We wanted to take some time to shine a light on how lockdown has affected Swank Wash and how our business has adapted during the pandemic. We didn’t shy away that's for sure. Why? Because we couldn’t, wouldn’t and didn't want to!
The not so swanky challenges the pandemic created
Like so many industries, we faced many challenges, from supplier issues, to abuse in the street to traffic congestion.
Supplying the equipment everyone needs through the pandemic has been tough for brands and manufacturers. This has had a knock on effect to the end consumer, creating a surge in demand with inflation to follow. At times we were paying 3x the amount for products and PPE that we use on a daily basis. The inflation costs meant some days would make a loss but serving our clients came first and fortunately it paid dividends in the long run.
So what about the abuse? Benjamin, one of our car care consultants, regularly experienced abuse from people on the street who had misinterpreted the guidelines and this continued online. For tradespeople who could not work from home and worked alone, this was a common occurrence during the height of lockdown. We were even stopped by the police in Piccadilly Circus, as we were one of only cars on the road. Can you imagine that, the only car in Piccadilly circus, usually one of the busiest streets in London!? However, they were hugely supportive and encouraged us to continue the good work.
One of the other challenges we faced was traffic and this had a big knock on effect on our business model. Driving to work was heavily encouraged and public transport was avoided. This meant congestion increased tenfold and our car care consultants found themselves sitting in traffic for hours. We desperately tried to operate three appointments a day, however our 64 step method takes a considerable amount of time to ensure we offer the industry's best car care and ultimately we found it unmanageable.
Why we couldn’t stop
You may want to skip over this bit as we know us Brits feel awkward talking about money, but we couldn't actually afford to stop working, as we had unavoidable overheads and costs to pay. A lot of trades were forgotten about during lockdown and in the early days, weren't given the financial support they needed! Especially the self employed and those that started businesses this year.
What we did differently
A lot! And it all started with safety, safety, safety. Our car care consultants and clients safety was paramount. It's still our number one priority.
To start we introduced more PPE, this included hazmat suits and chemical grade face
masks. As we began to understand the virus better, we realised this level of PPE was perhaps a step too far for us, but we couldn't afford to take any risks in the early stages.
We brought new products which had bacteria killing properties, such as Gtechniq Tri Clean, into the cleaning process. And we set up a contactless procedure, which meant we collected and returned keys without direct contact with our clients.
To combat the congestion issue, we changed our business model. We switched to two appointments a day, but we increased the service offering to give our clients a more premium service, providing better value.
We found there was opportunity and bookings were plentiful. With many hand car washes closing during lockdown, Clients who would not normally consider Swank Wash did and they've not looked back.
The influx in clients allowed us to expand and take on another superstar who many of you have now met. Myles is a true Swank Wash legend and has completed two modules of training in three months meaning he can now take on Tier 1, 2 & 3 services.
We are so passionate about providing a premium detailing service at the highest standards and we won’t let Covid stand in our way. And as things change again and a second lockdown looms, we will continue to follow the government's guidelines and put in all the safety procedures required, whilst offering the same super swanky service.
Thank you, we wouldn’t be in operation without you!
And last of all, we want to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported us. We would be in a very different situation now had we not received your support and you've allowed us to come out of the other side stronger.