by offering a daily special that reflects what services are being offered at any given time. A simple dry erase marker board properly displayed and positioned can make a huge difference in telling your customers what is being offered, the price and how long it’s expected to take. An example message could be: “Interior shampoo $69.95, only 40 minutes, includes full-service wash.”

Now let’s look at marketability and viability in respect to these service promotions. First, viability: You want to make sure you have enough staff on-hand for the given day, and make sure you are also positioning yourself and your specials at the correct time of the month. Take the weather and other factors into consideration as well. In regards to marketability: We would want to look at cross marketing through chalkboard specials with your other advertising and promotions. You need to have proper timing and synchronization when it comes to offering these different packages.

What about training?

As far as training goes, there are numerous avenues you can pursue in order to properly ensure your staff is fully trained and able to deal with all the customers’ requests and needs. There are many ways to get help with training but the best way I know of is to hire a consultant. Another option is to hire an outfit that can assist with not only training an application of detail services on a much bigger scale, but can also assist in state-of-the-art marketability and marketing techniques. You can also talk to your local chemical distributors and detail suppliers. Many of them offer promotional signs, banners and other ways of giving the customer a visual presentation of products and services.

Results

It has been my experience that a highly focused and streamlined detail department not only provides for very high profitability, but it also extends to the good reputation of the carwash by associating your wash with high-quality detail and attention to customer needs. You can also check with your detail supplier and chemical representative for promotions and specials they may be offering on their products so as to save money on your materials and other types of detail supplies.

Hopefully this has been a helpful little tutorial session on the ins and outs of detail cross marketing, the ways to put together specials and services and the best time to offer these promotions. In my January article, I will go into more detail (no pun intended) on the type of customer and demographic best suited for these detail services and promotions.

Until next time, make sure to keep up on your reading with Professional Carwashing & Detailing magazine.

 

Christopher C. McKenna of McKenna Enterprises LLC, based in Santa Barbara, CA, can be reached at 805-636-1052 or at chris@carwash-consultant.com. You can also visit his website at www.carwash-consultant.com.

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