Nashville has been one of fastest growing metropolitan centers in the country over the past decade and continues to be a relocation destination for tens of thousands every year. The increase in new residents and businesses flocking to the Music City has created countless possibilities for those willing and able to seize them.
When David Cunio moved to Nashville 15 years ago, he was a retail professional with a passion for detailing and an eye for opportunity.
“When I moved to Nashville I was working for Staples after starting my career at Walmart and Home Depot,” he says “I had done some detailing work back in California and noticed there wasn’t really many guys doing mobile detailing here. That inspired me to start something.”
Cunio started Dr. Detail with some basic detailing knowledge, equipment, and supplies, determined to fill a local need and build his business from the ground up. Armed with years of retail experience he knew that putting the wants and needs of the customer first would ensure success, so he made customer satisfaction the foundation of his enterprise.
“I always had customer-service oriented jobs,” Cunio says. “I try my best to bring that into my detail business. That makes us a little different than a lot of other places.”
Cunio started his detail offering with a small truck and a trailer, slowly but surely building a client base on word of mouth and referrals. While he was making a living and seeing his business expand thanks to his tireless work ethic, he knew Dr. Detail could be much more. But to make the leap from workaday detailer to market leader he was going to have to acquire some next-level skills.
In 2012 he decided to dedicate himself fully to his chosen career path and seek out the detailing and business education that would set him apart from his peers and allow him to take his business to new heights. He enrolled in an educational pro-gram with renowned detail trainer Renny Doyle to learn the finer points of high-end detailing.
By training with Doyle and becoming a member of his Detail Mafia association and famous Air Force One detailing team, Cunio gained the skills to offer his clients market-leading clean. He also became part of a network of like-minded detailers committed to helping each other solve business and detailing problems both big and small.
“My business had gotten kind of stagnant,” Cunio says about his decision to seek out Doyle. “I was going to have to work much more than I wanted to continue to grow it. I could not see how to move it forward without learning some new skills.”
Cunio points to not only the business and detailing tips he received from Doyle, but the fraternity of the detailers both past and present that have trained with him as pivotal to helping him expand from a one-person mobile detailing operation.
“One of the main benefits of being a part of the Detail Mafia is the online forum,” he says. “If I have questions or come across a situation that I have never encountered before, I can guarantee that another member has seen it before.”
Armed with a host of new skills and a support network to lean on, Cunio set forth expanding his business. He hired and trained some employees to help him scale his business and take on new clients. And after nearly a decade in business he opened his first fixed location in 2015.
Establishing a base of operations for Dr. Detail was a major milestone for Cunio. It would allow him to offer high-end detail services like ceramic coatings and cater to a higher-level of clientele. Dr. Detail operated at its first fixed location for about a year before moving to a industrial park which was its home for the next three years or so until the beginning of this year.
As the calendar turned to 2021, Cunio and his staff said goodbye to their small shop tucked away in a business park and opened the doors on a 1,800 square foot, standalone facility. The new storefront shop is close to the Nashville’s thriving downtown, giving Dr. Detail more visibility and access to high-end clientele.
While having a large, fixed location near the center of town will certainly help Cunio and his staff of three skilled detailers take on new clients and deliver on their promise of superior customer service, mobile detailing will continue to be a major piece of Dr. Detail’s success.
“We still do a lot of mobile, especially in the spring and summer,” he says. “My long-time customers are used to mobile. It been a little bit difficult trying to convince them to bring their car into the shop.”
Dr. Detail’s business is still around half mobile, but Cunio can be found most days at the shop detailing anything from a grocery-getting minivan to a high-end exotic and everything in between. If customers want a basic detail Dr. Detail will still come out to their home or place of business to perform the service, but advanced services like paint correction and ceramic coatings are only performed at its brick-and-mortar location.
While the detailing menu has expanded over the years, Cunio’s approach to getting the word out about his services has not. He still relies heavily on word-of-mouth advertising to educate and inform the publicabout Dr. Detail. In addition, he stays in constant contact with current and prospective clients through a newsletter which provides helpful car care tips and promotional offers.
Since Dr. Detail opened its first fixed location in 2015 it has experienced steady growth, even during an incredibly challenging 2020. Like many detailers around the country, Cunio was forced to temporarily halt operations last March and April when the pandemic first struck, closing his doors for around six weeks until he deemed it safe to reopen.
“We opened back up on the first of May and we were expecting things to be a little slow,” Cunio says. “But it was just the opposite. May and June of last year were probably some of the busiest months we ever had. We began offering some new products and services to sanitize the interior of cars which helped. Obviously having your car detailed is not going to prevent you from getting COVID, but it certainly can’t hurt. We have been very busy since we reopened.”
Cunio and his team continue to scale Dr. Detail. They are taking on new customers and providing clients both new and old not only a quality service but a customer experience that sets them apart from the crowd.
Location: Nashville, TN
Year Founded: 2006
Specialty: Full-Service Mobile and Fixed Detailing
Shop Size: 1,800 Square Feet
Additional Services: Engine Detailing, Odor Removal, Ceramic Coatings, Paint Correction