Module 12: Problem Solving and Business Continuity

Common Challenges in Auto Detailing

The most common issue that auto detailing businesses run into is when interacting with new customers.

While it is likely that you will have lots of customers who have had their vehicles detailed previously, you might get a customer that has never detailed their car. For those who are less aware of what it entails, prices might seem too high.

For a new customer that has never used detailing service, they might think it’s just a simple car wash and it shouldn’t cost much.

To prevent this from happening and losing customers, you have to be clear and precise, and list the services you provide and what they entail.

It is more likely for a new customer to stay with you for detailing if they are aware of the efforts that go into detailing, and how much of a difference it makes for their car.

Staying on the Cutting Edge

The automotive industry is always evolving, and new products are emerging for detailing as well. It’s important that you stay on top of the news and technologies if you want your business to succeed.

In a few years, there might be completely new ways to detail cars that can make the job much easier and yield better results.

To stay on top of the news, make sure to stay in touch with the companies that provide you with your products. Ask them for samples of their new products and offer your perspective on how they can improve their products.

Reading the newsletters from companies involved in the business is another way you can stay on top of the game and find out first about all the new and exciting equipment or products that come to the market.

Recovering From a Bad Experience

No matter how hard you try to provide the best service, there will always be a customer who stays unsatisfied with your work. This can be damaging to your reputation, especially if you’re a new business.

The best thing to do is, of course, to prevent unsatisfied customers, and the key to this is clear communication. Managing the expectations of your customers on what types of services they’re going to get is important for them to stay satisfied with the results.

If a customer comes in with wrong expectations, no matter how well you perform the detailing work, they will still be unsatisfied, because they were expecting something else.

You must make the effort and clearly communicate what services you offer at different price points. This will create appropriate expectations and protect you from negative reactions from your customers.

If the worst happens, and a customer leaves unsatisfied and leaves you a bad review, you can reach out to them and offer to provide the work again, free of charge or with a great discount.

Additionally, if you have a chance, you can reply to their review and offer your perspective on the issue. So, if a future customer reads the negative review, they know what happened and why the reviewer was left unsatisfied.

Emergency Planning and Business Continuity

Emergency planning is a part of any business strategy. There are unforeseen circumstances that are simply out of your control. Having a plan in place for such events is the best you can do.

There are natural disasters that can affect auto detailing shops, such as storms, floods, earthquakes, etc.

Because detailing shops are mostly run on the ground level, they are particularly susceptible to floods.

Having an emergency plan in place can help you keep your business and staff safe in case of such disasters, and can help you recover from any potential damage more quickly.

Crisis Communication

In times of emergencies and crises, media communication comes into play. To avoid any unfavorable publicity and invasion of privacy, you must have a crisis communication plan in place.

When dealing with recovering from a natural disaster, fire, or any other misfortune, businesses often struggle to keep the media at bay. However, when such events occur, you can’t avoid the public interest.

The best thing you can do is to have designated staff member(s), who can communicate with the media in such situations. Avoiding the spotlight in such times might be damaging to your company’s public image.

Case Study

Business continuity entails having a plan in place to deal with difficult situations, without disrupting the work of a company.

One example of excellent business continuity comes from South Carolina. In 2013, a fire broke out in a building where an IT company, Cantey Technology, was housed. They were providing hosting services to over 200 customers.

The whole infrastructure of the company was destroyed, including the cables and hardware that provided the hosting service.

However, the customers never experienced any disruption because, as a part of their business continuity plan, the company backed up the data at a separate location.

The company management understood that keeping all the data in one place could have been disastrous if there were any disruption at the location. Thanks to the plan, the company’s service continued working even when their main infrastructure got destroyed.

First Aid

Accidents can happen in car detailing, especially when your staff is dealing with sharp objects needed to perform some tasks.

In case such incidents happen, you must have a first aid kit available on-site, and train your workers in providing basic care before the emergency team arrives.

Occupational Safety and Industrial Hygiene

Safety and health are important in every business. It should be a number one priority for any business operator to keep their workers and customers safe.

When working on auto detailing, for example, there might be biohazardous waste in a car, in which case your workers will need special equipment to deal with such vehicles.

There are many official guidelines and standards that ensure the safety of workers. Make sure to check your local regulations to have everything in order.

By protecting the safety of your workers and clients you will not only look after them but guarantee that there will be no disruption in business activities because of safety concerns.

Fire Safety

Many of the products used in auto detailing can be fire hazards. Therefore, ensuring their proper storage and labeling is the number one step in fire safety.

If your business is covered by insurance, it is likely that you will be required to have a fire escape plan in place.

Additionally, you must have fire alarms installed on location to prevent any fires spreading. It is likely that there are official requirements in place for fire safety, so make sure to check your local guidelines on the best ways to protect your business.

Chemical Safety

Chemical safety is another part of keeping your workers out of harm’s way. If dealing with biohazardous vehicles, your staff will need personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, face masks, protective eyewear, and hazmat suits.

When buying products in bulk for your business, your workers might have to separate products in different containers or dilute them in different solutions.

All such products should be appropriately labeled with expiration dates to avoid any confusion or misuse of chemicals.

You should also install different cabinets for various products that you’re going to use in your detailing business. Flammable products should be kept in specialized metal cabinets to prevent fire from breaking out.

Finally, all your employees should be educated on the proper use of chemicals and detailing products to avoid any safety hazards.

Environmental Safety

The environmental impact of your business is one of the most important things to consider when starting an auto detailing business.

Because you will be dealing with lots of chemicals, and generating waste, you must have a plan in place for the safe disposal of waste. That will require researching the contents and ingredients of your favorite products.

If you want to provide full detailing, you can’t avoid using chemicals that might be harmful to the environment. The best thing you can do is to safely dispose of them.

You can research your local regulations on the topic. It is likely that there’s a governmental agency dealing with chemical waste that can step in to help you dispose of such products. If not, there are many private companies providing the same service.

It is best to also train your employees in safely storing the chemicals and containers before they’re safely disposed of.