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Tips on Keeping Cars Clean During COVID-19

April 30, 2020

We should never forget just how important it is to our customers. It is, after all, a value add that cannot only cause a customer to fall in love with their spotless vehicle, but in this day and age, it can also save their life.

by Cory Wright


With the spread of COVID-19, car dealers are adapting the way they do business to keep customers and their employees safe. One arena in which they’ve ramped up their focus is in keeping workspaces and vehicles as clean and sanitized as possible. This hits home for me because it’s how I entered this business; as a hydro-technician...more formally known as a lot attendant, detailer, or porter. I started out at a small dealership, with an unpaved lot, and well water that was barely useful for washing cars. At 16 years old, it was a labor of love, especially when the sales team hooked me up with a lunch bribe to help make their delivery stand tall. An extra coat of wax and some tire shine went a long way to satisfy a potential customer for life. 

Fast forward another 16 years, and we’re facing a global pandemic, that puts less emphasis on a fresh coat of wax (or ceramic if you’re fancy) and places a ton more focus on extinguishing any trace of the silent enemy, COVID-19. As I retrace my roots in this industry, it reminds me of the value associated with cleanliness. We should never forget just how important it is to our customers. It is, after all, a value add that cannot only cause a customer to fall in love with their spotless vehicle, but in this day and age, it can also save their life. When our customers pick up the phones to call us during these times, we must make it a practice to educate them on our efforts to keep their families safe.

With that in mind, we called on the local pros from Diamond Dealer Services to tell us a little about what they are doing to keep customers safe and help us as an industry educate our customers on how it all works.

Joe Harrold, Regional Vice President, provided us with the following tips:

Product Knowledge:

  • Make sure to use disinfectant products that are EPA, FDA and GHS certified
  • Check the EPA’s list of registered disinfectants that meet the criteria against coronavirus
  • Be prepared to have product certifications available for customer inquiries
  • Consider having a FAQ sheet on both the products and the disinfectant process
  • Make sure you spend time with your supplier to learn the specifics of the product

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

  • Always supply and enforce protection for your employees. Employee safety matters
  • Training…. Training…. Training! Coach and train every employee. Coach PPE-use every day
  • Supply chains are strained, but PPE products are available. Work with your supplier to establish the proper resupply procedures

Training and educating your team:

  • Training should include how to properly use PPE and the appropriate disinfectant
  • Ask your supplier for any special manufacturer instructions
  • Prepare a training class on the proper applications process
  • Make sure to have classroom and hands on training
  • Chose a cleaning pattern and stick with it
  • Example: Clean left to right from the driver side door handle
  • It is vital to pay extra attention to frequently touched items:
    • Steering wheels
    • Seat belt buckles
    • Door handles (inside and out)
    • Shift knobs
    • Dashboards
    • Key fobs

  • Electronics should not be overly saturated and be extra careful with touchscreens
  • Vinyl vs. leather vs. plastic: it is important to understand and identify the material that is being cleaned to ensure the product works as intended
  • Clean and disinfect equipment and service bays, as well as vehicles
  • Wipe down equipment and storage areas
  • Periodically clean larger areas or items, such as a tool chest

Dealers across the nation are taking massive action to keep their customers safe. Don’t forget to memorialize your efforts on your website and on the phones to build trust with your customers.

While Diamond Dealer Services is primarily focused on car detailing, photos, and work flow, they have retooled their focus during this pandemic to provide disinfecting and cleanliness services for dealers and auto repair shops. Diamond partners with dealerships throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast United States, including Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Joe Harrold <jharrold@diamonddealerservices.com> or visit Diamond Dealer Services website at: www.DiamondDealerServices.com

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