Master Vehicle detailer, Gideon King is the Chief Executive Officer of Big Foot Detailing, an international company that meticulously cleans and refurbishes exotic automobiles. With centres in Qatar and other parts of Europe, King has worked with huge brands like Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini. In this interview with Solomon Elusoji, he shares insights on how to build a global business
You seem to have had a breakthrough doing this job in other parts of the world. Have you ever thought of coming down to Nigeria to set up this business?
It is supposed to be a secret and my master plan but as you have asked I will share it with you exclusively. Yes, Nigeria is in my horizon! Six years ago I spent six weeks over there when I did market research and the results were mind-blowing for me. I worked with a major car importer and dealership of premium brands in Lagos and also travelled to Kano where I worked on vehicles owned by some prominent figures in Nigeria. We plan to roll out the same model and service into Nigeria and we are currently working out the best strategy that will enable us to make a smooth transition into the Nigerian Market. Again, we are aiming not only for the detailing cars segment but also to cover all ranges of transportation such as motorcycles, yachts, planes, alongside training and education centres. We want to contribute towards creating entrepreneurs, employment and building skills sets for Nigerians who can go on contribute to the economy.
You opened your detailing service centre in Doha, Qatar about a year ago and you seemed to have found your way into the minds of the top brands in automobile as we learn that there are more than 150 inquiries for your franchise worldwide. How did you achieve this feat?
I am contented and satisfied about where we are today; based on our time plan we are on schedule. However, I have many more aims and targets to attain within this business. Also I would not say we wormed our way in as this sounds like we deceived our esteemed customers into our offerings. I would prefer to say that we demonstrated the value and service we bring to their businesses and their recognition of our alignment with their vision was well received and accepted. We are expanding all the time and receiving many enquiries from a lot of countries and we are studying them carefully. The team behind me are doing an excellent job in rolling out our clear plan that we laid down right from the beginning, which will enable us to stay strong; and this is why it is important to have the right people on board giving us a great team that believes in the vision and executing it to the best of their ability.
Your services include paint correction, consultation, smart repair, international seminar, post production among others, what inspired your decision to take up a job like this and how challenging has it been for you?
My reason for entering this industry was purely for financial gain, at first. It was where I saw most potential for earnings. As most of us can relate, it is every man’s wish to earn and provide the best possible future for his family and live the short life we have as comfortably as possible. This was my main reason for entering the detailing industry and it was this industry that destiny presented before me to potentially achieve my goals in life.
How would you rate the success of the company over the years and who are your clientele?
Success can be looked at in many ways. The Bigfoot and Mayvinci brand is a synonym to the most exquisite name and system used in the detailing world today. And now for us to have created a Centre of Excellence and then named it, ‘The Bigfoot Detailing Centre’ is an honour in itself. Starting from Qatar we have managed to take it global with enquiries for our centre coming in great numbers. We have had the Europeans, Australians, Americans and people from the Far East visit our centre; so, to be able to use our platform to inspire others to do great things is satisfying without limits, and receiving frequent messages from detailing and non-detailing individuals that our drive, our model, our business and growth, inspires them to want to achieve similar goals cannot be summed up in my words. Teenagers and young men alike being coached and nurtured towards entrepreneurship, this is success for us.
Detailing in the United States of America alone is a 17-billion-dollar industry. It was always my goal to start an international company and I remained faithful to my ambition. With a lot of foresight, action and no talk, we now currently have detailing centres in Italy, Norway, France. Our Network is now in more than 10 countries in Europe, and some with also more expansion in the pipeline to South East Asia. Running and staying ahead in the industry comes with innovation, understanding paints, climates and working closely with our partners in research and development, continuous improvement programmes, understanding our client’s desires, and going the extra mile to fulfil them. We are dealing with our client’s pride possessions so I would say we are in the “People’s Business” first and then Detailing Business second. This motto and vision has continued to add success upon success and we will hold tight to this, as it is the way of success for us from the past and also far into the future.
Coming into the business couldn’t have come easy, how have you managed to stay in the game for this number of years and staying afloat in the business?
A saying goes “a man who masters patience masters everything else.” We patiently studied the market. I have a great team and the best business developers around me. We executed brilliant marketing strategies. We have a continuous learning attitude and incorporate science, chemistry and physics understanding to perfect our craftsmanship. I always believed that if one is in a business, it is beneficial to be knowledgeable and skilled in it also. There are other contributing factors to our success and sustainability. It is our unprecedented support from the leading tool manufacturer from Europe, who are a company with 70 years experience in innovation and over 60 recorded patents. They understood my vision, came on board and are now a lifetime partner. I have constantly worked on the best cars to ever hit the road. This caught the attention of the industry to the point where I was getting flown in by clients to different countries to work on their vehicles, private jets, yachts and to also train their staff and conduct seminars. I truly believe that these were some of the elements that kept my business not only afloat throughout the years but to grow rapidly beyond my expectations.
You are an exclusive detailer for Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini; these are international brands that have survived for years. How did you come in contact with them and what was the first job that convinced them?
I have acquired a lot of knowledge and skills as a professional to be able to identify the problems faced with the finishes of various vehicles. My experience allowed me to be able to offer practical solutions for restoration, enhancement, beautification and long-term protection in order to maintain their integrity and value. Even if they are brand cars coming off the production line, the wealth of experience that I have accumulated in such a short period of time in this trade is sufficient enough for me to be able to identify and magnify the defects and potential improvements to such clients cars and their service to their customer, hence giving them edge over their competition. This boosted my visibility and my reputation within the industry. I was now presented with the opportunity to showcase my eye for detail and to take defect analysis, treatment and protection to new heights. One of the turning points in my journey to fame and stardom within the detailing industry was when I worked on a Bentley for the Bentley Dealership, and a Bugatti belonging to a famous piano player whose car was flown to Qatar. And after seeing the results of my labour, all the rest became history.
What experience did you have in detailing before you gave it a shot?
I had no prior experience coming in to the industry and there is no amount of reading that can really prepare one for the real field application. However, after a lot of reading and research about the industry, I decided to attend technical training sessions by a 20-year veteran in the game. It’s almost a decade now but I still remember it like yesterday. My trainer was an ex-military captain in the UK army, and with the excitement that I had mustered, I told him I was coming to the industry to be known as the game changer and to take my profession to a whole new level. Guess What? Here we are today now offering education and training courses in detailing and entrepreneurship globally and we have since trained individuals who fly in to us from the United States, Australia, Singapore, Norway and far beyond.