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VOL. 2, NO. 2


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Letter from the Editor


One More Thing . . .

One More Thing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Back in the early 2000s I had a lot on my plate. I was running a small newspaper, taking the photos, delivering them, and laying out the pages all with a grand total salary of about $18,000 per year. I stayed late at the office. Edited pages on the floor of my living room. And went in on the weekends.

Brian’s Corner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 What You Need to Know About Workers’ Compensation Insurance . . . . . . . 5 Elbow Grease

Don’t Be Scared of Matte . . . . . . . . . . 10

Events Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Industry News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 New Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Business Snapshot . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 An inside look at Art of Detail

Hall of Stains. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 “Birth in the Backseat”

Nitty Gritty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Getting to know Kevin Awalt, the IDA’s “Detailer of the Year”

Cover Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 A Charitable Industry . . . . . . . . 30 Over 150 bicycles were given to children last Christmas thanks to auto detailers.


Vol. 2, No. 2, Spring 2017 Publisher: Jackson Vahaly Editor: Debra Gorgos Design: Katy Barrett-Alley 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.

Back in the early 2000s I had a lot on my plate. I was running a small newspaper, taking the photos, delivering them, and laying out the pages all with a grand total salary of about $18,000 per year. I stayed late at the office. Edited pages on the floor of my living room. And went in on the weekends. I was young, but tired. Determined, yet timorous. It was a lot to manage and my success and tenure depended on ad sales, and auxiliary journalism jobs weren’t exactly waiting in the wings. Around this time a dear friend sent me a book in the mail. A book, I thought!? My drive and energy was depleting, who has time to read a book! But, as I reluctantly thumbed through the first few pages, I realized this book was worth my time. Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott is all about how to look at a puzzling amount of things to do, problems to solve, emotions to sort out, and deal with each element one by one. Lamott coined the phrase, bird by bird, after her brother was tasked with a school project on birds. He was struggling with the enormity of the project. So many birds, so little time (he was given three months to complete the project, and it was now due the next day). Lamott’s father then calmly sat beside him and said, “‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’” When it comes to running a business — from customers, to paperwork, from employees, to marketing— there’s a lot on all of your plates. Believe me, I get it. I remember in the “old days” (ahem, early 2001, ahem) I would call my phone and leave myself a message of reminder. “Hey, Deb, it’s me. Remember to....” Things have greatly advanced since then. Nowadays there are apps you can use to outline to do lists. Heck, you can even give your to-do list to the Amazon virtual personal assistant “Alexa.” I have given great attention to this somewhat new method called “bullet journaling.” There are actual YouTube videos on how to do this. Thousands upon thousands to be exact. Bullet journaling, apparently developed by Ryder Carroll, is a way of organizing a list of things to do using a good old fashioned notebook. Everything is indexed by month and day and then given a checkbox next to each to-do item. It doesn’t seem very complex to me, but it seems to be gaining momentum. In fact, the main Youtube video has gotten well over 4.3 million views. Maybe it is something to think about if you find

Speaking of Franklin, here is a sample of his daily schedule, which can be found online: Seems as if Franklin was on to something... Take that, Alexa!

yourself drowning in the weeds. And, no matter what method you choose or use, it seems as if making some sort of organizational effort is key. Or, as Benjamin Franklin once said, ““For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” Speaking of Franklin, here is a sample of his daily schedule, which can be found online: Seems as if Franklin was on to something...Take that, Alexa! In other news, I had a wonderful time at the 16th annual Mobile Tech Expo in Orlando, Florida, this past January. It was in a new venue, but the enthusiasm, camaraderie and ambition was the same. I would like to personally thank Jim Goguen of Jim’s Auto Installations & Detailing Center for introducing me to so many of you, the International Detailing Association for welcoming me with open arms at their booth, and all of you who took the time to introduce yourself, praise the publication and offer up ideas and your expertise. Also, congratulations to Kevin and Kara Halewood for putting on a terrific show. Also, in this issue we have decided to add in some more fun with the new Porsche or Pinto? section. In it, you have to guess which kind of vehicle is pictured. The answers are provided. The “Name the Stain” feature is on vacation as we got zero correct answers for the Winter issue’s stain. The correct answer is: Farmland dirt and water. And the vehicle was a 2008 Volkswagon Rabbit. If you have any good pictures of a particular and peculiar stain, please feel free to send them my way at and we will bring back the Name the Stain page. Also, please keep sending in those emails, article ideas and photos of your work. Auto Detailing News has now made it past the one-year mark and we are going full steam ahead, thanks to all of our readers and advertisers. I appreciate all of you. I know all of you are so busy, but thanks for taking the time to read this issue. Bird by bird, my friends. Bird by bird. Until next time,

Debra Gorgos




A Letter to My Friends By Brian Guy

Dear Auto Detailing Enthusiasts, I’m very excited to have the privilege of a column here. With close to 20 years of professional auto detailing experience in mobile volume car washing as well as high-end vehicle restoration, it’s my honor to share what I’ve learned over the years. Jumping straight to the present day, I’d like to acknowledge everyone I’m thankful for. Our industry is full of remarkable talent, but more so, it’s full of genuine educators and thoughtful leaders that care about you. We don’t know this going into it... but it will be learned along the way, that many people in this industry truly care about you, your business success, and your well being. In 2016 I experienced this at full force when I was diagnosed with stage 3 skin cancer at the start of the year. It was extremely devastating to myself knowing I

had to put my passion on hold as my family and I learned of this health related issue. To my surprise, I discovered just how “BIG” my family really was. In all my years, I’ve never seen the auto detailing community come together like many did for me. “Let me tell you about a humbling experience...” Wow! Quite possibly the largest blessing in my life given the circumstances. Through the course of it all and still till this day, “EMBRACE”. Embrace each moment of stress, the overwhelming feelings, the obstacles, the challenges, the learning curves, the pain, the feeling of being in the weeds or overworked, the times when things don’t go your way and even the times when you’re asking yourself “why” Why me? Because you have to imagine life without those feelings. Imagine life being predictable. How





VOL. 2, NO. 2 • SPRING 2017

boring would that be? The unpredictable is worth knowing and ultimately makes us who we are in character and helps us grow. It’s a very special human trait we poses and through each and every obstacle, we have to know it’s for the better. Doors will shut on you in life but if you embracing it, other doors will open and lead you in a positive direction. Involvement and dedication lead to “support” in any path you choose. In the auto detailing industry where we strive in caring for other people and their possessions, it’s a way of life. It’s such a fabulous industry! We as detailers take great pride in our work and the protection of vehicles. It’s so easy to forget about our own well being while on a job. I cannot stress enough how important it is to protect your

body while you’re out servicing the needs of others. I’ll be planning for the future issues of this column to be more in depth in relation to auto detailing, health, motivation, success, experiences and so forth as time goes on! For now, I just wanted to give a quick hello & thank you for all the readers joining us. Please feel free to contact me directly at anytime. To sum it up today! Be “excellent” at what you do, in all aspects, and carry it with “integrity.” Thank you Auto Detailing News for having me and Thank You all for taking the time to read! God Bless! Best regards, Brian Guy Care For Your Dreams

Brian Guy also works for SWISSVAX USA. This is the first of his column’s which will now regularly appear in Auto Detailing News. You can reach Brian by emailing him at

DETAIL DOCTOR What You Need to Know About Workers’ Compensation Insurance By Bud Abraham,

Workers’ compensation laws are designed to provide a means of protecting the worker from job-related injuries.

A 20th century development in North America, laws evolved as the economy became more industrial and less agricultural. The first comprehensive workers’ compensation laws were enacted in the United States in 1911 and Canada in 1915. Today, each of the 50 states, as well as American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have a workers’ compensation law. Federal workers’ compensation laws have also been enacted. Each of the Canadian provinces and territories has a compensation act as well. In essence, workers’ compensation laws hold that industrial employers will assume costs of any occupation-

al disabilities without regard to fault involved. The resulting losses are considered costs of doing business, chargeable to the company’s price of goods or services. By providing this insurance coverage for the worker, the worker gives up the right to sue the employer for any job-related injury or sickness. There are 6 basic objectives that underlie workers’ compensation laws: 1. Provide prompt and reasonable income and medical benefits to work-accident victims, or income benefits to their dependents; regardless of fault. 2. Provide a single remedy and reduce delays, costs and workloads arising out of personal injury lawsuits. 3. Relieve public and private charities of financial drains, related to uncompensated industrial accidents. 4. Eliminate payment of fees to lawyers and witnesses as well as time-consuming trials and appeals. 5. Encourage maximum employer

interest in safety and rehabilitation through appropriate experience-rating mechanisms; and 6. Promote frank study of causes of accidents (rather than concealment of fault) reducing preventable accidents and human suffering. Therefore, every business, in every state must carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance. That even includes detail shops of every type and kind, if they have employees. Again, every business must carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance and only a business can carry the insurance, not individuals. This is a very important distinction, as you will read.

Who Can Avoid Carrying Workers’ Compensation Insurance? This is very simple; there are only two situations where Workers’ Compensation coverage can be excused: 1. The Self-Employed: A self-em-

ployed person can opt-out, HOWEVER, they must meet all of the Internal Revenue Service guidelines for a self-employed person, including a formal filing with the state where they do business. 2. Principals of a business who own a minimum of 10% of the stock of the company. Other than this, everyone must be covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance. To gain either of these two exceptions you must file as a business with the state, that is, obtain a business license for your business, then and only then will you be given a Certificate of Exemption.

Contract Labor & the Detail Business Most detail shop owners, in their minds, may think they are putting one over on the IRS by paying their employcontinued ...

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



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Workers’ Compensation Insurance... ees by the car and saying they are contract labor. All one has to do is contact the IRS for their guidelines as to what constitutes a contract laborer and you will quickly see that what is done in the detail business does not meet the requirements for contract labor. That aside, you will find that with regard to Workers’ Compensation Insurance, detail shop owners don’t even come close to excusing themselves from purchasing the coverage. Why? Read carefully if it is not clear to you yet.

1. Everyone must be covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance. 2. For you to have individuals in your shop doing work as contract laborers they must be “Self-Employed.” Individuals cannot be self-employed, only licensed businesses meet the definition of self-employed. 3. Therefore, if you use legitimate “contract labor” to avoid paying payroll taxes and Workers’ Compensation Insurance, the “contract labor” or “self-employed” labor must present you with either: A Certificate of Coverage or A Certificate of Exemption from the state with regard to Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If they do not have either, you are liable for any injury or sickness that they might incur working in your detail shop.

You might look at it another way. Say you hire an individual to paint your house. Unless this painter can show you a Certificate of Coverage or Certificate of Exemption with re-

gard to Workers’ Compensation Insurance and they were injured while painting your house, they would be considered your employee and you would be liable. Frightening isn’t it?

Sooner or Later You Will Get Caught

What is a Workers’ Compensation Claim? Any injury or sickness caused by an on the job incident that requires medical attention and costs beyond basic first aid. For the worker it can be a “gravy train.” That is, the benefits are very lucrative. For example: Payment for all related medical bills and expenses. In most states the cost for medical procedures performed under a W/C claim are higher than a doctor or hospital would receive through health insurance or Medicare. Think about the impact of that on your W/C Insurance rates? If the injured worker is off work for 3 continuous days they will receive a wage replacement equal to an average of 66% of their normal weekly income, TAX-FREE, up to a specific maximum up to about $600 per week. Permanent or Partial Impairment Awards: If any injury or sickness results in any kind of permanent problem the injured worker will receive a cash award. For example, for carpal tunnel surgery the normal award is $2500. As you can see these are very rich benefits for the doctor, hospital and the employee. And to make matters worse for those of us who pay for Workers’ Compensation Insurance it is a very liberal program, meaning that most states would rather pay a questionable claim than allow a true claim being denied.

Who Can File a Claim? Typically an employee will suffer a job-related injury or sickness and notifies the employer. The employer must notify the insurance carrier within 24 to 48 hours, depending on the state. Obviously you should know the law in your state on notification. The employee can also file a claim through the doctor’s office or hospital. If you have ever gone to the Emergency Room at the hospital they always ask if the injury occurred on the job. Even the doctor’s office will ask this, if they suspect the injury is job related. Why? It is simple, economics. The medical provider will receive a higher payment for their medical services under a Workers’ Compensation claim than from medical insurance or Medicare. The hospital or doctor will notify the employer for coverage information so they can bill the W/C carrier. If they are unable to obtain this information they will file a claim through the state who will then verify that a business has coverage. If you do not have Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage there are huge penalties.

For those of you who aren’t convinced that you need to have W/C Insurance coverage, statistics show that sooner or later you will get caught. As you can see the benefits are just too rich for the workers and the medical provider, and it is far too easy to file a claim. Bottom line, both workers and medical providers are literally encouraged to move an injury or sickness into the Workers’ Compensation system. I am sure that there are many of you that carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance who have been “stung” by the professional Workers’ Compensation employee. They work for you for only a few weeks, if that long, make a claim based on some alleged injury that occurred on the job. Another thought: Suppose a person worked for you and had a job related accident. Being very generous, or smart, you pay all the medical expenses and even for his days off. All is okay! Then he leaves you and at his new job a smart employee tells him all about Workers’ Compensation claims. He can file a complaint against you and you’d be liable for a fine, back premiums, etc. Is it worth it?

What Happens if You Get Caught Without Workers’ Compensation Insurance? Depending on the state the costs can be astronomical. What I suggest you do is contact the U.S. Dept of Commerce in your area or at: Department of Business Information & Development U.S. Chamber of Commerce continued ...



Workers’ Compensation Insurance... 1615 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20062-2000 Request a copy of the following book: “Analysis of Workers’ Compensation Laws.” The non-member price is $40 and member price $20. It will be well worth the investment. Or, contact your Workers’ Compensation carrier. Let’s look at the penalties on failure to provide insurance for a few states: • CALIFORNIA: The employer will be enjoined (prevented) from doing business. Mandatory penalty upon issuance of stop order is $1000 per employee. Failure to obey a stop order is a misdemeanor; penalty is up to $10,000, imprisonment up to 60 days, or both. $500 penalty for failure to respond to Director’s inquiry. Upon final adjudication of a claim, the uninsured employer shall be assessed: (a) in no compensable cases, $2,000 per employee employed at the time of injury, or (b) in compensable cases $10,000 per employee employed. The maximum shall be $100,000. Payments are credited to the Uninsured Employer Fund of the State Treasury. • LOUISIANA: Compensation increased 50% and civil fine up to $10,000 ($250 for the first offense and $500 for the second, per employee). Employer may be enjoined from doing business. Willful failure to insure is a felony, and is subject to a criminal fine up to $10,000 and one year at hard labor. Willful misrepresentation is a felony subject to a criminal fine of up to $10,000 and 10 years at hard labor • NEVADA: Employer liable to suit with defenses abrogated and may be enjoined from doing business. Offending employer will be




... plans can be found through organizations such as: • Local Chamber of Commerce • Trade or Professional Associations (ICA where are you?) • Special Insurance Carrier Programs

charged the amount that would have been due for the period the employer conducted business without providing, securing or maintaining compensation, not to exceed 6 years. Policy reinstatement costs by carrier may not exceed 10% of the premiums owed by the employer plus interest. First offense: Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $1000 and jail up to 6 months. Second offense within 7 years- Class C felony punishable by imprisonment 1 to 5 years and/or administrative fines of up to $10,000. So you think it is a gamble going into business. Well, it is suicide if you don’t provide Workers’ Compensation Insurance, as you can see.

How to Minimize the Cost! Now that the danger to both your business and you personally for not having Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage is clear, what I would like to do is show you how to minimize the costs for such coverage. 1. FIND THE CHEAPEST RATES: Whether you realize it or not, small businesses are the most profitable for insurance carriers who specialize in Workers’ Compensation Insurance. That’s right, they want your business. All


VOL. 2, NO. 2 • SPRING 2017

you have to do is know how to find the “cheapest” rates or program in your area. Many states have Workers’ Comp programs for small businesses called Group or Association plans that can give you the same rates and payment plans as many of the largest employers in the country. These types of plans can be found through organizations such as: • Local Chamber of Commerce • Trade or Professional Associations (ICA where are you?) • Special Insurance Carrier Programs For example, employer members of the Association of Oregon Industries are paying W/C Insurance rates at the same level and payment plans as NIKE, one of the largest employers in Oregon. All you have to do to qualify is join the Association. These plans can provide discounts or a return of part of the premium if losses are lower than expected. Contact an agent or broker to research what is available in your area. Stay away from assigned risk pools, the rates here can be 50% to 75% higher than average. Also, be sure that they have

your detail business in the correct classification. Since there is no specific classification for detail shops they will no doubt, put you in some type of auto service classification, often in one that would be higher rates than a detail shop. Keep on top of this. 2. HIRING PROCEDURES: It is said among Workers’ Comp Insurance carriers that an employer hires their W/C claims. That’s right; your claims will be a clear reflection of the type of people you hire. Unfortunately, the type of “low-wage” person that is hired in most detail shops is the type of person who is likely to make an injury claim working for you. They are the ones who abused the system once they are in. Remember there is a very RICH benefits package that encourages the worker to “get injured” and once injured to stay home as long as they can. As I have been preaching for years, you want to hire people continued ...

Workers’ Compensation Insurance... with a good work ethic and good values and give them the skills they need. To hire the “typical” employee found in most detail shops is just a way to increase Workers’ Comp claims and rates. 3. WORKPLACE SAFETY This is an OSHA Requirement Prevention is the best way to keep Workers’ Compensation Insurance premiums down. No accidents, no increase in premium costs. And, there are ways to implement prevention in your shop.

a. OSHA - Every state has an agency that is affiliated with OSHA, but is not an enforcement agency. It is the purpose of this agency to visit your shop, on request only, for the purpose


of evaluating things in your shop that are not up to OSHA safety regulations. They will give you a written report on what you need to do to remedy these problems. They are not an enforcement agency and it is against the law for this agency to report their findings to the OSHA enforcement agency. However, if in their report they find violations you will have a certain period of time to remedy these violations. If you do not remedy the violations then, and only then, can your shop be reported for violations?

b. Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company will have personnel whose job it is to help companies improve safety in the workplace. They will come out at

no charge to evaluate your shop and point out possible OSHA violations. They will help you to see what can cause an accident and what can be done to remedy the problem.

Summary This is not a pleasant subject for most business people, but it is one that we must face. It is a cost of doing business and, from a practical point of view, most of us were all employees once and weren’t we secure in knowing that any job-related accident or injury was going to be covered? We all owe it to our employees to provide this security. It can even cover us personally if we choose to pay the premiums on ourselves. The key is that you realize you must have it, if you have employees. And,

you have employees unless they have a business license and a Certificate of Coverage or a Certificate of Exemption from the state. If they do not provide you these certificates and an accident happens you are liable and if you do not have coverage, look out. I urge you to seek professional advice on the subject of Workers’ Compensation Insurance it is something you don’t want to ignore. 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

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Don’t Be Scared of Matte By Jim Lafeber

of each and every car passed on the interstate. Quite dangerous really if you think about it. So why does matte paint look so flat? It has to do with our eyes and light’s reflection…

A Popular Finish OEMs are catching onto the flat paint trend. This unique automotive paint finish isn’t unique to supercars. In fact, matte paint has been used in other industrial environments for years. Ever seen an M60 Patton? Truth is, matte paint has been around quite some time before luxury brands caught whiff of the revolutionary craze that would change the auto industry forever. The stealthy look has become awfully popular with celebrities, athletes and the wealthy, but all of that’s changing. Today we don’t just see U.S. Army tanks decked out in flat finishes, but we see stock options from Mercedes (Designo Magno), Lamborghini, and BMW (Frozen). What does this mean for the daily driver? Probably nothing




Why Matte Looks Flat

unless you’re willing to shell out an extra $6,000 for the finish on a new M3, but then again there should be more to gawk at on the road, as they get more popular. |

VOL. 2, NO. 2 • SPRING 2017

Not only does this unique, flat appearing paint finish accentuate the aggressive body lines of such supercars as the C63 AMG and the 2012 Aventador, it also captivates the focus

The trickery that matte paint plays on our eyes isn’t one of scientific wonder. In fact, it’s quite simple. Your typical glossy looking car is basically made up of a base layer (primer), a pigment layer, and a reflective clear coat. Mystifying isn’t it? Matte cars are basically that same car with a very finely dinged up clear coat. What clear coat does is add depth and “significance” to your car’s paint, but when it comes to matte, it dulls it down. What you see on matte paint that continued ...

Matte Pain Care Myths Debunked MYTH #1:

You can’t protect a matte paint finish. Busted. While this may have been the case when matte paint first emerged into the automotive marketplace, it certainly is not the case today. At the same time, this myth does make sense if and only if the protection product uses fillers, silicones, or any type of wax. So what’s that mean? It means the only (effective) way to protect matte paint is with a liquid nano coating specifically formulated not to increase the surface’s gloss rating.

MYTH #2: The even clear coat creates a reflective finish on glossy cars.

Wax fills and can make matte paint begin to appear glossy.

It’s hard to take care of a matte painted car. Matte finishes are way less susceptible to clear coat scratches and swirl marks simply because the matte finish is non-reflective. If you know about the science of scratches, you also know that when there’s no light to reflect off a scratch the human eye has a hard time really seeing it. Myth tackled.

MYTH #4:

Dish soap is safe to use on matte paint. Dish soap is formulated to do one thing (unless you use that brand that moisturizes your hands), and that thing is to strip grease and grime off of hard surfaces (i.e. plates, glass, etc.). As you now know, you can most certainly protect matte paint — using dish soap to clean the car will weaken the bond of any sealant or substance on the painted surface of your car. Do yourself (and your matte finish) a favor and get a noshine matte car wash soap that uses no fillers, no silicone, and won’t strip your matte paint of its layer of protection.

MYTH #5:

Matte paint is super fragile and not at all durable. Matte paint, if it’s from the manufacturer, is absolutely designed to last the entire life of the car. Going back to Myth #3, that’s why we put clear coat on our cars — long-term protection for the pigment layer of paint. Because most matte paint MYTH #3: does in fact use a clear coat layer, Matte paint is just regular the only thing you have to worry paint without a clear coat. about is protecting that clear coat Absolutely not. In rare cases, maylayer with a matte paint sealant. be your aftermarket matte paint job has no clear coat, but if you get it MYTH #6: from the factory it definitely will. In The dealership fact, it’s actually the clear coat that will know what to do. makes factory matte paint look flat They did not manufacture your with its microscopic imperfections car, they are not related to the deand “dimples”. If you got your car velopment company who created or motorcycle painted matte in a the paint, and they definitely don’t booth by a third-party, I recom- read the entire manual before tellmend making sure they put on a ing you how many miles your car matte clear coat over the pigment should go without an oil change. layer of paint. Without a clear coat Leave the paint care to professionyou are messing with fire. als who understand the science behind matte paint and not those who only get paid if and when you purchase the car from them. VOL. 2, NO. 2 • SPRING 2017 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS |


Don’t Be Scared of Matte ... you don’t on a “normal” car is the dimples and divots in the clear coat that eliminate light’s ability to reflect directly off the car and therefore the surface appears flat with a sheen rather than a shine. Because there is no crisp, consistent clear coat layer on matte cars, you don’t see your reflections when you glance over the car. What is visible, however, is a natural satin sheen that doesn’t depict a direct reflection, but rather a hazy mirroring of the car’s surrounding. The human eye is then focused on the car’s innate features instead of the duplicate reality we see in glossy finishes — this really accentuates the body styling of the car (hood lines, etc.). So you see, matte is really an optical illusion — in some cases worth in excess of $8,000.

Caring For Matte Wax and matte paint are mortal enemies for one reason: wax gradually begins to reverse the ‘flat’ effect. Waxes are most commonly known as protection products that yield a shine, mostly because they’re made of carnauba and filling ingredients. In basic speak; traditional waxes fill imperfections to create an even surface. Problem is, matte paint is full of imperfections. In fact, it’s those very imperfections and microscopic dimples that diffuse light rays and make the surface appear non-reflective to the human eye. Now I know what you’re thinking… what does that mean? I put together some visuals that may clarify this concept a bit further. Matte paint diffuses light, therefore creating a visibly non-reflective surface. Now for protection. As you would

imagine, adding a wax or coating to a glossy car essentially adds to the surfaces ability to reflect light specularly. By covering up and filling in blemishes, any scratches or swirls that would otherwise be noticed by scattering light are successfully filled and shielded from your vision. With matte paint, if this happens, you lose your non-reflective appearance. As you can see, enough wax would begin to reverse the matte effect. Because of matte paint’s need for untraditional means of protection Matte Paint Coating was born. As the diagram shows, its unique chemistry bonds to the surface at the molecular level and does not fill like a wax would. Unlike any other protection product available for matte paint, the surface remains ‘flat’ and not glossy. Matte Paint Coating keeps matte

paint non-reflective while protecting it. So you see, waxing a matte car essentially reverses the effect that makes your ‘flat’ painted car unique. All paste or liquid waxes should be avoided, as the idea behind carnauba (for example) is to fill imperfections. Once again, it’s those imperfections that make matte finishes appear the way they do. Matte paint care is different than glossy paint care, but that doesn’t mean it’s harder or scarier. With the proper information, tools, products, and training, any detailer or enthusiast can tackle matte paint care with ease.

Jim Lafeber, CD-SV, formerly served as President, Committee Chairman of Marketing and Communications, and was also a Board Member of the International Detailing Association (IDA). He currently serves as President of Dr. Beasley’s Products.


CERAMIC COATING C C36 THE FORCE OF FLEXIBILITY The perfect long-term paint protection for your car. • Dirt particles bounce off the flexible surface • The car paint keeps its long-lasting brilliant shine with depth effect • Increases the life of the paint‘s surface SONAX_Detailing News_Half_2017.indd 1





VOL. 2, NO. 2 • SPRING 2017

3/30/2017 11:03:32 AM




Las Vegas Convention Center – Las Vegas, Nevada


Swan and Dolphin, Orlando, Florida

SEMA SHOW OCT 31- NOV 3 Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada

And for those who like to plan well ahead, dates have been announced for the next three shows as well, although the locations of the shows have not been released:

2018 SEMA SHOW: OCT 30-NOV 2 2019 SEMA SHOW: NOV 5-8 2020 SEMA SHOW: NOV 3-6


The Borgata, Atlantic City, New Jersey

International Detailing Association Announces

2017 IDA Awards Program Winners At Mobile Tech Expo in Orlando, Florida, on January 19-22, 2017, the International Detailing Association presented six awards to detailers in the industry. The IDA awards program recognizes individuals and companies that have made significant contributions to the detailing profession and live up to the ideals indicated in the IDA Code of Ethics.

The Leadership Award is presented to an individual that has served in a leadership capacity for IDA (Board member or Committee Chair) and has greatly advanced not only the profession but also IDA as an organization. The 2017 winner is Jason Rose, CD-SV, RT. Outstanding Service Award is presented annually to a detailing industry professional who works above and beyond to advance the detailing profession. The 2017 winner is Ed Terwilliger, CD-SV, RT. Detail Shop of the Year Award is presented to a detailing shop that is nominated for operating an outstanding facility. The 2017 Winner is Concours Auto Salon.

Mobile Detailer of the Year Award is presented to a mobile detailing professional who has been nominated for having an outstanding operation and lives up to the ideals indicated in the IDA Code of Ethics. This award is not open to a shop with some mobile units, but must be solely a mobile detail operation. The 2017 winner is Detail 2 U. Detailer of the Year Award is presented to a detailing technician who has demonstrated superior knowledge, technical skill, and professionalism. The 2017 winner is Kevin Awalt, CD-SV, RT. Detail Supplier of the Year Award is presented to a product or service supplier that has been nominated

for making a significant contribution to the detailing industry by meeting at least two of the necessary criteria. The nominee must maintain a superior reputation within the industry. The 2017 winner is P&S Sales. The International Detailing Association is the leading industry association for professional detailing operators, suppliers and consultants to the industry. The association is dedicated to promoting the value of professional detailing services, the recognition of professional detailing as a trade, and empowering detailing industry professionals at each stage in their career. For more information, please visit our website at

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 and we will list the news here in the Spring 2017 issue.



Industry News Abraham wins Lifetime Achievement Award In other Mobile Tech Expo news, Auto Detailing News columnist Bud Abraham received the Nat Danas Lifetime Achievement Award. Kevin Halewood, the Mobile Tech Exp manager, who presented the award, said, “Bud Abraham has been a major supporter and contributor to both the success of the Mobile Tech Expo and our industry for years. Abraham has been involved in the car wash and detailing industries for over 40 years and is considered one of the leaders and spokesperson in the detail industry today.

Ziebart International Corporation names two new directors, executive vice president Ziebart International Corporation of Troy, Michigan, the global leader in automotive detailing, films and protection services, has promoted Nowell Manus to Creative Director and Timothy Wolfe to Director of Treasury Services.

Manus, a seven-year employee of the company will assume responsibilities for providing and communicating the overall creative direction for the Ziebart brand to the company’s creative team including graphic design and video production. Manus joined Ziebart as a junior graphic designer, and has held positions of graphic designer and creative manager. Manus holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Wayne State University. He has served as a board member of the Direct Marketing Association of Detroit and Specs Howard School of Media Arts. Wolfe, a seven-year employee of the company, will assume responsibility for managing all credit and collection functions, building maintenance, consumer services and worldwide order services. Wolfe joined Ziebart as a corporate accountant, and was promoted to credit manager in 2012. Wolfe holds a Master’s of Management degree from Walsh College, as well as a BBA from Central Michigan University. “I am very pleased to announce the promotion of these very deserving employees to director roles,” said Thomas E. Wolfe, president and CEO of Ziebart International Corporation. “We view

these internal promotions as another great win for our growing company.” Ziebart also promoted Daniel C. Baker to executive vice president. Baker is responsible for corporate marketing, information technology, U.S. franchise operations, and international franchise operations for Canada, Latin, Central and South America, and franchise development for Ziebart, along with its fine lines graphics and films division. “I am very pleased to announce the promotion of Mr. Baker, as he continues to lead many important departments within our growing organization,” said Thomas E. Wolfe. Baker joined Ziebart 1988 as regional sales manager/marketing manager. He has served in a variety of roles including operations manager, director, North American retail operations, vice president, retail operations and senior vice resident. Baker is a member of the Ziebart International Corporation Board of Directors and also volunteers as the Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors for the International Detailing Association.

Griot’s Garages offers new high gloss tire gel Black Shine High Gloss Tire Gel

the story. “Now it’s zero.”

ness, we are merging,” Apsey says in the story. “American Auto will take care of all the service for both. Tim will head up the used car inventory side, and I’ve stepped away from that. He stepped down from servicing vehicles, and we’ve took that over. It’s a merger, but there are still two separate businesses, but it is merged into one as far as working together to better serve our customers.”

Black Shine High Gloss Tire Gel creates a darker, uniform color and adds a durable, glossy shine to your tires. Griot’s Garage uses thick, heavyweight polymers so Black Shine High Gloss Tire Gel will provide smooth, even product application and cling to the sidewall of the tire so it will work for weeks. Black Shine High Gloss Tire Gel’s premium water-resistant formula beads water like a beaver pelt so it will stand up to rain and car washes. Since it’s a gel, Black Shine High Gloss Tire Gel eliminates messy overspray and gives the user total control of gloss level so tires can have a sedate satin finish or a glossy show shine. 16 oz.

New Business WILTON, MAINE — Joseph “Joe” Kinsey recently purchased The Printing Warehouse building from his parents and will be converting it into an auto detailing business, The Franklin Sun Journal reported. Kinsey, who bought the building from Joey and Quinnale Kinsey plans to open the business at the end of April. Along with detailing services, Kinsey will also offer rain guards bug deflectors, running board and light bulb installations. GRESHAM, OREGON — Phil D’Avanzo, owner of Auto Bliss Detail, recently relocated to a new facility




and is now eco-friendly thanks to new tools and practices, according to the Outlook. D’Avanzo no longer uses pressure washers, hoses and chemicals of varying toxicity. “It’s something I’ve created,” he told the Outlook. “Traditional detailing uses hoses, pressure washers, hydrofluoric acid and things of that sort. We’ve flipped the switch and turned it around.” D’Avanzo added that he uses the Optimum No-Rinse system, steam-cleaning and vapor sanitation and estimates he saves more than 70 gallons of water per vehicle. “We were spending about $300 a month on our water bill,” he says in |

VOL. 2, NO. 2 • SPRING 2017

MARSHFIELD, WISCONSIN — American Auto Sales & Service and Midtown Motors LLC are joining forces to help boost car sales, Hub City Times reported. Steven Apsey, owner of American Auto Sales & Service, and Tim Dupee, owner of Midtown Motors LLC, met while attending car auctions. American Auto provides full-service car repair, used auto sales, auto detailing, and carwashing. and has an on-site car wash. Midtown focuses on used car sales. “For the car sales side of the busi-


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Business Snapshot Business Name:

Art of Detail Name of Owners: James and Kyra Karren Location: Maui, Hawaii Years in Operation: 1

1. What kind of a business is Art of Detail and what services does it offer? Auto Detailing. Anything detailing related from simple wash and vacuum to full paint correction and ceramic coating 2. Is there a lot of competition in the area? If yes, what do you do to stand apart from the competition? There are a few new detailing businesses that have opened in the past couple years. We work with customers’ budgets. They tell us what they would like to spend and we tell them different options we can include. A lot of it is working with the customer and finding out their most important needs that won’t break their wallet. One big success we’ve had is over-




night detailing. We will pick up the customer’s car at 8 p.m. Work on the vehicle overnight. Then deliver the vehicle to them in the morning at the time they request. Sometimes it’s 6 a.m. and other times it’s 10 a.m. Depends on the customer and their schedule. So far everyone has had positive feedback. This helps them that they don’t need to find a ride to and from work. It also gives us plenty of time to work on the vehicle without having a deadline. Sometimes when detailing you can come across things that take a little more time. This way there’s plenty of time and there is no worry if somebody needs to find a ride from work or be stuck at work until we are done. The customer goes to sleep and wakes up with a clean car delivered to them.


VOL. 2, NO. 2 • SPRING 2017

3. How many people work for you? Only me and the wife 4. What are your hours? We are appointment-based only. And because we offer overnight, I would have to say our hours are anytime. 5. In what ways do you advertise your business? We use social media a lot (Facebook, Instagram, etc) We also rely a lot on word of mouth. As long as you go above and beyond what the customer expects they will tell other people and their friends. When a customer is very happy with the finished product we ask them to leave a review. We also ask them if they will take some business cards

and hand them out to their friends. If they refer people to us and we clean those cars we will give a discount or sometimes a free cleaning to that customer for spreading the word. I got certified with Buddco Distributing, Simoniz and the IDA. I always keep those certificates on hand and on display. It helps customers see that I do have the education to detail vehicles in a proper manner. Also one thing that helped us is the island is small, me and Kyra managed a carwash here for 6 years. During that time we got to know a lot of customers that came in and developed a good name for ourselves. The owner of the business and property decided to close the business and sell the property. During the last two months we established our LLC for Art of

Detail and spread the word to the carwash customers and told them we were starting an auto detailing business. We had business cards already made and handed them out to the customers. No better place to advertise than when people are already getting their vehicles cleaned. 9. What type of clientele do you have? All sorts. We have the average driver that wants to detail their vehicle. We work with car fanatics that want their vehicle showroom ready. We have accounts with auto dealerships, schools (busses and vans), and businesses (business vehicles as well as employee vehicles). We offer different discounts depending on how many vehicles there are.

10. What plans are in store for the business? Right now we are a small operation. Future plans right now are to get our name established. Keep people talking about us. Keep a consistent flow of customers coming in. Eventually we will hire one or two employees down the road. As for now we want to get the name known that we have experience and good at what we do. 11. What is the best advice you have for other detailers in terms of what not to do when detailing a car? Don’t rush. Take your time on the cars you service. Don’t worry about what you make on average per hour. Pay attention to the details. Don’t underprice yourself, but don’t get greedy. If you come across a vehicle

that you feel might give you problems don’t hesitate to turn it down. Don’t leave the customer in the dark. During our cleanings I constantly update Kyra with conditions of the vehicle and how it’s cleaning up. Kyra then updates the customer via text how things are coming along (unless it’s an overnight project, which we don’t bother them while they sleep). But people appreciate that we keep constant contact with them. 12. How many cars do you service a year? Right now approx 300. I am the only one detailing while Kyra does the scheduling and customer service part. For now we keep it at a reasonable pace.

13. What is the most often requested service? Out here is waterspot removal and headlight renewal. The sun is a killer out here. It bakes everything into the paint and glass. Headlights are greatly impacted as well, faded and yellow. 14. Does your business have a motto or slogan? Our slogan would be our name Art of Detail We see cleaning vehicles as an art and treat it that way. From the first step of contact with the customer, to the cleaning process, to providing the end product to the customer. It is the art of the detail.



It’s All Fun & Games


or Pinto? It’s no secret that detailers know their cars. But, let’s put the skills to the test. Can you tell the make and model of each vehicle posted below? Bonus points if you can guess the year as well. Answers are on the bottom of the page. Good luck!

Hall of Stains Stain horror stories

“Birth in the Backseat”


Chances 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 share the tales of the really bad spills and stains that took special treatments and extra man hours to eradicate.

The Prey: Rob Schruefer of On the Spot Detailing

The Culprit: Toyota Rav 4

The Horror Story: We were contacted buy a husband with his new (2014 at the time) Toyota Rav 4. His wife had gone into labor at home, and they jumped into the car to go the hospital. En route the baby started to come, so they had to pull over on the side of the highway and she gave birth in the vehicle. When it was brought to us, it was basically untouched. He had thrown a

towel over the seat to drive it to us so that he would not be sick while driving. There was blood, feces, and all types of other bodily fluids on the cloth seat, and on the floor surrounding the seat. The smell was awful and overpowering. The customer was visibly sorry about the situation, but something needed to be done. We told him that he would need to call the insurance company, and begin that conversation with them. The insurance company agreed to replace the seat, but they wanted what was left on the floor cleaned. We agreed on a price to replace the seat and clean the floor.

The Removal Process: Luckily the floor was not terrible. A good portion of the mess was on the rubber mats on the floor so those were able to be cleaned and disinfected by soaking them with enzyme cleaners and hospital level disinfectants. The floors we used the same process. Pre-soaking them with enzyme cleaners, then extracting them out. We repeated this process until all of the stains were gone and the smell was removed. After we were finished, we had to throw away all of the towels and brushes and disinfect the extractor machine. It was quite an ordeal and something I will never forget.

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





VOL. 2, NO. 2 • SPRING 2017



4 4. 2015 3. 2011 2. 2015 1. 2012


Nitty Gritty

Getting to know Kevin Awalt, the IDA’s

“Detailer of the Year” By Debra Gorgos

What does it take to be named Detailer of the Year by the International Detailing Association? According to the IDA it takes: Superior knowledge, technical skills, and professionalism. A grand trifecta of traits leading to one heck of an admirable title — and let’s face it, there was a lot of competition. But, in Brookline, Connecticut, a picturesque, small New England town, is where you’ll find Kevin Awalt. A hard-working family man whom the IDA deemed worthy of the coveted accolade. A huge Batham fan, his business, Arkham Shine Auto Detailing Studio, is named for the Gotham City asylum. And, in line with a superhero’s moral compass, Awalt says he hates trash talking, advises newcomers to stay humble, and to share your knowledge and help others as much as possible. Keep reading to find out how Awalt got started in the industry, and how he learned from the mistakes he made along the way.

Debra Gorgos: Please tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you get started in the detailing industry? Kevin Awalt: I am married to the love of my life and business partner, Candice. We have two absolutely beautiful daughters. Skylar Rose, who is turning 7 in April, and Ariannah Raven who is 2 1/2 years old. We live in Brookfield, Connecticut, about 5 miles from our current detailing studio, and I am a huge Batman fanatic. I usually have Guns N’ Roses or Bruce Springsteen playing in the background at home and at the studio. It’s hard to say exactly why I got into




detailing. I was never a huge “car guy”. I just liked the paint to look its best. When I was little, I would take my mom’s clear nail polish and paint all my new Matchbox cars with it to make sure they were always shiny. From there, my story is so common it’s almost cliché. I “detailed” (and I use that term lightly) my friend’s and family’s cars in high school and college. With all my extensive “knowledge” I applied for a job at a local used car lot as the detailer. I guess I became really serious about it after the movie, “The Fast and the Furious” came out in 2001. I had a Black 2000 Eclipse at the time, and I just wanted to make sure it looked as good as possible all the time. In 2004, |

VOL. 2, NO. 2 • SPRING 2017

my then girlfriend, who is now my wife, and I started officially offering our services as mobile detailers (out of the back of my Eclipse, mind you), and I went full time in 2008.

but I wanted to BE Bruce or Axl). Now I just settle for being a detailing rock star.

What did you always want to be “when you grew up”?

KA: The name Arkham comes from my love of the Batman Universe. Arkham Asylum is the prison that Batman sends all the villains to. The name “Arkham” actually dates back to the author H.P. Lovecraft. He set some of his stories in the fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts. I figured if I opened a business in the fictional town, that’s what it would be called, so Arkham Shine came to life. continued ...

KA: See above answer. I always knew that I wanted to have my own business from an early age. I knew that in school I was being trained to “work for someone” and I didn’t like school, so I figured I wouldn’t like working for someone. I knew I was going to do something. Of course, at the time, I wanted to be Bruce Springsteen or Axl Rose (not a rock star,

Please tell us about Arkham Shine Auto Detailing Studio? What services does it offer?

Arkham is the third studio I have owned and operated. One is in a neighboring town that I sold, and one is in another part of Connecticut that I ran, but the town didn’t like that we were not zoned as a car wash and made it too difficult to operate. Candice and I opened up Arkham in March of 2015. The space itself is great. The garage area, or “Operating Room” can fit about three cars comfortably, and we have a fantastic office where people can come and hang out. The office has a glass door that leads to the Operating Room where you are on a platform above the floor and can stand and look over at what is going on. It’s still in somewhat of a construction phase, but it fits our personality and clients very well. We offer the normal menu of services, hand washes, express details, complete details, but we pride ourselves on the level of true paint correction that we offer. Every car gets personalized attention. Candice recently started window

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tinting with a lot of help from the guys at Simoniz, and we have someone come in to perform the paint protection film installation. We also offer a full line of ceramic coatings for every customer’s budget. This year, we plan to start offering a line of retail products for our clients to use after their cars leave our shop. Also, I work as an advisor to Splash Car Wash’s 5 Star Detailing Center in Connecticut and New York. Splash is ranked as the 10th largest car wash chain in the United States, and all 19 locations have some level of detailing service centers. I have been friends with the COO, Dan Petrelle, for years, and within the past two years I have started working with him to improve the level of service within the centers. It has been a great learning experience and the company is very dedicated to improving the level of service they offer. I am very thankful to Mark and Dan for the opportunity to be a part of their team. How did you get involved with the International Detailing Association? KA: I initially got involved with the IDA back in 2007. Candice and I went out for training with Mel Craig when he was with Rightlook and the IDA had just really started to form. I stayed active for about a year or two, but they were still new so my attention got drawn elsewhere. Within the past few years, the IDA has REALLY started to gain some momentum. Bob Philips and Keith Duplessie really got me back involved, especially to go after the Recognized Trainer status since I had been teaching here in Connecticut. What does being named, “Detailer of the Year,” mean to you? KA: It’s one of the best honors I have ever received. It means so much to be recognized by the people I came up in the industry idolizing. It took me an hour to stop shaking after I won I was so shocked and excited. Even to have




been nominated was an absolute shock. I had to re-read it a few times to make sure that it was ACTUALLY my name. Hopefully I can use it to show people that if you just stick your head down and go to work, your dreams can come true without you even knowing it. Man, that sounds cheesy. I have to take the time again to acknowledge my friend Yisrael Verrett. He was nominated as well, and it’s bittersweet to win against him. He deserves to be recognized for his contributions to the industry just as much, if not more so, than I do. What is it you love about being a detailer? KA: As a technician, I love seeing the reaction of our clients when they see what their cars are actually suppose to look like when in the hands of a professional. It’s usually the second biggest investment that you will make, and people take it from the dealership in damaged condition. People are so into their cars, and to see the looks on their face when the paint is completely flat and reflective is the best part. As a trainer, I love being able to share


VOL. 2, NO. 2 • SPRING 2017

my knowledge with people who have the same passion and energy for the art form, but don’t know how to channel it and make a good living. I love seeing various people that I have taught in some way become successful. Above all else, I love the brotherhood (and sisterhood) in the industry. I have come up through the industry through the years and a lot of the people I admired as my idols, I now have the privilege of not only calling my colleagues, but a lot of them are my true friends as well. I don’t know of very many other industries in the world that can boast the same level of camaraderie across the entire planet. My wife said to me when I came back from Mobile Tech Expo that I describe the events as a giant fraternity gathering; and it is, a planet-spanning fraternity. What is your favorite tool and why? KA: My Rupes Bigfoot 15 Mark II. It’s easy for me to put it in the hands of a beginner, and have them producing great results very quickly. At the same time, the more time I spend using it, the better my results keep getting. 90 percent of the cars that go through my personal studio are done primarily with this tool. It was absolutely designed with someone

like me in mind. I have recently started replacing old, broken machines at the Splash Car Wash locations with the same machines and the guys love them as well. I can’t write about the tool without writing about the company as well. The team at Rupes is so supportive and helpful to the entire industry. I can’t imagine that some small detail studio in Connecticut is somehow getting special treatment, and the guys at Rupes support me every chance they get. I owe them a lot. Thanks guys. Is there anything that irks you about being a detailer? Or about the industry? KA: The stigma that we don’t deserve the money we charge irritates me sometimes when you have a potential customer that wants everything for nothing. Some of us have spent more hands-on time on cars than doctors have on patients, and yet there is still a large section of the population that wants us to spend 6-8 hours on their car and only be charged $150 or something. I have learned over the years that those people are just not my customers, but in the moment, it’s hard to take a deep breath and not be a little insulted. In the industry, I wish there was not

as much trash talking. This kind of goes with what I said before, but some people don’t seem to get it, and it kills me. Detailers leaving bad reviews on other detailer’s sites,saying the other guy in town is a hack, the products they use suck compared to this product. It’s all so stupid. There is a group of us in Connecticut, we all use different products, all have different skill levels, etc., and we all support the hell out of each other. I know there are other pockets and organizations that do the same, but I wish it were more widespread. There are only so many of us in the United States or the world for that matter. Imagine if we all supported one another rather than posting our competition’s shortcomings and trying to cut each other down. What advice do you have for anyone who hopes to one day be named Detailer of the Year? KA: Stay humble. There is someone out there better than you, no matter how

good you are. (Unless you are Jason Rose, but he’s one of the most humble guys in the business) Learn all you can. Never stop improving and practicing. Go to the junkyard and get some spare panels. Burn through the paint. Learn how far you can push your products and equipment. Share your knowledge. This should be obvious to someone looking to get involved with an organization that is dedicated to helping people and the industry. We were all beginners at some point and the opportunity to help each other out now is greater than it has ever been. Show up. There are events like Mobile Tech Expo, Autogeek’s DetailFest, SEMA, and countless other events and training sessions all the time. They are all great opportunities to get involved, get better and help others. Even if you think you can’t learn anything from them, you may be able to help someone who is there and ease the stress off the organization hosting the booth or event.

Name a few mistakes you made along with the way to being named Detailer of the Year? What did you learn from those mistakes? KA: There are way to many too list. Pretty much if it can be screwed up, I have screwed it up. Probably the best advice I can give through shear experience is to have a plan before starting any venture. Some of the steps I have taken in my career I have taken without looking at the facts, and even sometimes ignoring the facts, and most of the time it’s come back to haunt me. While it’s impossible to have all the information you need in order to make a decision, take the time to collect the information you can, and process that info before moving forward. As entrepreneurs, there is always a part of us that has to be willing to take risks without knowing all the facts, but don’t take risks without knowing ANY of the facts.

What goals do you have as a detailer? KA: Rock Star Status, obviously. Haha. Seriously, I hope to expand my personal studio and open up a second location or move to a larger facility. I have spent a great deal of time traveling the country working with other detailers and would like to eventually start working with and training people in other countries. I want to continue to train people and start to do it on a more regular basis, be it independently or as a company rep. I really enjoy it, and think that with all the levels of experience i have, that I do have something unique to offer. Possibly start my own line of products? Is there a motto you live by? KA: “If you don’t ask, you’ll never get.” “If at first you don’t succeed, SHUT UP, SUCCEED.

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A Boatload Of Potential Profits Boat detailing may be the way to go if you’re fishing for more business. By Debra Gorgos

Spring is here! No, really. It is. Well, for those of you in the Northeast it may have been a long time coming. Snow, cold, warmth, more snow, a blizzard, sunshine, snow, freezing temperatures, snow had plagued New England and its surrounding areas, well past the groundhog’s predictions, but at last, the season of warmer temps and sunnier days is upon us. And, with the spring weather comes the excavation of all of the hibernating boats. And before they’re put out on the water, they’ll need a good detailing. Even in the Southern state boaters still have to have their boats detailed, and it is safe to say that offering boat detailing at your shop could be a potential profit booster. However, vehicles and boats are a bit like apples and oranges when it comes to methods and products.

Where to start Vincent Macri, co-owner/operator of A1 Mobile Detailing LLC of Trumbull, Connecticut, started detailing boats in 2009. At that time he was working for a company that originally began as a marine detailing business. A few years down the road when he decided to open his own detailing business he saw the marine industry as having huge potential. “Most of the time a boat is a huge investment for the owner, many of them understand the importance of

maintaining and protecting that investment so they usually aren’t afraid to pay. After having a couple years under my belt of managing the previous company, I knew that marine detailing in my area was almost an untapped market. I always heard from many customers that it was extremely difficult to find a boat detailer who showed up on time, met deadlines, delivered quality service or overall had a good reputation. I knew if we focused on earning our stripes and making a good name for ourselves that

we could easily be known quite well in our area. Since I already had the experience, knew the pricing and customers’ expectations, we jumped in head first and went for it.” Because Stamford is on the Connecticut coastline and a few minutes from Long Island Sound and even a few large lakes, Macri says they work on everything from freshwater and saltwater vessels to sea-doos and 55-foot Vikings. “Our average sized boat is about 42 feet and the majority are what’s known as ‘sports fishing boats’. We do however see our fair share of sailboats, speed boats, pontoons and center consoles.” John Butterfield in continued ...

Anderson, California, has been offering boat detailing as well as car, fleet, RV and semi-truck detailing since he opened JB Ultimate Detail in March 2014. “We will detail any boat but mostly do patio, wake boards and ski boats,” says Butterfield. “We also offer winterizing of boats shrink wrapping and aluminum boat polishing.” Butterfield says every detailer should at least consider offering boat detailing because it is an extremely lucrative business and there is a lot of money to be made.




Time, space, equipment needed First you have to decide if you have the time and energy and equipment to do boat detailing. “If a detailer is operating in a boating area and is looking to take on some more work than I absolutely say go for it,” says Macri. “When done right, the money is great. If they’re happy with where they are at doing cars and plenty


VOL. 2, NO. 2 • SPRING 2017

busy then stick to that. Detailing boats calls for long days of hard labor. Most boats whether dry docked in a boat yard or out in the open water don’t see a lot of shade. The sun can definitely take a toll on a person and beat them down.” John Lakkis has been in the global automotive and marine markets for 23 years. He started Hula Boat Care in 2011 to spend more time with his children. Hula Boat Care was created to offer a concise range of professional grade marine products packaged for

professionals and enthusiasts. Lakkis says the typical products you will need for boat detailing are similar to those you would need for auto detailing, including:  A power washer  Vacuum  Rotary buffer  Dual-action buffer  Polisher  Chemicals specifically designed for marine detailing Where products for auto detailing might be more aggressive or be

acid-based, those for boat detailing are designed so that they will not harm marine life, says Lakkis. “Gel coat is much harder than auto clear coat. So compounds and polishes need to be suited for such a surface.” As for space needed, a lot of boat detailers work right out of the marina or the dock. Therefore a majority of boat detailing is done by mobile detailers. However if you’re a stationed business, you will need a ladder and scaffolding will be needed.

Car vs. Boat detailing There are many differences and similarities between auto and marine detailing, according to Macri, but the biggest differences would be the substrate that is being worked on. “Boats surfaces can range in many different materials like gelcoat, awlgrip, hardwoods as well as many other things I can fill pages mentioning. Another big difference is size, he says. “This usually equates to much more time and product

usage per job so learning a new way to quote these services can be difficult at first.” Boat paint is also very different, says Butterfield. Instead of clear coat it is gel, although it is said it’s harder to burn it is not. “Also, boats have stickers a lot of the

time and are very easy to burn even though you can buff to make it all look good again. “You will want very experienced person to do the buffing which is why I don’t allow anyone to do besides myself.” continued ...



A Boatload Of Potential ... One of the main differences between auto and boat detailing customers, according to Lakkis, are the expectations. “Vehicle owners are more particular that the average boat detailer.” However, he adds that one similarity is the interior detailing involved. “For a boat’s interior, the jobs are similar in that the carpets need to be vacuumed, the glass and plexiglass and vinyl needs to be thoroughly cleaned.”

Getting skilled For anyone looking to get in to it there are a few avenues for education, according to Macri. “Mike Phillips hosts an annual boat detailing training course in Stuart, Florida, every year. If that’s out of the budget he also covers much of the same information in his book, ‘How To Detail Boats With Marine 31.’” Macri says

the book sticks to using one brand of product, but the technique is virtually the same with any brand. Another great avenue for education is the International Detailing Association, says Macri. “With more and more people branching in to marine detailing the IDA has been working on putting some stuff together to cover basic boat detailing as well as some specialty services like mold mitigation and much more to come.”

What the muck? There are different variables when it comes to the types of boats being detailed and the waterways in which they were or are used. According to Lakkis, for boats used in rivers and lakes the main contaminants are: 1. Mud 2. Brown water 3. Hard water Any elements found in the water naturally (i.e. lime, calcium, iron, etc.)

4. Zebra mussels For used in salt water the main contaminants are: 1. Saltwater 2. Mollusks 3. Barnacles However, one of the biggest threats to a boat’s condition used in both fresh and salt water is the sun. Because boats are out in little shade and stored in areas where the sun regularly beats down onto the surface, the UV rays can do a number on the boat’s surface causing oxidation. “Gel coats do not have the same protection and boat detailers will have to do work to restore the surfaces,” Lakkis says.

“Some boat owners will have their boats detailed as much as once a week,” says Lakkis. And others will have theirs detailed at least twice a year — in the beginning and at then towards the end of the boating season when a boat is going to be stored away for a few months. . For fresh water vessels, Lakkis says a good price point is $15-$16 per linear foot. For ocean vessels, the price is usually determined by the boat as a whole. Either way, a boat detailer will have steady and plentiful business as boat owners know they need to get their boats detailed to not only keep them looking nice, but to repair any potential damage. Therefore there is a lot of money to be made.

Potential clams There is a lot of potential profit when it comes to boat detailing as a boat can be someone’s largest investment next to their home and vehicle.

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VOL. 2, NO. 2 • SPRING 2017

Which state has the most boats? Here are the top 10 states determined by number of boat registrations in 2014, according to 1 FLORIDA, 2 MINNESOTA, 3 MICHIGAN, 4 CALIFORNIA, 5 WISCONSIN, 6 TEXAS, 7 SOUTH CAROLINA, 8 OHIO, 9 NEW YORK, 10 NORTH CAROLINA





8 10

7 4 6 1

Name that Boat 1










1 Titanic, 2 S. S. Minnow, 3 The Love Boat, 4 Jenny (Forrest Gump), 5 The African Queen, 6 Steamboat Willie, 7 Orca (Jaws), 8 Flying Dutchman, 9 The Inferno (Goonies), 10 Pequod



A Charitable Industry Over 150 bicycles were given to children last Christmas thanks to auto detailers. By Jose “Joe” Fernandez, Superior Shine Auto Detailing

In the fall of 2015, while at a department store, I came across a number of bicycles on sale in the clearance section. These bicycles were new but had been weathered from being displayed outdoors in the garden section. They were dirty. The decals and paint on the bikes were faded. Seats and handle bar grips were cracked. Bare metal parts were rusty. As an auto detailer I knew the bicycles could be refurbished by swapping out damaged parts for new ones and detailing them to restore the painted and non-painted finishes to new. The church I attend, Christ Church of the Valley in San Dimas, California, holds an annual toy drive in early December called the Christmas Toy Store. The Christmas Toy Store provides toys free of charge to families that do not




have the means to purchase them. I volunteer at the Toy Store and thought the bicycles on clearance at the department store could be cleaned up and donated to the Toy Store to then be given away. I had decided to purchase a few of the bicycles, but felt uncomfortable leaving so many behind, so I took a photo of them and posted it to my Facebook page with a request for funds to help me purchase all of the bikes. Most of my Facebook friends are either auto detailers or in the cosmetic car care business one way or another. I needed about $500 total. The response was instant and in no time I had the $500 I needed plus extra. In total $1900 in donations came in. I used the funds not only to buy and refurbish the clearance bikes, but I was able to purchase a number of brand new bicycles with the additional donations. That year we were able to provide 54 bicycles to the Christmas Toy Store. We put many


VOL. 2, NO. 2 • SPRING 2017

smiles on kids’ faces that year. In the fall of 2016 I could not find any weathered bicycles for sale, but still wanted to provide bikes for the Christmas Toy Store. Since we provided 54 bicycles the year before I wanted to try to donate more for 2016. I set the goal of purchasing 75 brand new bicycles. Once again I turned to my friends in the car care industry. I posted a request for donations of $60 which would buy one brand new bicycle. The response I received was overwhelming. Auto detailers from across the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe sent in funds. Auto detailing industry greats such as AutoGeek, Detailers Domain, P&S Detail Products, RaggTopp and Meguiars Denmark generously donated funds as well. We far exceeded the goal of 75 bikes. In total we collected and donated 152 bicycles to the Christmas Toy Store. While distributing the bicycles at the

Christmas Toy Store I witnessed so many lives being touched. I saw many tears of joy. For many of the kids, the donated bicycle was their first bicycle. A mother, unemployed because she is undergoing treatment for cancer, told us if it had not been for the bicycle her son would have received nothing for Christmas. A principal of a local school told me the bikes aren’t just for the children to enjoy. Attendance goes up at the schools when kids have bikes. Lots of kids do not have a ride to school and ride their bikes. So many of us have found memories of riding our bicycles. Because so many in the auto detailing industry came together, over 200 kids are creating the same kind of great memories. Auto Detailers are a passionate group. Passion goes into our craft to create brilliant shine and spotless interiors. This same passion drives their heart to help underprivileged kids.

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