By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
Saul Davidson loved auto detailing when he was in college in Arizona. He planned to live there after finishing school.
But when his mother fell ill and needed care, he returned to St. Louis and found a job as a structural engineer for Henges Manufacturing Co. A few years later, he and most of Henges’ remaining staff were suddenly laid off after a change in ownership. Davidson wasn’t sure what to do next. He and some other former Henges employees were going to form their own company, but then joined another group of engineers. Davidson felt that something was missing. He talked the situation over with his Dad, who reminded him that he had always loved detailing cars.
Davidson was able to get a contract to detail cars for an automobile dealership, but he also worked with private clients. One client in particular inspired Davidson to pursue business with individuals, especially those who liked to collect and show their vehicles.
David Kantrovitz Sr. hired him to work on his BMW 7 series. When he finished, Kantrovitz told him that the car looked better than it had at the dealership, and he gave Davidson a big tip. That made Davidson think, “I really want to market to individuals.”
“He takes tremendous pride in his work,” said Kantrovitz, who referred him to his son and other friends. “He knows what people expect of him when he works on [high end] cars.”
Davidson formed A&G Auto Spa & Mobile Detailing in 2002 and worked alone for two years before hiring his first employee, who still works for him as a manager. He has two mobile crews and a two-bay location in High Ridge. He also operates a small car wash in a parking garage in Clayton that provides limited detailing.
Davidson’s employees work in teams, a manager and a helper, who follow a step-by-step procedure to complete any of three different levels of service. Clients are given a one-hour window when A&G’s crew will arrive, and they get a call if the crew is running early or late. Davidson tries to stop by high-end jobs and spot check other work.
“My job now is to make sure everyone is doing what they need to be doing,” Davidson said.
A&G’s vans carry all the chemicals and other products needed to detail clients cars at their homes, but the company also picks up cars to detail at A&G’s location deliver back to clients. For safety reasons, A&G does not detail cars downtown, on streets or in most parking garages.
Packages range from $50 for the lowest level to $350 for the top level on larger or more complicated cars.
Other than handing out fliers to clients and at car shows, A&G doesn’t advertise except with car clubs and on search engines. He’s been a BBB Accredited Business since 2012.
“Word of mouth is the best advertising,” Davidson said. “I feel that people who are looking for our services will find us” through referrals or the company’s website.
Tom Caruso uses A&G weekly to detail four or five cars. “They take your car and really get it looking perfect,” he said.
Mike Hauser of Hauser Electric said he’s been using A&G for eight years for his own cars as well as some fleet vehicles. “They do a phenomenal job,” he said.
The business is weather-dependent, but some car owners want their cars detailed weekly anyway. Davidson said he always checks to make sure they want service if the weather is threatening or there’s snow on the ground.
A&G donates gift certificates to several charities, including the European Car Show, which raises money for Shriners Hospital for Children.
Davidson, who lives in O’Fallon, Mo., said High Ridge wasn’t his first choice for a fixed location, but the building already had the wash bays and filtration systems in place. He shares the space with Brandon Green, a friend who operates a car audio business. He also realized that it was close to some of his clients in south St. Louis County.
The fixed location helped him survive the recent harsh winter, Davidson said. When they can’t work outside, crews can bring cars in for washing and detailing and then do a quick touch-up when they deliver the car to its owner.
“It kept us alive this winter,” he said.
Profiles of BBB Accredited Businesses and BBB Accredited Charities are created as part of BBB’s TORCH Award process and are not intended as an endorsement. This year’s TORCH Award Luncheon will be Oct. 14 at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St .Louis. For more information, click here.