SIDNEY — A local car-detailing business is poised to go national soon.
Michael Keckley, of Sidney, Andrea and Scott Borchers, of Russia, and Damian Cox, of Piqua, are partners in Wax Wagon America LLC. Doc Foy, of Sidney, manages the operation, which takes detailing to the customer instead of the usual other way around.
While the partners have a staff who cleans vehicles throughout a multi-county area in west central Ohio and east central Indiana, they also hope to create start-ups with people nationwide who want to own their own businesses.
“Mobile detailing is becoming a growing field,” Keckley said.
“We’re interested in running the Dayton market ourselves and in selling units in other places. They’d be operating partners,” Cox said.
For a $25,000-$30,000 fee, the Wax Wagon entrepreneurs will provide a trailer with a logo, all the equipment, training and access to the company’s online marketing.
“I started Wax Wagon in 1986 in Raleigh, North Carolina,” Keckley said. “I sold eight in six months. Then I sold one in Tennessee, 20 in Florida, two in South Carolina.”
He sold the Sidney operation to the Borcherses two years ago, but when Andrea gave birth to twins not long ago, Keckley began to work with them again. Cox got involved at that point.
“Damian approached me a year ago and asked if I could show him how to do a detail business,” Keckley said. “At that time, I couldn’t help him because I’d signed a no-compete clause (with the Brocherses).” Cox had made a 20-year career in the hospitality industry, but was burned out and eager to try something else. He had managed a detailing shop “years and years ago,” he said.
Wax Wagon America details vehicles for private owners and for corporations. But it doesn’t stop at cars. There are crews under the local leadership based in Sidney, Greenville, Troy and Dayton. They clean semis, airplanes, buses, boats and tractors, as well as fleets of cars.
“Anything that drives, flies or floats,” Keckley said. Among the unusual vehicles they regularly care for are classic Bentleys, a Lotus and a Dusenberg. In the 1980s, Keckley even cleaned an elephant for a traveling circus.
“He was mean,” Keckley laughed.
The standard, basic auto job costs a client $95. It includes a wash and wax of the exterior and interior cleaning of vents, floor mats, carpets and seats.
“We pull the mats out and scrub the carpets. Stain removal, the cracks around the vents, around the stick shift. We pull leather seats apart to get all the stuff that accumulates in them. The door jambs, underneath the seats, the trunks. We degrease the tires and scrub whitewalls. Debug the windows and mirrors,” Cox said. Additional services, including tar removal, wet sanding of scratches, rust removal, tree sap removal and paint restoration, are available and are quoted individually.
There are four people in each crew and they handle 10 to 12 vehicles per day. Although it’s possible to run the business with smaller crews, the time factor affects the bottom line. The smaller the crew, the longer it takes to complete a vehicle. The longer it takes, the lower the number of cars that can be done in a day and the lower the income.
The Borcherses two units have grossed $500,000 in two years. Keckley said that one unit has grossed $23,000 in its first month and is projected to gross $150,000 this year. Andrea noted that 75 percent of their business comes from referrals and 90 percent of the business is from the $95 basic package.
First-time clients get a $10 discount if they “like” Wax Wagon America on Facebook. To schedule a cleaning or to discuss the purchase of a unit, call 937-710-1086.