We had the good fortune of connecting with Austin Pruett and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Austin, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Like many people, I was laid off in 2020 from the marketing company I had been working at for the past four years. It was a great company, but it was always supposed to be a temporary stepping stone since I was working my way through seminary. I had recently graduated with three masters degrees and wanted to teach. So the timing of the lay off actually seemed like a blessing since our first daughter was about to be born and I planned to pursue a teaching position in a few months. However, as I began interacting and interviewing with schools, it became evident that they were feeling the affects of COVID as well. enrollment was down, funding was down, and while some older teachers retired opening up positions, it seemed time and time again that schools opted to place more work on the existing teachers rather than hire someone new. So after being laid off, unable to gain employment with three masters that I spent the last four years working towards, and the birth of our daughter, I knew I had to do something to help support my family. I had been interested in detailing for years, researching and watching every video I could find. I never imagined starting a detailing business, but I saw people doing the work and thought that perhaps I could do it. I looked at competitors in my area and thought I could offer value to my clients. So I purchased basic equipment and spent time and money on proper training. I began with vehicles of friends and family and started to expand from there. On January 1st 2021 I decided to go full time with the business. Since then I have acquired over 25 five star reviews, am one of two IDA (International Detailing Association) detailers in Fort Worth, have recently been named on expertise.com as one of the best detailers of Fort Worth, and am currently booking clients about a month in advance. I’m excited about the future of the business and look forward to seeing how my plans to grow it unfold.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
This is still a very young business, but what I think has set myself apart from others has been the professionalism and salesmanship that I have brought to the business. Detailing as a craft is not overly complex. Truly anyone can do it. Yes you have to deliver amazing results that is a given, but the non-technician side of the business, I believe, is much more crucial. There are many aspects of your business that are infinitely more important than the physical work itself like how you answer the phone, your voicemail, how you communicate with clients, having a professional website, a business email, arriving on time, communicating expectations to the clients, how you dress, and so much more. From what I have seen too many detailers focus on what products to use or refining their detail skills which are worthy pursuits, but they do not focus on the client. I think years of sales experience and interacting with people have allowed me to truly listen to what the client wants, explain in the most elementary way how we can accomplish their goal together, and close the sale. I think that is what has lead to the incredible growth we have been seeing recently. One of things I am most proud of is 10% of all of our sales go to Fort Worth Pregnancy Center. Just this year alone we have been able to donate thousands of dollars to the center. I love their message and the work they do, but not only that I love being able to give back and support a local charity here in Fort Worth. The people of Fort Worth have been incredible to my family and I so to give back to the people and the city is something really special to me.

This journey has certainly not been easy. There have been numerous times when I have doubted if this would even work especially since I do not come from a business background. What has helped me has just been using the resources that are available. I have gone through several books, podcasts, YouTube, SCORE mentors, BNI chapters, and more. I think in today’s age, we have access to majority of the information that we need. You just have to be willing to put the time in to learn it and be humble enough to accept it.

I think one of the biggest lessons I have learned is we all must check our ego in business. I have seen this play out personally in many ways, but I will just reference one example. Let’s say a clients car is in an overall condition of a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10. Then based on what they wanted and paid for you raise it to an 8. Now the client is going to be ecstatic when they see their vehicle, because they have never seen it at this level. But as a detailer one can be tempted to keep going and raise the vehicle to 10. However at that point does it make a difference to your client? No! They do not have the experience that we have nor do they have the same eye we have. So if they can not tell the difference between and 8 and 10 and they did not pay for a 10 why are you putting in extra hours of labor and product? It is because your ego is driving you to be the best, to chase perfection, to be able to put it on Instagram and say look at what a good job I did. But that is a poor business decision. You lost money and time in pursuit of your own ego. This is incredibly common in the detail industry, and I certainly see the allure of it. However, you need to set aside your own ego and think what is best for the client and for your business.

I think one thing I have attempted to build the business around is trust. Being a primarily mobile service when you show up to a client’s house and work on typically the second most expensive possession they own, they need to know that they can trust you. A lot of that comes from time and reputation, but it has been great to see the relationships that we get to build with our clients. Especially our maintenance clients that we see at least once a month. You get to know them and what’s going on in their lives.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The typical answer I would say would be the stockyards and Joe T’s which there is nothing wrong with. Joe T’s atmosphere and margaritas are legendary. However for my wife and I our absolute favorite restaurant is Piatello a small Italian restaurant in waterside off of Bryant Irvin. We have never had a bad meal there. Some of our favorite trips there have been when we can not decide what we want just to simply ask the waiter or waitress to pick for us. Our favorite waitress is Chelsea who has picked some incredible meals for us that we would never have ordered for ourselves. With a one year old and COVID recently we do not get out much, but other favorites I would put on this list would be HG Supply and Woodshed both great patios on the river and great food. Fort Worth Zoo we have zoo passes and they have recently done some fantastic renovations. Our daughter loves giraffes and birds so having areas where you can feed both of them and see them so close is amazing. I would also throw Kimbell art museum on the list as well even if you are not an art aficionado. Most of it is free and some of the work in there is breathtaking.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Huge shoutout goes to my loving and supporting wife Samantha. She has encouraged me in the hardest times and been my steady rock in moments of panic. Also shoutout to our loving group of friends (Jason, Elise, Dylan, Aly, Jordan, Averi, Jay, Leslie, Morgan, Ben, Gabe, and Dara) who supported and believed in me when I first started this journey. I have quite a long way to go but having this village of support from the very beginning has been life changing.

Website: www.fortworthautodetail.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fortworthautodetail/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Fortworthautodetail

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.