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barry
Feb 7th, 2005, 01:48 AM
How to stay busy detailing cars for profit in bad weather?

I have a part time mobile wash and detailing business, I do really well when the weather is good but when it rains or is real cloudy out, I really can't work. I would love to go full time doing this, but weather is such a factor. What do others do?

I go from 300.00 to 400.00 a week to 300.00 to 400.00 a month in the rainy months! I work a full time job at night and do my mobile auto wash and detail during the day (about 20 to 24 hours a week). I'm from Tennessee; any one else have this problem?

Mike Phillips
Feb 7th, 2005, 06:59 AM
That's a tough problem in geographical locations where it rains for a segment of the year. Even here in sunny California, when it rains, business slows way down. Hopefully some of our regular professional detailers will chime in and offer some suggestions.

Besides washing and detailing, do you offer window tinting or applying clear bras? Perhaps look at adding some other services to your business that are not affected by rain as much.

Details3
Feb 9th, 2005, 12:32 PM
When it is raining outside, I can still detail if the customer has a garage. I take a rain coat with me so I can wash the car outside and then pull it in the garage to finish the detail. It is a pain, but it keeps you from a total washout day. Now if the customer does not have a garage then reschedule. I have a rain container that I keep backup supplies in so I can take that stuff in the garage to finish the detail. Remember the old saying "Work smarter not harder" Hope this helps.

Details3

RSF
Feb 9th, 2005, 05:31 PM
Mike,

You mentioned clear bras. I've heard there are some good ones available out there. Do you know which ones work best and what are aprox. costs?

I appreciate any imput anyone can give on this subject.

RSF:)

Mike Phillips
Feb 10th, 2005, 07:05 AM
Originally posted by RSF
Mike,

You mentioned clear bras. I've heard there are some good ones available out there. Do you know which ones work best and what are aprox. costs?

I appreciate any imput anyone can give on this subject.

RSF:)

Hi RSF,

Welcome to Meguiar's Online! :wavey

I'll PM DETLMAN, a professional detailer who installs clear bras and see if he can share his experience.

Mike

barry
Feb 10th, 2005, 09:09 AM
Please tell me more about clear bra's where to get them and are they easy to install,I can do light pin stripping and but on bug shields

mirrorfinishman
Feb 10th, 2005, 12:29 PM
Hey Barry,

I am going to try to answer your original question about detailing and dealing with the weather.

First of all, there are really not that many businesses that are busy all of the time. If you look around you will quickly see that almost any business has their busy time and also their slow time. Just look at the retail stores. They probably do a majority of their yearly sales during the holidays. How many farmer do you know stay busy right through the winter? How many theme parks stay busy during the school year? How many summer resort areas stay open all year?

The point of all this is that there are very few businesses that can stay busy all of the time. Hey, in most businesses, it's usually feast or famine.

Of course, you could always add additional services. Sure, that will help to keep you busy. However, I would highly recommend using those rainy days to go out and get more customers. Especially the type of customers who are willing to pay top dollar for your detailing services.

The key to staying profitable in the detailing business is to constantly look towards how you can increase your income per vehicle and at the same time, still keep your schedule full. Use those rainy days to get out there and maximize your earnings. Stay focused on getting the most profit out of every hour you are able to work.

DETLMAN
Feb 10th, 2005, 01:14 PM
Let me throw my .02 in the pot.

Weather is one thing you cant predict or change so you have to work around it best you can, Frank made a good statement about using your downtime to find new customers who are willing to pay for your service and apreciate the quality of the work you do.

I live in So Cal so weather is a non issue for me when it rains I stay home and do whatever I want. Since it doesnt rain that much it doesnt really affent my financial situation too much.

Clear bras, they are not easy to install and require a learned technique and ons of patience as well as a huge ( and sometimes expensive ) learning curve.

We have dropped the sales and istallation of clear bras because they are time consuming and we ran into a few situations where the film would start to lift a tiny bit on some edges. While it is still protecting its ugly and the customer is going to want to have it redone. After one re-do there isnt really any profit left in the deal and if for some odd reason you had to do it 3 times you would be paying to install them. Its a great product and some companies have a great program but for me it came down to doing the math and we werent making enoughfrom clear bra to continue offering it.

Best I can tell you regarding detailing is market your business to higher end clientel and make more money when you can and save for the rainy day.

Good luck

Jason Rose
Feb 10th, 2005, 07:27 PM
I ran a mobile detail business for 12 years in Southern California. Contrary to the once popular song...it does rain in California! Recently, it rained a lot.

When I had my business, I made good use of rainy days. Best advice = plan & prepare for the rainy day. On a bright warm sunny day I discussed rainy days with my best customers, the ones with multiple cars. Several agreed to give me a car to detail when the rain came. I detailed the car in their garage. They appreciated a freshly detailed car to drive when the sun came out. And I appreciated the work on a bad weather day.

When I didn't have work pre-arranged on a rainy day...or the plan fell thru for some reason, I used the time to do some very productive things. I worked in my own garage trying out new products or techniques. I cleaned, repaired, or did preventative maintenance on tools and equipment. I created new sales/marketing tools. Or, simply went out selling my services.

Hope this helps,

Jason "Waxman" Rose
Senior Area Sales Manager
Meguiar's, Inc.

Chubs
Feb 11th, 2005, 04:13 PM
Very good right up Frank, along with points from DETLMAN, and WAXMAN.
I am also trying to get started in a detailing business part time over my full time job with hope of making a full time job out of it. I've been doing it on the side for about 8 years now and have a good following. one of the BIG things that has been bothering me was the down time with rain and the 6 months of snow that we seem to get in Erie, PA. i"m thinking of plowing snow and trying to find some show cars and boats stored in garages for the winter to help those long winter days go by. I've been trying to think of profitable things for the rain days and you guys have helped me out greatly with it. Either in this thread or other threads. I never really gave it a thought that everyone pretty much has down time, I just thought about detailers, landscapers, home contractors and remodelers. Guess every one has one downfall or two. I just depends on how well you use those days to determine if your business will survive.

Chubs
one more Q.
Is it sick in the head to want to start my own business even more and more the more I'm looking into it and what a challenge it will be? :bounce
I guess that's why my wife says I'm anal about the cars I do! haha :coolgleam

Superior Shine
Feb 11th, 2005, 05:21 PM
Ever heard of putting money away for a rainy day? I budget for the rainy season all year long and when the rain gets here I take a little vacation.

Scottwax
Mar 1st, 2005, 03:59 PM
I would be busy non stop year 'round if it wasn't for the weather. It really doesn't help when the weather guessers mess up as bad as they usually do. Take yesterday for example. When I left to go detail in the morning, the only rain in the 7 day forecast was Tuesday night. Great news, cars are in garages at night and no one usually cancels in that situation. I get home last night, and they have rain in the forecast Tuesday night, Wednesday and Friday. :mad: A couple of my Tuesday wash customers cancelled but I had a horribly nasty Escalade waiting for me in a warehouse which I knew would be a 8+ hour job, so I started on it today. I'll finish it tomorrow and if the rain ends early, my afternoon customers will still get their cars done.

It can hurt though when you have a week straight of rain. I got creamed in February and November of last year, two of the worst months I've had in years. 2004 ended up being the 5th wettest year on record in the Dallas area and I ended up doing nearly 5% less cars. I did raise my prices last year, so I was actually up 2%.

The main problem is rescheduling. I am usually booked a week in advance and also have regular wash customers. My regulars understand if they get rained out, I may not be able to work them in that week and they are fine with it. The hard part is when the details start stacking up. Usually customers realize how the weather can put me behind, especially those whose cars I've detailed in the past. New customers don't always understand though. I've yet to find a solution that makes everyone happy.

gemini101
Mar 3rd, 2005, 02:25 PM
Over this side of the pond our regular clients hardly ever cancel when it rains...It has snowed for the past couple of days and we have not had a single cancellation...I guess we are lucky...

Mike Phillips
Mar 3rd, 2005, 02:37 PM
Because of the super high quality information submitted by some of the best detailers around, I'm going to place a copy of this into the Hot Topics (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=80) forum.

:xyxthumbs :xyxthumbs :xyxthumbs

barry
Mar 4th, 2005, 11:54 PM
Thanks for all the good info,this a
is a great board

Scottwax
Apr 10th, 2005, 12:44 PM
Anyone have a solution to the rescheduling issues bad weather causes? Specifically, one that makes everyone happy?

mirrorfinishman
Jun 3rd, 2005, 01:16 PM
Originally posted by Scottwax
Anyone have a solution to the rescheduling issues bad weather causes? Specifically, one that makes everyone happy?

Maybe we should just plan on getting out there and wash the customers' car in the rain. Of course, that's only if they're not going to be driving the car and you've got it re-scheduled for the following day.

Hey, the nice part about boat detailing is that you can always wash a boat on a rainy day. Actually, I prefer to wash my customers' boats on rainy days. It keeps me busy when it rains and it's a heck of a lot easier washing since you spend almost no time having to rinse in between cleaning and scrubing. Nothing better than washing a boat on a summers day while it's in the water and hearing those tiny raindrops gently falling into the water. Now that's a weather issue we can all deal with!

stealth
Aug 21st, 2005, 03:06 PM
I spend rain days doing bug shields,vent shades,performance tuning & interiors on clients who chose to pass on a"complete". I also try to keep my own fleet up to standard,which is usually last on the list. Over the years I've managed to use the bad weather as a selling tool. Show prospective clients how the rain,snow, dust doesn't adhere to your ride.Once they see it, they believe it & buy it!Also you can push windshield treatments as an extra to end the streaky squeeky wipers. E Z $!

barry
Aug 22nd, 2005, 01:03 AM
Thats a great ideal, I can do ventshades and bug sheilds.thanks for the great advice:D

Jbirk
Sep 5th, 2005, 05:47 PM
How about adding a service where you change the Windshild Wipers and do a RainX treatment?

I mean sure the Wipers are going to cost at least $10, so charge $20 or so to install them. Then you can also do the whole Rain-X thing after you get a perfect clean glass.

gb387
Sep 6th, 2005, 02:39 AM
A question on these lines for a pro detailer....

In the climates where you have long winters snow/sleet/salt would it be possible to offer a service to pickup a customers car in a enclosed trailer and then drop off. Not thinking of the daily driver mainly the summer vehicles (typically the ones in storage) and prepare them for the coming summer.

I understand there is the cost of the trailer but could you charge an additional fee for the service?

I don't know maybe the idea is WAY out there.

vbfd946
Oct 18th, 2005, 05:21 PM
I have got a queston for anybody that can help.

I would like to try and start up a detailing business, I just dont know where to start. I made up some business cards and some flyers, but havent gotten very many handed out. I have had some small luck with a couple of used car lots, but nothing to keep me busy. What is the best way to market myself, should I try to focus on car lots, or go for indiviuals? I really enjoy detailing cars, and would love to make a living doing so. I just need some way to get my name out.

Any help would be much helpful.
Thanks Rob

Five Star
Oct 19th, 2005, 08:05 PM
Originally posted by vbfd946
I have got a queston for anybody that can help.

I would like to try and start up a detailing business, I just dont know where to start. I made up some business cards and some flyers, but havent gotten very many handed out. I have had some small luck with a couple of used car lots, but nothing to keep me busy. What is the best way to market myself, should I try to focus on car lots, or go for indiviuals? I really enjoy detailing cars, and would love to make a living doing so. I just need some way to get my name out.

Any help would be much helpful.
Thanks Rob

Car dealers talk to car dealers, do a quality job at a competetive price and you'll have more work than you can handle soon enough.