High Buff Detailing: How One Man Turned His Love of Cars Into A Premier Detailing Shop
BY: RYAN LOMBARDI
Meet Jonah Booth, a Saltsburg native who took his passion for cars to the next level and started his own business at the age of twenty. Quitting a full-time to job to learn all the fine points in detailing cars may sound crazy to some, but to Jonah, it was the answer he was looking for. After learning that working for someone else wasn’t his life path, he saw this as his opportunity. It has proven to be the right choice, growing the business year over year. Now in it’s third year, they’re expanding into an eight car garage to handle demand.
Drive by the shop’s lot and you’ll see High Buff Detailing isn’t your typical detailer. Scattered about are Porsche, Ferrari, Corvette, muscle cars and many other head turning vehicles. The most expensive car they’ve detailed is a half a million dollar,one of a kind Corvette. Working with such high end cars, Jonah and his crew have learned the nuances of detailing every type of vehicle with extreme care.
Jonah demonstrates the true entrepreneurial spirit and drive. Apprenticing and shadowing some of the best in the business, he worked countless hours on muscle cars and other classic vehicles to learn the craft. Day in and day out he’d work on cars, sometimes having to go over mistakes two or three times until he got it right. After months of fine tuning, he felt ready to take on his first client and opened High Buff Detailing. Despite the first year being filled with sleepless nights, dollar menu dinners, and many obstacles, Jonah persevered. All his efforts paid off, now instead of wondering if he’ll have work everyday, he worries when he’ll find the time to get all the work done.
Pictured from left to right: Crew Member Tristan Cumberledge, Crew Member Jordan Booth, Owner Jonah Booth
We sat down with Jonah to talk about all the hardships and hurdles he ran into starting a business at only twenty years old. We cover subjects like how he found passion in detailing cars, overcoming obstacles and slow times at the shop, and how someone with a passion can turn it into a business.
What was your biggest hurdle starting the business and how did you overcome it?
Finding space, equipment and good workers were key in the first year. The problem was all those things cost money, money Jonah didn’t have. “I saved every dollar I made detailing, car by car, until I could afford the things I needed.” Jonah said. “In the beginning it sucked for a little bit, but I knew it would end up being successful. Worst case is I fail, and even if I fail, I knew it’d be Ok. Failure can be an opportunity in disguise.”
“Worst case is I fail, and even if I fail, I knew it’d be Ok. Failure can be an opportunity in disguise.”
How did you learn to detail cars so well?
“Simply by doing.” Jonah said. “I was fortunate enough to have great teachers, including Alex Almes of Autosport Co in Indiana. He would make me detail classic cars, then grade me on how well I did. I didn’t stop until I could continuously get an ‘A’.” When talking about working with high end cars, Jonah said laughing, “You learn quick when the car your detailing is worth over $100k.”
Did you ever doubt yourself when you started and if so how did you get over that and continue on?
“Even still there are times where it’s hard. Being at the shop all the time and doing what you don’t want to do to keep the business thriving. Stay positive, if you let yourself get down you’ll quit. It’s about finding the positives, no matter how small to keep you going.”
“Stay positive, if you let yourself get down you’ll quit. It’s about finding the positives, no matter how small to keep you going.”
Knowing what you know now, how would you do it differently in the beginning?
“I would’ve spent more time at the business. I was young and placed priorities on the wrong things. But I learned real quick there really is no substitute for hard work.”
Did you have the support of your family and friends?
“I thought my family would be mad at me for quitting my job.” Jonah said. “But they turned into the biggest supporters. My Dad is always helping out and showing support. Especially when things are down they’re there to tell you things will get better.”
How did you learn how to run a business, especially being so young when you started?
Reaching out to everybody and anybody within the industry played a key role in the business’ success. “I would talk with others in the auto industry and take our key pointers and apply them to my business.” Jonah said. You must also constantly be researching. Things change as fast as you learn about them.
“I learned real quick there really is no substitute for hard work.”
What was the coolest car you have ever detailed?
“Hard to say.” he said laughing “We do so many cool cars from Ferrari’s to a Delaurian it’s hard to pick just one.”
What is the number one piece of advice you could give a future entrepreneur with a business idea?
“Don’t be afraid to take a chance. Find someone who has your back and will support your decision. If you believe in your idea and you believe in yourself, go for it.”
“If you believe in your idea and you believe in yourself, go for it.”
After our interview Jonah wanted to make a special thanks to his family, friends, and his Autosport Co Family for always believing in him and helping him get to where he is today.
If you want to see some of the exotic cars High Buff has worked on or some dramatic before and after pictures, visit their Facebook page here.
About the Author
Ryan is the founder of MuscleMan Media. A normal guy who just so happens to know a thing or two about digital marketing and social media. When not working, there is a good chance you’ll find him at the gym.
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