Yell'n Out For The 1st Time
So the guy from Yell.com called again talking advertising. I don’t have enough fingers to count how many times but reckoned it would be better in the long run making an effort to talk to them than ignoring them.
‘Could you tell me about your business?’ he asked.
‘Well think of it as high end car valeting, or detailing, yet mobile covering the whole of the North.’
‘What parts of Northern Ireland don’t you cover?’ he interrupted.
‘None, I cover the lot and Donegal. I’ll travel further if required but it’s a special request only.’
‘So how long have you being doing this?’ he asked.
‘The mobile side of the business is fairly new,’ I said ‘but the valeting and detailing side, well as long as I’ve owned cars I’ve been cleaning them.’ I explained to him that I got my first car when I was 18, a black Peugeot 205, absolute classic and it was my pride and joy. I’ve always had a thing for black cars. Nothing looks better on the road than a clean black car. Yet it was the hardest colour to keep clean and when I say clean I don’t just mean free of dirt, I mean free of scratches and swirls. In the glare of the sun nothing looks worse than a badly scratched black car, it looks like swirls and cobwebs in the finish. So that’s how I learned to care for bodywork. How to wash them and how to polish them.
Friends and family soon appreciated someone who could do a dirty job that they would rather not. Yet to me it was enjoyable, something I loved, I got pleasure in taking something and making it look its absolute best in the time that I had. Every car became a challenge as I looked for ways of cleaning those nooks and crannies that others ignored.
It earned a little extra money which in turn provided for some extra products and equipment. The staff at the local automotive store were always showing me something new - whether that be a wheel brush, a car shampoo or the latest car wax. This soon moved on to machine polishing. Nobody can really teach you how to use a buffer, you can watch them do it and they can explain the technique. But I learned the hard way, making the mistakes with proper hands on destruction. You see nothing will destroy your cars paintwork faster than a rotary polisher in the wrong hands. The good news for my customers - I made those mistakes over 20 years ago, on my own cars and learned. Yet nothing will correct the finish of a car better that a rotary polisher in the correct hands.
‘And what about the interiors?’ he asked, ‘there’s pictures on your site of a commercial van you cleaned my god it looks bad yet you got it looking like new.’
‘Well it’s funny you should mention that,’ I said. ‘You see the experience of cleaning interiors also came about as a young man.’ I explained that in my early days of dating, it soon transpired that a clean interior was more important to some than the exterior. I wasn’t exactly flush with money in those days, my cars were second hand and usually in need of a good clean. To get them show room ready or should I say, girlfriend ready required a great degree of cleaning and freshening up. I could easily spend more time on the interior than the exterior of some vehicles.
‘Really?’ he says to me, ‘you would spend that long on the interior, I normally get a 15-minute mini valet down the road.’
‘Well that’s fine for some but it’s not really getting your car clean and fresh. I see people using air fresheners and masking the smells with perfumes.’ I explained to him that the interior needs cleaned correctly and that means getting into all the nooks and crannies for those dropped French fries and crumbs, not to mention the spills. That all these things that are breaking down, rotting and getting smelly and if time is spent getting this all out, and using bio-active cleaners on the nasty stains – the car will be naturally fresh and won’t have need for harsh perfumes.
‘You’ve got a point’ he says, ‘my car always pongs a bit, I just put it down to the age but what you’re saying makes sense, and the Autoglym connection, what’s that about?’
‘Hands down the best car care products on the market, I’ve always used them, and always got the results. You can trust them’ I said. This was further explained when I told him how I decided to seek accreditation. The first step of which was to attend the Autoglym valet course at their factory in Letchworth, England. Now I thought I knew everything there was about valeting and detailing cars but then I met some of the Autoglym guys. They had such a wealth of knowledge and experience from working in the real world. They could provide hints and tips for the most awkward or delicate of tasks. Yet they shared this knowledge freely, and are always on the end of a phone, or an email.
‘And how do you add the cost for travel and materials onto the customer?’ he asked.
‘Well I don’t, the customer only pays the listed price on the website, that’s it, nothing hidden. I manage the cost of travel and materials, that’s my business to worry about not the customers.’
‘And you work alone?’
‘Oh yes, only me.’ I’ve always worked by myself. This is something that my long term customers appreciate more than all. When they book, they get me. They don’t get anyone else. They have trust in me, because they know that I treat their car, whatever the car, like it’s my own. I have real pride in my work, and more often than not go that little extra to get the job really done and as they say, you’re only as good as your last job.