PLAYA VISTA, Calif. — For most small businesses, it’s been a rough year. Lock downs and curfews have forced mandatory closures of retail, food, and many other industries. Yet for some, business is booming because of the pandemic.
One of those businesses is auto detailing.
Johnny Angulo is working seven days a week to stay afloat detailing every mode of transportation his customers call him with, from cars to airplanes.
He’s made major adjustments to his business model since the pandemic hit, shifting all services to exterior cleaning only back in March and offering discounts whenever he can.
The Jet Pro Detail owner said it’s paying off.
"We do anywhere from six to $8,000 a month," Angulo explained. "I would say the increase has been a significant $3,500 per month.”
He’s so busy, he’s booked a month in advance and has even hired two mobile crewmembers to help keep up. Now, he’s offering interior detailing again with a new service that only 2020 could have deemed necessary: deep sanitation.
"We started figuring out ways on how to adapt to the virus," Angulo said. "With that being said, we started figuring out how to use disinfectants that were good for the interior plastics. Our motto pretty much is the show must go on.”
Angulo added, "Whenever it rains it pours, so during the rainy season I’m always prepared to think outside the box.”
It’s the same motto Protex Construction has. The owner, Joshua Menashe, has employees that are busy remodeling an entire house. It's one of many Joshua said he’s been called to fix.
"They hated this kitchen since they moved in the house, but everything is always so busy. Now they have time to slow down and working from home looking at this every day, they’re ready for a change," Menashe explained.
A popular trend for those fortunate enough to continue working from home — Joshua said he has seen a 50 to 70% increase in calls for home remodels in the last six months.
Sounds great for business, but it’s not all gravy. COVID-19 is hitting Joshua in new areas he’s never had to worry about before.
Supplies like wood and concrete are much harder to get now and material costs have skyrocketed. Pre-pandemic, a 2x4 would run him about $2.80.
"The cost of a 2x4 is well over $5 now and that’s a dramatic increase for just one piece of wood and we need hundreds of those to do most of the projects that we’re working on," he explained.
Joshua attributes that to supply and demand. More construction due to the pandemic with less wood available because of the fires.
These big jobs also require city inspectors for permitting. It's another delay, since many of those city departments are running on a skeleton crew.
"One plan checker. One residential home inspector out in the field and so they’re going on 30, 40, 50 inspections a day which is, it’s not good for the homeowners, it’s not good for the staff, it’s not good for the contractors, they don’t have time to do proper inspections," Menashe said.
Still, Joshua said he is grateful to be in an industry that’s thriving when others are doing all they can just to survive.