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CONTENTS One More Thing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Editor Debra Gorgos Learns How To Detail . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Yvan Lacroix takes Debra under his wing

Events Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Company News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Industry News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Open for Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 MTE Preview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 What to expect at this year’s Mobile Tech Expo

Business Snapshot . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 An inside look at RC Auto Detail & Carpet Cleaning

The man, the myth, the legend … The Bud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 A Q&A with industry icon Bud Abraham

Kleen Rite Expo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Find out what went down in Columbia, PA

Hall of Stains. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 A stain story fit for Stephen King. Also, can you Name this Stain?

All Hail the Hail Season . . . . . . . 28 Ding. Ding. Ding. Find out more about this potential profit-maker.

SEMA does Las Vegas. . . . . . . . . . . 30 How SEMA 2016 represents the detail industry


Illustration: Mike Quinoes


Vol. 2, No. 1, Winter 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.

One More Thing . . .

Letter from the Editor

I have a lot to cover in this issue’s column, but first, I want to wish everyone a happy and productive new year! May your tools stay strong, your skills stay sharp, your customers not be annoying, and may you all have a prosperous 2017.

It’s funny how as you get older and the holidays get more practical (my Christmas wish list included a new bathroom floor and window blinds) and stressors — from holiday shopping to taboo topics at the Thanksgiving table — abound, the magic of the season gets buried. I for one can get lost in the shuffle and forget to be thankful, merry, and remember my auld acquaintances. This past Thanksgiving morning I sat at my dining room table, thumbing through countless Black Friday circulars. The pile seemed endless. As the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade played in the background and my kids played nearby, I saw a pile of papers from my 4-year-old son’s backpack. Amongst them was a sheet of paper in which he said what he is thankful for. “I am thankful for playing with butterflies, and jumping on leaves and breaking them up, and my mommy and daddy!” Puzzled by the first item on his list, my practical side took over and I asked, “But, Nathan, when have you ever actually played with butterflies?” And, he said, “No, but, Mommy, I am grateful that I can play with them if I ever want to.” And with that, an a-ha moment of clarity was born in a Hallmark Channel-esque moment of revelation: There is so much we have the privilege of doing and seeing and we all live in the land of plenty and of great opportunity. It can be tough at times, so hard that we question if goodness is outweighing its counterpart. But, being thankful for what is and what can be is a good way to stay positive. And I know I am grateful for all I have, and for all of you, the readers, who make my wonderful job possible. Speaking of opportunities, I want to bring attention to the fact that I was able to scratch a task off of my professional allegorical bucket list: Yes, my friends, I detailed a vehicle! Okay, it was just an exterior job, but still, I spent over six hours learning, doing, re-doing, and re-redoing different detail techniques under the guidance of detailing Yoda, Yvan LaCroix, the

Canadian distributor for Optimum Polymer Technologies. Now, it’s no secret that I have always said that I am impressed with what you guys do, but now I can say that I am even more impressed because I physically felt what it is you all do. And, my gosh, do you all have physical therapists on call or what? My arms were sore and my knees were sore and some muscles in my hand that I didn’t know existed. I am so thankful to the crew at Eco Car wash & Detail Center in Williston, Vermont; especially site manager Chris Soons, and owner Aaron Vinclette. What a nice and welcoming group of workers — sorry I hogged the bay for so long, guys! See page XX for more details.

SEMA, no hands! I had the pleasure of attending my first SEMA show in Las Vegas in November along with Publisher Jackson Vahaly. I was warned by others to: 1. Bring sneakers, and 2. Expect large crowds. Those warning were spot on, because that show is massive. Apparently over 60,000 people were in attendance. From the product booths, to the demos inside and outside the Las Vegas Convention Center, to the live broadcasts, I was truly amazed by the show’s energy. One thing I learned is that there is a lot of enthusiasm for continued ...



Letter to the Editor

One More Thing . . . car care maintenance, techniques and beautifications. The North Hall was abuzz and the booths were crowded and bustling — a good sign for the industry indeed. See page XX for more details.

Synergy Podcast, hosted by Dann “E” Williams, and we also got great feedback from that as well. Listen to them both if you get a chance and let me know what you think.

Podcasts are the new black

This Bud’s for you!

I might be dating myself here, but I didn’t really understand what a podcast was until recently, but apparently they are sweeping the nation. And, I can see why. Similar to news radio, they offer a handsfree way of absorbing information and giving a responsive take on certain topics. And, you can pause, rewind, replay, etc. Over the summer I was on The Auto Detailing Podcast, hosted by Jimbo Balaam, and we received a plethora of feedback afterwards. More recently, I was interviewed on the Optimum

For this issue’s Nitty Gritty column we decided to profile our very own RL “Bud” Abraham. There is so much more to Bud than people think. And, while everyone knows he is a detailing industry icon, the way he got here is really fascinating. Read page XX to find out that story, and also get the answers to questions such as: What was the industry like when he first started? And, how did he get the nickname, “Bud”? Bud’s Detail Doctor column will be back in its regular magazine slot in the spring 2017 issue.

Mobile Tech Expo, here I come! One more thing before I sign off: The 16th annual Mobile Tech Expo in Orlando, Florida, is just days away and I am excited to attend for the second time. If you’re going, be sure to say “hello” and share any ideas you have with me. I am always open to any kind of feedback, story ideas, etc. And, as always, feel free to reach out to me at any time by emailing me at or at 518-598-2287. Happy new year and, until next time,

Debra S. Gorgos

Debra, Just wanted to let you know that after reading all of the industry magazines over the years I think your publication is great! I look forward to reading it every time I see it hits my desk. After over 30 years in business I find this paper and the articles as a fresh look on our industry. Let me know if you ever need some input from a (young) old-timer… Great work and good luck in the future! Regards,

Shawn Gatta The Detail Doctor, Shrewsbury, New Jersey

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VOL. 2, NO. 1 • WINTER 2017

Editor Debra Gorgos Learns How To Detail

At stoplights that waylaid my drive home, I wondered if people were looking over at my van, noticing its gleam.

On a cold and rainy day in October, I drove my Town & Country minivan up the Northway to the beautiful, picturesque state of Vermont.

Left to Right: Tyler Scott, Wascar Hernandez, Sylvie Robidoux (President of Répare-Brise), Joe Melkonian, Debra Gorgos, Yvan Lacroix. In Front: Chris Soons

It was the last weekend of prime leaf-peeping season, but I wasn’t going there to see foliage, I was going there to get dirty and make my vehicle clean. In the charming town of Williston, Vermont, sits the ultra-modern, sleek, and shiny Eco Car Wash & Detail Center. Bright colors of cobalt blue and citrusy chartreuse accessorize the state-ofthe-art facility, and somehow blend perfectly into the Green Mountain continued ...



Debra Learns to Detail...

Lacroix guides with patience and coolness, calmly warning me if I am about to make a mistake. landscape. Bold block prints mark the building and everything is color coordinated. In fact, if Disney World were to have a line of car washes and detail centers, they would look like this. And, perhaps that is what owners Aaron Vincelette and Dave Soons were going for when they designed it. The tunnel looks like a family-friendly theme park ride, and the people who work there greet you with kindness and appreciation, a la workers at The Magic Kingdom. Upon my arrival, Yvan Lacroix, co-founder and former president of Répare-Brise, and regional manager for Optimum Polymer, greets me along with site manager Chris Soons. Lacroix asks me if I am ready to get to work. I ask him if “he’s ready to train a novice with a penchant for self injury and clumsiness?” With a smile, he says, “he is,” and then, I roll up my sleeves and get started. Over the course of six-plus hours, we detailed the entire outside of my van. A van that for over a year was parked outside on my driveway. A large dartboard targeted by sap, leaves and other various tree, bug and bird by-products. Lacroix guides with patience and coolness, calmly warning me if I am about to make a mistake. His partner, Sylvie Robidoux, mellifluously stands by to help pick up the slack. A minivan, after all, is a big undertaking for a maiden detailing. After trying to use the buffer with continued ...





VOL. 2, NO. 1 • WINTER 2017


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Debra Learns to Detail...

Lacroix shows me a better two-handed method to cut down on potential muscle strains. Oops, two hands

one arm. Lacroix shows me a better two-handed method to cut down on potential muscle strains. When I miss a huge spot on the side panel, he politely points it out, never making me feel as I was making errors of ill repute. As we went along, I was instructed on how to use a polisher, a dual action buffer, a Racatac, a baggie to test for smoothness, and an iPhone as a microscope. The 12 steps we took are listed on page 10. I know many of you detail for hours on end. And, I know many of you do exteriors and interiors. So, I in no way will ever compare my stint to your daily undertakings. But, if anything, this experience taught me is that I can now say that I truly know that what all of you do is hard work. It is hard on your hands, your back, your knees. But, it is prideful, too. After we finished, and the final product shone brightly in the detail center, I was amazed at the before and after effect. Wow, I said to myself, it looks brand new. At stoplights that waylaid my drive home, I wondered if people were looking over at my van, noticing its gleam. “I did this,” I thought to myself as I drove southbound home to New York. Next on my bucket list is detailing an interior. If anyone is ready and willing and within a three-hour radius, give me a shout. I am warning you, though, I do drive a minivan and have two small children. continued ...





VOL. 2, NO. 1 • WINTER 2017

are better t han one, I le arn.

Step by 1. Washed and decontaminated van with FerreX.


2. Washed with Optimum No Rinse. 3. Decontaminated clay towel. 4. Performed the “baggie test”. 5. Wash-Clay-Wax (Done just as a test to show you the simplicity and value of this method for detailers).

6. Inspected for any scratches, markings, etc. with iPhone microscope (we found damage on door, fender and wheel).

7. Tested to see what level of polishing was needed. Some areas needed a Hyper Compound. A Hyper wool foam pad and Flex PE14-2 polisher were used on the hood. A Zen tool 21E dual action buffer was used on the rest of the vehicle.

8. Wiped off polish residue. 9. Applied Optimum Paint Prep. 10. Applied Opti-Coat Pro (left on for 30 minutes). 11. Applied Opti-Coat Pro Plus (left on for 1 hour to crosslink).

12. Applied Opti-Seal.





VOL. 2, NO. 1 • WINTER 2017



MOBILE TECH EXPO JANUARY 19-21 Double Tree by Hilton – Universal, Orlando, Florida


Company News

Palm Beach County Convention Center – West Palm Beach, Florida

The Haartz Corporation and Wolfsteins Develop New Cleaning Brush

MARCH 18 & 19


Las Vegas Convention Center – Las Vegas, Nevada


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: OCTOBER 30-NOVEMBER 2 2019 SEMA SHOW: NOVEMBER 5-8 2020 SEMA SHOW: NOVEMBER 3-6

Care and maintenance is critical to extending the life of a vehicle — whether it’s the engine or the exterior. The Haartz Corporation, the world’s leading supplier of convertible soft-top material understands the importance, which is why they partnered with Wolfsteins, maker of RaggTopp convertible care products to develop a customized premium convertible top brush. The RaggTopp Premium Convertible Top Brush is the first brush developed and endorsed by The Haartz Corporation in the company’s 109-year history. The brush’s bristles are made from fibrillated Nylex, which is soft, yet strong, to gently loosen the dirt and debris from the convertible top. The bristles clean gently and do not damage acrylic cloth or vinyl convertible tops materials. “We manufacture our topping products to the exacting specifications of the world’s leading automakers. Extending that precision to the development of a brush that effectively cleans the topping while minimizing damage to the fabric seemed like

a natural step,” states Matthew Williams, director of business development for The Haartz Corporation, in a recent press release. “Through our partnership, it made perfect sense for both of our organizations to develop a tool to help convertible owners protect their investment,” states Rick Goldstein, chief executive officer and co-founder of Wolfsteins Pro Series, in the press release. “Our partnership with Haartz on the RaggTopp cleaner really helped to set the groundwork for development of this brush. By working directly with Haartz we have had access to key research, development and testing. This has enabled us to partner on a brush that coupled with our other cleaning products will help owners maintain that new car shine for their convertibles.” The brush features an ergonomically designed natural wood block that’s easy to grip, making cleaning the entire convertible top near effortless. The RaggTopp Premium Convertible Top Brush is for sale now on For more information, visit www., join the conversation on Twitter by visiting @Haartz, or visit

Malco Headlight Restoration Wipe-On Kit Named Global Media Award Winner Malco Products was recognized with a 2017 Global Media Award at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas for its Headlight Restoration Wipe-On Kit. “We thank SEMA and its board of international judges for recognizing Malco,” states Seth Glauberman, vice president of sales and marketing, in a recent press release. “Products such as the Headlight Restoration Wipe-On Kit have a broad application, not just in the U.S., but around the world. We are proud to be part of a select group to receive this honor.” Over time, the hardcoat on headlights can decay due to UV rays, and general wear and tear from daily driving. The Malco Headlight Restoration Wipe-On Kit removes the coating on the lens, and provides a protective sealant to maintain the headlight’s crystal clear appearance and provide a measure of safety and security for the driver. Every kit comes with lens drier, headlight sealant, sandpaper, buffing pad, interface pad, masking continued ...



In the News…

Company News . . . paper and tape, and a tack rag to restore 20 headlights. The SEMA Global Media Awards Program recognizes those companies that manufacture specialty equipment products and accessories that would have mass appeal to consumers in countries outside the United States. “The idea of customization and personalization has been growing throughout world,” states Linda Spencer, SEMA director of international and government relations, in the press release. “Our goal is to have media experts from around the world determine which new products are likely to succeed in their home markets. The automotive specialty-equipment market is made up of enthusiasts who are passionate about the hobby, and so it’s exciting to see how their love for cars, trucks and SUVs is impacting those throughout the world.” This year’s program included 34 judges from 19 countries who reviewed and evaluated nearly 3,000 product entries. For more information, visit

Ziebart International Corporation offers new point-of-sale system Ziebart International Corporation now offers iBart to its franchise operators. iBart is a proprietary point-of-sale software solution, a press release states. All 100 U.S. locations have been converted to the new software. “iBart provides a unique franchise owner experience with capabilities that include seamless operational benefits to enhance the overall experience for our customers,” says James F. Levagood, vice president Information Technology, in a press release. “The technology allows franchisees more time to be spent with the customers and less time staring at a computer screen.” For more information, visit www.




Jay Leno launches detailing line Jay Leno, former Tonight Show host and current host of Jay Leno’s Garage, has launched a line of detailing products for DIY-ers, according to an report. Jay Leno’s Garage – Advanced Vehicle Care kit is eight years in the making and includes a wash, cream wax, quick detailer, tire and trim dressing, wax and dressing applicator pads, and an extra-plush microfiber towel. The kit sells for $59.99. The story did not indicate whether the products will be packaged or marketed to professional detailers.

Growth projected for car wax market

The New York Times profiles matte finishes

NFL wide receiver used to detail cars

“For most people, nothing is quite like buying a brand-new, shiny vehicle. Unless, that is, it’s a brand-new dull one,” reports The New York Times in a November article titled, Dull Car Finish Now Shines. According to the story, a flat matte car finish is increasingly coming into vogue. Andrew Donovan, the director of operations for Chicago-based Dr. Beasley’s is quoted as saying, “Interest in a matte finish is exploding. We used to see matte finish cars in our shop only once in a while. Now we have services dedicated only to those vehicles.” Rossella Guasco, the lead color and materials designer for the Italy-based Fiat Chrysler, agrees, saying in the article, “A matte finish gives a car a sporty, technical character that expresses its design language.”

After being cut from the Chicago Bears, football player Brittan Golden found work as a car detailer, making less than $10 per hour, an story reports. Golden, who now serves as a kick returner, punt-team gunner and receiver for the Arizona Cardinal, was drafted to the Bears in 2012 as a free agent, but was cut the following August. He then moved to Amarillo, Texas, where he worked at his friend’s detailing shop. There, Golden washed and polished cars. Golden says in the story that he thinks he made about $8.50 per hour. That December, he got another chance with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and then moved back to the Bears, but was cut once again. Eventually, he made his way the Cardinals under a $1.3 million/2-year contract.


VOL. 2, NO. 1 • WINTER 2017

According to a Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2016-2026, the car wax market is projected to grow, a Future Market Insights press release reports. “The global car wax market is projected to grow at a decent growth rate amid soaring car sales, especially in the developing countries of Asia and South America. Furthermore, as more and more car owners began to take pride in their car ownership and are giving increasing importance to detailing of their cars, directly fueling the demand for car wax,” the December 2 press release states. The waxes included in the assessments are natural and synthetic in paste, liquid and spray forms. One reason for the projected growth is the availability of more synthetic wax products, which are offered at lower price points. “Increasing number of full-fledged car centres which offers complete packages including of car waxing services, is also fueling revenues in the global car wax market,” states the press release. continued ...

In The News . . . Volvo designs on-demand cleaning, fuel-delivery app Volvo announced at the LA Auto Show in November that it now offers an app allowing owners to order fuel deliveries, valet car cleaning and maintenance services. According to a report, the app sends “a one-time-use digital key that location and time-specific, and is sent to the authorized provider to access the vehicle. Once the services are complete, the car is locked, and the digital key expires.” The car is then returned to where the customer dropped it off or it can be delivered to a new location. This new service debuted in San Francisco and will be limited to 300 invited drivers of new Volvo XC90 SUVs and S90 luxury sedans, the story reports.

Giving Back Elite Kreation$ Auto Detailing helps with parade Transportation for the Gift Exchange Christmas Parade and Holiday Celebration Grand Marshall was sponsored by Elite Kreation$ Auto Detailing of Jamestown, New York, according to The Post-Journal. The Grand Marshall was K-9 Mitchell a 6-year-old German Shepherd who was injured during a criminal’s apprehension. Robert Reedy, who owns Elite Kreation$ along with his wife, Deb-

ra, says in the story, “Our customers know how much we support the community. We also support the men, women and animals who serve behind the badge and it will be a true honor to help transport K9 Officer Mitchell through the parade.”

Grace for Vets awards 290,338 free washes to veterans The non-profit organization Grace for Vets helped give away 290,338 free washes to veterans on November 11, 2016, in honor of Veterans Day. Over 1,600 car wash and detail shops throughout the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia participated. In total, over 1.4 million free washes have been handed out since the program’s inception in 2009.

History BUFF But, can we drive when it’s windy?! The first automobile headlights appeared in the 1880s and were similar to gaslamps. Made of oil and acetylene gas, which is resistant to blustery weather conditions, the lamps had to be lighted by a match — although some cars offered an autosparker which was found on the dashboard. Manufactured by companies such as Prest-O-Light and Corning Conophore, the elements were costly, and a need for electric headlights was evident. However, it wasn’t until years later at the end of the century, that electric headlights were introduced.

Open for Business XLerate Group opened a detail and reconditioning center at its Charleston Auto Auction in Charleston, South Carolina, according to “Our new detail and reconditioning facility brings exciting new capabilities and supports our continuing growth,” Laura Taylor, general manager at Charleston Auto Auction, says in the story. “The detail shop aoffers a multiline production process and is outfitted with the most modern equipment.” The center includes a 6,500-squarefoot detail shop. “With the new land and building, we have immediately increased our production capacity and added resources to support our institutional clients generally and these clients’ CPO programs specifically,” Taylor says in the story. Cowichan Auto Repair has opened in Cowichan, British Columbia, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reported. Owned by Elly Ruge, the shop offers repairs, restorations, and mobile detailing services. Ruge, who previously worked in the hotel and hospitality industry, says in the story that she has always been a car enthusiast and has attended car races

all over the world. “Everyone has a car that needs repairs, so I thought I’d start Cowichan Auto Repair,” she says. Berks Auto Collision Center has moved to a new facility in South Heidelberg Township, Pennsylvania, the Reading Eagle reported. Dominic Sands and his son Craig Sands started the business in the 1970s when it was called Berks Auto Reconditioning. Focused on auto detailing, over the years the company relocated and changed its name. “People no longer really understood what reconditioning meant,” Craig says in the story. However, the family-based ownership stayed intact and today, Craig’s son, Dustin Sands, serves as vice president. In September, the business moved to a 13,000-square-foot facility to accommodate the business’s growth. The company also invested in new equipment including an Accudraft Titan Paint Booth. “Customers are totally blown away to just walk in the front door with the tiled floors and fireplace,” Craig says in the story. Dustin adds, “We now have a collision shop that closer resembles a doctor’s office.”

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.





What you need to know about this year’s Mobile Tech Expo We spoke to Kevin Halewood and Kara Halewood who are working behind the scenes to put together the 2017 Mobile Tech Expo (MTE). Now in its 16th year, the 2017 Expo will take place in Orlando, Florida, from January 19-21. If you’re attending, here are 10 things you should know before you.

new logo

New venue

For exhibitors, the amount for space is similar to last year, according to Kevin. “But we’ve actually had to add booths because we’ve had such a high demand for space. Come show-time we will have well over 100 exhibitors for the 2017 event.”

The new venue for the Expo is the Doubletree by Hilton (at the entrance to Universal Studios).

Advice for first-time attendees Depending on what field or specialty, there are exhibits, classes and seminars for just about everyone in the auto appearance aftermarket industry, according to Kara. Plan your time accordingly by studying the schedule of events, listed at http:// beforehand. Also, map out the showroom floor and plan out which booths you want to visit first. If a booth attendant is busy, grab one of their business cards and contact them after the Expo.

It’s almost “like a reunion” There are a lot of networking opportunities at the Expo, from Tech Get-Together to the one held by the International Detailing Association. “It is a place where everyone from the industry comes together, almost like a reunion,” says Kevin. “And we learn from one another, discuss industry trends, new products and so much more.”

Schedule of events The three-day event starts on Thursday, January 19, which is the Education Day: A day-long event filled with seminars




More exhibitor space

and workshops. Each year the classes and seminars have been extremely popular, according to Kevin. For 2017 there will be indoor and outdoor demo areas and educational topics will include: PDR, glue-pulling, windscreen, leather and upholstery repairs, IT, improving your image, employee retention, networking and more. Thursday evening is the Tech Get-Together, a networking and awards ceremony event. Friday and Saturday, January 20-21, the Expo showroom floor is open (visit floorplan for more information). Competitions and various seminars will also be held on these two days. Competitions include: • The Int’l PDR Dent Olympics • Leather Restoration Contest • Work Vehicle Competition An awards ceremony for the contests will be held Saturday night.

Attendee numbers are up According to Kevin, numbers are far-exceeding last year’s. “We anticipate a great turnout,” he said.


VOL. 2, NO. 1 • WINTER 2017

Get certified and get to know the IDA The International Detailing Association (IDA) will be exhibiting on the showroom floor and will also be offering various educational sessions and networking opportunities. Intensive one-day Certification Seminars for the Phase I and Phase II exams will be offered. According to the IDA website, this program is a culmination of the cooperative efforts of industry leaders specializing in the detailing industry. The multi-phased program evaluates and develops a detailer’s technical knowledge and proficiency. Successful completion of the first phase (Phase I), consisting of 10 written exams, will grant the detailer the title of IDA Certified Detailer (IDA-CD). Successful completion of a higher-level second phase (Phase II), consisting of hands-on assessments, will award the detailer a title of IDA Certified Detailer, Skills Validated (IDA-CD-SV). For more information, visit There will also be the IDA Business Development Round Table event in which branding, customer retention, social media, training techniques, profit centers, expanding your business, paint resto-

ration, efficiency, safety and compliance, coatings, interior detailing, and lighting will be discussed. And the IDA Annual Business Meeting, Awards Presentation and Reception will take place including the state of the industry and the state of the IDA addresses, an awards presentation, and the opportunity to visit oneon-one with other IDA members.

New website For more information about this year’s Expo, check out the brand new website, which can be found at:

Feedback is welcomed “We love first-time attendees as we usually receive the best feedback since they haven’t experienced MTE before,” says Kara. Kevin and Kara pay attention to all of the feedback they receive from attendees and consider it for each year’s Expo. Therefore, if you have an idea or suggestion, send it their way or approach them or an Expo employee during the event. “It surprises us that each year we have some attendees that fly in to attend Education Day, yet do not stay for the Expo,” says Kara. “When queried the response has been, ‘Well, I have to get back to my business and I can’t afford to keep my shop closed for three days,’ or, ‘All I really wanted was to pick up some knowledge on (fill in the blank) to take back to my shop and offer my clients,’ to, ‘There’s an Expo?’ Yes, adds Kara, we had two of the last responses recently in 2014.

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Business Name:

RC Auto Detail & Carpet Cleaning

Your Name: Romia Pritchett What kind of a business is RC Auto Detail & Carpet Cleaning it and what services does it offer? We are an auto detailing and carpet cleaning company, we offer auto accessories, windshield replacement, fleet detailing, mobile and shopbased detailing or pickup. We also clean commercial and residential carpet as well as do repairs, replacement, and stretching. Is there a lot of competition in the area? If yes, what do you do to stand apart from the competition? We have 11 detailers listed on Google in our town of 100,000, as well as the many that don’t have websites. We are a part of the community through the Rotary, the chamber, and we volunteer in many community events and drives. We also provide additional services most detailers don’t, such as carpet cleaning, odor control, ac-


Location: Greely, Colorado

cessories, and the ability to detail at our shop, your driveway or pickup while you are at work. How many people work for you? We have three people at the shop and three sub contractors for portions of our business (i.e. windshield, carpet repair, and outside sales). How do you keep your employees motivated? We provide a positive work environment, offer opportunities to join in community activities and volunteer opportunities, and we will match their donations to charities of their choice. We also offer benefits such as paid time off and retirement. We also pay commission bonuses and base pay, in addition to their tips. What are your hours? We are open Monday through Saturday, 9-6.


What ways do you advertise your business? Through local networking groups, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Angieslist, Groupon, LivingSocial, Craigslist, mobile websites, etc. What type of clientele do you have? We have fleet accounts, individuals looking to sell their vehicle or have just purchased one. What plans are in store for the business? We plan to add another outside sales person, a tech, and a second location in 2017. What is the best advice you have for other detailers in terms of what not to do when detailing a car? Do not use excuses. We have a saying in our shop, “education verses excus-

Business Snapshot

Years in Operation: 10 es.” If you explain what you are doing and not doing in the beginning you can then set an expectation. But, if you wait till they pick up their vehicles then you are just making excuses. How many cars do you s ervice a year? We service about 500 cars, give or take a year, in addition to carpets etc. What is the most often requested service? Our most requested service is an interior detail, but it seems like removing bio-hazards is up there because it stands out so much (i.e. blood, urine, feces, vomit). Does your business have a motto or slogan? Right Look, Right Location, Right Now



Nitty Gritty

The man, the myth, the legend…

The Bud By Debra Gorgos

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the word “legend” is defined as, “someone who is very famous and admired, usually because of an ability in a particular area. The movie industry has Paul Newman, the racing industry has Mario Andretti, the fashion industry has Ralph Lauren, and the detailing industry has Bud Abraham. And, while detailers are lucky to have him, an Obi-Wan-esque icon, full of wisdom, stories and guidance, things may have been different if his teaching career didn’t get waylaid and his path to being a lawyer had been more satisfying. But, instead, and to the betterment of detailers everywhere, Bud found his way into the world of detailing. And, after decades of offering up products, writing columns, organizing an international association, and traveling all over the world, Bud is still going strong. Here, he shares with you stories of his childhood, his travels and his thoughts on the current state of the detailing industry and his hopes for its future.

Please tell us your full name? Robert L. Abraham How and when did you get the nickname, “Bud”? Had three older brothers and when I was born one started calling me Buddy, the other Spike, and Buddy stuck. When I got into high school I shortened the name to Bud. However, my old friends and family still call me, Buddy. Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like? Portland, Oregon. I was the youngest of 7 children by 7 years so I was like an only child. My closest sister is 7 years older than I.




Grew up in an ethnic family that was very close and much of what we did was with our Syrian/Lebanese community. My mother was a typical Lebanese mother, very loving and caring and my father a hardworking, strict old-country man. He was a sewer contractor and had me digging ditches and laying sewer pipe when I was 13 years old. What did you always want to be when you were older? Actually, I do not recall ever thinking about what I wanted to be. No real passion that I can think of. As I got into high school I began to think about being a teacher. However one of my older brothers convinced me I should think about


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law. So I went into a university with the idea of being a lawyer, but I majored in U.S. history and minored in education and when I graduated I was qualified to be a high school teacher. Went to law school for about a term and decided that was not for me and returned to the university and did graduate work in U.S. History and American government and received a BA and then began teaching in a junior college. How did you find your way into the detailing industry? After completing my graduate degree in history and political science I took a job at a private junior college as an instructor and taught there for 4 years. When

they closed the school I was unable to secure another position at that level so I went to work for Hanna Car Wash Company working in marketing, advertising, sales, and eventually became the general manager of Hanna International, responsible for worldwide sales of Hanna Car Wash equipment. Leaving Hanna after 12 years I started an export management company, helping U.S. manufacturers to market and sell their products overseas. One of the clients I secured was Car Care Corporation of Phoenix, Arizona, who had developed a high-tech equipment system that helped to automate the detail process. They engaged us to market the system both domestically and continued ...


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internationally. During that time I decided to open two detail centers in Portland utilizing the equipment. By the time we were ready to open the second store, Car Care Corporation sold the company and the buyers decided to focus on car wash equipment rather than detail equipment. As a result we designed and engineered our own system for the second store in late 1986 and exhibited our system at The Car Wash Show in 1987.

Growing up in the 50s, which was the decade of hot rods, custom cars and the introduction of the Corvette, one had to have a love of vehicles.





Do you work with any of your family members? DETAIL PLUS has always been a family-oriented company. My wife Sheryl was involved with me from the beginning of the company and has served as Financial Vice-President. As well, my four daughters all worked in the DETAIL PLUS Detail Centers and learned the business very well. However, only two of them stayed with the company; one in charge of administration and the other in charge of IT and marketing.

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Did you always have a love of vehicles? Growing up in the 50s, which was the decade of hot rods, custom cars and the introduction of the Corvette, one had to have a love of vehicles. How has the detailing industry changed from when you first started? In many ways it has not changed at all. There are thousands of one-man mobile and some fixed location detail operations who are struggling to make a living, who cannot afford to purchase the proper detail technology so they get by with what they have. They have been there since the detail business began to be a factor in the automobile business and they are still there today. There are many thousands of detailers who are “technicians.” They know how to detail, but they do not know how to run a business. As Michael Gerber in is famous book, “The E Myth,” states: “the fatal mistake most small business peo-

ple make is that they believe that if ‘you know the technical work of a business, you can operate a business that does technical work.’” The reason it is fatal he goes on to say, is because, “It is not true, and the reason so many small business people fail after a few months or at best a year in business.” When faced with business problems, they try to solve them with technical solutions or not at all. A person in this situation either has to gain the knowledge (which is impossible for most) or they must hire someone to handle the “business side” of their business. Again, few can afford that. For some it is their wife, mother, or girlfriend who might have the ability to handle those aspects of the business. They have no knowledge of finances, marketing, advertising, sales, pricing, etc. And without this knowledge they usually find themselves failing after a few months. All of that said, there are more “busi-

ness people” getting into the detail business and succeeding because they are business people and not detailers. As for the technology, it has not changed all that much. What other things do you do outside of detailing? In the past I coached elementary and middle school boys in football and basketball and girls in basketball. Did that for 25 years. Officiated high school basketball for about 8 years. Presently, I religiously attend NBA basketball games, following the Portland Trailblazers. Have been for many years active in our church and was chairman of an Oktoberfest for 18 years. Presently, I teach Bible Study classes What is a typical day like today for Bud Abraham? Not much different than for most business people operate my business from 8am to 6pm. continued ...

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How were you involved in the start of the IDA? The first effort at forming a detailing association was a meeting I called at an International Car Wash Association Show with some key suppliers to the industry in 1989 in Rosemont, Illinois. At that meeting I presented to the suppliers the thought I had that the industry needed a detailing association. They agreed and were willing to put up some seed-money to start the Professional Detailing Association. Before the Internet and email we had to do everything by mail and phone, but we got the PDA off the ground and in less than a year had several supplier members and a reasonable number of members. I served at Executive Director until we were able to afford hiring a part-time Executive Director, Barbara St Aubin, who was able to grow the PDA to 500 operator members and 30 supplier members. During this time we put on a nationwide series of detail seminars in several major cities in the U.S. to increase membership. We had a monthly newsletter and a quarterly magazine, The Detailer. This growing and healthy Association was doing well, but in 1995 we agreed to be merged with the International Carwash Association and that, to make a short story, ended the PDA. The ICA was not interested in carrying on what we had built and it just died. It wasn’t for another 10 years that I got motivated enough to start another effort to establish a detailing association. So, again, I contacted basically the same suppliers and asked for seed money to start a detailing association which we called the International Detailing Association (IDA). With the advantage of the Internet and email and social media it did not take us very long to get this Association off the ground. I did serve as Executive Director for the IDA for almost 2 years and then felt it was time to back away and let the Association operate on its own. We hired the current Executive Director, Sheryle Hazard, and she and her staff have done a marvelous job of growing the Association into the organization I hoped that it would be. Is there anything about you that might surprise our readers? That I teach Bible Study?




If you weren’t in the detailing industry, what would you be doing? Teaching again, preferably in a junior or community college. What advice do you have for someone who is starting out in the business? They need to have sufficient capital to purchase the equipment they need; capital to support themselves and the business until it can support them; be knowledgeable in all areas of operating a business: finance, marketing, advertising, sales, pricing, etc. Then need to know they are going to work 60-70 hour weeks. There is no secret to success in the detail business as with any business. The problem is that too many can get into the business with a shop vacuum, a can of wax, a scrub brush and hose and call themselves a detailer. Because of this the industry struggles to have legitimate recognition. What are your hopes for the future of the industry? As I have said, I want to see the detail business recognized as a legitimate auto service by the motorist, same as lubrication and oil changes, mechanical repairs, mufflers and even car washing. However, for that to happen the industry must |

VOL. 2, NO. 1 • WINTER 2017

business too. In the UK, where there is a large car valet (their name for detailing) industry, Brazil, Argentina, and Thailand, to name a few — of the operations are one- and two-man mobile operations. In order for the industry to become “legitimate” in the eyes of the motorist, those in the business must be business people first and technicians second. They must have sufficient capital to start a business like a car wash or auto repair shop or quick lubrication shop would require. The detail operations must look like professional, organized and well equipped facilities that can provide a quality service to the motorist. Unfortunately most detail operations do not look like this. The detail industry today is much like the collision repair industry was in the 1970s. At that time there were nearly 130,000 collision repair operations listed in the Yellow Pages. Today that number has reduced down to under 50,000 shops doing 3-4 times the volume of dollar business that the nearly 130,000 shops were doing. The reason for the reduction in the number of “mom and pop” collision repair facilities had to do with government regulations on clean air and the construction of automobiles. These two factors required the purchase of very expensive equipment to meet government regulations on clean air, and to repair today’s vehicles make a huge leap into the 21st century. Today, and for the past 60 years, detail- required computerized frame straightening ing has been a cottage industry driven by machines and other sophisticated systems. Unfortunately, there are no such govone and two many detail operations with ernment regulations that will have such little business experience, only some detail experience and minimal equipment. an impact on the detail industry nor will The majority of the operations are mo- the construction of automobiles have bile, not because the motorist demands much of an impact on the detail business. The industry will just have to evolve door-to-door service, but because it is less expensive to enter the business mo- much like the car wash industry evolved bile, or at least that is what many mobile when companies and investors got into the car wash business, building first operators believe. Interestingly, this same mentality class, architect-designed buildings and is permeating the international detail facilities of today.

Our company’s CHEMSPENSE Detailing Systems was my contribution to the help the industry become more efficient, organized and professional, unfortunately it was not embraced by the industry because of the cost, which is what holds back most detail businesses today, capital. The mistake I made 30+ years ago was not continuing to build DETAIL PLUS Car Appearance Centers patterned after the two I had built in Portland. Had I done that instead of trying to market and sell my equipment to others I sincerely believe the detail industry today would be that recognized, legitimate auto service business. Now it is difficult to estimate how long it will take the industry to progress to the next level. In the years I have been in the business I have not seen the kind of progression I had hoped for. Please tell our readers about your international travels? What has been your favorite place so far? You ask where have I been, but it would be better if you asked, “where

have you not been?” The detail and car wash industries have allowed me to travel all over the world, to every continent and several countries on these continents. A few places I have not been to are India, Viet Nam, Iran, and interestingly, Sweden, Norway or Finland. We have done a great deal of business in the Middle East, including Egypt on

the African continent, and Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. Today the detail business is really growing rapidly in all countries because of the growth of personally-owed cars. Most recently we installed an automatic car wash and detail shop in Thimphu, Bhutan. It is a land-locked country of 750,000 people in the foothills of the Himalayan moun-

tains; and a detail center in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which is near India. There are so many wonderful things to see in every country it is hard to pick one over another. That said, I have always wanted to go back to Buenos Aires, Argentina — a vibrant, alive city with great food and excitement. And, I would like to visit Mendoza which is their wine country, kind of like Napa Valley in Northern California. I would like to go back to and travel extensively in both Spain and Italy. Probably the most undesirable city I was ever in was Cairo, Egypt. A very dirty city with a lot of pollution and the most crazy drivers I have ever encountered anywhere in the world. Besides the history in the country it is not a desirable country to visit for any reason. Jakarta, Indonesia, was also a very dirty, polluted city that I have no desire to return to either.

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Car Wash Expo Wrap Up By Chelsea Dimmig, of Kleen-Rite Corp.

Another biannual show in the books, and Kleen-Rite Corporation fell nothing short of excellent in their Car Wash Experience, Learn More, Earn More Expo on November 15 and 16, 2016. With over 200 attendees and 70 vendors, Columbia, PA, was filled with eager car wash enthusiasts. This year, Kleen-Rite decided to add a bonus day, The Car Wash Experience (November 15, 2016), into the mix which involved four keynote speakers and a bus tour to three locations in the Lancaster County area. Car wash oper-




ators from all over the nation were able to see and share business ideas over a catered lunch. Bob Rossini from CT CW Association was thrilled to be there and looks forward to Kleen-Rite’s next show. “I fairly enjoyed speaking in front of the car wash consumers on day one. It was nice to hear and see what other car wash owners are going through and how others could relate or be aware of certain situations happening to them,” Rossini said. “This was my first expo and the whole event was well planned out and |

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greatly structured. This show has been nothing but a big thank you to all customers and buyers.” As the coach buses went round and round , the Kleen-Rite Car Wash tour stopped at SunDance Car Wash & Laundry, located on Columbia Avenue in Lancaster. Car wash owner Ed Hollinger exemplified his knowledge and wisdom of the car wash industry, showing off his updated self-serve and automatic bays. The bus tour ended with a visit to KleenRite’s very own car wash.

“I always enjoy a carwash tour and this was no exception,” Dave DuGoff of the Mid-Atlantic Car Wash Association said. “It was especially interesting to see the older wash that had been totally renovated (SunDance Car Wash) and looked brand new. That was amazing.” As day one came to an end, the people of Kleen-Rite and vendors gathered at Bully’s Restaurant & Pub. “We find that going to Bully’s is a wonderful opportunity to spend some social time with our vendors as they

become lifelong friends throughout the time we work together,” said Vice President Keith Lutz. “It’s just a time to be more personable and not be 100% in a work environment.” On day two, the “Learn Morn, Earn More Car Wash Experience” (November 16, 2016) took place in which manufactures like Air logic and Erie Brush were able to show off their new and upcoming products and talk with customers about what they can do to add more to their operations. The Kleen-Rite Car Wash trade show is especially perfect for new manufacturers such as Wheeleez, as this was their first show and best opportunity to sell their product. “We had a very enjoyable and productive day at our first Kleen-Rite Expo,” Bob Kuczik, the Wheel-eez Sales & Marketing director said. “As a new vendor, Wheel-eez had a chance to meet hundreds of friendly car wash owners who were genuinely interested in our noncorrosive wheel cleaning solutions.” Throughout the day there were several seminars held such as LED Lights, Cryptopay, and Self-Serve Q & A. The Kleen-Rite, Learn More, Earn More Expo also offered bus tours to the new warehouse in Mount Joy, PA. With chatty banter filling the expo facility, as well as the smell of Little Tree Air Fresheners and the presence of the infamous Bat Mobile, Kleen-Rite Corporation had the profound privilege of housing all things car wash. Door prizes, sponsored by manufactures, became the selling point of the day as visitors waited eagerly for their names to be handpicked. Gifts as small as couch pouches to as big as an ATV (sponsored by Simoniz) were up for grabs. “The Kleen-Rite trade show was a terrific way to meet new people and spend time with old friends,” DuGoff said. “I always learn something from being around other operators and Mike and Keith were such warm and generous hosts.” Trade shows are the time and place to educate operators on different platforms of car wash knowledge. It’s the place to collaborate with other members of the car wash industry and creating new relationships along the way. VOL. 2, NO. 1 • WINTER 2017 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS |


Name the


Hall of Stains

Can you name this stain?

Stain horror stories 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: Darin Cate and Paul Frasco The Culprit: An SUV nicknamed “Cujo” The Horror Story (according to Cain): Upon first inspection the odor was so bad (windows had been open for several days of airing out) that Paul was actually dry heaving. We got authorization from the rental company for a clean up, but we couldn’t set a price due to the severity of the filth. We ID’d feces, bone fragments, animal hair, feathers, earth soil, blood, tobacco, food, food stains. We were sure there was urine and possibly pieces of flesh. The Removal Process: Being educated members of the IDA (International Detailing Association) and networking with other very good

business people/detailers, it was easy to set a plan that included plenty of personal protection and step-by-step cleaning:  Air purging all cracks and crevices then a preliminary vac.  Cleaning headliner with a disinfecting enzyme cleaner.  Wiping all hard vinyl surfaces with enzyme as well.  Disinfecting seats and perform a secondary vac.  Removing all the garbage that came loose from the previous three steps.  Then disinfecting the carpets and floor mats. We are both big believers of steam so we steamed everything, but the headliner and leather. The seats were treated with a leather cleaner and then conditioned. The carpets and mats were then extracted. So basically the filth was so bad and deep that everything had to be cleaned twice. The only things that weren’t stained were the door jambs, but even they had plenty of dirt. We ran an odor treatment overnight and once we were sure the smell was neutralized we gave it a light scent. Our personal protection included us wearing our own old worthless clothes so we could throw them away. We wore white hazmat suits, rubber gloves, and breathing masks. Upon comple-

How about the make and model of the vehicle?

tion the white suits were disposed, all the toweling was disposed and our personal clothing was disposed. The extractor had to be cleaned and the steamer attachments were cleaned as well. From a few years of interaction with local wholesale detailers we feel many in the area would consider our job and protection a bit of overkill, but Paul and I were not enthusiastic to roll in defecation without protection. We also felt a “routine” shampoo and wet vac wouldn’t cut it. The Outcome: As you can conclude the rental car agency requested an explanation of the invoice, however they were completely understanding when they saw the pictures that included dried feces and verified we put 16 man hours into just one interior. There was also a fair amount of damage with bite/teeth/chew marks in the interior vinyl. The seats were chewed and torn as well. The seat belts in the second row were fully drawn against the pulley wheels and the belts were tied into some kind of makeshift harness. What exactly the vehicle was used for we will never know, but the renter had actually returned several in that condition. Our guess was distressed animal rescue or perhaps illegal dog/rooster fighting transport.

Send your answers to 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 Fall 2016 issue of Name the Stain is:

No one! Not a single person was able to correctly identify the bluish stain pictured here (in the bottom right corner):

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





VOL. 2, NO. 1 • WINTER 2017

Turns out the stain is sunscreen lotion! And the vehicle is a 2004 GMC Acadia Denali.


Quick facts

All hail the hail season! By Debra Gorgos Debra Gorgos is the editor of Auto Detailing News.

Along with the flowers, bunnies and warmer weather of springtime also comes the allegorical roaring lion entities: The allergies, the bugs and the hail. Yes, hail season is primarily in the springtime, when thunderstorms are prominent (although, technically, they can occur any time of year). And, along with the hail comes angry customers, frustrated by the dings the rock-like pellets leave behind. But, with angry customers come potential profits for detailers. Therefore, with springtime just around the corner, it is time to consider offering a hail damage marketing and repair plan. According to Tom Price, who has been actively involved in all aspects of the PDR (paintless dent repair) industry since 1992 and currently travels across North America and repairs hail damaged vehicles with his two sons Luke and Seth, offering hail




damage services can benefit a detail business in many ways. “Detail shops can greatly increase revenue, their customer base, and profits by subbing out their shop space to a reputable hail company after a storm hits their area.” And, depending on the forecast, the potential profits can be colossal. Hailstorms can cause billions of dollars worth of damage and cars are one of the main victims. A pellets just has to be the size of a golf ball (1.75 inches in diameter) to cause damage. According to The Weather Channel, the costliest hailstorm in U.S. history took place in Phoenix on October 5, 2010, and caused around $2.8 billion in damages. Some of the hail that fell was measured at 3 inches in diameter.

What the ‘hail’ is hail? The simple answer is: Hail is frozen |

VOL. 2, NO. 1 • WINTER 2017

rain formed by cumulonimbus clouds during a thunderstorm. The longer answer, courtesy of The Weather Channel, is: …water vapor and rain are pushed extremely high into the cumulonimbus cloud. “At a certain height, the air temperature drops below freezing, and the water condenses onto dust or other such particles, known as condensation nuclei. The super-cooled water molecules condense onto the condensation nucleus and freeze, producing a tiny ice particle which serves as the center of the hailstone.” Due to the thunderstorm, the hailstone either encounters a downdraft which sends it to the ground, or it grows in size during an updraft and when it becomes too large to withstand the updraft, it falls to the ground. How fast it falls has only been measured in estimates. According to

• Hail usually strikes the hardest in the spring months, but can last throughout the summer. • The largest hailstone recorded measured in at 8” in diameter, 18.5” in circumference, and weighed 1.94 pounds was found on July 23, 2010, near Vivian, South Dakota, according to Weather Underground Historian Chris Burt. • The heaviest hail recorded was found in Gopalganj District, Bangladesh, on April 14, 1986, and weighed 2.25 pounds • On July 30, 1979, in Fort Collins, Colorado, a hailstorm, produced pellets the size of grapefruits, and damaged around 2,500 automobiles. • On April 20-21, 2006, in San Marcos, Texas, a hailstorm, which produced 3.9 inch in diameter hail, resulted in 10,000 auto claims. • On April 14, 1999, in Sydney, Australia, 40,000 vehicles were damaged during a hailstorm which produced hail that was 3.7 inches in diameter. NOAA National Severe Storms Labo-

ratory, it is hard to estimate because each piece of hail is a different size and shape. We really only have estimates about the speed hail falls. However, one estimate is that a hailstone measuring 1 cm in diameter falls at 20 mph, according to NOAA

oming, you can make a nice profit, because according to Price, the city averages more hailstorms than any other city. Other hail prone areas of the country, he says, include: Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and North and South Dakota.

When hail strikes Even though most vehicles in the Northern Hemisphere are dealing with salt right now, now is the time to start considering a plan for post-hailstorm fixes. Hail season in the United States generally starts in March and continues thru September, says Price. “It is not unusual, however, to have a late fall hailstorm or even one late in winter. The United States has more hailstorms than any other country. Canada and Mexico also have many hailstorms but shorter seasons.” And, if you live in Cheyenne, Wy-

One hail of a profit! Now, when it comes to money, the potential profits, while keeping the weather in mind, can be vast, however it all depends on whether you want to rent out space, or do it yourself. “Paintless hail repair is a specialized service that is usually best left with professional hail techs,” says Price. But, they will offer you a percentage of their billing to use your space. Or, Price says a detailer can invest in training in the art of PDR. But, if a detailers wants to have a realistic op-

portunity to succeed there are several things to consider. First, he says, find a one-on-one trainer with industry references. The usual training classes last between two to four weeks and cost between $7500-$12,000. Be careful of PDR schools that heavily advertise on the Internet, warns Price, and instead go with a reputable source. Also, he says, “PDR is an extremely difficult service to master. If you don’t perform repairs on a regular basis (even after great training) it is difficult to increase your learning curve and become proficient. Failure can become a reality.” Profit percentages, according to Price, for subbing out repairs to a hail company can average between 10-20% of the repair ticket. And, if you’re looking to do it yourself, tool and equipment packages

can run between $2500-$4000 and you’ll also have to add in your initial training costs. Also, you have to remember the importance of marketing your services, especially after a hailstorm strikes. Place it on your Facebook page, your Twitter and your website and do it right away because customers will be going online and looking for such services and you’ll want to take advantage of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) possibilities. Keep an eye on the weather (meteorologists can now predict hail), and gear up your computer for after the storm hits and stay on top of the game in order to take advantage of the situation and Mother Nature’s wrath.



SEMA Show revs up Las Vegas Autumn in Las Vegas is mild in weather and sunshine, but, over at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the air is wildly bustling, fervent and fiery thanks to the annual SEMA Show. From November 1-4, tens of thousands of buyers swarmed to the 50th annual show to see the latest in car trends, parts, and appearance innovations. How many buyers to be exact? Around 70,000, which is more than the entire population of Nevada’s state capital, Carson City. Overall, including the buyers, media members and exhibi-




tors, 140,000 people were there, which is about the same amount of people living in Syracuse, New York. And, according to SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting, this was the biggest show they have done so far. From the sound of cars racing throughout the SEMA Ignited Drift Box to the livestream broadcasts featuring various celebrities, the show is loud, colorful and full of life. Inside the North Hall & Westgate wing is where the “Restyling & Car Care Accessories” booths and exhib|

VOL. 2, NO. 1 • WINTER 2017

its were on display. Everything from coatings to towels to hand soaps were showcased. Crowds of people gathered to see waxes applied, leather restored and headlights revitalized. Included in a surplus of educational offerings and seminars, the International Detailing Association was on-hand as well. The IDA hosted an intensive one-day Certification Seminar which evaluated an experienced detailer’s technical knowledge and proficiency. The IDA also hosted an evening Meet & Greet.

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quae dersperi comniet, cone explias dolori derovidestia net dent andelicid es doluptat aut rentiusam, sinus veliqui dersperspero blaboria prorpor ra quatioribus eria non nobis aut faci aut quostem is nis eumque eost as quiam, optas doluptio. Et voluptius, te qui tem re non rest antibus andigni quatqui doluptur aut earchic atissecatur? Adit labore moloremolo esequam ex eaquidunt alis volorro oditior epreprestrum vellia doluptat. Sequae pe pore dolore dolorem uta voluptur? Et optam fugitiam doloribus expligenia simet magnihicim et aut andis eri occab ipsa aut posandiaspid ut fugiat auditatur? Xeriam arum quost, quae dersperi comniet, cone explias dolori derovidestia net dent andelicid es doluptat aut rentiusam, sinus veliqui dersperspero blaboria prorpor ra quatioribus eria non nobis aut faci aut quostem is nis eumque eost as quiam, optas doluptio. Et voluptius, te qui tem re non rest antibus andigni quatqui doluptur aut earchic atissecatur? Adit labore moloremolo esequam ex eaquidunt alis volorro oditior epreprestrum vellia doluaci aut quostem is nis eumque eost as quiam, optas doluptio. Et voluptius, te qui tem re non rest antibus atissecatur? Adit labore moloremolo esequam ex eaquidunt alis volorro oditior epreprestrum vellia doluptat. Sequae pe pore dolore dolorem Paul Frasco, co-owner of Pro & Local Detailing in West Springfield, Massachusetts, shares that there was a lot to take in at his first SEMA show. “It was my first time at SEMA and it was an overwhelming experience. With almost 3-million-square-feet [to cover], there was just too much to see.” Frasco says that he and a friend attended with the sole purpose of doing some hardcore networking and, “to learn as much as possible and then bring it back home to our detailing businesses,” and, he adds, “who doesn’t love Vegas!?” Some of the exhibits that intrigued Frasco included the Optimum Bed continued ... VOL. 2, NO. 1 • WINTER 2017 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS |


SEMA Show ... Liner, which he says is, “a game changer and going to be a great money maker for a lot of people.” Also the QuickJack tool, a waterless wash and some P&S products caught his eye. “Carpro has a new waterless wash that I tested and it works great. I can’t wait to get some of those new buff and shine pads and the whole P&S double black line is worth checking out. Amazing products.” However, not everyone was entirely pleased. According to Jimbo Balaam,of Jimbo’s Auto Detailing of Orange County, California, and host of the Auto Detailing Podcast, the show was worth the trip in terms of networking. “It was a great show, good to shake hands and meet people I have only seen online,” he says. And, although there were a few standouts in terms of offerings and innovations, Balaam said said he was hoping for more detailing products to be on display. “I was disappointed in the detailing sections, too many companies played it way too safe and didn’t innovate.” Perhaps the 2017 SEMA Show will be better for Balaam if he chooses to attend again. According to trade show director, Tom Gattuso, planning for each show goes in cycles and they plan out two shows ahead of the current one. “We are now in different stages of planning for the 2018 SEMA Show. It helps keep us ahead of the curve,” he states in a press show interview. “We started working on the 2017 Show from a marketing perspective in August, so that as soon as the 2016 Show ends, we’re ready to go with the 2017 Show. We’re already doing a lot of operational stuff to get it ready for launch.” If you’re looking to attend, SEMA 2017 will be held October 31-November 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For more information, visit





VOL. 2, NO. 1 • WINTER 2017

SEMA FACTS • SEMA stands for the Specialty Equipment Market Association • Now in its 54 year, SEMA started out in 1963 • The 2016 SEMA Show featured over 2,400 exhibitors. • Almost 25 percent of those in attendance come from outside the United States. • SEMA has a Government Affairs staff in Washington, D.C., which keeps an eye on any pending bills or regulations which could affect any part of the automotive specialty-equipment industry. • The show covers 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space, and 1.5 million square feet of features and attractions throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center (which includes outside areas and the neighboring Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino). • 1,500 feature vehicles are driven into the convention center for the show.

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Education | Certification | Social Media Discussions | Awards Programs | Technical Expertise | Newsletters | And more! VOL. 2, NO. 1 • WINTER 2017 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS |



1963: Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) is founded. 1966: Los Angeles-based promoter and automotive magazine publisher Noel

Carpenter produces the second “Speed & Custom Equipment” trade show, with SEMA sponsoring the event and receiving a share of the profits for the use of the association’s name. While SEMA received a check for $535, the event is NOT recognized as the first “SEMA Show.”


1967: Noel Carpenter moves the “Speed & Custom Equipment” show to Las Ve-

gas; Meanwhile, the first official SEMA Show takes place in January 1967, under the grandstands of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The event, featuring 98 booths and approximately 3,000 attendees, was organized by Robert Petersen. 1974: The SEMA Show moves to the Anaheim Convention Center. 1977: The SEMA Show moves to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Las Vegas

was chosen because it provided room for growth, has dependable weather, bigname entertainment and a world-famous location. 1982: SEMA assumes full control of the SEMA Show from Robert Petersen. 1988: The idea of “sectionalization” is born, as exhibitors within the street-rod

market are grouped in the “Street Rod Equipment” area. Since 2003, the entire Show has been sectionalized into specific market niches. 1992: SEMA joins with other aftermarket organizations to consolidate

fragmented trade show activities into one comprehensive week, aka Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIW). Set each year for the first week of November in Las Vegas, AAIW is now a key event in the automotive industry throughout the world. 2002: The Las Vegas Convention Center completes construction on its expan-

sion, opening up an additional 1 million square feet of space in the two-story South Hall. 2003: A vehicle Proving Ground is added to the SEMA Show, where attendees

can experience exhibitors’ products in action. The track is the only place at the SEMA Show where vehicles are in motion. 2009: The New Products Showcase expands to include scanning devices,

which visitors use to obtain printouts and e-mails of selected products. New products is the number one reason why attendees come to the SEMA Show. 2012: As automotive customization grows internationally, the HiLux, a vehicle

not sold in the United States, is on display along with products for the vehicle made by various exhibitors. Prior to the SEMA Show, the SEMA International Dept. made a HiLux available to members to assist with manufacturing products for the top-selling vehicle. 2014: A new event, SEMA Ignited, is introduced to connect consumers to the

excitement of the SEMA Show. Billed as the official SEMA Show after party, the event is held Friday evening after the SEMA Show concludes. Vehicles, products, manufacturers and the mystique of the SEMA Show make their way out of the Las Vegas Convention Center over to SEMA Ignited, where consumers are able to get up close and be a part of the action. 2015: Exhibitor interest in the SEMA Show grows, as expansion areas are add-

ed to accommodate manufacturers at the Show; New products remain the main focal point of the SEMA Show, as the New Products Showcase experiences record high participation. 2016: The 50th SEMA Show held since 1967 takes place, along with nearly

140,000 industry professionals from all over the world.


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