One of the most important things in a business is a clean image. I started a small business when I was twelve years old and built it up in a very large small business and then franchised the business . I retired at age 40 after setting up franchises in 23 states and four countries. It is an automotive and cleaning franchise. We always believed in image and cleanliness. How can you sell cleaning services when your equipment is ratty looking, it shows a complete disrespect for the customer.
Image and cleanliness were issues brought forth by some of the leaders of Franchising, such as Ray Kroc of McDonalds and Tom Monhan of Dominos Pizza. That tradition in franchising helps build brand loyalty and shows respect and pride in your work. When Fred Smith started Federal Express, now simply Fed Ex, re-named by the customers, he showed respect by insisting that all delivery vans be pressure washed nightly. If you look at the manual for a Starbucks, 1/2 of it is not how to make coffee, it is about customer service, cleanliness and image. Why? Respect for the customers, employees and Brand Name. Obviously many in business do not believe in image and few in Brand Name. You should in your business . So many of our competitors over the years did not, beating them in the market place was easy. Many times the independent mobile detailing outfits or mobile truck washing companies we competed against did not have a name on the vehicle or trailer the used in the business . Many had not even painted their rigs? Any color really. Heck, they could just paint it white with a blue stripe and put Plain Wrap-Pressure Washing. Anything is better than nothing, but image is important to your business too, any business really. Not only does it degrade the entire industry full of reputable practitioners but also it is degrading to the individual business and their customers when a practitioner fails to maintain a proper image.
I was always and still am today obsessed with image and this obsession in business has served me well, you need to think about this and constantly audit your image from the customer’s perspective, look around stand out side your store and just stare, what do you see? Do the same for the competition, what are they lacking? Are you lacking the same, can you improve your image? Here is the first page of the first chapter of my company’s Confidential Operations Manual. The entire set of manuals at my Company is over 1000 pages, I know because I was so concerned that it be right, I wrote the damn thing myself. It all starts with image:
The single easiest way to increase sales is to look professional. People believe what they see. If you look the part, you get the part. We at franchise headquarters have gone overboard with every detail. If you haven’t noticed, everything is a bright shiny yellow. The trucks, flyers, shirts, hoses, vacuum – YELLOW!! The rest is either blue or silver. We are committed to keeping a positive image in the mind of every customer.
As you are probably aware, Wash Guys has never sacrificed its high public image for money. What you may not realize is that a high public image may not cost as much as you are led to believe.
In the service business , image is fifty percent (50%) of your business . The impact you have on your customers, whether it be your appearance, cleanliness of your equipment or style of your classy color brochure, is forever being re-audited. Even if your first impression is great, you can lose it just as fast if you fail to handle simple details.
Here are a few areas that are the cornerstone of your “new image”.
·The clothes you wear
·The way you carry yourself
·The equipment you use
·The people you hire
·The advertising you choose
·Your work quality
·Cleanliness of your truck
·Your general appearance
·Literature and business cards
Image in Business are so important, especially in the service business or franchise, so when we see competitors in any market who disregard image and still are able to get business , we realize that our company in such a market is an absolute no-brainer. There are many problems in the Mobile Washing Business with the competition and we are cleaning it up, city by city, state by state; both figuratively and literally. Now ask yourself what is you image like? Can you blowout your competition through superior image? Have you even thought about this recently? Just like Sam Walton, Ray Kroc, Tom Monhan, Michael Dell, Fred Smith and countless others have in their industries. You can seize the lions share of your market if your will continually focus on your company’s image. It worked for us as we seized opportunity to bring quality, image, cleanliness and service back the customer who has clearly been forgotten in so many markets in the United States. It is not everyday that a business walks the talk. Are you giving lip service to the image of your business or do you take it seriously, either way and what ever you do; It shows. Think about it.