Sean Mara has been a car detailer for more than 10 years, but it wasn’t until a year ago that it changed from a hobby into a full-time profession at Inspire Detailing. A self-proclaimed “car guy”, Sean was always taking care of and maintaining his friends’ and family’s cars. This was on the side though; his full-time career was in real estate.
One fateful interaction changed that. About a year ago, Sean’s family was getting the roof replaced for their home. The roofer, Seth Bailey, saw Sean’s car in the driveway. Seth was a car guy too, and he was impressed by the quality of care that Sean had put into it to keep it in pristine condition. Seth needed a detail, ceramic coating, and paint correction for his own car, and he asked Sean to do it for him. Sean gave him a loose quote and went to work.
That one detail led Sean and Seth to think about starting a business together. When they decided to make it a reality, Sean met with a potential business investor for lunch. The investor knew immediately that Sean had what it took to be successful, and he decided to invest. Now that they had capital, Sean and Seth became business partners and their new company – Inspire Detailing was born.
Learning How to Run a Startup Detailing Business
Sean was committed to doing things right from the start, and the company has found unprecedented success. However, that doesn’t mean the company hasn’t faced challenges.
One of the biggest challenges was learning how to start and run a business while they were running it. There were a lot of things – like licensing and taxes – that they had to learn as they went along.
There was also a management and organization challenge.
“From the very beginning, I knew we didn’t want to run our business with paper. We needed technology to help us look credible to our customers, look professional, stay organized, and work efficiently,” Sean said.
When they first started, Sean was piecing together different technologies that helped him manage his business. Square was used to process payments. He had custom templates made for invoices with Inspire’s logo on them. He also had a camera to document damage, a signature app, and Google calendar for scheduling appointments.
The piecemeal technology worked for a while, but eventually it got difficult to manage. Sean started considering other options. He looked into Housecall Pro, but it only had about half of the things he needed for their detailing business. He even considered hiring a friend in software development to custom-build the technology that matched what he needed.
Mobile Tech RX – The All-in-One Business Management Tool for Detailers
During his search for a better solution, Sean found some case studies about PDR technicians from Mobile Tech RX. If the app could do the same things for detailers as it did for PDR techs, Sean was interested. He immediately joined the waitlist for Mobile Tech RX’s detailing app and was one of the first detailers to sign up for a free trial when the new product officially launched.
A week into his trial, he’d already created 6 invoices with his customers during a weekend’s worth of work.
“Mobile Tech RX has everything I need, and it’s all on my tablet. I can scan a VIN and pull up a car’s information; I can capture and save photos, and my customers can sign straight on the app. It’s a game-changer. My customers even tell me it’s awesome and makes everything seamless.”
With Mobile Tech RX, Sean never has to leave the customer to work on paperwork. As an all-in-one business management solution, the Mobile Tech RX detailing app helps him work more efficiently and makes him look more professional.
Finding and Taking Opportunities
Sean and Seth are less than a year into running their business, but their dedication and commitment are already paying off and the company is growing.
Inspire Detailing hired their first employee a few months ago. This employee has been helping with detailing, launching the company’s first video content, and managing their social media presence.
They’ve also secured partnerships with huge product companies like Auto Finesse, Scangrip, IGL Coatings, The Rag Company, and many others.
Today, Inspire Detailing isn’t just a detailing business. Sean and Seth have seen opportunities for growth and for additional revenue streams, and they’ve gone after them.
Future Goals for Inspire Detailing
Next year, Sean and Seth plan on moving the business from Hagerstown, Maryland, to a more central location for customers in the Washington DC, Baltimore, and Arlington areas. They believe this move will provide more business opportunities and higher revenue potential for the business. In the longer term, Sean is interested in exploring opening up a second location in Florida.
Soon they will house inventory, create an online shop, and be a reseller of products with Auto Finesse, Scangrip, IGL Coatings, The Rag Company, and many others.
The company also has their sights on winning a small business grant through FedEx. The grand prize would be $50,000 plus $7,500 in print and business services.
Advice for Detailers
We asked Sean to give us some words of advice that he would have given himself while he was trying to get Inspire Detailing off the ground. Here’s what he said:
“Forget about the technical side of detailing; you already know how to detail. To run a successful detailing business, you really need to focus on the business side of things. There’s a lot to learn – like how to comply with state and local requirements, knowing what to do with taxes, and the practical aspects of operating.”