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The Auto Detailing Podcast

Oct 18, 2019

Detailing Horror Story - WTF is that smell?



Hello Jimbo.

First of all thank you for your inspiring and informative podcasts!
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. 
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 business.
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 Nextdoor. 
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 me. 
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 smell story...
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 nastiness. 
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 horrifying. 
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 shortly after.
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!
Take care.