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  #1  
Old 04-08-2014
vtec92civic vtec92civic is offline
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Default Faced With Tough Decision

So for those of you who know me you understand what I do. I've been in the Automotive Detailing industry for about 7 years now and I've hit a road block. I'm faced with a choice that can be good but can be very bad as well.

I've acquired a deal with a dealership here and have been doing work with them for a little over a year however we just lost them. I hadaa meeting with the sales manager who I know very well to discuss everything and it wasn't our work or anything we did. They love our work but the owner just gets overwhelmed to easy and his lot is small so he wanted someone who had a shop to free up some space for their business and went back to their old detail place. However the sales manager hates them and many places on maui dislike that place because of their lies, work ethic and so fourth. She told me to please get a shop space abd I could have the account back.

we were also offered another large account from a bigger dealership however we need a shop as they have no room there. So here it is . . . .

Do I close my doors after 7 years and walk away or do I take a chance and get a shop and see if we can make this happen? Any advice? My mind has been spinning circles lately not knowing where to go and what to do.
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  #2  
Old 04-08-2014
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Do the numbers. Besides the lease rent, the landlord will require you to have liability insurance. Are you planning to hire help? Overhead is the killer..if you have to work for 3 weeks out of a month to pay for the overhead, it may not be worth it. Factor in the weather as down time. Down time equals no revenue. A lot of things to consider being a small business owner. What ever you decide, good luck to you.
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  #3  
Old 04-08-2014
vtec92civic vtec92civic is offline
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Well we found a spot for about $1,000 a month for 1,000 sq. Ft. Spot. Finding a place to detail bere is extremely difficult. Landlords for some reason do not want to rent to detailers bit love to rent to automotive shops that leak fuel, oil and many other contaminants. I think they all just have the wrong perception about detailers. They are not educated on what we do. Warehouse space is super limited. I woulf hate to go back to a 9-5 job since we are all so family oriented and do a lot of thongs together on holidays etc. At the end of the day paying my bills is what's most important. We don't plan to be here forever and I would love to keep detailing until we leave. Losing out on acura was a crappy deal and the other dealership said they send out about 20 or so cars a month + acuras 10+ cars a month which could be a nice profit.

I want to get more accounts to the point where we are overloaded with work because at that point I will know that I can hire more help to get more done and increase the work load. I just hope to make the right decision.
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  #4  
Old 04-09-2014
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Ranney Ranney is offline
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Aloha vtec92civic,

Thank you for your post. There will always be a implied risk in any investment or new business venture. In my opinion, you first need to know who your customers are or will be. What segment of the detailing market are you trying to target. The car dealerships, individuals, or both. What is the price point of breaking even at the end of the month? Are the car dealership(s) willing to sign a 6 months or 1 year contract with you exclusively if you open your detail shop? Worst case scenario, would you be able to sustain the detail shop without one or none of the car dealerships? That leads me in to my next question. Will you only be taking car dealership vehicles or will you also be accepting work from retail customers? There are many variables but I think you need to have a plan of action in going in to any new business venture. Personally, I was in a similar situation a number of years ago to open a brick and mortar store which we know today as PakShak Car Care and Detailing Supplies. I like yourself considered the risks involved but weighed the benefits versus the risks. I would be lying to you if I said I knew that customers will come to PakShak. I learned a long time ago that if you treat your customers like you want to be treated they will help you grow your business. I always like to take the time to ask our customers how they heard of PakShak. More times than not, I have heard it was due to the positive reputation that PakShak had. That is a direct result of our customers that we are still in business today.

From one business owner to another, if you take care of your customers, they will spread the word and help grow your business. A happy customer today will be a loyal customer for life.

Whatever you decide, you have my utmost respect. I know it's not easy but I know you will make the right decision for you.

Thank you & Aloha,
Ranney
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  #5  
Old 04-09-2014
vtec92civic vtec92civic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranney View Post
Aloha vtec92civic,

Thank you for your post. There will always be a implied risk in any investment or new business venture. In my opinion, you first need to know who your customers are or will be. What segment of the detailing market are you trying to target. The car dealerships, individuals, or both. What is the price point of breaking even at the end of the month? Are the car dealership(s) willing to sign a 6 months or 1 year contract with you exclusively if you open your detail shop? Worst case scenario, would you be able to sustain the detail shop without one or none of the car dealerships? That leads me in to my next question. Will you only be taking car dealership vehicles or will you also be accepting work from retail customers? There are many variables but I think you need to have a plan of action in going in to any new business venture. Personally, I was in a similar situation a number of years ago to open a brick and mortar store which we know today as PakShak Car Care and Detailing Supplies. I like yourself considered the risks involved but weighed the benefits versus the risks. I would be lying to you if I said I knew that customers will come to PakShak. I learned a long time ago that if you treat your customers like you want to be treated they will help you grow your business. I always like to take the time to ask our customers how they heard of PakShak. More times than not, I have heard it was due to the positive reputation that PakShak had. That is a direct result of our customers that we are still in business today.

From one business owner to another, if you take care of your customers, they will spread the word and help grow your business. A happy customer today will be a loyal customer for life.

Whatever you decide, you have my utmost respect. I know it's not easy but I know you will make the right decision for you.

Thank you & Aloha,
Ranney
Ranney,
Such words of wisdom and encouragement. You've helped me grow in so many ways both as a person and a business owner. I can't even express how grateful I am for that. I had a feeling you would respond and I looked forward to it. We can relate on so many levels as we have been faced with similar situations as one another. I look up to you and have the utmost respect for you. This isn't a easy decision but as you mentioned weighing the pros and cons would be an ideal place to start.

To answer your questions. As for who I would be servicing, I would still cater to both retail and dealership/wholesale work. Getting a bay would be to gain back my dealership client but the benefits would be having a controlled enviorment to do retail work in as well. I think I would kill off my mobile service for now or just offer to my regular elite clients until the shop got going at a regular pace. This is only if I did get a shop though. I would be faced with the choice of selling my van since I'll have a place to store all my gear and maybe just use ny uncles ford ranger for mobile gigs to free up the money I would be spending on the van paynentŮ has and insurance to put towards the shop. I found a decent spot that I can talk the lease agent down a little on to get the 1,000 sq ft bay for about $1000 a month. From there I could either run generators for power or just hook up electric. I also found covered yard space for cheap. My buddy suggested I try to get the yard space which is under a older structure but is paved and just drive my van there and use that spot to gain back my dealerahip account and possibly the new account and then migrate to a warehouse spot.

warehouse space here is hard to come by for detail business owners for what ever the reason.

one thing I would need if this all went through would be a professional extractor. Would you be able to help me get one of those abd maybe a steamer but the extractor for sure.

if you have any other feedback please let me know. Thank you so much again Ranney.
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  #6  
Old 04-11-2014
jrs1418 jrs1418 is offline
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I worked in many dealerships including Pfluger Acura & Acura of honolulu. My knee jerk reaction is to tell you to never trust the dealerships.. they are bottom line based in every way. IF they give you your account back (IF you get a shop), you're really only pro-longing the agony IMO. The next sales manager to come around could cancel you right in the middle of your next lease.

I would run the numbers, and would calculate that this dealership revenue is not going to be there all the time. Maybe if you open a shop you can get more retail customers? or maybe you can focus on more retail customers as you are? Yelp is a good form of advertising.

sorry I couldnt be of more help,
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  #7  
Old 04-11-2014
vtec92civic vtec92civic is offline
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Originally Posted by jrs1418 View Post
I worked in many dealerships including Pfluger Acura & Acura of honolulu. My knee jerk reaction is to tell you to never trust the dealerships.. they are bottom line based in every way. IF they give you your account back (IF you get a shop), you're really only pro-longing the agony IMO. The next sales manager to come around could cancel you right in the middle of your next lease.

I would run the numbers, and would calculate that this dealership revenue is not going to be there all the time. Maybe if you open a shop you can get more retail customers? or maybe you can focus on more retail customers as you are? Yelp is a good form of advertising.

sorry I couldnt be of more help,
Thank you for your input. It's always nice to hear things from many different perspectives as i don't always see everything and neither does my other half. Now i'm not in denial when i say this however . . . . it's funny that we talk about dealerships and funny i was thinking about this today because Acura called and they must be continuing to have trouble with their choice of Detailer. They want us back LoL. As i mentioned though it was never our work it was simply the fact that they wanted to be able to take the cars and drop them off some place vs having us clutter their small detail area and that's understandable. We worked on their property for over a year before it came to an end.

As for the sales manager, she won't be going any where and i can say that with certainty as she is one of if not the best on Maui and has been in the car industry for over 20 years and i've known her for a while so she tends to fight for us. Your words on not always counting on the money though is true. Some months they might have 7-8 cars for us some months they might have 15-20. I love being mobile as i've gotten to see some of Maui's finest and most exquisite properties however i think by not having a stable place to work out of has hindered my ability to grow here. I don't get to have walk up traffic and stuff like that while being mobile. If i can score a place for $1,000 i think it might be worth the jump to try and see if i can really push things with a bay and hold off on the mobile and once i can establish the bay then i can go back to offering mobile services to my elite clients.

We are also in the works of potentially picking up a contract with a bigger dealership as well but we'll see how that goes. If you've worked for Acura of Honolulu then you must know Keppel hehehehe, the 2 brothers.
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  #8  
Old 04-11-2014
jrs1418 jrs1418 is offline
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Yes I know Dan, i've probably seen his brother... Dan's always been good to me. In their Honolulu store they sent 2 lot techs to detail school and now they detail in house. Lots of dealers are going this route.. its cheaper to train and pay $9-10/hr, than to send out work.

Personally, after 8 years on the sales/finance side, I dislike working with dealerships - so I'm biased. I've done some dealer work and while some are appreciative, others are just plain nasty to work with.

Just go over the math a few times, do your research, and make sure you have a good plan. There's lots of expenses for having your own shop. Sometimes you may need to put security deposits on rents & utilities. Most commercial leases are "triple net", ie: you pay rent/GE taxes/property taxes, and maybe even common charges. If you're using water you must be sure no wash water touches city property otherwise you may get fined, (Thats what the waste water management division told me).
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  #9  
Old 04-12-2014
vtec92civic vtec92civic is offline
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Originally Posted by jrs1418 View Post
Yes I know Dan, i've probably seen his brother... Dan's always been good to me. In their Honolulu store they sent 2 lot techs to detail school and now they detail in house. Lots of dealers are going this route.. its cheaper to train and pay $9-10/hr, than to send out work.

Personally, after 8 years on the sales/finance side, I dislike working with dealerships - so I'm biased. I've done some dealer work and while some are appreciative, others are just plain nasty to work with.

Just go over the math a few times, do your research, and make sure you have a good plan. There's lots of expenses for having your own shop. Sometimes you may need to put security deposits on rents & utilities. Most commercial leases are "triple net", ie: you pay rent/GE taxes/property taxes, and maybe even common charges. If you're using water you must be sure no wash water touches city property otherwise you may get fined, (Thats what the waste water management division told me).
you run a shop?
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  #10  
Old 04-12-2014
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Shea's Luxury Detail Shea's Luxury Detail is offline
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A lot of great advice and not much to add but I would reconsider the part of putting your mobile on hold for your elite clients. Thats your bread and butter and will hold your head above water for the time you open up your shop, so find a happy medium for both. You might find that some of your mobile regulars will do service at your shop as well. During my transition from strictly mobile to shop and mobile was very rough but I loved the challenge as most would be very uncomfortable. Thats where you might say is huge deciding factor. The mental factor. As I see it got the dealership under your belt and your in a industrial area where theres a lot of business owners who would want a detail because they don't have time to do it themselves. As soon as you know that your going to get a shop start marketing and making fliers for your new neighbors to let them know your going to be there. Make the necessary signage like a banner for your shop and road signs. That will help a lot. Also make a separate Yelp page for the shop and have your existing clients do an honest review as well for your mobile side if they haven't already. Theres a lot more ideas I have but Ill reserve that when I open a shop in Maui myself. nah, nah, nah, nah j/k.
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  #11  
Old 04-14-2014
jrs1418 jrs1418 is offline
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you run a shop?
Yes i do.
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Old 04-14-2014
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Yes i do.
And a very successful one at that.
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Old 04-14-2014
vtec92civic vtec92civic is offline
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What shop is that?
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Old 04-14-2014
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What shop is that?
I believe it's called Eco Wash. Jay is in a major shopping center on the Windward side.
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Old 04-15-2014
jrs1418 jrs1418 is offline
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Yes, Eco Wash @ Windward Mall. We do ok If you need any other help or advice shoot me a pm.
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