Talkin' Paint Podcast #15 - Detailer's Dilemma

Talkin Paint Podcast Episode #15 – Show Notes

In this podcast, Gabe wraps up season one of ‘Talking Paint’ by discussing the psychological and emotional aspects of a detailer’s pursuit for perfection, referring to it as the ‘detailer’s dilemma’. He explores the harmful cycle of trying to achieve impossible standards, the stress it can impose leading to burnout, and the importance of maintaining healthy work-life balance. He introduces a framework, DETAIL, encouraging detailers to define their own boundaries, take breaks, care for their mental health, engage in enjoyable activities, intercept unnecessary pressures, and lean on their team. Gabe also informs listeners about the upcoming marketing guide for 2024, the advantageous daily email list, and his upcoming engagements in 2024. He emphasizes the importance of setting realistic goals, managing client expectations, and open client communication. He concludes by expressing gratitude for the support received during a difficult personal time.

About Detailing Growth

My name is Gabe Fletcher. I operate Ceramic Pro Pottstown aka Total Detailing in Pottstown, PA. I have been one of the fastest-growing Ceramic Pro installers across the US. I have a 20-year website development background. I built my first website when I was 11 and have been enamored by Website Development ever since.

Detailing Growth’s Detailing 3.0 is a program designed for detailers. I took my years of website, SEO, PPC and totally crushed our market. It was my proof of concept that I knew we could do it for other people.

Our company was started to help car detailing businesses scale by providing SEO services, web design, social media campaigns, training, and more! We offer many different packages that are tailored for each business’s requirements. There is no cookie-cutter solution.

Episode timeline

00:12 Introduction and Sponsorship

01:06 Understanding Detailer’s Dilemma

02:31 The Psychological Aspect of Detailing

03:38 The Trap of Perfectionism

05:35 The Emotional Commitment of Detailing

07:11 The Detailer’s Dilemma

10:01 Setting Realistic Goals and Managing Expectations

13:34 Avoiding Burnout and the Detail Effort Framework

19:21 Upcoming Events and Resources for 2024

20:57 Conclusion and Gratitude

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Episode transcript:

[00:00:00] Gabe: Hey everybody, it’s Gabe back for another episode of the Talking Paint podcast. This is going to be our final 2023 wrap up episode and it’s going to bring our season one of Talking Paint to a close.

[00:00:28] Gabe: So first I just want to say thank you to everybody that’s listened this year. And everybody that’s given feedback on the progression of the podcast and everything that we do.

[00:00:40] Gabe: So thank you for being a part of that. I truly appreciate you listening. And I appreciate you supporting what we do and where we’re headed. So, before we go any further. Just remember that the Talking Paint podcast is sponsored by detailing Growth. And that’s detailinggrowth. com. And saspod, s a s p o d. com.

[00:01:06] Gabe: Now you’re going to ask me, Gabe, what’s detailers dilemma?

[00:01:08] Gabe: Detailers dilemma is where a detailer doesn’t know where to draw the line on whatever job they’re doing. I am fully aware that that even, permeates out into a top down management structure as well. So for running my shop from the top down, like meaning from a management position, and then the agency, I have run into detailers dilemma in both of those places.

[00:01:36] Gabe: And the point of today’s episode is to kind of break down detailers dilemma into its various components so that you can understand it. And hopefully put things in place in your business that will help you. So when it comes to detailing, we know that passion is big but we don’t really understand that it goes beyond just improving somebody’s vehicle. It’s about attaining perfection for a lot of people. And that pursuit of perfection verges on obsession.

[00:02:09] Gabe: The vehicle serves as a artistic canvas for detailers. new problem to solve with every vehicle. But what’s the answer to the problem?

[00:02:17] Gabe: The detailers passion for their work in their own mind is just as important as the equipment and techniques they use. And that level of commitment is based on an innate

[00:02:27] Gabe: fondness for making something new out of old. But what most people don’t understand is that the detailers quest for perfection. Definitely involves a more psychological aspect.

[00:02:39] Gabe: It’s a much deeper and more inward search for satisfaction. It’s somehow related to an

[00:02:46] Gabe: Unrelenting need. Some people find that the careful attention to detail helps them feel more in control, especially if they came from a more chaotic and unpredictable background. A car really is secondary. What really matters is satisfying a need for approval and fulfillment. And a person’s life might be impacted.

[00:03:09] Gabe: By this urge in several ways, perhaps it’s a reaction to situations in the past when you felt powerless, or it’s an attempt to achieve greatness that went unrecognized in other parts of your life. But just know that a tangible sense of accomplishment is gained by meticulously removing swirls, correcting paint, and going over the top. And detailers do this to show the world, and themselves how valuable they are. But unfortunately, this is a trap.

[00:03:40] Gabe: Pursuing perfection as a substitute for dealing with more fundamental personal difficulties can trap detailers in this never ending circle of discontent. The pursuit of perfection becomes more about satisfying your emotional needs rather than professional goals.

[00:03:59] Gabe: Since no matter how perfect the final end result is, it’s never going to be enough. I think it’s really critical to acknowledge that there’s a psychological component when it comes to detailing and not knowing where to draw the line. And I think that making sure that you’re aware of What your actual hardline motivation is and what your emotional well being is, is super crucial for detailers, especially from ones who are striving for excellence. And once you have an understanding of this, you’ll find a sustainable way to run a business that allows you to be satisfied without being burdened by unrealistic expectations, because achieving flawless is not easy.

[00:04:40] Gabe: And getting perfection is not always possible, even for the most seasoned detailers. And that’s because every car is different. You can remove most imperfections, but reaching a level of flawlessness is more of a dream than reality.

[00:04:54] Gabe: The reality is, is that majority of customers that come to you won’t be able to tell the difference between a flawless and a nearly flawless finish. Just know that this is an endless chase. I hope that by the end of this episode, you’ll start to see that perfection, whether in your business or running a polisher, isn’t solely about the product. It’s not solely about your process. It’s about the passion, skill set and systems that you put in place that will really define you.

[00:05:25] Gabe: And I just want you to be able to, at the end of this, take a break and see a bigger picture. Because I’ve been down this road, and I know exactly where it ends. emotional commitment to the work of a detailer is frequently underestimated. The actual process of detailing a car is only one aspect. It’s an expression of the detailers pride and sense of identity that creates a strong bond with their persona every detailer adds their own special touch or signature to every job. This customization that they put in is about putting a piece of themselves into every car that they work on.

[00:06:02] Gabe: What sets a decent detailer apart is the one that has a degree of commitment and personal investment. However, the emotional commitment results in an increased sense of accountability and more concerning pressure. The urge to perform above and beyond expectations and reach excellence can be exhilarating. I get it, but it can also be draining. Many Many detailers see themselves reflected in their work and any imperfections might be seen as a personal failure. This thought process produces worry and anxiety as well as high standards and excellent job quality.

[00:06:43] Gabe: But it shows up as fear of making mistakes and falling short of one’s own high expectations. It’s also this emotional commitment that adds to the uniqueness it’s the reason customers return and entrust these people with their most prized possessions.

[00:07:01] Gabe: The emotional journey of this detailer includes all the passion, devotion, and care that goes into each step and task of the process. This is where it gets tricky. And that’s the Detailer’s Dilemma.

[00:07:13] Gabe: Detailer’s Dilemma is a concept representing the internal conflict between aspiration for absolute perfection and the practical limitations of this craft. This Dilemma isn’t just the technical challenge. It’s a psychological tug of war that every single detailer has to deal with. the heart of this dilemma, the base premise with this is that there are limits to what can be achieved. No matter the level of skills or dedication, there are things that you as a detailer will not be able to fix.

[00:07:50] Gabe: And your pursuit of attempting to fix usually results in damage to the car and damage to your mental well being. this is where your resolve is going to be tested in understanding the fine line in what can be improved and what should just be accepted.

[00:08:09] Gabe: For the inexperienced and often very experienced detailer, this war usually ends in defeat. It’s a learning curve. Sometimes that a detailer usually learns the hard way. However, the dilemma isn’t just about skill. It’s deeply rooted in mindset.

[00:08:26] Gabe: This drive for perfection is often fueled by a combination of personal pride and client expectations. However, there is a difference between toxic pursuit of results and detailer’s dilemma. Toxic pursuit of results often manifests online in social media groups, forums, social platforms, where people attempt to gatekeep happiness from you.

[00:08:51] Gabe: They’ll often try to bully detailers for not understanding something or having a different viewpoint. This then pressures the detailer to deliver some flawless result.

[00:09:01] Gabe: And that in itself leads to just being overwhelming. It leads to long hours. And It leads to meticulous labor over super small details. That only the detailer would see.

[00:09:12] Gabe: And this is where setting realistic goals and managing client expectations becomes crucial. Because it’s important to communicate openly with clients about what is achievable. This communication not only helps align the client’s expectation with the service provided, but also plays a huge role in managing the detailer’s own aspirations and workload. And moreover, the detailer’s dilemma is also about finding personal satisfaction in your work. It’s about understanding that the value of the service lies just not in achieving perfection.

[00:09:49] Gabe: But in the improvement made the care taken and the satisfaction of the client. Eventually this becomes a shift from perfectionist mindset to one that values excellence and practicality. Now I want to focus on how we set these objectives and express them clearly. So you can complete each job while keeping clients happy. And without working yourself to death.

[00:10:14] Gabe: First and foremost, it is critical that you evaluate every single car from an objective standpoint. That entails being aware of the current imperfections on the car and what you’re going to be able to do with them. Setting realistic goals for every job starts with this assessment. It all comes down to being honest about what can be completed, considering the state of the car and the client selected package. And effective client communication

[00:10:41] Gabe: is extremely important. Basically, you need to teach the client about how detailing works. and what paint correction can and can’t do, and what they can expect from the different levels of service. It’s important to touch on imperfections, like swirls, scratches, rids. They need to understand that some of them can be reduced, but they won’t totally disappear. That transparency helps us manage the client’s expectations and avoid any misunderstandings about the result.

[00:11:12] Gabe: And I will typically do this with a short explanation of how scratches work. I’ll usually send a diagram and a short document to them so that they can have a physical understanding, but setting reasonable expectations for the detailer also entails understanding what the detailers own limitations are.

[00:11:30] Gabe: It’s about realizing that improvement is a more sustainable goal to aim for than unachievable perfection. When it comes to the client’s request, your goal is always to provide the best possible results, while also being sure to remember that the client trusts you on what is acceptable and what isn’t. That means that you control the narrative in how you run your business.

[00:11:55] Gabe: Now, before you go and tell me, Oh, that’s just telling people that it’s okay to lie.

[00:11:59] Gabe: No, it’s not. It’s your job to have a moral compass. As long as you’re transparent and you don’t be deceptive and dishonest with people, this is successful. This method not only guarantees client happiness. But also supports a detailer and keeping a positive outlook on their work. This is typically how I approach the conversation.

[00:12:17] Gabe: I want to ask the client, what are your plans for this vehicle? Are you going to drive it every day? Is it a second car? Is it a toy? 90 percent of these people tell me that it’s just an everyday car or a family car. And that leads me to my next question.

[00:12:32] Gabe: Okay. So we’re not planning on winning car shows or anything like that?" and I use this leading response to confirm within their mind before they speak, that it puts them in a state of agreeance with you. Usually when they agree with that, I move on to, "okay, great. So we’ll give this a paint enhancement polish, which is going to dial back any mild surface haze, remove any of the dealer towel marks, get it glossed up really nicely.

[00:12:57] Gabe: If There’s any deeper scratches. We’ll do what we can with them. But since the goal here is to get this protected and not perfected, we’re not going to go super crazy. Regardless, it’s going to look fantastic when it’s done. So this conversation lets the client know that I’m going to do my job and it’s going to be the best of my ability within what the car is going to allow me to do within that service set.

[00:13:21] Gabe: It’s not you striving and pushing your ego for an impossible goal. The objective should be to protect the vehicle’s paint and improve its appearance, not hammer away the clear.

[00:13:34] Gabe: Now I want to talk about something really important and that’s burnout. Burnout is a verified medically confirmed symptom. It’s literally on the WHO website. This is its definition by the WHO. And for those of you that don’t know, the WHO is the World Health Organization.

[00:13:52] Gabe: Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as a result from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It’s characterized by three dimensions,

[00:14:05] Gabe: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion,

[00:14:09] Gabe: increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativity or cynicism related to one’s job

[00:14:16] Gabe: and reduced professional efficacy

[00:14:19] Gabe: in short. Burnout shows its ugly face when you don’t utilize the system to work for you.

[00:14:25] Gabe: Working too hard without taking a break is like driving a car non stop without giving it a chance to cool down or taking a cool down lap. Eventually it’s gonna overheat and that goes the same for us. We gotta take care of ourselves to do our best work.

[00:14:42] Gabe: For some reason, there is this common goal inside of our industry where people wear it as a badge of honor to grind for 15 hours a day instead of taking the time to set themselves up for success with structure. Let me tell you, there is no honor in this. It’s either one of two things.

[00:15:01] Gabe: You don’t have the tools to set yourself up for success, or you’re just a meathead that’s going to run themselves into the ground. But I have a framework that can break this down for you to help it become easier to understand. This framework is called the detail effort framework.

[00:15:17] Gabe: So the D stands for define. It’s all about knowing when to stop. You get to decide when you can stop working on a project or pushing a detail so that you don’t end up exhausted. You get to define where that line in the sand is. Not anyone else. Just you.

[00:15:35] Gabe: E is for escape. Taking a break from the shop. You got to take a breather, get a snack, go do something different. This keeps your brain fresh. You got to walk away from it. A change of scenery. Take a minute.

[00:15:48] Gabe: The T stands for thrive. You know why flowers that get watered turn out to be better than the ones that don’t? It’s about taking care of yourself. Specifically, your mind. Consume positivity. Eat better. Take gratitude in small things. It can’t just be about the grind every day. No matter how much you tell yourself and no matter what Instagram or TikTok tells you.

[00:16:11] Gabe: The A is for amuse, and this is often the most important step here of this framework. When was the last time you truly did something fun? Before you say, Oh, running a polisher is fun. There’s always something outside of work that you can do.

[00:16:24] Gabe: Go on a date with the wife or girlfriend, take a drive, play video games, meditate, watch TV, go on a hike, go outside, take the dog for a walk, spend time with your kids, read a book. It can literally be anything to disconnect your brain.

[00:16:39] Gabe: I personally love to drive. I usually drive at obscene speeds in places I have no business doing so. Why do I do this? I do this because it requires so much of my focus and energy to do it at the level in which I do that my brain has to work harder to keep the car on the road and keep me alive. This is on purpose.

[00:16:57] Gabe: Because it shuts off every other part of my brain for that time. I’m forcing myself to do something I enjoy while also ensuring that other thoughts cannot creep back in during this time. At a base level, my only job during that time is to stay alive, keep the car on the road, and push the limits of traction at that moment.

[00:17:19] Gabe: This allows my brain to completely disconnect. And offers me a time of recharge. This is me putting positivity and mental capability back into my brain.

[00:17:29] Gabe: The I is for intercept. Think of this as pressing the pause button. Sometimes you have to say no to helping people. Say no to taking on more work. Say no to taking on work on the weekends. Say, no, I can’t help you, but I can when I’m done with this task.

[00:17:45] Gabe: Say, no, I can’t show you how to do something right now. This is also about teamwork.

[00:17:50] Gabe: And that’s L for lean. Lean on your team. If you need help, it’s your job to ask for it. No one knows if you need help with anything if you don’t ask for help. Ask someone to answer the phones, to help you finish a job, to help you clean up the shop. You don’t need to do it all yourself, even if it’s not up to your standard, because 80 percent of the way done by somebody else is 100 percent better than you doing all of it.

[00:18:15] Gabe: So I hope this helped you to try and set a boundary for yourself moving ahead into 2024. And it’s not just about running a polisher or putting tint on a car or doing PPF. It’s about creating boundaries and systematizing those boundaries so that it works for you.

[00:18:36] Gabe: And you have more mental bandwidth to give to big picture development.

[00:18:42] Gabe: Because at the end of the day, it’s not in our best interest to work ourselves to death. It’s not in our best interests to work ourselves like a dog, not give ourselves a break.

[00:18:54] Gabe: The time for that is done. Hustle culture is dead. Granted, there will be times where you may need to be unbalanced, and it’s okay to do those in short spurts, short bursts.

[00:19:06] Gabe: What it’s not okay to do is to make that how you live your life every day. I don’t care what Tik TOK or Instagram tells you, you need to structure yourself so that you can take a break, leverage the system to work for you.

[00:19:21] Gabe: So let’s talk about what we’ve got going on in 2024. We’re going to be speaking at a bunch of different conferences this year with detailing growth. So we’re going to be giving back to the industry at multiple events.

[00:19:34] Gabe: We’ve got our ultimate marketing guide for 2024. That’s coming out in January. You’re going to be able to pick that up for free. The only thing you have to do is cover the cost of shipping and the book manufacturing, we’re not making any profit on that guide.

[00:19:50] Gabe: It’s going to be two to 300 pages worth of content for you that you can take direct action on in your business. And you can get your hands on that. At our website, it’s specifically on a subdomain that’s marketingguide. detailinggrowth. com. And that’s two G’s, detailing growth.

[00:20:10] Gabe: In addition to that, you should definitely jump onto our website, sign up for our daily email list, we’re going to send you actionable details in your business every single day that you can take and apply and make a difference in how your business operates, make changes in your marketing.

[00:20:27] Gabe: That’s going to be completely free. You can sign up for that email list. We’ll send you information every day, starting in 2024. And if you sign up for that email list, we’re going to send you access to our free business tools and guides pack. It’s more than $3k worth of freebies to help you create a more sustainable business.

[00:20:47] Gabe: And that’s going to be provided to you completely free. If you head over to our website and sign up for our daily email list. You can just scroll down the page there and you’ll see sign up for emails. So thank you for listening.

[00:20:58] Gabe: I appreciate your time. Please, I’d love to hear from you if you have comments or if you have. Something that you’d like to contribute. If you have a topic you’d like discussed, if you’d like to be on the show, please head over to talkinpaint. com that’s T A L K I N paint. com.

[00:21:18] Gabe: You can apply to be on the podcast there. We’d love to talk to you if you’re a business, if you’re a manufacturer, if you’re a distributor, if you’re creating solutions for the business, or for the industry, if you’ve got ideas, we’d love to hear from you. We want to talk to you. We want to hear about your business. We want to hear about what you have going on.

[00:21:35] Gabe: So thank you everybody for the outcry and mountain of support that we’ve received from you in 2023, 2023, we’ll go down. No doubt as the one year where I saw a community of people that I have never met in my entire life, truly come together to support me in a time where I was probably at one of my darkest and lowest points. To have it happen and to have me at a low point in my life brought on by somebody that I thought was a really close friend was really hard. And it took me places I thought that I wasn’t going to go back to.

[00:22:08] Gabe: I just want to say that to everybody out there that what you say to people and what you do to people is more than just some meaningless action. So I want to say thank you to everybody that stepped up and was willing to come to the plate for me and for us in 2023.

[00:22:26] Gabe: I’ll never forget it.

[00:22:27] Gabe: You guys are good people.

[00:22:28] Gabe: And I just, I appreciate every single one of you more than you could ever know.

[00:22:31] Gabe: I’ll see you guys in 2024.

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