‘People told us we were crazy’: expanding a car-detailing business in a pandemic
How did Ultimate Reflections get its start?
I started cleaning cars for pocket money as a small child of probably seven or eight years old. When family visited, I would ask if they wanted their cars cleaned whilst they were with us and as I grew up - if I ever wanted to buy something - I would always resort back to offering friends, neighbours and family manual work.
Once I started owning my own cars, I was always keen to keep them looking their best and eventually ended up working for a contract car valet in main dealers before moving into the sales department. I then bought a Ford Sierra RS Cosworth which I used to take to shows and for the week prior I’d be outside every night after work, cleaning and preparing it - which led to others asking me to do cars for them.
Fast forward a number of years: I was in a sales job and wasn't fulfilled and with my wife’s encouragement we decided to open Ultimate Reflections in Crowland.
What prompted the expansion into Peterborough?
We had been looking for more suitable, professional premises for some time and had struggled to find something that ticked all the boxes.
We finally stumbled across our new home at Christmas-time and we took the keys in February.
We thought long and hard and had a few people tell us we were crazy for taking on a new unit during the pandemic and at a time when our services were deemed non-essential - but I believed we could make it work and that it was worth investing into Peterborough and we would be able to offer an unrivalled service in the area.
How has the business kept going through the pandemic?
This has been very tough as we didn't get the same support a lot of businesses received and as a non-essential business we were unable to operate for the majority of the lockdowns.
But we used the time to complete the move and concentrate on our marketing and expansion plans.
We also invested in some further training and became the "approved ceramic pro service centre" in Peterborough.
What are the plans for the future of the business?
We see Peterborough as a place with a lot of growth and opportunity.
We aim to continue to give excellent levels of customer service and offer the correct products; we will expand and are looking to grow our team to cope with the demand. And we are looking at adding several additional services to complement our current packages.
Ultimately, we aim to be the go-to vehicle appearance specialist in Peterborough.