What is our Why

I am lucky to be surrounded by some incredible friends who they themselves own businesses in various stages. Some have built many successful businesses and some are on their journey just like me.

A couple of weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, I was sitting down and having coffee and breakfast. It was one of the nicer 55 degree days that were sparse in March and I was having an amazing conversation with Chelsea from Chelsea’s Boutique. Chelsea has a way of asking no B.S. questions that dive into your soul and make you think for hours afterward; I always greatly enjoy our chats even though they are spread out.

Towards the end of our 2-hour chat, she asked me

‘What’s your goal for your business this year?’

I responded: ‘I want to double my revenue again this year’

She smiled understandingly: ‘You know, I too was at that stage in my business where all I worried about was revenue. It wasn’t until I read Simon Sinek’s Start with Why that I figured out the ‘why’ behind my business and the revenue took care of itself. I encourage you to read it. Why do you think revenue is such a driver behind your motivation?’

I thought about it for a second. It was a tough question. Revenue wasn’t really the driving force behind the business. It was just a goal that I had come up with in January to give me something to shoot for that year. But it I hard time pinpointing what my real drive behind my business was. I couldn’t answer her at the time.

The question stuck with me for days. I woke up every morning thinking about what was it that caused me to wake up at 4:45 am (most mornings) and go to work and clean cars for other people. And then come home and do all the other things that I needed to do to keep it humming along. And I do it all happily. Like I really enjoy it. But why? Why was this such a hard question to answer?

Days turned into a couple of weeks. It’s very common for me to wear headphones and listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and music while I detail. I just kind of let myself flow into my work. Two of my employees were there and it suddenly hit me.

I knew the WHY behind my business!  I dropped my polisher immediately and ran to my office and Sam, one of my PT guys looked very confused and I yelled ‘WAIT TILL YOU SEE THIS!’ 

I quickly wrote down on my whiteboard in my office;

“We believe that your vehicle is an extension of your personality. Our goal is to make it look the way you have always wanted.”

I brought in both of my employees and they read it and both agreed that it was very fitting. It was longer when I first thought of it but it will always be something that will evolve and change with the times.

Without a doubt in my mind this is the reason why I love doing what I do. The best thing in the world is a person taking the time out of their day to tell me what it is about this particular vehicle that did it for them. I like seeing the passion behind peoples eyes when the explain to me when they were on the test drive that this was the one for them.

I don’t know what it is about man and machine that connects us but there is something to it. There is something about getting out of a sports car that when you get done driving it your adrenaline is pumping so hard your hands are shaking and you can’t get the smile off of your face. The feeling of clicking through gears and listening to the exhaust wail and the car begging for more. And then the burble and backfire as you let off and slow down.

But there’s also something just as awesome as the minivan that finally gets the kids to and from a 6-hour car ride without the parents having to go see a counselor for a week afterwards because of the whining and crying that goes on.

Or the luxury car that when you arrive at the fancy business dinner that you step out feeling more powerful and everyone can see it too. And the people your meeting when they see you get out of it they know what’s up.

All we do is simply make the car look as good as what your imagination wants it to be.

Common Paint Defects

LITTLE INTIMIDATING ISN’T IT? 

Well that’s what I am here for! I am going to break down each one of these common paint defects without trying to go TO nerdy on you.

SWIRLS

As the graphic above shows, the most common way to get swirls is improper wash technique but what exactly is happening in your paint that causes these? And what else can cause them?

In this example, the car would be a red color which you can see in the base coat. The base coat is the layer of paint that gives the car its color and above that is the clear coat which protects the base coat from harmful UV rays and other environmental issues. But most automotive clear coats are soft and get fine little scratches in them called swirl marks. At first, these are not a problem, but if not taken care of after some time your car will start to look less shiny to you.

Light swirl marks can be taken out with what is commonly referred to as a ‘one step polish’ which is what we do in our Gold package. Please note- most detail shops and dealerships use either a glaze or heavy wax that fills in these swirls so it looks great when you pick it up but after a couple of washes it fades away and you are left with a car that looks just like it did before. We don’t believe in this. We believe that when it leaves our shop as long as you properly maintain the finish what you paid for will stay. Thus giving you more value for you money.

If the swirl marks are really severe it might need what we call a ‘two step polish’ to get rid of most of the swirl marks. This is a compound polish followed by a lighter polish.

Now, what else can cause swirl marks besides poor washing technique?

  • Brush car washes
  • Leaving salt and dirt on the surface for long periods of time
  • Just simply driving

Yes, I am sorry to say, but unless you plan on garaging your car 24/7 and never driving it you will EVENTUALLY get swirl marks. The key is how severe they are and how deep.

This is also why ceramic coatings have become so popular. It creates an additional, harder, layer on top of your clear coat so that it takes the punishment.

SCRATCHES

This one doesn’t need much explanation and both graphs do a great job of explaining what they are and giving a visual reference to them. A good rule of thumb for these is if your fingernail can catch it, it’s to deep to try and take it out.

BUFFER MARKS

Now this one usually takes a well trained eye to spot but sometimes the defect is so terrible it stands out like a sore thumb. As the graph states these are usually caused by a heavy cut compound that has not been finished down properly. This can also happen when someone is using too high of a machine speed or too heavy pressure.

I like to use the example of using sandpaper on wood. If you only use 800 grit sandpaper the wood is left feeling very rough and not smooth at all. This is why you finish wood with higher grits to smooth down what the more coarse sandpaper left behind. The same applies with polishing and paint. When polishing you are slowly ‘sanding’ away layers of paint and when you use to aggressive of a polish it leaves the surface rough and needs to be followed up with a less aggressive polish.

WATER/ACID/BUG ETCHING

I added in the third one because these three are essentially doing the same thing to the paint surface. And every year I have to break the news to someone that because their paint is soft or because they have left bugs on the front end of their car for too long that it has now etched the paint.

So what exactly is going on here? What is water etching? What is bug etching? I will explain both because they are slightly different.

Water etching happens when it has rained out or when your sprinklers run on your car and then the car is left outside to dry in the sun. All water carries minerals in it and so when the water evaporates it leaves behind these minerals which are acidic. These acidic minerals then slowly eat away the paint leaving rings. This is VERY common on glass.

Bug etching happens when a bug impacts your paint and is left to sit. Bugs are quite acidic and when left on your paint slowly etch it away. Ever washed your car and scrub at the front end in frustration because it seems like you can’t get the bugs off? This is what is happening. The bug guts have ate away a small layer of paint that looks like the bug is still there but is in fact gone and has etched itself into your paint.

Acid spots are caused by using to strong of a chemical and not properly rinsing off the area or allowing it to dry. This is quite common on touchless or brush washes because of the very strong chemicals used.

So what can you do to prevent these? Again. This is another reason ceramic coatings have come about. While they can’t totally prevent water spots (nothing can) it creates a sacrificial barrier so it takes the hit and not your paint. It is also easier to remove water spots from coatings than it is paint as we can get much more aggressive with removal.

Water Spots

It’s a rainy day here in South Dakota so I thought I would take this opportunity to write about something that I am getting lots of calls on lately. The dreaded water spot.

Its pretty straightforward what causes a water spot. A water spot is simply water that has been left on the surface that has minerals in it that when it dries it leaves behind the minerals which looks like a chalky residue.

The reason they can be stubborn to remove is because glass and paint is porous so when the minerals get left behind the minerals embed themselves into the pores. Also if the water is slightly acidic it will then create a small crater in the paint and glass that even if you remove the minerals the crater will leave a visible defect in either the paint or the glass.

If you have water spots on either your paint or glass the first thing you should do is try to remove them as soon as possible this will hopefully prevent them from etching into either surface. If you fail to catch the water spots until after they have dried no worries! There are a couple of things you can try. Get a spray bottle and fill it 50:50 with water (preferably purified) and vinegar. The acidity of the vinegar will help break up the minerals and hopefully get them removed.

If you get the chalky part of the water spot removed but it still leaves behind a defect your options become much more limited. On paint you may have to resort to polishing in order to get them removed while on glass you will have to have a detailer or glass shop attempt to remove them using stronger chemicals but if this does not work you will unfortunately just have to replace the glass.

So this sounds expensive and sounds really crappy right? Wouldn’t it just be better to prevent them in the first place? Hint: the answer is yes.

The best thing you can do is apply a sealant to your paint every 3 months to keep it protected and apply the same sealant to your glass. This will help with a couple of things. First off sealants will make the surface smoother and more hydrophobic so less water will be on the surface and it also creates a sacrificial barrier so if it does happen to etch it has to go through the sealant first then the clear coat of the paint. For glass there is also another added benefit of creating a Rain-X effect where your wipers will be more effective and water will also slide off when driving down the highway.

Since glass has much more limited options of removing water spots it also may be a good idea to think about applying a windshield coating so that you are protected for at least a year and the protection is much better than just a sealant. Read this article on windshield coatings  to learn more about them.