Today’s ultracompetitive marketplace is overflowing with high-tech, next-gen detailers poised to pounce on unprepared competitors. The modern detail customer demands a higher level of professionalism and performance than ever before and operators must continue to hone their skills if they are going win.
Jim’s Auto Installations and Detailing Center features two well-equipped detail bays and a full retail store/lobby.
But where can detailers turn to acquire the skills and knowledge required to build and maintain a loyal customer base?
The answer to that question remains as simple as it was in the industry’s bucket and hose days — networking. But modern networking means much more than in days past and can have a far greater and rapid influence over a detailer’s rise or fall.
Thanks to a host of new digital tools detailers can build meaningful relationships with operators around the globe. They can acquire the cutting-edge skills and techniques that are the building blocks of success, and lean on the expertise of their peers to solve unique and everyday challenges in real-time.
Jim Goguen of Jim’s Auto Installations and Detailing Center has played a major role in this modern networking approach, overseeing the enhancement of The Detail Mafia’s highly effective digital forum. In fact, the latest updates to the forum have been so transformative the industry veteran was named the detailing group’s Detailer of the Year.
“This was something that needed to be done and, and I took it on,” Goguen says of receiving the award for reinventing the forum. “It is difficult to take on such a complex project while running my own flourishing business but I was happy to take the lead.”
The detail business caters to both high-end and everyday clientele.
The new and improved detailing forum is available to The Detail Mafia’s more than 150 members. Each participant has the ability to post content and pose questions to the group. And thanks to the new functionality introduced by Goguen, members now have real-time access to the collective expertise of the thriving detailing organization.
“Every member has the ability to ask questions of the group,” Goguen says. “If you get into a jam, instead of picking up the phone, you can just post something to the group. And because members of the group are in different time zones even if you post late at night, it may be early in the morning someplace else, and there will be a member willing and able to help.”
Goguen founded Jim’s Auto Installations and Detailing Center three decades ago as a young, enthusiastic 20-year-old.
Jim Goguen gives every car that rolls into his shop his personal attention.
When he started the business it was a car audio shop, but over the years he slowly began augmenting his service offerings to include detailing.
“Around 15 years ago I really started focusing heavily on detailing,” Goguen says. “It started out as a kind of a fill-in business, but there was such a big need for quality detailing in the market that it took off. It’s turned out to be a great move because the car audio business has rapidly declined over the past five years. The features that customers were changing out their radios for years ago are becoming stock even on low-end cars.”
Currently, detailing accounts for around 70 percent of Goguen’s business, but he still offers a full array of auxiliary automotive services including truck accessories, car audio, remote starters, window tinting, graphics, lettering, paintless dent removal, and more.
Goguen was named The Detail Mafia’s Detailer of the Year at this year’s SEMA event.
“It’s nice to have a lot of offerings,” he says. “Customers might come in for one thing and end up buying something additional. We are trying to be a one-stop shop for all things automotive.”
Thanks to the multi-tasking approach to business, Jim’s Auto is booming.
During the summer months the appointment calendar is booked eight weeks in advance, and even in the winter months you can’t get a booking with less than a week’s notice. In fact, when customers come in for their annual spring detail they set their fall appointment at the same time to ensure they are on the books during the busy season.
“We are kind of like the dentist,” Goguen says about his business. “You come in every six months and you just book your next appointment. We have a really strong clientele and a lot of repeat business. It just keeps growing and growing.”
In his early days in the detailing business, Goguen learned the value of hard work and the importance of continuing to enhance his skills, but acquiring those skills wasn’t always easy. Prior to the digital age, detailers needed to make in-person connections with fellow detailers, and getting answers to seemingly routine questions required herculean efforts.
The master detailer doesn’t rest until every vehicle is perfect.
“I always tell the younger guys that they don’t know how good they have it,” Goguen says. “When I started out there was no place to turn for answers.”
But times have certainly changed thanks to people like Detail Mafia founder Renny Doyle and his loyal and influential members like Goguen. Now detailers have a strong network of talented and knowledgeable peers willing to share their expertise to the betterment of all. But despite the availability of cutting-edge networking tools like the Mafia’s forum there is still no substitute for in-person connections, a point Goguen likes to drive home with all the members of the group.
“I go to Mobile Tech and SEMA every single year,” Goguen says. “I have made so many contacts at these events over the years and had the opportunity to test products for some of the leading companies in the industry. That is one of the things that has helped set me apart.”
Goguen is a four-time member of the prestigious Air Force One Detailing Team.
Goguen posses with Detail Mafia founders Renny and Diane Doyle.
Staying current on products and techniques has become table stakes for detailers today. And as the industry continues to evolve into a sophisticated and professional endeavor it is more vital than ever for detailers to seek out the expertise of their peers and invest heavily in their educational efforts.
“We really spend a lot of time and money on education,” Goguen says. “I tell people all the time that there has been more changes in the detailing industry in the last five or six years than there was in the 30 years before. It’s just a whole different style.”
While these new products and techniques may have increased the barrier of entry into the business they have also made success in the industry more attainable to those willing to put in the effort. And what’s more, success no longer has to come at the expense of other aspects of a detailer’s life.
“One of the things that Renny focuses on with our group is that it is not all about money and business,” Goguen says. “It’s about finding that balance between business and a lifestyle. Doing it the smart way, and not undercharging and undervaluing your work and having to work 80 to 90 hours a week to make a living.”
The tools are out there for any detailer to turn himself from a jobber into a master detailer. Thanks to innovators like this year’s Detailer of the Year those tools are more accessible than ever and are helping the detail industry reinvent itself and its members.
Name: Jim’s Auto Installations and Detailing Center
Owner: Jim Goguen
Years in Business: 30
Location: Ipswich, Massachusetts
Shop: Two-Bay Fixed Location
Services: Detailing, Car Audio, Window Tinting, Paintless Dent Removal