Throughout the last year, I did a lot of contemplating on what being a professional detailer meant. And what I think I discovered is a slight shift in perspective, at least from the way I was promoting Clean Cars Inc.
One of the things I kept getting hung up on was the fact that in some other cultures, they don’t tip.
Not to long ago, I stayed with a friend in Raleigh while out there detailing cars and to repay him for his generosity I took him out for the best breakfast in Raleigh. While I was eating the best biscuits and gravy ever made, we started discussing this idea and he told me a story about his experience with other cultures and tipping.
He told me about hosting some of his friends from Italy and how they reacted to tipping here in the states. You see, in Italy, the consider wait staff at restaurants to be professionals and one of the fundamental differences in wait staff there and here in the states is how they’re paid. The servers in Italy are paid well and expected to do their job well, as professionals. Then the costs of a professional salary is built in to how much the restaurant charges for the meal–no tips necessary. So when these people from Italy came to the states, they couldn’t understand why my friend was leaving tips every time they went out for food. That’s when I understood what I had to do.
I had to build in the cost of professional labor to the price of our services.
Don’t get me wrong, I literally survived on tips for about the first two to three years in business and I couldn’t be any more grateful for them and if you ever feel like one of our service technicians went above and beyond the call of duty for you and want to give them a little something extra, nobody is going to stop you. Just know that we are making a concerted effort to hire people who are good at what they do and pay them appropriately.
Tips used to be a fairly large part of our revenue when I first started hiring people for Clean Cars Inc. and I couldn’t promise anyone I hired a decent wage. When the tips were good, we did well; when the tips weren’t so good–or non-existant–we didn’t fair too well. When I switched over to our new pricing schedule and including better, more consistent pay for my employees, I noticed an instant improvement in the quality of work being done.
After seeing this improvement, I sought out information to make sure I was ultimately paying my people enough and that’s when I found Just Economics. They’re an organization in Asheville, NC dedicated to raising the wages of everyone to at least a living wage, so I joined. I wanted the accountability to make sure I’m doing the right thing for my employees and the accreditation so our customers and potential customers can see that effort as well.
So next time you have us detail your vehicle, you can know that we will be professional and if we’re not, I want to hear about it.