Small business owner adjusting to rising inflation costs

CHARLOTTE, NC — Inflation has soared to levels not seen in decades, and a Charlotte business owner says while he’s thriving, he’s had to raise prices to cope with rising interest rates.

what you need to know

Inflation hit a 40-year high at 9.1% in June

Urban consumers pay more for some products and services

Detail company adapting to rising costs by raising some of its prices

US inflation hit a 40-year high, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In June, the CPI rose to 9.1% over the past 12 months. This means that consumers are paying higher prices for some goods and services compared to previous years.

One business owner says although he’s feeling some of the “inflation pains,” his business is thriving.

Jonathan Tillery is the owner of Interior Exterior Finesse Detailing LLC specializing in luxurious, exotic and refined vehicle detailing.

Tillery’s company is based in Concord and he serves clients throughout the Charlotte and North Carolina area. Her work includes detailing cars, boats, RVs, and semi-trucks.

Tillery started his business on July 4th, 2018, but he has been treating cars since 2012.

“I was a mechanic,” Tillery said. “I saw the guys in the shop who did cars and they made more money than the mechanics. I kept that in mind and thought I might have to switch from a mechanic to a detailer. That’s what happened.”

According to Tillery, investing in a small business pays off. He says the detailing company brings in nearly $2,000 a week and serves about 15 customers a month.

“I book out a week, sometimes two weeks, I’ve even booked out a month in advance,” he said.

But now, in the face of the economic downturn and the highest inflation in 40 years, Tillery’s has had to make some pricing adjustments to keep up with rising costs.

Tillery says the price of some of the products he uses to clean vehicles has increased over time. He had to raise prices on some of his services to make up for the loss.

He says the purchase price of some chemicals has gone up from $9 to $18 a gallon.

“You can’t keep the price the same. If people don’t understand that, you have to get the right customers who do,” Tillery said.

Though some people might not want to pay higher prices, Tillery says his regular customers also understand that they’re paying for the high-quality, one-on-one service that a small business like his provides.

“In the beginning I charged the regular price of about $35 for a simple ‘hop on and off’, that’s what everyone knows,” Tillery said. “Now my basic ‘on and off’ is $75. It’s quality. People go out and get their hair done and pay $90 for about an hour of work, why shouldn’t detailers get the same price for the same type of work? We don’t overcharge, we give [your car] a full spa as you would your body. You pay for the quality.”

Running a business during these times is a constant task for Tillery.

He spends much of his free time checking finances with the person he calls the heartbeat of his business, his finances, Michelle Perry.

“She was the backbone, the one that helped me create my background and get my clientele,” Tillery said.

Together they are able to set the prices he should charge for the company’s services so that they can stay above inflation.

“Michelle will compare prices with various competitors and come to me and tell me that this person is charging that much,” Tillery said. “I’m not a competitive person, but I won’t be the cheapest if people call you all the time to book you and you’d be too busy doing a lot of work you don’t want to do. ”

For more information on Finesse Detailing pricing and services, visit the company’s website.

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