Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Restoring focus with the 80/20 rule

August 15, 2012

Would you like to get more done with less effort, eliminate wasteful activities, and sell more to your best customers?

The 80/20 rule states that 80 percent of your production is the result of just 20 percent of your efforts. Put another way, 80 percent of your sales are derived from just 20 percent of your daily activity as a car detailer.

Focus on the best 20 percent of your customers. 

When I ran Ace Car Reconditioning, I wasted a lot of time chasing bad dealer accounts. Calling, stopping by, networking with dealers … only to end up with deadbeat dealers. Meanwhile, I had faithful dealers who loved our detail work, paid us well, and paid on time. What they didn’t know was we did GREAT interior, touch up, and auto body repair too. Once I gave up chasing new dealers, I focused on getting more business from our existing accounts. We did free bumper repairs, seat re-dyes, etc. to demonstrate our competency and they  signed on for these services too. The result:  Our average sales receipt went up 50 percent.  And I didn’t have to “pound the pavement” to grow business … I just had to focus on my most loyal 20 percent of customers.

Most of what business owners do is low value.  Eliminate the 80 percent of efforts that produce poor results.

In my first year of detailing I was very slow to hire help. No one, I felt, had the attention to detail that it took to truly make a picky car owner happy. But when I did finally break down and hire a detailer, I found that it allowed me to offset the busy work of detailing (vacuuming, setting up, breaking down equipment, windows) while I did the truly crucial 20 percent of the job: Customer service, final inspection, planning, etc.  I was able to book one extra car a day, with no loss in quality, and sales took off. Think of the things that waste your time each day. Can you outsource them? Is there a more efficient approach? Should you be doing them at all?

The 80/20 rule transfers into your personal life too.

There’s a lot of “noise” in your life when you get home, as well. Maybe you’ve half-heartedly made commitments to hobbies, certain friends, interests, etc. just to “see where things could go.” Drop them and focus on the core things that reliably make you the most happy.

Robert Keppel is president of Applied Colors, an online supplier of affordable and easy-to-learn detailing equipment that enables pro detailers to profit $100 or more per car with touch up, leather dye, windshield chip repair and odor removal services.