Car detailer turns down the water and cranks up the service
In 2007, during one of Atlanta’s worst droughts in history, David Lonadier saw potential in car detailing when others saw disaster. Utilizing his background in the Navy, electronics and sales, he found a way to continue his mobile car wash business with less water.
Lonadier started a self-described micro-mobile auto detailing service in Atlanta, Lonadier’s Mobile Detailing, and by engineering his own patent-pending tools, he cut his water usage by 75 percent. “By using less water, less energy and environmentally friendly products, my carbon footprint is minimal,” he explains. He says his innovative approach to Atlanta car detailing lessens the stress on the environment, and his wallet, too.
“No one is doing this kind of efficient, economical, environmental approach with car detailing,” he explains. “It’s a great business model.”
He says his clients are usually surprised when he arrives in a compact car and brings his own water and power supply. For Angie’s List member Margaret Neal of Powder Springs, that surprise became satisfaction. “His whole concept is so easy. I was amazed with his ability to conserve water,” she says.
Neal hired Lonadier for an auto detail on her husband’s truck for his birthday. “We hired someone else last year and it was a nightmare,” she says. “David’s price was similar, his process easier, and the quality was much better.”
Member Thomasine Macon of Union City had sentimental reasons for hiring Lonadier. When her father passed away in 2011, she inherited his beloved car. It sat under a tree for more than a year collecting sap, dust and rust. She decided to honor her father by hiring Lonadier to restore the car. “The car wash was not getting it clean, it was still gray and dull,” she says. “When he was finished, the neighbors thought I got a new car. I wish my father was alive to see it.”
Lonadier says that is the biggest difference between him and his competitors. “I have a better process, I break down the car in logical pieces — focus is so important. You have to be willing to take the time,” he says.
Lonadier’s hard work paid off in July, when he opened a second micro-mobile detailing business in Tampa, Fla. He says he looks forward to training others on his detailing concept and hopes that it one day becomes standard in the industry. Lonadier says traditional mobile detailing companies typically spend nearly $12,000 on start-up equipment; but he says he can help entrepreneurs get started using his business model and equipment for about $2,000. “My goal is to help others implement my concept of detailing and to change minds and perceptions,” he says.