Master Vehicle detailer, Gideon King is the Chief Executive Officer of Big FootÂ 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.Â 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 toÂ set up this business?
It is supposed to be a secret and my master plan but as you have asked I will shareÂ it with you exclusively. Yes, Nigeria is in my horizon! Six years ago IÂ 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 brandsÂ in Lagos and also travelled to Kano where I worked on vehicles owned by some prominent figures in Nigeria.Â We plan to roll out the same model and service intoÂ Nigeria and we are currently working out the best strategy that will enable us toÂ make a smooth transition into the Nigerian Market. Again, we are aiming not only forÂ the detailing cars segment but also to cover all ranges of transportation such asÂ motorcycles, yachts, planes, alongside training andÂ education centres. We want toÂ contribute towards creating entrepreneurs, employment and building skills sets forÂ Nigerians who can go on contribute to the economy.
You opened your detailing service centre in Doha, Qatar about a year ago and youÂ seemed to have found your way into the minds of the top brands in automobileÂ as weÂ learn that there are more than 150 inquiries for your franchise worldwide. How did youÂ achieve this feat?
I am contented and satisfied about where we are today; based on our time plan we are onÂ schedule. However, I have many more aims and targets to attain within this business. Also I would not say we wormed our way inÂ as this sounds like we deceived our esteemed customers into our offerings. I wouldÂ prefer to say that we demonstrated the value and service we bring to theirÂ businesses and their recognition of our alignment with their vision was wellÂ received and accepted.Â We are expanding all the time and receiving many enquiriesÂ from a lot of countries and we are studying them carefully. The team behind me areÂ doing an excellent job in rolling out our clear plan that we laid down right fromÂ the beginning, which will enable us to stay strong; and this is why it is importantÂ to have the right people on board giving us a great team that believes in the visionÂ and executing it to the best of their ability.
Your services include paint correction, consultation, smart repair, Â internationalÂ seminar, post production among others, what inspired your Â decision to take up a jobÂ like this and how challenging has it been for you?
My reason for enteringÂ this industry was purely for financial gain, atÂ first. It was where I saw most potential for earnings. As most ofÂ us can relate, it is every manâ€™s wish to earn and provide the best possible future for his family and live the short life we have as comfortably asÂ possible. This was my main reason for entering theÂ detailing industry and it was this industry that destiny presented before me toÂ potentially achieve my goals in life.
How would you rate the success of the company over the years and who are yourÂ clientele?
Success can be looked at in many ways. The Bigfoot and Mayvinci brand is a synonymÂ to the most exquisite name and system used in the detailing world today. And now forÂ us to have created a Centre of Excellence and then named it, â€˜The Bigfoot DetailingÂ Centreâ€™ 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 theÂ Europeans, Australians, Americans and people from the Far East visit our centre;Â so, toÂ be able to use our platform to inspire others to do great things is satisfying without limits, and receivingÂ frequent messages from detailing and non-detailing individuals that our drive, our model, our business and growth, inspires them toÂ want to achieve similar goals cannot be summed up in my words. Teenagers and youngÂ men alike being coached and nurtured towards entrepreneurship, this is success for us.
DetailingÂ in the United States of America alone is a 17-billion-dollar industry. It was always myÂ goal to start an international company and I remained faithful to my ambition. With a lot of foresight, action and no talk,Â we now currently have detailing centres inÂ Italy, Norway, France. Our Network is now in more than 10 countries in Europe, andÂ someÂ with also more expansion in the pipeline to South East Asia. Running andÂ staying ahead in the industry comes with innovation, understanding paints, climatesÂ and working closely with our partners in research and development, continuousÂ improvement programmes, understanding our clientâ€™s desires, and going the extra mileÂ to fulfil them. We are dealing with our clientâ€™s pride possessions so I would say weÂ are in the â€œPeopleâ€™s Businessâ€ first and then Detailing Business second. This mottoÂ 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 couldnâ€™t have come easy, how have you managed to stay inÂ the game for this number of years and staying afloat in the business?Â
A saying goes â€œa man who masters patience masters everything else.â€ WeÂ patiently studied the market. I have a great team and the best business developersÂ around me. We executed brilliant marketing strategies. We have a continuous learningÂ attitude and incorporate science, chemistry and physics understanding to perfect ourÂ craftsmanship. I always believed that if one is in a business, it is beneficial to beÂ knowledgeable and skilled in it also. There are other contributing factors to ourÂ success and sustainability. ItÂ is our unprecedented support from the leading tool manufacturer from Europe, who are a company with 70 years experience in innovation andÂ over 60 recorded patents. They understood my vision, came on board and are now aÂ lifetime partner. I have constantly worked on the best cars to ever hit the road.Â This caught the attention of the industry to the point where I was getting flown inÂ by clients to different countries to work on their vehicles, private jets, yachtsÂ and to also train their staff and conduct seminars.Â I truly believe that these wereÂ some of the elements that kept my business not only afloatÂ throughout the years butÂ to grow rapidly beyond my expectations.
You are an exclusive detailer for Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini; these areÂ international brands that have survived for years. How did you come in contact withÂ 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 toÂ identify the problems faced with the finishes of various vehicles. My experience allowed me to be able to offer practical solutions for restoration, enhancement,Â beautification and long-term protection in order to maintain their integrity andÂ value. Even if they are brand cars coming off the production line, the wealth ofÂ 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 potentialÂ improvements to such clients cars and their service to their customer, hence givingÂ them edge over their competition. This boosted my visibility and my reputationÂ within the industry. I was now presented with the opportunity to showcase my eye forÂ detail and to take defect analysis, treatment and protection to new heights. One ofÂ the turning points in my journey to fame and stardom within the detailing industryÂ was when I worked on a BentleyÂ for the Bentley Dealership, and a Bugatti belongingÂ to a famous piano playerÂ whose car was flown to Qatar. And after seeing the resultsÂ of my labour, allÂ the rest became history.
What experience didÂ 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 ofÂ reading that can really prepare one for the real field application. However, after aÂ lot of reading and research about the industry, I decided to attend technicalÂ training sessions by a 20-year veteran in the game. Itâ€™s almost a decade now butÂ I still remember it like yesterday. My trainer was an ex-military captain in the UKÂ army, and with the excitement that I had mustered, I told him I was coming to theÂ industry to be known as the game changer and to take my profession to a whole newÂ level. Guess What? Here we are today now offering education and training courses inÂ detailing and entrepreneurship globally and we have since trained individuals whoÂ fly in to us from the United States, Australia, Singapore, Norway and far beyond.