In a world filled with fast food joints, order-on-demand movies and high-speed internet, it is no wonder that express detailing services are starting to become a hot commodity. A top quality while-you-wait service can be a tough job to pull off, but not if you are equipped properly and have thoroughly prepared and trained employees.
In order to impress customers and keep them coming back, it’s not only important to make sure an express detailing job is done in a timely fashion, but also done well and for a good price. It’s also important to bring in new customers and convince them that fast and top-notch services are not too good to be true.
Defining the term
What makes for an express detailing? For starters, the customer’s vehicle should already be washed and the express service — which should be a maintenance service and not a restorative one — should be:
• Completed in under 30 minutes;
• Offered without an appointment; and
• Inexpensively priced.
According to R.L. “Bud” Abraham, president of Detail Plus Car Appearance Systems, a nearly 40-year member of the car care industry, the founder and first executive director of the International Detailing Association and a member of the Western Carwash Association Board of Directors, express detailing services offered at a carwash include:
• A washing and waxing;
• A carpet washing and shampooing;
• A seat washing and shampooing; and
• A washing of the upholstery.
Top 5 tips from the experts
Three different industry experts in the field of express detailing services, including Abraham, Mark Lauzon, marketing director for Ziebart International Corporation, and Robert Roman, president of the consulting firm, RJR Enterprises, have shared their top tips on how to successfully offer express detail services at your conveyor carwash.
1. Keep your work station organized, according to Lauzon. This is imperative in that each employee will have to able to know where every product is; where back-up supplies are located, etc. He also said to have a “production check list” set out for every detailing job to make sure an order is obeyed and every task is completed.
2. Have sufficient equipment to perform the services, according to Abraham. (Read further for a list of equipments and tools needed.)
3. Always work in teams of two people, according to Roman. An employee, each with their own equipment and supplies will be assigned to one side of the car. It is also important, according to Abraham, to have well-trained personnel who understand what they’re doing, what services they’re selling and how to do their work efficiently.
4. Keep a promised deadline with your customers, according to Roman. “If you promise it will only take 20 minutes, keep that promise,” he said. This is where a reputation is at stake — customers of course, don’t like being misled.
5. Charge the right price. As for how to arrive at a fair price for your services, Roman suggests charging $1.50 per minute. A good job can definitely be done in 25 minutes, which would be about $37.50.
How one detailer does it
Chris McKenna, knows all about express detailing services because he offers them at his two full-service carwashes in California. He said the express detailing services are the “bread and butter” of his carwashes in that they bring in extra revenue per car, or around $3 to $4 per car after they go through the carwash.
McKenna’s advice is to have a well-organized shop and to make things as ready as possible. For instance, he said the bottles of hand wax are ready to go and employees know to look for troublesome stains that need more attention right away.
He said such services are popular for the people who are on the go and realize they need a clean car for something like an appointment they have that day in which they have to transport a business partner or client.
Have the right equipment
It is only by having the proper equipment that you can perform an express maintenance service in 15 to 30 minutes properly, according to Abraham. He suggests having two people work on each vehicle and for each detailer to have their own equipment to keep things running smoothly.
Abraham recommends the following equipment for a basic express detailing station:
• A soil extractor for each side of every vehicle
• Wet/dry shop vacuums for each side of every vehicle
• Rotary Shampoo tools for carpets;
• Orbital waxers to apply the wax; and
• Portable detailing work carts on each side of every vehicle for supplies and towels.
Roman agrees that it’s a must that detailers should work off of or out of self-contained movable carts and use ceiling-mounted airline and vacuum hoses to help with speed and efficiency.
According to Lauzon, a top quality and speedy detail job improves with an automatic chemical dispensing system, which helps to organize the work environment.
Finally, it is crucial that employees really do move fast. They will need to be fit, able to work under pressure and not easily distracted. After all, customers are paying for them to move quickly.
Employees working together will have to know which side of the car they are working on and which equipment is theirs to use. They will also not be allowed to distract one another or step on each others’ toes. They should also know how to get out of each others’ way and to be aware of their surroundings.
Choose carefully among your existing carwash staff to find workers who are prepared to operate in a team environment and work under pressure, while still maintaining quality control.