Branding Your Detailing Business
Updated: Apr 9
Branding is at the core of your marketing strategy, so branding must come first. Even if you are a startup, it is essential to clearly define who you are as a brand before you begin to devise your specific marketing methods, tools, strategies, and tactics. I don't see or hear a lot of talk on this subject so here I am. There are different levels of branding and we will go over some of the things you can do to help your detailing business stand out from the others. My motto on this subject is, don't worry about being better, focus on being different.
Name Your Business and Come up With a Slogan
Thank You Cards
Before & After Photos and Video Production
Work Uniform & Everyday Shirts
Enclosed Trailer or Work Vehicle Wraps
Work Canopies and Event Canopies
These are all things you need to have to brand your business successfully. The goal is to look as professional as possible right from the gate. The only thing is, if you do not know graphic design and you're not a very creative person, how do you go about achieving this? Many people will try to do it themselves. The only problem with that is, if you're not well versed in graphic design, it will most likely fall short of looking professional and that can be a serious problem. Personally and lucky for me, I spent years in Adobe Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and other programs before I started my detailing business. I was able to brand NitPickin Mobile Detailing on my own but I will not be getting into all of that today. My goal today is to help you understand branding.
Name Your Business & Come up With a Slogan
Let's start with the Name of Your Business and the Slogan. Short story.
When I started thinking about building a new detailing business, the first thing that came to mind was NitPickin Mobile Detailing. That name rang a bell for me because people have always said I take too long that I nitpick too much with everything I do. So then I started to think about a slogan. I woke up one morning and We Don't Cut Corners, We NitPickem popped in my head. Boom, I got my slogan and a motto that feels natural for who I am. NitPickin Mobile Detailing - We Don't Cut Corners, We NitPickem. I wanted to make 100% certain I was the only one with this name and slogan. So I did some extensive internet research and sure enough, its 100% original. Now I own it! Anyhow,
The name of your business should be as catchy and unique as possible. It should be a name people won't forget. Most people in the detailing industry use their names like Tom's Mobile Detailing or something along those lines. I did that back in 2007. That's fine and dandy, and you should do what feels right in your heart. Just note that you should try not to choose a name that fits in with everyone else. If you must use your name, your branding will still need to be just as steller as if you created a name from scratch such as NitPickin Mobile Detailing, EZN Detailing, or Detail Bookie. Your name (Walt's Mobile Detailing) can work if you brand it right! Just make certain you are 100% sure about the name of your business because it is not a good idea to change it later on down the road for obvious reasons.
Now that you have the name of your business, let's talk about the colors you chose to represent your business. The colors are just as important as your name. Colors have meaning and can provide a particular vibe for your business. For NitPickin, I chose Red, Black, White & Gray simply because those are colors I enjoy working with and I can create graphics nicely around them. My uniforms match, my business cards and all other graphic materials all match, my truck matches, my enclosed trailer matches, and even most of my tools match my business's color scheme. All of your branding should be wrapped around your choice of colors.
For example, take a look at my website www.nitpickindetailing.com to see how I've used my colors to tie everything together. Notice I use other colors that are not part of my business's color scheme in order to make certain things stand out.
For example on my home page, yellow is a color of caution so I chose yellow to highlight our Ozone Treatment. (Note: This is a screenshot of my old website that no longer exists.)
Try to use the everyday meaning of colors as needed when designing your website. Sometimes it doesn't matter though. Just be thoughtful on the matter! Colors are important.
Your business's logo is just as important as the color scheme you chose. How your logo looks should be easy to read, have shapes and use some if not all of the colors in your business's color scheme. I did some internet research on about ten other detailing businesses from all over the United States to see how their logos looked. I found that most detail company's logos looked very similar to each other. I refuse to look similar to everyone else. Although in the very beginning my logo looked like everyone else's but down the road, I re-branded my logo design. It's probably best to just look different right off the bat.
For example, take a look at this NitPickin logo.
Notice it matches my color scheme with the red and gray colors. I use this logo on the back window of my truck. It fills in the entire window perfectly. I use it in many other places as well.
Even though it looks great on the back window of my truck, it looks terrible in other places such as a Facebook profile photo. So I have two styles of logos. One is rectangular and the other is circular. I know, it's been told that we should only have one logo, or else it could be confusing to the public. They may think it's two different businesses if they keep seeing two different logos going around. I chose to ignore that statement for now.
Here is how my circular logo looks as a Facebook profile photo. Now imagine putting the rectangular logo as a FB profile photo, you would be able to read it and it would look terrible. Notice the other logo is in the cover photo. lol I use both. Also, notice I have two slogans, Raise Your Standards With Us - NitPickin Mobile Detailing - We Don't Cut Corners, We NitPickem.
If you're not a DIY graphic guy or gal, try these folks out at www.brandingdail.com. They do fantastic work and they are impressively affordable. They have graphic packages that can get you started off in the right direction!
This is a subject that should be taken seriously. A great website will land you work and help keep people coming back. On the other hand, a bad website will run people off and they will never return. A good website makes you money and a bad website will make you lose money.
Think of your website as a piece of real estate that all of your customers and potential customers will visit when they need something from you. It's your storefront and you want it to look and function as good as possible.
First, let's note that I use wix.com. I currently pay around $200 a year for everything I have tied to my website. I started with a blank website but they have templates you can start from as well. I have had zero issues with Wix and I fully recommend them. They are user-friendly and they have an SEO wizard to help you get through the headache of setting up your SEO. It's a step-by-step process.
Building a great functioning website is no easy task for your average joe. In most cases, new detail business owners will attempt to build their own website for one or both of these reasons. One being they do not know who to contact for building their professional website or they do not have the funds to pay a professional. Some people even think a website is not necessary. It is absolutely necessary. I say if you do not know how to build a functional website, you need to have the funds to pay a professional or you are not ready to start your business. A website like mine would cost around $5,000 - $6,000 if I were to pay a professional but you can easily spend $10k. Essentially, you should have a fully functional website before you launch your business. If you are serious about your business but have no clue how to do any of that stuff and you want a professional website, take a look at these guys' Detailers Roadmap. They have monthly programs for different budgets.
Your detailing website should include at least these 5 tabs, a Home page, an Estimates & Booking page, a Gallery page, an About page, and a Contact page. All of which should have your branding.
Feel free to look over my website to see how I have it set up. I get a lot of compliments on it. Pay attention to the wording, the photos, the graphics, the videos, and just how I have it all laid out www.nitpickindetailing.com I'm not saying I have the best website in the detailing industry but I will humbly say it does make us money and we always get compliments from our customers as being the best detailing website they have ever seen which is why I figure its a decent example for you guys to take notes from.
Moving on, your logos should be all over your website. You should have a book now or get estimate buttons at every corner. Your phone number should be in plenty of places as well. The photos you use should be yours and not stolen from other websites but if you have to start with paid stock photos that's fine just plan on adding your own photos later. If you suck at taking photos then hire a professional photographer to go to work with you for one or two days. Yes, that can be expensive but it's worth it. You need to have photos of yourself and whoever works for you on your website and those should be professional portraits. People like to see who they are hiring. It can build trust right away. Your before and after photos and any photo you took that you use for your business should have your logo placed on them in post edit so no one else can use them. Use my website as a reference www.nitpickindetailing.com The literature on your website should be written by you and you should use proper grammar. If you are not good at writing, look into www.grammarly.com it will help you. If you copy and paste other people's literature from their website to yours, Google will now and it will hurt your ranking on search engines. Don't be scared to be yourself when you are writing for your website. Just keep in mind how people will perceive what you're saying by how you're saying it. Always be informative, straight to the point, and always be positive. Never ever be negative or insulting.
Quick Under The Hood Website Tip
The design of your website should be kept lightweight. That means the graphics, photos and videos that you upload to use on your website should be small in file size. An example of a single photo that is fit for web design should be between the file sizes 200kb-1mb. Video file sizes should be 1mb to 100mb.
Just keep in mind, a 100mb video file will take longer to load than a 1mb video file. I have 100mb video files on my website and I also have 2mb video files. My background video is 2mb in file size. Soon I will need to convert all of my larger video files down to a 1mb or 2mb file size to help speed up my site. The trick is to lower the file size just before it becomes pixelated ; ) Graphics, Photos and Videos are all part of branding your business. This is why they should be yours and not someone else's.
Keeping Your Website Up-To-Date
Having your own website means it will need to be updated as time goes on. Who does that? Either you or the people you've hired. If you hire a company to maintain your website that usually starts at around $100 a month. For example, I update my website for holidays and I will add discount codes for my customers to use such as HOHOHO10 which is a 10% off discount code that we use during the Christmas holiday. I will add little clipart graphics that fit the seasons. At Christmas time I will have Christmas lights and Christmas trees, elves, and other little Christmas decorations to help make my site feel like the current season.
My biggest website tip!
One of my biggest tips that can help you or whoever you hire to build your amazing-looking website is to seek out other detailing company's websites that you like a lot, that are far away from your area of business, and look at them for inspiration and ideas. Again do not copy their material and paste it on your website. Google will blacklist you for that and it will hurt your search ranking. Paying close attention to what the top detail companies are doing is the best way to keep your business up to date. But don't be afraid to set your own trends ; )
Your website is the stomping grounds for your business and I wish you the best of luck! Be creative, have fun, and take it seriously one step at a time!
This is an easy one but still just as important as everything else. Everywhere I go people ask me for a business card. That means having business cards is essential. The style of your business card will leave an impression on the person you hand it to. This is why it shouldn't be taken lightly. Branding should not be taken lightly. Your business card needs to be an extension of your website and your branding. Take a look at my business cards front and back then take a look at my website.
See how they both flow together and look similar? This is what I mean when I say your business card should be an extension of your website. They already saw your business card now when they go to your website it will look familiar. Make sense?
Take notice of the 5% off promo code on the business. My business uses promo codes through our CRM. I will talk more about that at the end of this blog post! Ok, so you see my logos, my slogans, my google reviews, photos of both me and my partner, a brief description of our main services, our phone number, and our website. No email... Emailing for estimates is old old ooolllddd news. More on that later at the end of this blog! Keep in mind your card does not have to have all the extra writing on it like mine does but it should be an extension of your website and have photos of you on it, your name, your logo and your website at the very least.
Your business card should be legible and easy to read! A great business card will compliment your business. I get my business cards printed through Vistaprint and I don't get the cheapest ones because I take my branding and marketing pretty seriously. My cards are printed with Embossed Gloss, with Rounded Corners mixed with a Premium Matte finish. They look and feel great in your hand. I get a lot of compliments on my business cards which is why I am using it as an example here.
Your business card should be perfect for you and your business. If you're not a graphic designer but you dabble enough in photoshop to edit templates, I suggest going to Envato Market and checking out all the amazing professional templates they have. Even if you're not dabbling in graphic design at all, most graphic designers on Envato will edit them for you for a small fee. Ok, enough about business cards let's move on!
Thank You Cards
As a business owner, try to think of ways you can leave behind different impressions aside from the amazing work you just did on your customer's vehicle. One way to do that is with a thank you card. Here is one of ours. Look it over to get an idea of what can go on a thank you card.
My thank you cards are typically 4.2" x 5.5" postcards - premium glossy on the front and the back. We use Vista Print to print these. The image above pretty much explains itself and the same rules from the business card apply to the thank you cards. I leave them in every new customer's vehicle after we are done. You can also leave a brand new high-quality microfiber towel for the customer to dust of the dash or whatever along with a couple of candies! You can even buy branded microfibers and candies just note that that route is a bit costly but it can help leave a lasting impression that may help them to come back for a round 2!
Photography & Portraits
The photos you use to show off your business can either make you look bad, average or make you look professional. I was a photographer before I was a detailer but I won't be getting into all that. Just know that every single photo of your business is a paused moment in time that people should look at and be impressed by. Always try to aim to impress. Image is everything. Your images are part of your branding and they should be taken seriously.
I use my iPhone 12 Pro Max for all my detailing business photography needs. I don't carry around my big professional camera to my detail jobs. My 12 Pro Max takes amazing photos and video for a phone and it has three lenses built right in. Take a peek at my Facebook Pages Image Gallery. Most of those photos are up to par with my standards and I am always improving shooting with my phone. Notice how just about every single photo has my brand on it. Like I said before you'll notice I recently rebranded my logo so you will see the first logo that I started with.
Professional Portraits of yourself are a must if you want your business to look even more professional.
They can be used for branding not only for your business but for yourself as well. You are your business so why on earth would you not plaster your face all over it! They can be cut out in photoshop and used on just about every single marketing item you have from websites to business cards to flyers to upright banners etc. Take a look at my upright banner as an example, I'm right there on it loud and proud. It is 7 feet tall and very easy to read when you're standing in front of it.
You are the face of your business if you chose to be! Or you can hire a model, dress them up in your uniform, and use them as the face of your business. Some companies do that but I chose to have me and my partner be the face of our business because I feel that is the best way for us. Branding ourselves along with our business just feels better if that makes sense.
In case you haven't noticed, the images that make sense with us in them, have us in them. Notice how it's beginning to all come together as one. This further familiarizes our customers with us. The goal is to stand out and try to keep people from forgetting you. Portraits can help you do that.
Selfies! Are you having a great day? Show people you're having fun or that it started raining and you're drenched at work. Take a selfie of you working in any situation that might stand out from your average selfie. Be silly, funny, serious whatever your character is at that moment do it that way. A selfie is a great way to express your day. We post selfies on Facebook mostly but if we catch a good one we will also upload it to our Google My Business or even our website. No matter what, the photos you chose to share on the web need to be sharp and high quality. Take pride in your photos and practice every day that you work! It can make the day a lot more fun and productive when your playing with your phone's camera during work hours!
Before & After Photos and Video Production
Being a detailing business, before and after photos are a must but you already know that don't you? Did you know you should be branding every single before and after photo? Look at these before and after photos in this small gallery I have below and notice my logo is always there.
I do this with every single photo I post that doesn't have me, my partner, or my truck and trailer in it. This is part of branding and it's ongoing. It not only helps keep other detailers from using your photos but it helps people recognize and familiarize themselves with your business plus it's just a good look to have.
I subscribe to Adobe's monthly subscription so I have access to all of their software including their mobile apps. Since I take all my photos with my phone, I edit 85 percent of my photos on my iPhone or my iPad using adobe apps. The apps I use are, Photoshop Express for editing the photos and making the collages and Photoshop Mix for adding my logo.
When I shoot a video with my phone, depending on what I am using the video for, I will either edit it on my phone using an app such as Luma Fusion, Clips, or even TikTok but if I want to do some more extensive editing then I will transfer my videos from my phone to my video editing computer and edit in Adobe Premiere Pro. Before I was a detailer I was a videographer and I shot many music videos and edited all of them so I have some decent experience in video production as well as photography. I was also a graphic design artist all at the same time. I did all of that for about 10 years. But just like I said about the photography in your business if you are not able to shoot and edit your own videos, hire someone local who does! Yes, it costs money but it can help you when you have some nice videos to help you market your business. Take this video I produced as an example.
The way you chose to market your business is completely up to you and the vibes your videos have will represent your business. Aside from all the experience I have with photography, video production, and graphic design I am also an ongoing music producer. I make all my own music for my business. Again if you don't produce music you can find royalty-free music of any genre that can be perfect for your business! It's your business and you set the vibe for it!
Work Uniforms & Everyday Shirts
If I'm being honest this is a subject that kind of excites me lol I know, silly right? Well, whatever lol. I believe in looking the part. The way you look can determine many different factors in a customer's eyes and I prefer not to risk any kind of bad impression with my dress code. So I say the work uniform is pretty important. Below is a photo mockup of my uniform that I still wear to this day and so does my partner. I'm actually getting ready to design a new uniform soon that's more suitable for Florida's summer heat!
Yes, color match your work uniform with the rest of your business. It will look great on you while you're working and your customers will oftentimes let you know! It feels good to look good anyways!
One key thing you need to keep in mind when putting together your work uniform is, make sure there are no metal parts exposed on your uniform. No metal buttons, no belt buckles, no jewelry, etc. Notice the button-up shirt. Yes, that's a button-up except the buttons are not exposed. Notice the belt. No belt buckle exposed. The shoes are lightweight and breathable. The hat is just a fitted flex hat. The shorts have cargo pockets that I use for putting brushes in or hanging small bottles from and keeping my cell phone on me while I'm working. The shirt has pockets on the front as well as on the sleeves. The sleeve pockets are perfect for putting narrow handled brushes in. I can't stress this enough, Never have metal parts exposed on your clothing when you are working on vehicles. You risk scratching the paint and other parts of the vehicle may get damaged as well.
Other Uniform Ideas
You can create any kind of uniform dress code that you want. As long as there are no metal parts exposed who cares! I've been seriously thinking about designing a complete dry-fit loose-fitting uniform that will help me battle this intense Florida sun. Same kind of hat, waterproof shoes by On Cloud, short and long sleeve custom printed wet dry shirts, and someone or two colors below the knee basket ball shorts. I guess the term would be an athletic-looking work uniform. I don't have any photos to share of my ideas yet but I will once I have them made. The bottom line is, the work uniform does matter and can help make you a more professional-looking detailer! Your goal as a business owner should be to make everything look as professional as you can. The uniform is no exception so take it as seriously as you would everything else.
Enclosed Trailer & Work Vehicle Wraps
Personally, I would never want to start a mobile detailing business without at least a brand new enclosed trailer. The vehicle matters to though.
Quick story. Before I launch my business, I bought a brand new enclosed trailer and had it wrapped by our local 5-star wrap company.