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Vol. 1, No. 4

Fall 2016




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Letter from the Editor

One More Thing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 The Nitty Gritty. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Getting to Know Adrienne “AJ” Janic, co-host of Competition Ready Industry Dirt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Hall of Stains. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

One More Thing . . .

Business Snapshot. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Detroit detailing days gone by. . . . . . . . . . 20 A photo essay featuring the abandoned shops of a once-booming automobile landscape and car-making metropolis. Elbow Grease . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Secrets revealed! How to get streak-free windows and remove pet hair and scuff marks efficiently. The Detail Doctor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 How to successfully manage your detail business Name the Stain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Cover Story: How to be a good boss. . . . . 33


Vol. 1, No. 4

Fall 2016

Publisher: Jackson Vahaly Editor: Debra Gorgos Design: Bret D. Haines Auto Detailing News is published 4 times per year and is independently owned by Jackson Vahaly. Web address is All inquiries should be directed to: Auto Detailing News 110 Childs Ln. Franklin, TN 37067 Copyright © 2016 2 Dollar Enterprises/Auto Detailing News All Rights Reserved.

The legend of the Golden Goose


ood employees are the golden-egg-laying-geese of any business. If you’re lucky enough to have one, or extremely lucky to have more than one, then make sure you’re doing everything you can to make him or her feel appreciated and secure. After 20 years as an employee at various posts, I personally have been on both ends of the spectrum. One of those establishments has had more than its fair share of turnover. The other? It still has all of its original players (see: Auto Detailing News masthead). No one wants to be or work for someone like the farmer in Aesop’s fable, The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg, who didn’t value his daily-golden-egg-laying-goose. “While chasing after hopes of a treasure, I lost the profit I held in my hands!” And, it is easy to spot a good boss, by how well its employees act while on the job. In September 2014 my family and I went out to a Mexican restaurant in Saratoga, New York. We sat down and were treated like we were a burden to the server. I don’t know if he was having a bad day, or didn’t have a lot of help, and I am not sure what his drive was that day, but it certainly wasn’t his potential tip. I asked if I could have a virgin margarita. The reaction he gave was as if I asked for a gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, Kosher, organic, vegan, non-GMO, farm-totable densuke watermelon sorbet! It was like

we were on Candid Camera. The table next to us said he was rude to them as well. Now, if I had wanted to see rude customer service, I would watch the 116th episode Seinfeld and watch Jerry, George and Elaine visit an infamous soup stand. So, after one too many discourteous remarks and sighs from said server, we stood up, I put a $5 bill on the table for his troubles and said we weren’t going to stay and be treated with such disrespect (look for my review on Yelp if you want more specifics). We marched out of there and haven’t been back since. I don’t know if they changed ownership or if the server is still there, but I am not taking any chances, and will not go back. It has been two years

Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016


Auto Detailing News



and I still have ill feelings over it. We ended up at another restaurant down the road called Cantina. The staff welcomed us right in, helped me with the stroller (always a huge plus) and it was like night and day compared to the other place. And, we have since been back to Cantina, gladly giving them our hard-earned dollars. It is scary to think that one bad experience can ruin a person’s opinion of a business for life, but with so much competition out there, no one has time, or the money to endure an ungrateful employee. So, make sure you’re keeping yours in check. Also, make sure your good employees know that you value their hard work and good attitude.



Auto Detailing News


Responses “pour” in for “Name the Stain”

the person who shared the Stain

See you at SEMA?

Horror Story in this issue. I know

Is “pour” a good play on words or no? I appreciate all of the emails we got for our last issue’s Name the Stain feature. Good old milk was the culprit and we got a lot of emails with “milk” as the correct guess, but the type of car was incorrect, and vice versa. I must say, I was truly impressed with how many of you could tell what it was by the photo as well as the type of car. Our first complete and correct answer was from Ryan Siler. This will be a permanent feature in the magazine, so if you see a good one come into your business, please photograph it and send it my way. Also, I would like to give a shout-out to

I keep saying it, but I truly admire

And one more things, who is going to SEMA? I will be there, along with Publisher Jackson Vahaly. The Las Vegas show, which takes place Nov. 1-4, is gearing up to be quite the event. If you would like to meet up, please contact me at 518-598-2287 or email me at debrag@autodetailingnews. com. I am excited to go—not only to learn new things about the detailing industry, but to also meet more of you. If you go and take some good pictures, please feel free to share them with us. Until next time,

Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

what you all do. Hearing his story is graphic, stomach-turning, and emotionally upsetting. But, this detailer soldiered on, and I find it exceptionally admirable.

Got any good Love Bug pictures? Love Bugs . . . gross. I wish the name wasn’t wasted on such nasty creatures. The September mating season is now past us, but did anyone take any good pictures of a customer’s vehicle? If so, please send them my way. I also want to hear what methods you used to remove them and how long it took.

Debra S. Gorgos

The Nitty Gritty

Getting to Know Adrienne “AJ” Janic, co-host of Competition Ready By Debra Gorgos


drienne “AJ” Janic may be a woman in a mostly-male dominated industry, but when it comes to cars, her prowess and passion is in a league of its own. Janic admits she knew nothing about cars before she signed on as co-host of the popular show, Overhaulin’. Starting out her career in the fashion and acting world, she didn’t take her limited auto

expertise lightly and worked twice as hard to learn everything she could about the industry. Eventually a passion and appreciation was born and Janic now admits she is a true car enthusiast. She has a favorite vehicle, she can handle tools, and feels that she could detail a car herself. Read on to find out the make and model of her favorite car, what it is like to work with Mike Phillips, her co-host of Competition Ready,

and what it is like on the set of the hit TV show. Debra Gorgos: Please describe the show, Competition Ready, to our readers.

Adrienne “AJ” Janic: Competition Ready is a show where Mike Philips and I get called in to prep rides—from classics, hot rods, and muscle cars, to one-ofkind cars—and get them ready for some of the biggest stages in Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

the world! We’ve had the honor to work on cars at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, and at SEMA, and on a Ridler contender, and a handful of cars at Detail Fest, just to name a few. I’m still pinching myself at some of the cars I got to get up close and personal with! DG: Do you personally have a love for cars? If yes, what is your favorite car?


Auto Detailing News



AJ: Yes, I sure do! Working in the automotive industry, I think having a passion, a true appreciation, and love of cars is a MUST. If you don’t have these things, it shows. And as a TV personality in this industry, the viewers can tell who is legit and who is not. My love and appreciation for cars “clicked” when I was on Overhaulin’. Seeing the passion and love for cars was contagious on that show. I literally “caught the bug” there and now have a great appreciation for what I get to do! My favorite car is my 1968 Firebird! We had overhauled a 68 Firebird for a marine who just got back from the Middle East. It was from that episode on that my love for the Firebird and Pontiac grew. I was OBSESSED with the 68! So I finally got the opportunity to build my own dream car on a show called ‘Hot Rod TV’. You can still watch it on YouTube—the episode is called, AJ on Fire!



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DG: Do you feel as if you could detail a car yourself?

AJ: You know, after working alongside Mike Philips, who is the best teacher in the world, I would like to say yes! It may take me a bit longer than most, but I have to say, I learned so much on this show working alongside Mike and amazing pros from across the country in the industry!

Automotive Museum, to a hot rod shop in Marshall, Missouri. And, to me, that’s fun! No two shows, sets, or experiences are alike. Each has its own vibe, and there are always new people I get to meet. The call times are usually bright and early. For the most part we don’t get much time to work on the cars, so it’s always a bit of a time crunch. One

“I had to work twice as hard to prove that not only was I willing to learn all the ins and outs of the automotive industry, but that I also had a true passion for all things automotive.”

DG: What’s it like on the set of the show?

AJ: The Competition Ready set is different for every episode— from working outside at Russo & Steele, SEMA (before the show started), the Petersen Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

episode we really cut it close. The tow truck was ready to take the car and we kept asking for “5 more minutes”! But it’s fun. The crew is great, meeting new people is awesome, and getting to travel around the country is a

great way to see a lot of places I had never been before! DG: What is one of the craziest things you witnessed while on set?

AJ: Hmmmmm… If you’re talking in general, I would say seeing the size of the bugs in Florida! One episode, our set was outside of the garage in Jacksonville. I’m from Los Angeles and I have never seen bugs so BIG! And these big ones can FLY too! A few times I ran off screaming in the middle of filming! It’s funny looking back at that experience, but at the time, not so much! I’m sure Mike and the team got a good laugh at me that day! DG: If you weren’t in the television industry, what would you be doing?

AJ: Right before I got in the industry (which was right out of

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high school), I was going to join the Air Force. I grew up in the aerospace industry because of my dad, who is now a retired aerospace engineer. I loved seeing all the cool projects he got to work on, especially the fighter jets! If I had joined the military, after that, I would have wanted to do something in law enforcement. More specifically, I would have liked to be a police detective. But Hollywood called and my plans took a very big detour. Maybe in the future I’ll get offered a role where I can play a detective on TV or a movie! Now that would be awesome! DG: Can you tell our readers one surprising thing they might now know about you?

AJ: Yes! I’m the biggest goofball you will ever meet! I can be silly, goofy, even clumsy at times, and it’s all genuine! If I can make the crew and people I work with smile or laugh (at my expense), it sets a good, fun tone for our work place. It’s kind of my “trademark”. I think at first Mike gave me the “side eye” like, “Who is this goofball? This is my



Auto Detailing News


co-host?” But after a while, he got my humor and now it’s all about playing jokes on each other and the crew! On each episode of Overhaulin’ and even Competition Ready, I’ll do a few goofy things to see if they make the cut.

didn’t grow up in the industry or have a family pedigree in the automotive world. Third, I knew NOTHING about cars. But I was very honest about that from the very start. While I think the viewers appreciated my honesty, I

“The detailing world is still very new to me. Now I’m dealing with different types of tools and machines that I hadn’t worked with before.” Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. I think the audience appreciates it as well. Nobody is perfect and we all have an “inner goofball” just waiting to stumble out! DG: How do you feel about being a woman in an industry heavily dominated by men?

AJ: I think being a woman in a male-dominated industry was a HUGE challenge for me. I had a few things working against me when I first started. First one being that I came in from the fashion industry. Second, I Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

still had to work twice as hard to prove that not only was I willing to learn all the ins and outs of the automotive industry, but that I also had a true passion for all things automotive. Overhaulin’ was the best experience, I had the most amazing teachers in the industry, and it truly “clicked” for me on that show. I think the viewers saw the change and growth in me, and it was awesome being welcomed and accepted into this very cool club! That’s not to say that it’s easy now. I still work very hard at each show and project that comes my way

in this industry. Each experience just opens more doors in the automotive world that I thought I’d never get a chance to do! I’m very grateful. DG: Please tell readers what it is like working with Mike Philips.

AJ: Mike is awesome! He has such a great way of explaining things and really gives good examples. Mike taught me the “baggy test” to feel for contaminants. Who knew a simple plastic bag could do that?! It’s easy to see why he is great at what he does. The detailing world is still very new to me. Now I’m dealing with different types of tools and machines that I hadn’t worked with before. I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous when Mike handed me the MT300 for the Petersen Automotive Museum episode. Then he had me try it for the first time on a 1938 Bugatti, which was worth around $7 million! Mike basically gave me a “crash course” on how to use it. He was so encouraging and before I knew it, I was feeling like a pro. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m ready!


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Industry Dirt Welcome to the industry


aurus Auto Detailing LLC opened in Austin, Texas, this p a s t S e p t e m b e r, according to a Community Impact Newspaper report. Owner Sean Hutchisson, says in the story, “I had been eyeing the space, and it looked like a great location, and there’s not really a lot of other detailing [options] down here.” Taurus Auto Detailing offers paint protection, including ceramic paint coatings and paint protection film.


Precise Auto and Motorcycle Detailing opened in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, earlier this year, reports the Eagle-Gazette. Detailer Chris Hayman, who attended the Detail King Auto Detail Institute in Pennsylvania, says he and the business’s two other employees work on about three vehicles per day. Hayman admits in the story that detailing a motorcycle is challenging. “Because on a motorcycle there’s so many nooks and crannies that you’ve got to get to. You’ve got to get every little nook and cranny. Rims and everything. You have to get everything nice and shiny.” The business also offers pick-up and delivery services.


A $3 million reconditioning center is being built in Warrenton, Virginia, to help keep up with the six Chevrolet dealerships in the area which did $160 million in sales last year, Fauquier Now reports. The May 24 story quotes Country Chevrolet President Andy Budd who said they could have done even more business in 2015 if they had had a reconditioning facility. T he C ount r y C he v rol e t Reconditioning Center “should make a huge difference,” Budd says of the 24,000-square-foot building. “We anticipate we’ll be able to sell 80 to 90 more vehicles a month because of this.” Budd’s dealerships sold 4,000 used cars last year. Country Chevrolet General Manager Jake Moore says in the story, “Every time we’d start selling a lot, we’d get backed up in service” to prepare used vehicles for the inventories.” The center opened in May for training of, “the service writers, technicians and detailers who will begin preparing vehicles next week.” Prentice St. Clair, a training specialist for Oregon-based Detail Plus says in the story, “I would say not more than 5 percent of the dealerships in the country

have anything like this . . . . Most dealers don’t pay much attention to reconditioning work.” The building has 20-foot ceilings, seven vehicle lifts, seven Detail Plus detailing stations, a wash area, and a system designed by Black Horse Systems IT which specializes in dent removal and mechanical repairs, as well as interior and exterior detailing ser vices. “The problem we’ve had is that when we buy a car, it has taken 20 days to get it through the system,” Moore says in the story. “So, that’s 20 days of dead inventory. …If we can prepare and sell them faster, we can sell them for less.”


Mammoth Hand Car Wash is now open for business in Peachtree, Georgia, reports the Peachtree Corners Patch. This is the third Mammoth in the area, with two locations also in Alpharetta. Mayor Mike Mason says in the story,a “We’re happy to welcome Mammoth to the business community. They’ve done a remarkable job in remodeling the building. I’m sure they will do very well in Peachtree Corners.” Co-owners Ted Marcus and his son Andrew remodeled a 3,200-square-foot property which now includes a, “redesigned exterior with stacked stone canopy, a newly remodeled interior, an updated detail station and repaved parking lot

Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

with fresh landscaping,” reports the story. A new mobile detailing company, M&L Detailing, which is owned by Benjamin Moody is available in Andalusia, Alabama, according to the Andalusia Star-News. “I wanted to put my business out there,” Moody says in the story. “There are a lot of people who don’t like going up town to get their car washed and detailed. My business is all about convenience.” “If you’ve worked all week, you probably don’t want to go outside and wash and detail your car,” adds Moody. “But your vehicle has to be clean. If you don’t want to fool with it and your finances are OK and you want to have a lazy day, that’s where I come in.” Moody charges $20 for an exterior wash, $30 for an exterior wash and vacuum and $45 for, “for everything from top to bottom inside and out.”


This will be the 12th year Grace for Vets, an initiative which honors veterans with free washes on Veteran’s Day, will take place. The program, which was founded by Mike Mountz back in 2004, has given out over 1.2 million free washes since its inception. At press time, 1,501 businesses at 3,374 locations have signed up to participate this year, according to the Grace for Vets website.


Auto Detailing News



“We understood the importance of convenience and regular maintenance washes. The app is the easiest, quickest, most convenient way for somebody to book a car wash on demand or as far out as two weeks,” saiys Zecher. The app is being used by both his younger and older customers, says Zecher. “We have a wide range of users on the app, we find business people love the app because they rarely have enough time to make a personal call during the day, let alone take their favorite car to the local car wash. Waiting on long lines at the car wash is no fun; the app not only saves people time but allows them to do something they enjoy while their vehicle is being taken care of.” Ziebart Corporation of Troy, Michigan, is looking to expand to the Chicago area, a press

In the news…


n on-demand detail services app is finding success in Long Island. Detailer Jordan Zecher of Woodbury, New York, spoke with Auto Detailing News about the app which he created along with his friend. Zecher said he found that booking appointments over the phone was tedious and time-consuming. He also found that it was difficult to properly understand a customer when they were giving their address and phone number. So Zecher, along with his friend, decided to do something about it. While still students at the University of Michigan, Zecher and his friend developed the Wash On Wheels app.

2016 Events Calendar 2016 SEMA Show November 1-4 Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada And for those who like to plan well ahead, dates have been announced for the next four shows as well, although the locations of the shows have not been released: • 2017 SEMA Show: October 31–November 3 • 2018 SEMA Show: October 30–November 2 • 2019 SEMA Show: November 5–8 • 2020 SEMA Show: November 3 – 6


2017 Mobile Tech Expo January 19-21 Double Tree by Hilton – Universal, Orlando, Florida

 The 2017 Car Wash Show™ April 4-6 Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada



Auto Detailing News


Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

release reports. “Chicago is an important part of Ziebart’s U.S. expansion efforts” says Thomas E. Wolfe, president and CEO of Ziebart International Corporation. “With record vehicle sales in 2015, along with the success of our company-owned operations there, we feel the greater Chicago market is the perfect opportunity to add multiple stores that would thrive with the current brand recognition in that area.” The press release says the company thinks it can easily support eight additional locations. “With strong product drivers such as detailing, films and protection, our brand has the ability to support the growing population of vehicle owners in Chicago. In addition, our franchise business model delivers franchisees a gross profit of over 50%, and Ziebart International Corporation provides an exceptional franchise support system,” says Wolfe. A Lexus car of the future won’t have any sideview mirrors, at least that’s according to leaked photos of its UX SUV, a Business Insider story reports. The story, RANKED: 10 best car innovations of 2016 so far, shows a picture of the futuristic Lexus, which will use cameras instead of mirrors. It also reports that in June, Japanese automakers, “got the OK in June to make and sell mirrorless cars.” E f f e c t i v e i m m e d i a t e l y, Optimum Polymer Technologies has made the following changes: Representatives, Yvan Lacroix and Dann Williams, are now fulltime employees for OPT. Chris Thomas formally served as the East Coast representative. “We appreciate Chris and wish him well in his future endeavors,” a press release states. “For the time being, Optimum headquarters will handle all of his territory.”

Giving Back


resh Stop Auto Detailing of Ruidoso, New Mexico, hosted a blood drive on its property on September 8. The business even gave away free vacuum and wipe down services to every eligible donor. Andre Yarns Jr. is co-founder of Back to School Brighter, a Springfield, Massachusetts, event that celebrates and supports students as they head back to school. Yarns, owner of P3 Enterprises, an auto detailing business, along with community leader Lamar Cook, wanted to come up with a way to encourage area kids to stay and do well in school. Everything from a free haircut to a new backpack is offered up. This year, around 100 kids have benefited so far. “For us, it’s about giving back to the community. A lot of these kids probably wouldn’t have a haircut or a new backpack before school and this is where I grew up, so it’s important to me for kids to get this opportunity,” Cook tells The Republican. “We want to do it right in our community, and getting the kids ready for school and giving them a chance to enjoy a community event like this is great,” adds Yarns.


Do you know of a new detailing business that has opened recently? Do you have news to share or an upcoming event? Send all information and press releases to Debra Gorgos at debrag@autodetailingnews. com and we will list the news here in the Winter 2017 issue.

HALL OF STAINS Stain horror stories


hances are, as a detailer you have probably seen pretty horrible messes. Pigment, odors, or just plain grossness can turn stomachs and perhaps even make you wish you were doing something else for a living. This section is dedicated to those horror stories and will showcase the tales of the really bad spills and stains that took special treatments and extra man hours to eradicate.

The Prey: Username on Mint Condition

water extraction and cold water rinsing (without splattering) the entire interior was first, and then we started over with the normal procedure: Detergent, solvent, then hot water extraction, steam, and all your normal steps.

The Culprit: Self-inflicted gunshot The Horror Story: It was a Toyota® RAV4. The guy didn’t want to go back to jail, so after fleeing the police on a car chase, he shot himself in the head inside the vehicle. There was a bulge in the roof from the bullet. Hair with “pineapple brain parts” attached. Pieces of skull and hair. Tons of blood.

We stayed fully covered in rain suits, trash bags, even a welders face mask and helmets until all of the blowing of steam, air, and water was done. We were sweating to heck. Then a medical product from the local janitorial/ custodial supply killed any living blood born diseases.

The Removal Process: We dressed in full body protection goggles, trash bags and respirators. The first step was to clean everything with COLD water first. This is normally backwards but when cleaning blood, you want cold water first so the temperature of the blood is below body temperature and can’t carry any disease. So cold



Auto Detailing News


Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

The Outcome: The final result was the vehicle was amazing and the customer tipped $400 on top of the $500 we charged. The vehicle went on to be used by a family member. Of course a tremendous amount of rinsing was necessary, under carpets and the interior, so if you live in a dry desert climate like Utah, it is an advantage because water evaporates and dries out quickly. I think in humid environments, like the coasts, the job would take a few days, but we are able to do it in five hours, along with six other normal jobs that day. The hardest part is just mentally preparing yourself in

the beginning. You have to look at blood and brain pieces and it took me an hour of talking to myself and looking at it as a job and sort of mentally blocking out the idea of it being blood, piss, crap and skull and brain parts. Getting mentally prepared was and is the hardest part of these jobs. Then the sweat of the protective gear is next hardest part. Also having to start all over with a normal detail after the initial detailing. Then, the final hardest part might is the customer picking up the vehicle. Emotions are involved and people can be very touchy when their spouse is gone. It can be intense.


Have you survived a tale of horror? If so, please send your story to Debra Gorgos at

Business Snapshot

Business Name: EcoGreen Mobile Detailing, LLCÂ Your Name: DJ Patterson, founder Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma Years in Operation: 6

1. What kind of a business is EcoGreen and what services does it offer? EcoGreen is an environmentally friendly mobile detailing company. We specialize in professional interior and exterior detailing and protection services on autos, boats, planes, RVs and more.

2. Is there a lot of competition in the area? If yes, what does EcoGreen do to stand apart from the competition? Yes, of course. Our methods and operations are completely different than everyone in our local area. We are the only true eco-friendly automotive detailing company in the state of Oklahoma. This means that 90% of our

Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016


Auto Detailing News



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detailing solutions are true plant based products. We also save 100 gallons of water per car we clean utilizing our water-less washing methods. Our excellent customer service is also what sets us apart. We always deliver satisfaction, guaranteed.

3. How many people work for EcoGreen? As of now, our team consists of six people. We have three mobile detailing units that service our local area. We also have a warehouse to service the high end paint correction and coating projects.

Severe Oxidation Removal: 2004 Honda Pilot I recieved a call from a gentleman that was in desperate need of a miracle. He informed me that he needed to sell his vehicle but there was one problem . . . Since the day he drove it off of the lot It had never been waxed!

4. How do you keep yourself and your employees motivated? Culture is key to any healthy organization. It’s actually one of our greatest passions. Our team consists of self motivated individuals that see themselves as much more than auto detailers. Although our company is six years old, we are constantly innovating our methods, systems, customer experiences and so much more. We encourage every team member to use their strengths to help grow the company. Even from the top we look to the least experienced team member to offer their advice on a variety of things. We believe that each individual has a unique strength that can contribute to the organization far beyond being the best “paint polisher” or “ceramic coating installer”. Our team members know that they are apart of something greater than just being the best mobile detailing business in Tulsa. We have bigger goals than that.

5. What are your hours? We service our clients Monday – Friday, by appointment only. We encourage our team members to take weekends off to recharge and spend it with friends and family.

As you can see it was completely oxidized on the hood, roof and the trim above all of the doors. It was either me or a paint shop. He had done his homework and looked at the paint correction work I’ve performed on previous vehicles, so it did not take much convincing him. After mutiple steps of wetsanding, compounding, polishing, a nice lunch break to Subway the results were as follows:

He was so happy with the work that he left a review for us on Angies List: “DJ is very professional and very knowledgable. He came and gave me a fair estimate then scheduled me right away. He showed up on time and was very courteous. He came right to my house. My car was an absolute mess and the paint was in poor shape. DJ worked all day and when finshed the car looked brand new!!! It is amazing how good it came up with the Eco Green system. A few days after the service DJ called me to make sure I was happy with everything and asked if he could help with anything else. I will have him do my other two vehicles. He performs magic!!!” Considering changing my job title to “The Magician” ;)

Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016


Auto Detailing News



6. What ways do you advertise your business? Word of mouth and social media do very well for us. One of our greatest marketing pieces are our three mobile detailing units that are brilliantly wrapped in our branding from top to bottom. They are our moving billboards. A must have for any company in any industry.

7. What type of clientele do you have? Our clientele is very diverse. We service stay-at-home moms, businessmen and women, owners of boats, owners of private jets, car collectors and your average bluecollar people. We have services that fit everyone’s budget.

“We are extremely passionate about water conservation, which is why we utilize our water-less car washing techniques when cleaning vehicles.”

8. Are there any particular detailing efforts that are need in the Tulsa area? We are extremely passionate about water conservation, which is why we utilize our water-less car washing techniques when cleaning vehicles. Whether the Tulsa community knows it or not, we need more auto detailing companies, especially mobile businesses, utilizing these methods.

9. Are there any plans in store for EcoGreen? Yes! We have been working closely with a company out of Oklahoma City called Water4 ( Water4 goes into water stricken communities across the world to teach individuals how to drill and maintain their own water wells. They empower these water stricken communities opposed to enabling or hurting them like some water companies that go build water wells and leave them with zero knowledge of how to maintain them. We are currently working on creating a way to integrate this within our



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Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

business model. Regardless of how we do it, we will be giving portions of our revenue to support Water4’s effort. Eventually we want to have our own teams funded to go and work overseas and help with these projects on an ongoing basis.

coated and corrected. Focus on offering interior services and an ongoing membership, you’ll have her for life.

11. What is the most often requested service at EcoGreen?

10. What is the best advice you have for other detailers in terms of what not to do when detailing a car?

Our Deluxe Interior combined with our Express Exterior is our most popular choice. Most people want a very deep cleaning on the interior with a basic cleaning on the exterior. Another popular item of ours is our Membership Program where people opt in weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

My best advice is to not assume what the client wants. Always have clear communication on what services will be rendered and at what price prior to performing any service. Knowing how to read your client is key as well. Detailers get so stuck on paint corrections and coatings. It is very unlikely that a mother of 4 kids wants her Town and Country Minivan

12. Does your business have a motto or slogan? Auto Detailing is what we do. Social responsibility, attention to detail, and client focus is who we are.

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Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016


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Detroit detailing days gone by A photo essay featuring the abandoned shops of a once-booming automobile landscape and car-making metropolis. By Debra Gorgos


ike most other industry-laden, metropolitan cities throughout the United States, Detroit saw its share of ups and devastating downs. Described by National Geographic as “America’s poorest big city,” it was once prosperous with automotive milestones, legends and insurmountable energy. But, in the second half of the last century, racial tensions, a gasoline crisis, suburbanization, and political stalemates caused the once booming “Automotive Capital of the World” to fall into financial decline. Barely surviving the first decade of the 21st century, bare-handed and bloody knuckled, the city survived the nation’s “biggest urban bankruptcy” by the skin of its teeth. And, today, the city is rising from the ashes, thanks to a few major company relocations, playoff making Red Wings and Pistons, dedicated city-enthusiasts, daring, but profitable investments, and citizens and business owners who refused to give up. But, what is left behinds are shells of businesses, people still hardened by decay and upheaval, and the legend of what once “was” an automotive mecca in the rearview mirror. But, the lights aren’t out on this city. Many people, including detailers have set up shop and are succeeding. Whether it was business smarts, luck, or tenac-



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ity, we here at Auto Detailing News salute you and know the city is making its comeback, and we also want to hear your stories. But, first, we want to share the following photo essay, courtesy of David Fermani of HD Car Care in Detroit. Fermani first posted his photos on the AutoCareForum website along with the following: “Many aren’t aware that Detroit is plagued with not


Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

only abandoned homes & commercial buildings, but also an extraordinary amount of Car Wash & Detail Centers. More than any other city in the world! My guesstimate would be that well over 100 currently exist. Most who live in the suburbs of Detroit don’t have the pleasure (displeasure to many) of seeing these unique sites and that is why I’ve decided to pass along some pictures for people to digest. Because the city I live

in (Grosse Pointe) is basically surrounded by Detroit, I have decided to take different routes to and from work when possible to capture some pictures and share. The message that this shares may be interpreted quite different to each person and that is totally understandable. I personally find in disparaging that so many businesses of this industry never had a chance to fulfill its dream resulting in closure...”

Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016


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Elbow Grease

Secrets revealed!


How to get streak-free windows and remove pet hair and scuff marks efficiently.

imbo Balaam, owner and operator of Jimbo’s Auto Detailing, of Southern California, and the host of the popular Auto Detailing Podcast, which can be found at, is sharing some of his most prized auto detailing secrets. From getting rid of shoe scuff marks, to a tool that magically removes pet hair, to how to



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quickly get streak-free windows, Balaam’s tips, which were shared on previous podcasts, are for both mobile and stationary detailers.

Scuff mark removal On a lot of cars, there are these scuff marks which come from the soles of rubber shoes. The marks are either on the door or the plastic bottom part of the seat. “I was working on a tan interior |

Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016


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on a Mercedes and a shoe’s black scuff mark was there. This is a regular customer of mine and there always seems to be the same mark there. At first, had tried using an all-purpose cleaner and that didn’t work. Then, I tried a waterless wash solution, but that also did not work.” Balaam then decided to try a little bit of compound along with some elbow grease. The compound, Meguiars M100 Pro Speed Compound, which is blue, worried Balaam, as the interior was tan, but he thought that by just trying a little bit, it would be okay. “So I took some M100 and put it on a microfiber towel and right away it started pull off the black scuff mark. And, within a minute, the scuff mark was completely gone.”

Wag the dog: How to target pet-owners for additional profits

How to get streakfree windows

The pet industry within the United States is worth around $62.75 billion, according to the APPA® (American Pet Products Association). That’s a lot of pets, as well as a lot of pet hair, muddy paws, sloppy tongues, etc., all of which can lead to a lot of potential profits for detailers. And, in a Google search, “How to remove pet hair from a car,” comes up before “How to remove pet hair.” Take advantage of this billion-dollar industry by putting pet hair and pet stain removal in your list of services offered in all of your marketing materials. You can even leave flyers or business cards at:

Streaks on windows can be a big deal breaker, says Balaam. Here are four tips to make sure each window is streak-free after each detail. The first tip is to use a specific microfiber towel that is made just for windows. They are of a different consistency, says Balaam who gets his from Towels By Doctor Joe. They are a bit more thin and almost feel like silk. My second tip, shares Balaam, is to pay attention to the direction in which you clean both the inside and outside of each window. “I will clean the inside of the window horizontally, from left to right, and then will clean the outside of the window vertically, from top to bottom. This way, if I notice a streak while I am inspecting the windows afterwards, and it’s horizontal, I will know it’s on the inside and vice versa.” Third, I cannot stress enough the importance of rolling down each window at least an inch or



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✓ Local pet food stores ✓ Veterinary clinics ✓ Humane society shelters ✓ Dog park bulletin boards Or, as a charitable act/marketing strategy, you could offer free pet hair removal services to people who adopt a pet during an adoption fair. Use “How to remove pet hair from a car” in your website and allow the magic of search engine optimization (SEO) to do the work for you. Spring and Autumn tend to be the “shedding”


Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

seasons for most dog breeds, so you should “up” your marketing efforts even more during those months. Also, many people don’t know that it takes a special cleaning solution to break down and remove the proteins found in pet urine, and, anyone who has had to transport an unhappy cat in their car, even if it is in a cat carrier, might be tortured by the horrible smell of cat spray. Therefore, make sure your clients know you can completely remove, and not just mask, pet urine stains and odors.

two and cleaning the top. This is a part that can get missed and it can be extremely grimy, so make sure every window is rolled down and wiped, says Balaam.

Removing Pet Hair Everyone loves their pets, but their hair can be disgusting and hard to remove. It is one of the worst things ever when it comes to detailing, says Balaam. “I had to work on a Mazda that was five years old, and it was never vacuumed and it was completely covered in white dog hair. It was bad.” A few things you can use to remove the hair is compressed air, and/or a wetted microfiber towel (be sure to not over-wet

The anatomy of a Lovebug (in case your customers were wondering) Binomial Name: Plecia Nearctica Other names: Double-headed Bug, Honeymoon Fly, Kissingbug, March Fly, Telephone Bug, and United Bug. Found in: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Infestation Seasons: Spring (late April and May and late August and September). Lifespan: 2-3 days for males, approx. 1 week for females. Mating cycle: 2-3 days. Size: Males are 6-7 mm in length, and 6-10 mg in weight Females are 6-9 mm in length, 15-25 mg in weight Body Chemistry: Almost a neutral 6.5 pH, but if left on a car surface, acidity level can reach 4.25 pH. Upside to lovebugs: larval stages by helping to recycle decaying vegetative matter into organic matter, according to Biology of the “Love-bug,” by LA Hetrick 1970.



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Downside to lovebugs: Attracted to highways, lovebugs will splat all over cars. They can also, according to Hetrick: • Cause liquid-cooled engines to overheat due to clogged radiators. • Reduce visibility • Etch automobile paint due to acidic nature of bugs Interesting Fact: Lovebugs do not bite or sting. Rumor Has It: A rumor has been around for decades that lovebugs are the result of a botched genetic experiment at the University of Florida. An Internet spam email going around stated: “Love Bugs are actually man-made.Scientists were genetically engineering females of a species of insect that would mate with the male mosquito, but be sterile and produce no offspring.

Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

Unfortunately, they accidentally also created a male Love Bug, and a pair somehow escaped into the wild. Since the bugs had no natural predators, their numbers quickly exploded into the millions.” However, debunked this tall tale, stating: “Love bugs are not the result of a genetic cloning experiment gone wrong, nor were they unwittingly loosed from a research facility charged with studying exotic insects. They also weren’t bio-engineered as a natural solution to the mosquito problem. (Love bugs do not eat mosquitoes: the adults do not eat at all, and larvae feed on decaying plant material.) These overly amorous critters are native to Central America; the best guess as to how they came to these United States places them as undiscovered stowaways who arrived by ship in Galveston or New Orleans around 1920.”

seat and other than this stain, the car was very clean. “The customer didn’t know what it was and said another detailer had already worked on it, so I am not sure what was already tried. So, and this is what I do with every stain is, I always work from the least-aggressive method to the most-aggressive (which would be an extractor or steamer).” For me being a mobile operator, my first approach was to presoak the area with an

all-purpose cleaner and then let it sit for a minute or two. Then, I rubbed it with a microfiber towel, says Balaam. “I had to do this a couple of times, but eventually, it worked.” If that didn’t work, my next approach would have been to get a stiffer bristle brush, and use that along with the all-purpose cleaner, and then wipe it again. And if that didn’t work, my final approach would have been to use an extractor or steamer.

The Bottom Line the surface), shares Balaam. But, because each type of pet and their hair is different, I have found only one thing works consistently and efficiently, Balaam says. “There are these pet hair removal stone products on the market that have been complete game changers. There are all different brands—I found one on Amazon after a

recommendation from fellow detailer DJ Patterson. It is insane how well it works. It will do 90 percent of the work for you.”

✓ Try M100 Pro Speed Compound on shoe scuff marks ✓ Use towels made specifically for cleaning windows ✓ Clean windows horizontally on the interior and vertically on the exterior or vice versa

The case of the mysterious stain

✓ Don’t forget to roll down each window and clean each top

I was working on an older Prius, shares Balaam, and there was a big stain on the floormat in the back

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Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016


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The Detail Doctor

How to successfully manage your detail business key for you in learning how to manage a professional detail business is to know what to manage. Management of a professional detail business involves four major areas of management: 1. People management 2. Financial management 3. Facilities management 4. Equipment, chemicals and supplies management. The order does not reflect that one is necessarily more important, but all four are interrelated and necessary to a well functioning and well managed business. However, it you concentrate on people first, financial second, facilities third, and equipment fourth, it will make for a better operation. This philosophy of management says you are, “Customer-oriented, but profit-conscious.”

By RL “Bud” Abraham


s with any business, management of a professional detail business is extremely critical to success. Probably more so since it is a very labor intensive business. Unlike a car wash, the equipment in a detail center cannot automate the detail services. It can only organize the process which will more efficiently use the labor. Whether you are an owner/ operator, absentee-owner, or a hired manager, there are unique managerial requirements. The



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Good Management Begins With Your Attitude Being a good manager begins with your attitude about your |

Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

business, the service, the people, etc. If it is positive and enthusiastic you will be successful. If it is not, don’t give your detail center much hope for success. You must pay your dues. Professional auto detailing is a new industry. It is not like the detail businesses of yesterday. If you want to be successful, you must study and learn its unique peculiarities. Remember this formula for success: First comes knowledge, and from knowledge comes confidence and from confidence comes enthusiasm.

Knowledge + Confidence + Enthusiasm

Qualities of a Good Manager Books, articles, tapes and videos have been produced on the qualities of a good manager, but the following list of attributes is what is necessary for a successful

manager of a professional detail center: • Confidence • Self-control • Sense of justice • Decisiveness • Organization • Working harder than your employees • Personality • Understanding and empathy • Assumption of responsibility Understanding and application of the principle of cooperative effort There is no question businesses have failed and will continue to fail because the owner could not lead, did not have these attributes, and failed to put someone in charge that did.

A Clean Car Is Not Enough No matter how you try to position your detail business, you are in the service business, and this has a broader meaning than just a detailed car. It starts with the

appearance of your facility and employees, your attitude and their attitude, services offered, pricing, and, of course, the final product. The customer must have a total experience and if it is positive, you will have a happy customer who will return and refer his family and friends. If he does not have this experience he can be your worst enemy. This is where attitude comes in. You must recognize the absolute necessity to provide the customer this complete experience. After you have, it must be conveyed to every single one of your employees.

The Management Team In a modern professional detail center there are several areas that must be managed. These are areas

that will fall into each of the categories of management already mentioned: People, financial, facilities, and equipment. Depending on how your center will be operated, these areas must be managed: • Customer sales • Commercial account sales • Employee hiring and training • Employee scheduling • Implementation and monitoring of policies and procedures • Quality control • Customer complaints • Pricing • Purchasing • Financial (collection, records, filing, banking) • Facility maintenance, (building, equipment, employee production, inventory)

Even though we’ve mentioned that people management is the most intensive subject in this discussion of management of a professional detail center, we will complete this article with a discussion of financial, facilities and equipment management, and cover people management in the next issue of winter issue of Auto Detailing News.

is no different and in many ways requires better financial management because of the fact that it is so labor intensive.

Where to Begin First, you must develop operational guidelines for the business. In our Detail Plus program we provide an operating pro forma based on the operation of Detail Plus Centers nationwide. This pro forma provides the guidelines required to operate the business.

Financial Management The importance of financial management in business is clearly revealed in the Small Business Association statistic that indicates seven out of 10 small businesses fail in the first two years due to lack of financial management. The professional detail business

Key Expenses While all operational expenses are important, in the professional detail business there is one major expense: Labor. Controlling labor costs begins with selective

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start. At this range a buffer might make $10 to $15 hour. Which payment method you choose will depend on your area of the country and the labor pool. It is my opinion that you can operate a professional detail business with a good manager, two or three excellent buffers and the rest, minimum wage personnel. Preferably part-time high school and college students.

hiring and training of competent personnel. In addition, you must have equipment that organizes the detailing process. Further, you must have an operational system that functions with the equipment. Labor costs can also be affected by your sales and merchandising program. Selling detail packages instead of individual services will allow you to more consistently schedule your labor. Finally, keep an open mind to new ways and methods of doing things. Many people, especially in the detail business, do things a certain way because, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”

Other Costs The only other major cost areas that can substantially affect your profitability are utilities, supplies, repairs and maintenance. Set the guidelines. That is, what the percentage of gross sales these should be and adhere to these percentages.

Methods of Compensation Besides paying by the hour it is also possible to devise a system of piecework where you pay employees by the car done, or service done. This requires a schedule outlining the services to be performed and how much you’ll pay per service. At the higher prices paid in a retail detail center you can pay up to 20% of the cost of the service. There are some advantages to this method, but it does require good management and a system of recording. If you opt to pay by the hour it is my opinion you need a well-paid manager and assistant. Salary plus a bonus based on sales and a bonus based on labor as a percentage of gross sales. The next highest paid person might be a shop supervisor. Then, your buffers, if very good, can be paid higher than others. Below the buffer you should have to pay at least minimum wage per hour to



Auto Detailing News

Facilities Management For 85% to 90% of the motoring public who have never been to a detail shop, a visit to your center will be their first encounter. For the other 10% to 15% that are familiar with “detail shops” a visit to a professional business will be a pleasant surprise. Your professional center must convey an impression of a high-tech, professionally operated business. One of the key factors affecting this image is the condition of your facility. Whether you are detailing in conjunction with a car wash, as a free-standing business, or in a car care center, or are mobile, you reflect a clean professional appearance. Appearance is achieved by architectural design, lighting, signing, landscaping and the proper maintenance of all these. Both the exterior appearances and the interior condition of your |

Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

center and customer service area will attract or turn people away. Remember, a well maintained facility reflects the quality of the work done. A poorly maintained facility is suggested of poor workmanship and service. You are selling clean cars. How can you do an effective job of marketing and selling if you operate from a dirty, ill-maintained facility? Develop a simple checklist form for your operation that will assure that every facet of facilities management is attended to daily, weekly and monthly. This makes it quite simple for the manager or operator to get the job done either directly or by employees. At Detail Plus we provide a Daily Opening and Closing Procedures Form to ensure we provide facilities management on a daily basis. Don’t give an inch on this. If you do, employees will take the mile and your facility will end up looking like a typical detail shop and the work will be the same.

Equipment Management The necessity for equipment management is evident, if only from an economic point of view. You have a large capital investment in the equipment for your professional detail center that is used daily. If it is not regularly maintained it will deteriorate quickly. Lack of a good equipment management program is simply a reflection of a poorly operated detail center.

Preventive Maintenance Any equipment management program begins with preventive maintenance. Preventive

maintenance is that work per formed on a regular basis to keep equipment operating in top condition. Preventive maintenance will eliminate breakdowns and the necessity for service. In order to do this effectively your detail center requires a checklist on what is to be maintained and how often. Once this is developed, a person or persons should be assigned the responsibility to perform the preventive maintenance. After that, it is the manager’s responsibility to review frequently to ensure the job is being done, and done properly. Like any program, equipment management is easily affected by documenting the program and reviewing to see it is being done. Bud Abraham, founder of DETAIL PLUS Car Appearance Systems, is a noted speaker and writer in the detail industry. Was a founding member of the International Detailing Association and its first executive director. He writes and consults on auto detailing all over the world. He can be reached at Editor’s Note: While we here at Auto Detailing News admire and appreciate Bud Abraham, please note that his opinions expressed in his Detail Doctor columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Auto Detailing News. If you have a strong opinion about Bud’s article, feel free to write a Letter to the Editor and send it to Debra Gorgos at

Name the Stain This stain is about a month old. Do you know what it is? How about the make and model of the vehicle? Send your answers to debrag@autodetailingnews. com. The answer and the name of the first person to write in with the correct answer will be listed in the following issue.

The winner of the Summer 2016 issue of Name the Stain is: Ryan Siler! Although we had a lot of guesses, half of which were correct, Ryan was the first to submit the correct one. Ryan correctly guessed that this was a milk stain and the vehicle is a late 2000s Honda CRV. Your prize? You get your name listed (above) in this, the industry’s most trusted rag!



Auto Detailing News


Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

By Debra Gorgos


hen you’re the boss, you’re not only in charge of the employees, you’re also the person who sets the tone of the business’s lifeblood. You’re a conductor who determines the pace, the energy, the synergy and of the pulse of the business’s ultimate opus. Do you want employees to fear you? To trust you? To never leave you? Are they important to you? It is important for bosses to not underestimate their significance to the business. And, it is also important for bosses to realize the importance of their employees. There’s a special balancing act that is required for harmony, and it has to do with proper hiring, training, motivation, and discipline.

• Be fair, firm and friendly, but not a friend • Set quantitative per formance metrics • Train employees so that they can get a job with another company, but treat them so well they don’t leave. • Constantly train, particularly on how to provide good customer service.

What is a good boss? Let’s start with defining what it takes to be a good boss. Jeffrey J. Fox of Fox & Company, Inc., a management consulting firm, is also a best-selling author of 11 business books. His book, How to Become CEO, was on The New York Times, Business Week, Wall Street Journal, KnightRidder, and best seller lists. His family members also owned businesses that included a car wash, detail shop oil lube and emissions control shop. Fox says to be a good boss you must: Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016


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Red flags to look for when it comes to hiring an employee 1. Offensive tattoos featuring anything from a swastika to a swear word. Need we say more? 2. Bad body odor 3. Someone who swears 4. Bad police record. 5. Doesn’t show up on time for job interview. 6. Rudeness 7. Always on their cell phone

• Expect on-the-job cleanliness in floor space, uniforms, window glass, etc. • Give surprise bonuses. • Pay for ESL classes. • Treat every employee with dignity. • Hold mini contests with cool little prizes such as free hours in a batting cage; gift certificate at grocery store, etc. • Constantly asks employees their opinions; Seeks out improvement ideas. • R e w a r d g o o d e m p l o y e e suggestions • Give recognition pins • Pay above market • Pay anniversary bonuses ( $ 1 0 0 f o r e v e r y y e a r, etc. This is less expensive than turnover).

getting to know your employees and using each individual’s strength to your benefit. There are a lot of moving parts to a well-run organization, but taking the time to see if one employee is good at customer service, and another one enjoys working on a filthy mini-van, will pay off. Some people shouldn’t be talking to customers, shares Lacroix, so they are given other tasks, while some employees are very good at it. So, I make sure the strengths are being used properly.

The making of a good employee The key of having a good employee starts with the hiring process. To weed out the ne’er-do-wells (see Red Flag sidebar) make sure you start with a cr ystal clear written job description, says Fox. “The job description must define exactly what is expected from the potential candidate. Even if the candidate is not proficient in English,

Yvan Lacroix, founder and president of Répare-brise and regional manager for Optimum Polymer Technologies, believes that being a good boss has to do with really



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Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

8. Isn’t willing to be “re-trained” 9. Talks down to other employees

or is a poor reader, there must be a job description. The job description is a good guide to use during the interviewing process. Only the candidate really knows if he can do the job. Thus, it must be made clear that candidates hire and fire themselves.” Lacroix also suggests using recommendations for his

employees and even uses Temp agencies. “What is nice is that if a temp employee isn’t working out, I can have the agency let them know that their term is over.” They should be interviewed by the owners and by trusted employees, especially those who are proven to be good detailers, says Fox. “If the candidate has

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poor English, there must be a translator in the interviewing process.” Fox also suggests giving each candidate a paid one day or one week trial to see if they are a good fit. Then, candidates should be hired on a 30-60-90 day evaluation schedule, says Fox. “Poor employees are easily discovered in this time period.” It is also important to check the references and do a background check. Also, adds Fox, “existing employees should be given a bonus for bringing in good workers. That bonus is paid after the evaluation period.”

One of the most important things a boss needs to do is to properly train each employee, and continually evaluate their skills, and make sure they are not making any shortcuts. “You need to show them ever ything you know,” says Lacroix. “I think some people are afraid to teach them all of the skills because they are afraid they will leave and use their skills somewhere else.” But, even with that fear in mind, each employee needs to be given ample and proper training time.

Some of the worst bosses of all time Not including political tyrants such as Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc., here are some of the worst people who ever served as boss. 1. LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling is known for crude racial comments (according to one lawsuit) and was sued multiple times for sexual harassment and has been accused of heckling and yelling at his teammates. In 2014 he was banned for life from the NBA for indecent comments he made which were recorded and released to the public. The lesson? Don’t be racist. Don’t sexually harass your employees. 2. Al Dunlap a.k.a. “Chainsaw Al,” fired 11,200 employees with his first two years a CEO of Scott Paper and Sunbeam. The former boss also pocketed $100 million in stocks and salary after getting rid of onethird of the employee base. The lesson? Don’t fire and get rich at the same time. 3. Jeffrey Skilling, former CEO of Enron, apparently required that employees had to invest their retirement pensions in the company’s stock, without giving the option to sell. At the time, the company was collapsing. Skilling and his inner circle were, however, allowed to sell their shares and Skilling was able to cash his



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shares for $15 million after quitting and just after the company completely flat lined. The lesson? Treat your employees as equals. 4. Film producer Scott Rudin is rumored to have fired over 200 personal assistants and he even has admitted to having a temper. In 2005, Kate Kelly and Melissa Marr wrote a profile piece on Rudin in the Wall Street Journal. “Former assistants say he sometimes vents his anger by throwing phones and office supplies, prompting assistants to take precautions,” wrote Kelly and Marr. One former assistant also claims he was fired for bringing the wrong types of muffins to a meeting.

6. Marge Schott, the former owner of the Cincinnati Reds, in infamous for using offensive language in regards to African Americans, Asians and those of Jewish faith. What’s even worse was her outspoken support of Nazi party autocrat Adolf Hitler. One of her former employees, Tim Sabo, sued her after he was fired, claiming it was because he opposed her policy on not hiring African Americans. The lesson? Don’t be racist. Don’t support Hitler in any way, shape or form. 7. In 2012, 47-year-old Debbie Stevens of Long Island, New York, was fired from the billion-dollar company, Atlantic Automotive Group, after donating a kidney to help her boss who needed a transplant.

5. In the early 1900s Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, owners of Triangle Shirtwaist Garment Company, locked their employees in the New York City garment factory to keep them from stealing. Regarding as a true “sweatshop,” in 1911, the factory caught fire and 146 workers were killed.

The boss, Jackie Brucia, apparently wasn’t very grateful for Stevens’ sacrifice. After returning to work four weeks post-op, Stevens told abc News that she was horribly mistreated. “I don’t have words strong enough or large enough to describe her treatment of me,” Stevens said. “Screaming at me about things I never did, carrying on to the point where she wouldn’t even let me leave my desk. It was constant, constant screaming.”

The lesson? Treat your employees humanely.

The lesson? Be grateful for every gift you receive from your employees.

The lesson? Don’t throw things at your employees. Don’t get upset about the wrong pastries.

Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

Are you on this list? Unhappy employees can now strike back at their bosses and leave reviews on the website It is unclear if each review is qualified, but according to the Facebook page description, it promotes both good and bad reviews: is a free career resource that enables people to rate their bosses so that job-seekers can evaluate prospective employers and avoid workplace jerks.

Lacroix suggests giving a new employee two weeks to a month to learn the skills and execute them properly. To do this, he says to have a manual of operating practices, a checklist of what is expected in each detail, and each employee, even if they have detailed before, has to be trained as if they are new to the industry because each business, and the tools included, are different. Some employees have an

attitude of, ‘I know what I’m doing and I am better than my boss,’ and those are the toughest to work with, says Lacroix. “You have to make them understand that you’re the boss and things are run at your place a certain way.”

Rewarding good employees When you have a good employee, it is important to let them know you appreciate their

hard work. And, while you can’t force them to stay and worry they will someday leave, giving them proper acknowledgement may help in prolonging their tenure. Matt Cowart, of Liberty Detailing in Petoskey, Michigan,

says good old fashioned praise works for him and his detailers when it comes to rewarding his employees. For Lacroix, he says thanking his employees is vital, but some of his employees are motivated

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Taking a chance on a former criminal Hiring someone who has gotten out of jail can be a good thing, says Fox. If you’re willing to take a chance on him or her, it will create loyalty, he adds. “Make sure the employee goes to their parole meetings and to AA if necessary. The local town and police officials will support such hires. If the employee falls off the wagon, welcome him back, but make it clear this is the last time. Such compassion leads to fierce loyalty.”

Bosses to admire Gus Rodriguez, owner of the Jeep-Chrysler-Dodge City dealership of McKinney, Texas, didn’t like the way his employee, Mike Bell, looked, according to WFAA News. Rodriguez encouraged

differently. “What motivates one employee might not motivate another,” he says. Lacroix says he has one employee who is motivated by praise and another who is motivated by a gift card for a job well done. Everyone is different, but it is important to take the time to see what it is that they need to feel appreciated.

to do with employees and their Smartphones. From texting, to snapchatting, to online gaming, limited phone use should be a part of the “job expectations list” upon each hiring. One way to limit an employee’s phone usage is to not offer up your Wi-Fi password and to also allow for Smartphones to be used with each break. But, if problems with an employee persist, and a bad attitude or bad conduct is unremitting (see the Red Flags sidebar), and a warning or warning have already been given, then it is probably time to part ways. Here is how to do it, according to Harvard Business Review: • Rehearse what you are going to say. • Have an outline of why you are terminating the employee. • Do it as privately as possible. • Be firm and direct. • Don’t do it on a Friday, but on a Tuesday instead (this is more fair to the firee and allows them to start looking for a new job more easily). • Answer any questions he or she may have. • Use phrases such as: “I have some bad news for you. Today is your last day here,” and, “You’ve not been a good cultural fit here.”

The right way to fire someone Hands down, it is one of the hardest things about being a boss. According to Lacroix, a problem with an employee’s work is on the boss and may require some re-training and a room for improvement. But, if all else fails, it is necessary to terminate their employment. Cowart says some of the reasons for termination include inconsistencies and no pride in their work. He gives several warnings to the employee, but, he says, “If they don’t get it, they get pink slipped.” Enrique Vega Quintero of Al’s Auto Detail in Vallejo, California, said a few signs of a troublesome employee include, being late to work and/or texting friends all day. In fact, one of the top pet peeves for a lot of detailing business owners and managers has



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Vol. 1, No. 4 • Fall 2016

Bell to take a sick day and figure out what was going on. That gesture ended up saving Bell’s life. On his sick day, Bell collapsed while at the hospital to get an x-ray. He was then rushed into emergency open-heart surgery. Rodriguez took it one step further and helped Bell out with his medical bills. To celebrate making their goal, Jeff Hildebrand of Houston-based Hilcorp Energy, gave each of his 1,381 employees a $100,000 Christmas bonus in 2015. Hildebrand did something similar in 2010 and gave each employee the option of a $50,000 car or $35,000 in cash after reaching that 5-year goal at the time. In 2015, Dan Price, CEO of credit card processing company Gravity Payments, gave up his own $930,000 salary to make sure each employee was given at least $70,000 per year. Upset with income inequality, and the fact that his employees were struggling with increased living expenses, Price believed a salary hike would boost his employees’ emotional well-being. Price told Time magazine, “[We] only get to live this life once. I want everybody that I’m partnered with at Gravity to really live the fullest, best life that they can.” Chuck Sibley, manager of the diesel engine plant Navistar in Huntsville, Alabama, was devastated when he found out he had to lay off many of his employees. Although it was only temporary, Sibley still worried about the welfare of those employees and determined to make sure they were okay, he created a way for them to earn a paycheck through a community outreach program sponsored by Navistar. About 50 employees were able to do work for Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army and earn a paycheck along with full benefits. After three months of working with the program, the 50 employees were then rehired to work at the plant.

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