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When you ask the average Ceramic Pro installer to explain their career path, you’ll hear a handful of different stories. Some guys grow from weekend warrior, others go full send mode and invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in upscale auto salons.

Then there is me – a former IT support professional who found himself unemployed, had a passion for all things automotive, and decided to take the plunge into professional auto detailing.

However, my path to growing into paint protection solutions provider and a Ceramic Pro 9H certified installation service is a complex and non-traditional one. The path of opening Total Detailing Auto Surface Protection is one filled with hurdles, risks, and some hard learned lessons.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Let me take you on my journey – of how I went from a fulltime IT Support professional to professional detailer who completely embraces the Ceramic Pro methodology.

From the Keyboard Jockey to Polishing Wheel Enthusiast

Working in IT Support isn’t usually a very physically demanding job. There is usually a lot of “seat time” meaning a lot of sitting in a workday. It’s usually challenging if you have an ability to multitask.

Let’s go back.

It was 2018 and I was unhappy – and I weighed 550lbs. I was working for a company remotely doing various web design and e-commerce work. I was getting 16 hours of seat time a day. I had let myself go to the point my health was at significant risk. I was unhappy with where I was working for a bunch of various reasons – so I decided that I was done.

I took a short break from work and found my way into educational IT support in a local school district, working in their middle school. I was being encouraged to get weight loss surgery by co-workers, family, and friends. I decided I would start the process.

The process of weight loss surgery was a long, grueling process. There were a lot of tests, meetings, weight loss goals that had to be met within a specific amount of time. It was extremely stressful, and it took more mental focus than I knew I even had.

Come September of 2019, I have the procedure – but it was not a seamless or flawless process. While operating on me, they couldn’t perform the specific type of surgery that I wanted to have (gastric bypass). My abdominal wall was too thick and the tools they use to perform the surgery were bending. They had to close me up, go and get permission from my significant other to change the type of surgery I had to the gastric sleeve. They went back in and were able to perform the gastric sleeve successfully.

I ended up having to stay in the hospital in a weakened state for an extended period. I needed to heal, and I couldn’t go back to work right away. I decided to walk away from IT all together to do something different. I needed to be active. I needed to do something that would always have me moving. I needed a change.

I have always been into cars for as long as I can remember. I’m in the car scene for the same reason that most people my age – The Fast & The Furious. (TUNA NO CRUST) – I had a beater 87 Honda CRX that I tore around town with and got in all kinds of trouble.

I started my “car care” itch working in a tint shop. I got to see all kinds of cool cars and see what it was like to work with someone who absolutely loved what they did and valued all their hard work. I saw what it was like to work with someone who wanted to be “on top”.

Since that time, I’ve always been in to making cars look good. I always kept my cars clean. I cleaned family members cars. I cleaned friends’ cars. I did it as a side hustle for years before I started my IT career. It would be fair to call me a “pro-thusiast” at this point. Plus, the added benefit of working on cars is being physically active – a huge bonus for me, especially after my recent surgery.

New Year – New Me – New Opportunity

Heading into 2020, there were two pressing issues on my mind. First, how can I earn a living doing something that is physically demanding (for my health) and second, I can count on as stable income?

For my 2020 New Year’s Resolution (literally on Jan 1st, 2020) I decided that I was going to kill two birds with the same stone – start my detailing business. I bought all the equipment to be a viable mobile detailing business. Brushes, Towels, Generator, Pressure Washer, etc. – everything I needed to improve or maintain a vehicle’s paint, the interior, and ancillary pieces.

I removed the third row out of my 02 Suburban and put all the equipment in it. I was doing mobile Express Details starting at $65, Full Details for $175 and Full Details with an All-In-One polish for $250. For what I was doing, I was making good money and staying remarkably busy.

In 3 months, I outgrew the Suburban with the size of the jobs I was doing. I started hiring some part time help for weekends. It was growing at a very rapid pace, picking up in speed. I was doing higher end vehicles more and more. Then I realized it was the level of customer service I had been offering that was netting me some huge jobs with people who wanted to pay for a professional service.

I bought a 5*8 trailer and had it lettered professionally. It looked awesome. As the spring and summer came up, business was picking up. I was doing three to four different cars a day in different areas, picking up major speed. In three months, I had outgrown the trailer. I was now doing more and more paint corrections and basic ceramic coatings.

I onboarded with a few different companies claiming to have “mobile friendly” ceramic coatings. Ultimately applying them in the sun was a GIANT pain and never worked correctly. The “requirements” to be in their programs were huge. They wanted me to buy every single coating that they offered even though I had shown very valid talent in paint correction and ceramic coating application.

Come July, I have outgrown the trailer and have now moved into a single bay shop in Pottstown, PA. I custom fit the shop with lighting and tools. I am now focusing on higher end vehicles, paint correction and ceramic coatings strictly. We pull in customers from Lancaster, Reading, Pottstown, West Chester, Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Devon, Allentown, Downingtown and more.

This is where I come on board with Ceramic Pro.

Ceramic Pro allowed me to offer my customers a top-quality product with a proven track record and performance system. I was able to simplify my offerings and with guidance from the team at Ceramic Pro, I was able to streamline my business and make selling Ceramic Pro Coatings and paint correction much easier.

People were actively seeking me out because I had great reviews, a great website, a proven track record. I am now working on cars like Ferraris, high end tuner cars like Toyota Supra’s and WRX’s, BMW, Porsche & more.

It is now the end of December 2020 and I have outgrown the single bay shop I was in and am now looking for much larger facilities. I plan on expanding to take on multiple employees and really build my company around the Ceramic Pro Brand because they give me all the tools I need to succeed.

Once I started posting that I offered Ceramic Pro on our Facebook page – the appointment requests started coming in. We post all our major projects, informational video, and other content on our YouTube Channel. Being an IT guy and web designer, I also activated a local SEO program, that helps us improve our search engine rankings within our local communities. Call this the picking off the low fruit SEO concept – but hey, it works.

So – Why Did I Choose Ceramic Pro?

Here is a reality check folks – Ceramic Pro is the NUMBER ONE searched term for Ceramic Coating companies in the United States and the WORLD. That is because it is the best paint coating for cars, without a doubt. But – they’ve also invested the time, sweat equity, and understand the value in online marketing. In fact, this growth has stimulated many ‘haters’ to claim that all Ceramic Pro is a marketing company.

To quote Doc Holliday – ‘I beg to differ, sir’.

Ceramic Pro coatings are engineered for specific substrates – meaning the quality of the coating for each project is as good as it’s going to get. The ceramic coating for glass is made just for glass – so are their wheel and caliper, industrial, marine, and interior coatings.

When you’re professionally trained on the prep work, installation, and aftercare, the product works better than any on the market. Not to mention that they offer specifically formulated coatings for different materials – unlike others who claim to be all-in-one formulations.

Here is the bottom line – if I can build my business, offering a top-quality product, that produces amazing results, top tier customer service and an amazing support system for my customers, a CARFAX documented warranty, AND offer them a product that has a proven track record of consistent performance – I ultimately set myself up for long-term success.

Ceramic Pro changed my life. I love what I do, and I get to work with customers who truly value my hard work and the service I provide them with Ceramic Pro. Ceramic Pro puts me in front of those customers who want a professional service and an exceptional customer experience.

And you know what – my business, Total Detailing Auto Surface Protection is going to take advantage of that.

Gabe Fletcher

Author Gabe Fletcher

Gabe Fletcher is the owner-operator of Total Detailing Auto Surface Protection. His is a certified Ceramic Pro coatings installer, who also specializes in paint correction and PPF.

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