Q&A: Chad Zani, Director of Business Development with Detail Garage
1851 Franchise: Tell us about the history of Detail Garage. What void in the industry were you hoping to fill?
Chad Zani: We were founded in 2008 by two professional auto detailers and passionate car lovers. Detail Garage was born out of a need we saw within the auto detailing industry for a more community-like feel. We wanted to avoid the generic, impersonal atmosphere you find at other auto stores. We wanted a big space that welcomes customers into a relaxed environment and creates the best auto care shopping experience.
1851: What are you doing well right now? What are Detail Garage’s key differentiators?
Zani: We’ve really made a name for ourselves by combining an automotive lifestyle brand with globally recognized retail products and industry-leading innovations. The original Detail Garage location in California became a place where car enthusiasts of all ages could comfortably hang out, test new products and chat with experts about anything and everything automotive.
Social media has also been a huge differentiator for us. Our corporate team includes several experts who run Chemical Guys, which is the most successful automobile channel on YouTube, with 669,000 subscribers, and our Instagram account, @detailgarage, has nearly 380,000 followers. Our franchisees have the opportunity to tap into this huge, nationally recognized social media presence and use it to grow their business.
1851: What kind of growth goals does Detail Garage have?
Zani: We’re aiming to hit the 100-unit mark in 2021 and add an additional 50 units each year after. We’ve experienced tremendous growth in recent years. In 2020, our franchisees saw a 28% increase in sales, and with more than 70 units already in operation around the world, we are confident we can hit and surpass our goal.
1851: How does Detail Garage keep customers coming back?
Zani: There didn’t used to be a place on the internet or social media where consumers could get great, high-quality education on products and services for maintaining their cars. Now there is. By tapping into that market and leveraging our expertise, we found a huge leg up. Each Chemical Guys product has a QR code that customers can scan, and it will bring them to a YouTube tutorial for the product. That’s just one of the ways we give customers an experience that keeps them coming back.
1851: What are some of the brand’s most important milestones over the past five years?
Zani: Our greatest milestones would absolutely start with our first-ever franchise location, which opened in 2016. After that, it would have to be opening up our East Coast distribution center in 2020. So many of our sales come from the East Coast, and the distribution center makes it that much easier and faster to get the product into the hands of the consumer. We were also designated as an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was huge for us. Essential workers had to get from A-to-B, and we're proud to have been able to make sure they got there safely.
1851: What does your ideal franchisee look like?
Zani: We’re not looking for any particular background or experience — just a passion for cars and people. Franchisees don’t need to do any detailing — they just need to follow the system, greet people with a smile, shake hands and share their passion. For people who love cars, this is a business that really doesn’t feel like work. There really is nothing else like it in the automotive or franchising worlds.
1851: How does Detail Garage support franchisees?
Zani: New Detail Garage franchisees received the same impressive array of support and benefits that have uplifted our owners for more than a decade.
Our team provides prospective franchisees with exclusive access to detailed market research and reports so that they can plan their business for the fastest possible growth. We also recently rolled out a simplified store opening system that makes it even easier for new franchisees to bring Detail Garage to their community.
After opening, Detail Garage franchisees enjoy flexible lifestyle benefits thanks to the brand’s streamlined operational model and community-oriented approach.
1851: Where is Detail Garage looking to grow in the coming years?
Zani: We have identified the Sunbelt, from California to Florida, as well as New York, New Jersey and the Midwest as prime markets for growth, and we are actively seeking qualified franchisee candidates in those markets.
Franchise opportunities range from $150,975 - $260,450. For more information, visit: https://www.detailgarage.com/franchising.html