Over the past three and a half years, Gabe Fletcher’s business journey has seen him transition from a one-person operation doing $150 full details out of the back of a Chevrolet Suburban to generating $1.5 million in annual revenue. Fletcher, the owner of Ceramic Pro Pottstown and Detailing Growth in Pottstown, Pa., says failure propelled him further. I caught up with the Focus on PPF/CC e-newsletter blogger to find out how.
“I had an exotic car in the shop,” Fletcher shared with me. “Ultimately, I didn’t see the warning signs of a problematic client. I didn’t take the time to set proper expectations. I lost a full-body PPF and ceramic coating job due to a customer’s chargeback with American Express. That was an $8,000 hit. It got ripped away, and I was ready to walk away.”
Fletcher says he considered pursuing legal action but chose to take the high road and learn from the experience.
“It was on me for not setting proper expectations,” he shares. “The level of anxiety that comes with dealing with the court system was something I wasn’t ready to deal with or give my energy to. My energy was spent. That was a massive loss. I wasn’t in a position to eat that. But I did—I made it through. That was a heavy moment.”
It was early 2022, and Fletcher was two years removed from starting a detailing business that had evolved into a PPF and ceramic coating heavyweight on the East Coast. Drained physically and mentally, Fletcher considered quitting. But he had come so far. Weighing in at 550 pounds in 2018, the current Ceramic Pro dealer had 16 hours of seat time daily handling web design and e-commerce work.
“I was extremely depressed, and I hated my life,” Fletcher says. “I thought I’d be dead by the time I was 35. Now, I look for a reason to inspire and help people. I’m always looking for a positive note in any situation. If I focus on nothing but the negative, we don’t grow; it doesn’t help anyone.”
Stomaching an $8,000 loss, Fletcher lifted himself up and embraced the situation.
“It was a complete and 110% utter failure,” he says. “For the first time since running my business, I had a moment where I failed in every single sector. I failed to price the job accordingly, so I priced it low. I failed to ensure my crew had enough training, so there were errors all over the car. I failed to uphold quality control. The car left with issues. And I failed to educate the client and set proper expectations.”
A year-plus later, Fletcher accepts imperfections and protects his peace at all costs—from internal and external forces.
“I’ve seen people who I shouldn’t care about attack me and put me into a state of mind where I question everything that I have done,” he says. “A lot of shop owners fall into the trap of comparing themselves to other people, letting toxic people infect their mission and growth. That’s something we should be careful of.”
Fletcher looks to lift others higher in 2023, recently penning and launching an e-book titled Reconciling the Gap.
“One of the most significant insights I’ve gained is understanding the real time it takes to achieve certain milestones,” he shares. “Contrary to what some may portray on the internet or various Facebook groups, success doesn’t happen overnight, and it certainly doesn’t come without hard work. This resource delves into how we define our goals in today’s world, the actual timeline to achieve certain milestones, and the mindset required for successfully reaching these objectives.”
Learn from Fletcher at the 2023 International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ (WFCT)
As the owner of Ceramic Pro Pottstown in Pottstown, Pa., Focus on PPF/CC e-newsletter blogger Gabe Fletcher knows that success in the automotive detailing industry is about more than just offering professional services with certified products. His business did more than $1 million in PPF, ceramic coatings and window tint sales in 2022. Fletcher and his business partner Tyler Lordi use their marketing agency, Detailing Growth, as a platform to lift fellow businesses to similar heights.
Join the climb in a WFCT session titled Firing on all Cylinders: How to Market Successfully in 2023, held on Wednesday, September 20, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. The session is applicable to all industry segments. Click here to register.