It might have started as a hobby for Mitchell Collier, but it quickly got a little out of hand.
Mitchell is, and always has been, a car nut, and enjoyed detailing family and friends’ cars on weekends, but circumstances have turned that interest into a fully fledged — and very successful — small business.
Mitchell is the owner of Sydney Premium Detailing, based in Castle Hill, which specialises in the care of fine and exotic vehicles.
“I started the business because I’ve had a passion for cars my whole life. All the males in my family are car nuts,” he told Sydney Hills & Hawkesbury Living. “I used to be in operations for another company, and I was already detailing part-time on weekends for friends and family. My contracts ran out in operations in 2011 so I decided to go full-time with the detailing. I already had quite a few customers, so the business just got going from there.”
Word soon spread. Mitchell found that his reputation for special attention to beautiful vehicles ensures he and his staff are always busy.
“A lot of our business comes through referrals and Facebook — about 90%, in fact. We don’t really advertise on Google. We have a niche market in high end prestige vehicles, which stands us in good stead,” he said.
“Our day-to-day business is paint protection and paint correction, which can include ceramic coating to protect the paint. We start by washing it with a two-bucket method. We decontaminate the paintwork, and then polish it using various compounds and pads to bring out the gloss and remove swirl marks and other problems. Then we can add a ceramic coating to protect it from environmental factors.”
The business started in Castle Hill, but Mitchell now has customers travelling long distances to seek his help with their cars.
“I got a good start with the business in the Hills. A lot of people have nice cars around here and they like keeping them in the best possible condition. But our customers come from all over now. I’ve had customers come down from Brisbane for me to do their car personally, as well as Wollongong, and from Newcastle and the country,” he said. “Sometimes I surprise myself with the finish we can get on cars which come in looking terrible and leave looking like they’ve come straight from the showroom.”
Mitchell is keen to take his expertise to a broader market, by opening a new shop in the city.
“We’re looking to expand with another shop in Sydney, most likely in the CBD. There aren’t many good detailers in the city, and a lot of our customers come from there, so it would make good sense,” he said.
Running a successful business hasn’t dragged Mitchell away from his real interest — maintaining prestige cars.
“I’m still very much hands on here. I’m not an office kind of guy!” he laughed.