- February 25, 2020
- February 25, 2020
"The SBDC has been very much like a mentoring relationship."
- Zaia Dinkha, Owner
CarNewba Detailing, Phoenix, AZ
A vehicle is a major investment. Having it detailed by a professional is a great way to maximize the life of your vehicle. However, for most people, it isn’t easy to find time during the day to drop off your car somewhere for detailing. Just have CarNewba come to you! CarNewba is a mobile automotive detailing service that offers high quality at a competitive price with maximum convenience. Appointments can be scheduled at your home or even your office. In addition to typical cars, trucks, and SUVs, CarNewba also provides services for vehicles like mobile units, RVs, and shuttle buses. CarNewba is proud to be a veteran owned business.
Why did you choose to start a mobile automotive detailing service?
I had been detailing vehicles for over 4 years. I liked doing it because it was a way to help people protect their investment. Most people keep a vehicle for four to five years, but proper detailing can help it last much longer. I was also motivated by the positive feedback on the quality of my work. People would say things like, “It’s a completely different car and I love it now!” In addition to my work detailing vehicles, I was attending Harper College. I had enrolled in some entrepreneurship classes and really enjoyed them as well. A class project to create my own business venture led to an opportunity to enter a school competition for an angel grant. The competition was sort of like Shark Tank. It involved two rounds of a presentation on the business concept and financials. The winner was determined based on a combination of the idea, the presentation, and the individual. I was selected as a winner and was given a grant to help fund my business idea. It seemed like the perfect time to start my own detailing business. I launched CarNewba in 2017 and we have since grown to a team of three.
To what do you attribute your success?
I think CarNewba has been successful for a few reasons. First, it’s our values. The focus is on taking care of our customers and our employees. We try to tailor our services to the customers rather than the business. We provide service packages that make sense for the people in the community and offer them at a fair rate. In addition, we try to exceed expectations as much as possible to enhance our relationship with the customer. For example, while detailing a vehicle I often take notes about potential issues, like scratches. I then discuss what I found with the owner. I walk them through the best way to take care of the issue and whether or not it’s something that should be done right away, or if it can wait. They really appreciate this approach. CarNewba also tries to provide services in an ecofriendly manner. A typical touch-less carwash uses between 50 and 100 gallons of water per vehicle. We have developed methods that require less than 10 gallons for a full size SUV. Lastly, I have been very fortunate to have had some good mentors along the way, such as my professors at Harper and some friends who also have businesses. Brainstorming about the business is one of my favorite things to do with my mentors. Talking with my mentors was extremely helpful as I was launching CarNewba.
What does the future look like for CarNewba?
My vision is for CarNewba to become the Uber of automotive detailing. I can see some sort of convenient, app oriented scheduling system. People would set up an appointment for a specific date and time and then we would take care of their vehicle for them. The business should be relatively easy to scale from that point. It’s a mobile service, so it doesn’t require much in terms of property or equipment. There also isn’t too much upfront cost to train someone to detail cars, especially if they have an inherent interest in it. However, I do foresee some challenges when it comes to providing consistent quality. The best way to maintain our quality is to make sure that the staff is well trained and empowered to make decisions on the job. It’s also important to ensure that the staff has opportunities for professional development. That will support quality through both skills and motivation.
What advice do you have for someone just starting out?
One thing I have learned is that you should be prepared for some things to not go according to plan. The initial marketing tactics for CarNewba did not work well and we didn’t allocate enough funds for marketing. We started with very traditional tactics like door to door, postcards, and flyers, but we didn’t get the expected return. Switching to digital tactics, like Facebook and Instagram, improved our ROI. Social media enabled us to better target our marketing to potential customers. Digital has also helped us to develop the brand more efficiently. Through our blog and YouTube videos, we aim to inform and educate people about the importance of detailing vehicles. This isn’t about trying to get a quick sale. It’s about establishing credibility and trust with customers. If we can do that, customers will come to us when they need us. It will also help to generate referrals. On the personal side, starting a business requires that you commit to focusing the majority of your time and effort on it. It’s sort of like a new baby. It requires a lot of attention to take care of it and nurture it. If you have too many other things demanding your attention, the business will suffer. It is also critically important that you find ways to stay motivated. Why should anyone purchase your service if you yourself aren’t motivated to do it? It definitely is a mindset. To keep motivated, I like to remind myself about three or four things that are good about the day. That really helps keep me going.
Would you recommend small business owners use the services of the Illinois SBDC at Harper College? Why?
Yes, I would recommend Harper’s ISBDC. I have found the advisors there to be very helpful with brainstorming ideas for my business. They will push you at times, but it is in a way that is actually very helpful. My experience with the ISBDC has been very much like a mentoring relationship. They have forced me to challenge myself, but have also provided much encouragement along the way. The ISBDC at Harper is a great resource for small businesses.