Spend any amount of time in the detailing industry, and more specifically discussing the industry in the almost innumerable amount of Facebook groups, forums, and other various outlets and you’re certain to see the default post we’ve all made at one point or another: “ARG! Theres a hack in my town charging $50 for a ‘full detail’. I can’t compete with this and people don’t understand why I charge 5x as much!”
The only thing more prevalent than this post is probably videos of guys hosing down freshly coated cars to show water beads (annoying dubstep soundtrack optional). On the surface it seems like a legitimate complaint; no one wants to see the reputation of our industry eroded by people claiming to be professionals, but charging well below market value for true detailing work and turning out poor results… I mean, c’mon! Seriously… you’ve worked hard to become a respectable detailer delivering quality results, right? You’ve studied, practiced, paid your dues – customers should appreciate your passion for the craft and pay you for your talents. Right?
Well… I’m here to tell you you’re a hypocrite! Yep. You… well maybe not all of you, but a lot of you. You should be deferring to the $50 full detail guy, the tunnel wash, the hack, and the kid who doesn’t even own a polisher who claims he can buff out scratches by hand. All of those guys should just keep right on doing what they’re doing, stealing your customers who don’t know why your prices are 5x more. Why? Because you’re no better than they are because you do the same thing.
As often as I read the complaints about the ‘hacks’ stealing your business I also read requests like “where can I get the cheapest pads?” or “looking for a cheapest place for chemical”. Understand that you are actively condoning the exact behavior you loathe so much within your own profession. You are soliciting solutions that undermine the industry and its not just detailing related. “Looking for someone to build me a website cheap”… do you think a guy who went to school for web design, honed his craft, studied, practiced, learned and improved appreciates the fact that you immediately choose to go to the 17 year old kid who works out of his parents basement for a fraction of the price he does? How about the companies in our industry that innovate, push the boundaries, and introduce new technologies into the mainstream? Do you think innovations continue to happen when the first thing you do is jump to the low cost alternative that is ‘almost the same’?
Now I’m not for a second arguing you should pay more for everything – price is the amount you pay, value is what you get for your money. There is nothing wrong with shopping around and looking for a deal… its a vastly different thing that just immediately finding the knock-off or cheapest possible source regardless of quality or service and buying that over the legitimate source or someone who stands behind their product. This isn’t just limited to detailing. I have friends who work in varied industries including insurance, graphic design, videography, web design, finance, etc. The list goes on and on and they all have one very common complaint – there are ‘hacks’ in their industry doing lower quality work at a fraction of the price. Most are largely violating the rules, working unregulated, or working without credentials and pedigree. Its a symptom of our price conscious culture, but its time we rise above this and support quality.
So what I ask of you is this my detailing industry contemporaries and colleagues; stop being what you hate. Stop shopping on price alone. Stop requesting sources for the ‘cheapest this’ or the ‘lowest price that’. Support all industries that support you, hire a professional web designer, enlist the services of a legitimate graphic designer, support the innovators and not the imitators. Shop with providers and manufacturers who provide service and benefit to the industry, not those who simply sell a copy of a solution. If we can start to do this then we can legitimately gripe about the “$50 full detail hack”, but if we continue to undermine our industry and the ancillary ones that support it we’re no better than they are.
Article written by Dylan von Kleist – Marketing Manager at Rupes S.p.A