Detail Management - August 2010

Moocher — Does Either Definition
Apply to You?
By Sharie Sipowicz

Webster’s offers two definitions of the word mooch or moocher:

1. To get or try to get something free of charge; sponge; live by mooching off friends.
2. To wander about aimlessly.

Reading these definitions, you have to agree that we live in a world that has its share of moochers — not necessarily the homeless standing on street corners, but many individuals from all walks of life who simply want something for nothing. Whether better health, better relationships, personal growth, spirituality, or business success, they want the benefit without having to pay the price. They want things given to them on a silver platter and when they do not get it, everyone else is to blame. It can be their parents, spouse, nationality, boss, gender, genes, height, weight, teachers, pastors, therapists, kids, co-workers, schools, the economy, the competition, the weather, the year in which they live, where they live, you name it, everyone and everything else is to blame, certainly not them.


Let me provide you some examples of mooching. But remember, this article is for you, not anyone else. So, if the shoe fits, wear it. You decide whether you are a whiney victim or adhere to the “old fashioned” idea of sowing and reaping — not expecting to withdraw what you have not deposited.

Do you complain that you are underpaid, underappreciated, and stuck in a rut?

If you do, you bore your friends and family with many sad tales to the point that you are now renowned for brightening a room as soon as you leave it.

In spite of the sorry position you claim you are in, you do nothing to improve your situation. You do not read books or take courses that would improve your detailing knowledge or capabilities. You spend a lot of time on the Internet or in front of the TV, but complain that you do not “have time” to improve your detailing knowledge. You really are just shrinking up as a person. If you do not grow and improve, that happens.

If you work for someone, you are the problem, gossiping about sports or who was voted off American Idol, but you do not make any contribution to improving yourself on the job. So, if you are in a rut it is because you are in a rut. As the late motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “Things get better when you get better, and you get better when you go to work on yourself. Never wish it were easier, wish you were better.”

Do you tell everyone how bad business is and recite a litany of reasons why?

Despite all the excuses, you are neglecting one of the most important responsibilities you have and that is nurturing the skills, habits, and attitudes of your employees. You do not train, coach, or mentor with any consistency, but are quick to blame the employees for all the problems of the detail business. Even if you do invest money in training, you don’t manage in a way that holds employees accountable for what they learn; you fail to transform your training from occasional to non-negotiable, and aren’t strong enough as a manager to find one to two hours per month to mentor your most important resources — your employees.

Yes, you are most generous, spending money on pizzas and burgers, but what about money to improve the employees’ capacity to be better detailers for your business. If you do not invest consistently in your employees, you do not deserve to have them. In fact, you deserve to lose them. And if they do stay with you, you don’t deserve better results because you’re a moocher — you’re looking for the payoff without paying anything upfront.

Do you complain how difficult it is to find good people?

Sure you do. But in reality, you only recruit when you are in a crisis and interviews are a joke; there is no real assessment made to determine if the candidate is bringing the right personality, talent, drive, or character to your detail business. Hiring for you is an inclusive exercise, rather than an elimination process, making it easy for morons, moochers, and misfits to get on to your payroll.

Without a doubt, this kind of hiring brings long-term damage to your detail business. You really cannot begin to measure what hiring the wrong person costs you in terms of low shop morale, lost momentum, loss of personal credibility with other employees, and a general negative effect on the business, which always results in lost production.

The reason you hire the wrong people is that you do not conduct proper interviews. Like so many detail business owners, you hire on the cheap, no time for pre-employment assessments, the employees are not worth it, and they will be gone in a month or two anyway.


The other definition of a moocher is appropriate too: to wander around aimlessly. This is a natural consequence of the first definition: To get or try to get something free of charge; to sponge. Do you see the connection? No? Read on: When you try to get something worthwhile without paying the price, you wander aimlessly to another “easy” thing. Rather than work harder and persist in trying to improve, being a “moocher” causes you to search for the next easy thing that will change your luck. You will try anything as long as you do not have to expend any effort, suffer the pain of self-discipline, or experience personal discomfort to make things better.

These things are not said to be unkind, but many detail employees and business owners need to get a grip and grow up. They need to stop blaming external conditions for what ails them or their detail business, and realize that it has been past decisions that have held them back.

You have to understand the law of sowing and reaping: you do not wait until you reap to sow; rather you sow and then reap. Stop waiting for your lucky break or for the conditions around you to change. Instead, change the conditions around you. Remember, successful detailers do not depend on luck; they make their own luck as an employee or business owner.

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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