Oct 18, 2019
Detailing Horror Story - WTF is that smell?
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First of all thank you for your inspiring and
A bit off track but here's a little background for
your listeners before the horor story.
For years I had been toying with side gigs testing
the waters with different businesses including computer repair,
handyman and small engine repair until my stepson most recently
suggested that I look into mobile auto detailing around the
begining of March 2019.
Quite the variety huh, well yes I've been around
the block a few times and the common theme is I love to build, fix
and improve things and I do have some automotive bodywork
experience from years ago.
So I did a little research on it mainly on YouTube
and within a few hours I was hooked. It seemed to be right up my
alley. With my stepson being an avid Joe Rogan podcast listener I
figured it was time I learned what podcasts were and see if there's
one on auto detailing. So needless to say back in March 2019 I
found The Auto Detailing podcast.
After listening to a couple episodes I decided to
go back to your intro episode and start there from the beginning.
During my daytime job while operating a machine, I listened to all
your podcasts back to back for about a month and a half taking
notes and slowly planning out the business. Between listening to
you and your guests I formulated a very rough business plan that
included an initial equipment list, product list, detailing
methods, tips and tricks, marketing ideas and of course HouseCall
Pro. If you go to my website you'll see some influences including a
top-10 list on the front page. www.progressivedetailing.com
I must say it was very interesting to vicariously
experience your growth over the course of several years in a matter
of 6 weeks not only with the podcast, but also your detailing
Unlike the handyman and small engine repair
businesses this one is legit with insurance, home based
business permit, tax I'd, etc. I officially launched the
business May 1st 2019 shortly after building the website,
establishing Google Adwords, and my intro post on
My first jobs came from my sister, a business
acquaintance, my insurance agent and a few people on Nextdoor who
knew of me from small engine repair and wanted detailing services
for dirt cheap.
Ever since launch date I've been busting my rear
end at it evenings and weekends exclusively.
In the 4 months I've been in business I'm now up to
14 awesome 5-star Google paragraph reviews along with a few more
awesome facebook reviews and have an estimated 350 hours of
detailing on the books. I just started to utilize part-time
employees and starting to enjoy the benefits of not doing
everything myself. Yes I am patting myself on the back, I love to
do that once in a while.
As for this business physically wearing on you and
many of your guests, at 54 I'm loving the detailing and exercise
that comes along with it. It's like going to a gym that pays
I have very little extra time between my full time
job, detailing and family life, but I found a little time here in
my detail-mobile waiting for the next appointment to share my story
and again, thank you for the inspiration and words of encouragement
that you have shared through the podcasts.
As for the horor story, it's more like a horrible
So I went on a detail one day and when I arrived at
the suv and walked around it with the customer I asked her if there
was anything unusual that she needed me to pay extra attention to.
She looked at me and said "well there is something."
"There's a bit of a smell in the car. About 3 weeks
ago I spilled Italian beef on the front seat and I tried cleaning
it up and the smell just won't go away."
So I opened up the door to the vehicle and it was
so nasty I could barely put my head inside. I thought about it for
a minute and based on your suggestions to get an ozone generator I
did have one that I use as part of my regular details. so I put the
ozone generator in the vehicle for an hour while I detailed the
exterior of the car. Fortunately the ozone generator helped
considerably, but it still did not completely remove the odor
because I obviously had some cleaning to do.
The seat in question was the front passenger seat
and I avoided that like the plague while detailing the interior. I
started at the back and worked my way forward saving the passenger
seat for last because I did not want to deal with that
I did look at it briefly on the top and underneath
and didn't really see anything significant before getting started
on the interior.
However once I finally got to detailing that front
passenger seat I just decided to soak it down with carpet extractor
solution and suck everything out with my extractor.
By that time I had all the surfaces cleaned in the
vehicle and it was smelling pretty good. The very last part of the
interior detail I got down on my knees and looked under the front
of the seat to start start vacuuming and finish up the job. That's
when I discovered the real source of the smell. There was a large
take-home container of something with liquid sauce, grease floating
on the top, and a big round mold growth in the center. That was the
source of the smell and that container in and of itself was pretty
I was able to manage sliding it back out from under
the seat without spilling too much of the nastiness then I was
finally able to finish cleaning under the seat and disinfecting it
with my steamer and vacuum, then do a secondary ozone treatment to
finish off the job.
Well that's my story.
Being based in the Chicagoland area, my next
adventure is figuring out how to stay busy over the Winter as it's
starting to creep up on us here in the midwest.
I thought about that last night when I was
detailing in the dark in 65 degrees with 90% humidity and I had to
stop because of dew setting in on the paint while trying to apply
sealant. Made me think about frost coming next, then freezing temps
Remembering your guest from, I think it was
Minnesota, I'm inspired and looking forward to the challenges!
Well, time to go seal that paint.
Thanks again Jimbo!