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Business Operations / Detailing

Do you offer fabric repair and restoration?

One industry expert reveals what it takes to offer this additional service and how it can draw in more customers.

March 24, 2014
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Another way to draw in more customers and make additional revenue is to offer up fabric repair and restoration. Simply advertising this service alone can attract a customer with a torn or worn out seat. To find out more about this additional offering, we turned to Terri Sniegolski, CEO of Creative Colors International, Inc., a company which specializes in the repair, restoration, cleaning, protection, and dyeing of leather, vinyl, plastic and fabric.

Professional Carwashing & Detailing: Why is fabric repair and restoration an important service for auto detailers to offer?

Terri Sniegolski: Auto detailers are not only responsible for cleaning the exterior of autos, but also for cleaning all things interior from the headliner down to the dash, doors, seats and carpet. When you look at the interior of an auto, your eyes are naturally first drawn to the seats so those that have burns or tears are likely to catch your attention even more, regardless of how clean the interior may be.

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Professional Carwashing & Detailing: If a detailer doesn’t already know how to repair and restore fabric, would they find it to be a difficult trade to learn?

Terri Sniegolski: Fabric repair is only a small part of the interior of the car. There are many different types of fabric including cloth, vinyl and leather. Each type of fabric has a set of respective repair methods and products. Aside from fabric repair, there is also:

  • Carpet repair and dying;
  • Hadliner tears, burns and punctures;
  • Dash cracks, tears and punctures;
  • Console tears and cracks;
  • Hard plastic refinishing and re-dying, etc.

The trade can be learned; however, the necessary training is extremely extensive and requires at least one year of practice in order to master the vast variety of repairs that result in quality work. Experience and quality products will make or break working in this field.

Professional Carwashing & Detailing: You mentioned it takes at least one year of practice, but how much training would you say is involved?

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Terri Sniegolski: There are various types of training for interior restoration. Fabric repair products can be purchased and come with step-by-step instructions. Additionally, some companies offer online training courses with the purchase of repair products while others have hands-on classes that teach specific type of repairs and restoration that can take up anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. There are also hands-on repair classes that are one to three weeks in duration. Regardless of the training route chosen, it’s important to understand that it is the experience of actually applying these repair methods repeatedly that turns a detailer from an amateur into a professional.

Professional Carwashing & Detailing: Do you think an already-established detail center should consider hiring a freelancer to do the work instead of training the existing detailers?

Terri Sniegolski: A detailer is usually good at what he/she does. It takes patience and time to detail a car and years of experience to get warranty quality repairs from doing the same types of repairs over and over again. Because there are so many different kinds of repairs for the interior of autos, it could be a number of years before a detailer is comfortable with doing basic repairs. The same holds true for the exterior of an auto. A detailer is not going to want to get involved with glass chips, paint chips, dents, etc.; the phrase, “Jack of all trades, Master of none” holds true in the auto restoration business more than most.

Terri Sniegolski is CEO of Creative Colors International, Inc. (CCI) as well as an owner of J&J’s Creative Colors. Launched in 1991, the CCI franchise system was created through its affiliate, J&J’s Creative Colors, which was founded in 1980 by Jim and JoAnn Foster. Today, both companies continue to be family-owned and operated by the second generation Foster family. Catering to the abundance of upholstered items in every home, business and vehicle, CCI specializes in on-site repair, restoration, cleaning, protection, and dyeing of leather, vinyl, plastic and fabric. For more information on CCI, visit www.wecanfixthat.com.