Auto Laundry News - December 2011

Turnaround — The Diary of a Depressed Detailer

By Sharie Sipowicz

Dear Diary...

September 1, 2011
Well, almost another year gone by, and like all the rest. Gosh, I wish I knew what I was doing wrong, maybe things will get better.

It is really getting to be a drag getting up every day and hoping we get enough business to pay the bills. The worst thing is, nobody seems to care what happens to me. I wonder if I even care myself anymore.

Sure, this is negative thinking; I just can’t help it. You know, life is like a party and I wasn’t invited. Maybe a good fairy will come and wave a magic wand to help me make some real mon-ey, or just simply make things better.

September 3, 2011
Another crummy day. Three customers scheduled. One called and canceled. Would not commit to re-schedule, but said he’d call back to reschedule. Yeah right! I know I will never see him again. Another didn’t show up and when I called, the number was disconnected. Probably had a bad credit card or the check would have bounced anyway.

And the last customer finally show-ed up a half hour late and said he needed the car by noon.

September 28, 2011
Well, guess what? More trouble to report. Two months behind on my rent payment. Afraid to balance my checkbook account because I think it’s in the negative. Will have to take a cash advance on my credit card to make my payments. I ran into my ex-girlfriend, how humiliating. She asked me how I was doing and about my detail business. Told her things were going very well and I was really happy. Gave me a sideways look she always gave me back in the day, you know the one, when she knew I was not telling the truth.

November 4, 2011
Today was a good day: Two new customers, and generated $495 — better than usual.

Had time to look at some of the trade journals I normally don’t have time to read. I thought I’d see what’s going on in the industry. Maybe I’ll implement some of the marketing ideas. I really can’t afford much advertising, but I need to do something.

According to other detail shop owners most of the advertising they do is referral and word of mouth. Why spend money then? Isn’t there a way to attract quality customers who will pay me, stay with me, and refer customers to me?

Oh well, maybe this month is going to be different. I’ve already generated almost $1,000 in business.

December 7, 2011
Christmas is approaching and I’ve only generated $7,130. That won’t even cover my overhead. Gosh, I hope my credit cards have some room.

You know, I have never thought of this before, but what would happen if I had to close my doors and walk away? Now, that is scary. What will my parents, their neighbors, and my friends think? I just hope I make it through the month.

This weekend I need to make a decision to either trudge on as I have, or get a part-time job tending bar at night. Maybe there is someone who can help me?

December 15, 2011
Got another trade journal today. Probably is the last one I will ever read, so I read it.

Diary, you have finally heard my words. Today I read a story about a once-struggling detail shop that was worse off than me. He was chronically ill from stress and now he is doing great.

I learned how this detail business discovered how to change their perspective and start to do things differently. So, I purchased the book he recommended, The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, which I will get in a couple of days. Wish me luck. I am still skeptical. You know I will keep you posted.

February 7, 2012
Diary, I apologize for neglecting you for a few months, but I have been really busy at the shop. Things have totally changed for the better. If it wasn’t for that book, which revealed what 95 percent of our detail profession is doing wrong, I’d still be struggling, lying awake at night worrying where I am going to get money to pay my bills.

How about this? Working only Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. — and I take a day off every other week.

By my next entry, I will have purchased some new detail equipment.

Sharie Sipowicz is aftermarket sales manager with Detail Plus Car Appearance Systems Inc. She has been involved in the detail industry for over 20 years, both as a vendor of products and equipment and as a hands-on operator in a retail detail environment. You can contact Sharie at

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