Motivating Auto Detail Shop Employees

Prior to retirement I’d set up a mobile detailing franchising company, and over the years I’d learned that auto-detailers take their trade and craft very seriously. Most treat it like an art more than a science, and I understand that, and so would you if you detailed cars to perfection and show room quality for a living. We all know that auto detailing isn’t a rocket science, but maybe it should be closer to a science than an art, without destroying the finesse and talent it takes to get there.

Now then, I’ve sat in seminars and listened to automotive detail experts and gurus explain how to turn a detailing shop into a production line. And, Winslow Friedrich Taylor, the grandfather of modern management, is in my family tree, and he believed in paying people piece-meal, paying people for each unit completed, rather than a salary or per hour. That makes sense for a mobile detailing shop, and you must have goals for your production, so that you don’t waste any of your bays, or any of the time during the week, and still have maximum output.

Granted, all of these things are important however when you are dealing with artists who really care about the detailing, and pride themselves in perfection, something that your customers also desire, then the last thing you wish to do is alienate them. If you push your detailers too hard, or chisel them on the amount of money that you pay them for each car they detail, they may get upset when you give them a “dog” or a totally trashed car when another detailer gets a car which is already in pretty good shape, and each person gets the same amount of bonus for each unit completed.

They won’t find this to be unfair, and the “dog” could take them twice or three times as long to do a perfect job, and being a perfectionist they won’t quit until it’s perfect. You need to have some sort of a bonus system so when someone gets a really ugly car that is totally trashed, they get a few extra bucks. You should also take “before and after pictures” and put those in the lobby with the individual’s name under it, to show how great their work is. I used to introduce them to the customer and have them thank the detail directly and perhaps even give them the tip and request them next time.

Motivation should not only be based on money, there should also be for rewards for performance, perfection, professionalism, and production. I hope you will please consider all this because it’s important, and it’s also the fair way to play it. Think on it.