When we announced our first five franchise partners back in March, our agreement with BJ Bodkin in Greensboro was still fresh. Since that announcement, he’s been hard at work to get his business up and running, amidst supply chain disruptions that pushed his opening back further than expected.
Despite the hiccups, he’s excited to bring his past experiences in car wash and detail back, and offer Triad-based customers a unique mobile car care experience.
We spoke with BJ about starting out and returning to the car wash industry, what his franchise means to the Triad area, and launching our closest geographically located Spiffy franchise to date.
This interview was conducted before Greensboro’s launch on August 18, 2021, and has been edited for clarity. You can download the full version here or via the “Download Here” button below.
What was the road that brought you to Spiffy?
BJ: In the early years of my career, I worked for a full-service car wash and I was in the car wash industry for about nine years. I started in high school as a linesman, detailing cars, and worked my way up to General Manager. I ended up shifting around to multiple different units around North Carolina and helped build some of the locations and train multiple different stores. After that, I got into the bottled water industry.
When I left my former employer, I've always been passionate about car washes and details and something I've always thought about doing throughout my working career was mobile car wash. I started doing some research and coming up with names on my own and came up with like, "Keep It Keen" or "We Like It Spiffy," things like that.
When I came across the Spiffy name idea, I Googled it to see if that was a name already. Then I learned that this company is practically in my backyard already, and they have franchises available. So I did some research, reached out to the Spiffy team, got some feedback, and realized that the innovation that was already there. The mobile app, website, just all the procedures that they already had in place was perfect. There was no reason to look anywhere else. So that made my job way easier to start that mobile car wash career.
What about franchising with Spiffy stood out to you during the process of signing on as an owner?
BJ: The passion and the knowledge that I got from everyone that I spoke to at Spiffy, I knew their goals were the same as mine. The innovation and desire to make customers extremely happy with their car wash or oil change. One of the first things really was that passion. After talking with numerous people in the organization, everybody was just so motivated and happy with what they were doing. There was a lot of praise for Scot [Wingo, CEO], and that just kind of led to me feeling like this is the right place to be.
As one of the few franchise owners with a history in car wash and detailing, what was your training experience with Spiffy like?
BJ: It was exciting and intimidating, all at the same time. It was exciting to get hands-on. It had been 19 years since I had been in the car wash business. But as soon as I touched the vehicle, the passion was back and I was glad I'm here. It confirmed the feeling that this is where I'm supposed to be. Once we got underneath the car and started doing oil changes, the intimidation hit; that was a whole new world to me.
I've changed my own oil maybe a handful of times years ago, but haven't touched much of a car's engine. I am very hands-on and know how to turn a wrench, but I didn't really know what I was getting into until we started the training.
It's kind of eye-opening, it was really cool to see how different every single vehicle is. And again, that's where that intimidation came in because there's a lot to learn. But it was a great experience. Everyone that was in the training process obviously has a lot of knowledge. They really know what they're doing and made me feel really comfortable with it. I felt like I was at home if that makes sense.
"Hearing the feedback from everybody else has really helped me. Even the franchisees have created their own family experience. Everybody is willing to help out or jump in and answer questions to guide everybody else. It's a great resource."
Leaning on your past car wash experience, what is your Spiffy pitch to someone who doesn't clean or detail their car often?
BJ: We're in a world of disruption right now, and all of the newer businesses that are coming online, in any industry, are trying to disrupt traditional business models. I feel like the ones that are doing it correctly are just going to explode and thrive, which is what Spiffy is. Spiffy is disrupting the car care industry, and that's an $11 billion-plus market out there.
Consumers want convenience. They don't want to sit in a waiting area and have someone come up to talk them into a bunch of upgrades with no transparency. It comes down to the business model being perfect for today's consumers since almost everybody's on-demand. People don't want to pick up a phone, they don't want to fill out a contact us form and wait for somebody to call them back.
With the innovations that Spiffy offers, customers can go onto the app, order what they want, and we show up the next day. It's out of sight, out of mind, and gives them some peace of mind that everything's done. Especially the way that the app works. I think it's a great consumer experience. That's why I think franchisees should look into Spiffy because it's something different that needs to be done in this market. And it's clear they're heading in the right direction.
Is there anything else that you'd like to share about your experiences so far?
BJ: When I started this journey, I was one of the first five franchisees to sign on. The camaraderie that we franchise owners have had together has been great. Just kind of spitting off of each other, whether it's little text messages, emails, or phone calls. We've all have helped each other and gotten ideas from each other, even things like "what type of laundry machine are you looking at?"
Hearing the feedback from everybody else has really helped me. Even the franchisees have created their own family experience. Everybody is willing to help out or jump in and answer questions to guide everybody else. It's a great resource.
One last thing I'll share is this small story. I've had a desk in my house that I used back when I was in college. I'm 44 now, so I've had it in my house forever. The desk is a huge hardwood one, and I decided to move it into my warehouse office. I had to completely take it apart to get it out of my house. So there's a drawer that I taped shut when I moved it, and when I opened it up, I found a business card from when I was like 18 years old that my sister made. It had my name on it, it said "Detailing and Mobile Car Wash Services," and had a phone number that I don't even remember having.
And this was when I was like 18. To find it 26 years later as I'm starting this business was crazy, just to see how it came full circle from all those years ago. I took that business card, had it framed, and stuck it on my wall as my first office decoration.
Thank you so much to BJ for chatting with us about his experience as our Greensboro Franchise Owner. His passion for car care makes him a great fit for the job and we look forward to seeing his business thrive so close to our headquarters!
If you’re interested in booking a car wash or detail with his crew, click here to get started with $20 off your first service.
If you’re looking to learn more about starting your own Spiffy Franchise, contact us today!
Posted in Franchising