Each month we feature a Member Spotlight. This month we're talking with IDA Treasurer and Founder's Club Member Dan Baker, CD, President of Ziebart Corporation, headquartered in Troy, Michigan.
International Detailing Association (IDA): How did you get into the detailing industry?
Dan Baker (DB): I entered the Franchising business after serving six years in the U.S. Navy during the 1970s. Last October, I completed my 40th year in the Franchising industry. The company got into detailing back in the 1980s. In the 80s, Ziebart International Corporation purchased a Detailing Franchisor out of Florida called TidyCar. Purchasing TidyCar brought us process, product information, and expertise to introduce Detailing to the Ziebart franchise network to be able to change our business model and further diversify our stores product and service offering and increase individual store sales. We began by co-branding the TidyCar and Ziebart brands. Eventually, as we developed our business model, we made the decision to discontinue using the TidyCar name and Cleaning, Detailing, and Appearance Protection became part of the regular Ziebart store products and services line-up.
IDA: Tell us a bit about Ziebart.
DB: Ziebart was founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1959 by German Auto Mechanic Kurt Ziebart as an automotive rust protection company. Ziebart Process Corporation began franchising in 1963. Today, Ziebart is an American Company serving the world with over 400 locations and 950 service centers in 34 countries. From humble beginnings as a single service company offering only rust protection, today Ziebart offers over 30 different automotive products and services including cleaning, detailing, paint correction, appearance protection, structural protection, window tint and paint protection films, Rhino Linings spray-on Liner, auto and truck accessories, auto glass repair and replacement, 12V electronics, and more. Ziebart is the largest franchisor of window tint, detailing, and automotive protection services.
IDA: In what products or services does your company specialize?
DB: Cleaning and detailing services appearance protection products including ceramic paint coatings, window tint, paint protection film, Rhino Liner spray-on bed liner, auto glass repair and replacement, 12V electronics including Remote Car Starters.
IDA: What do you think is the most important factor to being successful in the detailing industry?
DB: Presenting a professional image, upholding standards, doing exceptional work, and giving your customers an experience exceeding their expectations. Advertise to grow your brand. Belong to the IDA, have your technicians certified and skills validated.
IDA: Are there any awards/certifications/accomplishments that you or your business has earned and would like to share with us?
DB: Our former Chairman, Mr. Jan Hartmann, is a member of the IFA International Franchise Association Hall of Fame. Ziebart International Corporation has been ranked in the top 250 Franchises by Entrepreneur for over 15 straight years, and we have been selected as a World Class Franchise by the Franchise Business Institute.
IDA: What is the best advice you ever received?
DB: Network with your peers to learn and diversify your revenue stream – don’t put all your eggs in one basket. "Change or Die!" – keep working on your business model to evolve with the times.
IDA: What tips do you have for a new detailer?
DB: Find a successful detailer and get to know them, use them as your mentor. Join the IDA, get certified and skills validated. Attend industry events and network. Learn how to differentiate yourself from your competition and car wash / cleaning.
IDA: What about for experienced detailers?
DB: Join the IDA, get certified and skills validated. Use those two things as part of your advertising / sales promotion. Mentor new IDA members as anything we can do to make Detailing a profession will help increase business and help us raise prices to professional levels.
IDA: What's your funniest business moment to date?
DB: I would have to say some of the funniest business moments have been at IDA meetings and shows like the MTE. The group of men and women who are investing their time and energy in making the IDA grow are fantastic, smart, and witty people. I can’t tell you about every moment we have laughed out loud, but I can tell you it has been more often than not. I love my time spent with IDA members, especially my fellow IDA Board members.