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From a Hobby to a Car Washing Business in 8 years: The A1 Car Detailing Journey

Two young men started out washing cars for workers in Accra’s corporate streets. Eight years down the line, they’ve been able to build for themselves one of Ghana’s sought-after car detailing services. This is the story of A1 Detailing Solutions.

It began as a car washing chore for one and a quest to find employment right after school for the other. Two young men, [well originally three], started out washing cars for workers in Accra’s corporate streets. Eight years down the line, they’ve been able to build for themselves one of Ghana’s sought-after car detailing service providers – the A1 Car Detailing Solutions.

“We started doing mobile car washing in Sakumono, that was somewhere around 2015 there about. Basically, we moved from house to house and on the streets, washing people’s cars. So we normally go to banking halls, talk to them: oh we can wash your car for you. They accept, we wash their cars on the streets and we take our money and go to the next spot,” said Prince Ofori, the CEO, and originator of the venture.

Helped by two of his friends, Isaac Otchere and Saaka Richard, the three-man team were able to get a place in the quiet vicinity of Sakumono estate to start a car cleaning company. Back then it was just a tent in a backyard, but after three years of doing business, they managed to turn that tent into a structure.

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Isaac at first didn’t get a nod from his parents – a young university graduate, his family felt an office job suited him better instead of cleaning cars.

But they came around the idea later.

“So you’re done with Service, no employment, you need to think outside the box. So that is when the idea came from Prince that let’s do car wash. So he gave me a real plan, and I said let me talk to my mum about it,” Isaac said. “You know how our parents are: I’ve taken you to the university, you’re done with school, go and find a job at a bank or somewhere and you say you’re coming to wash cars. They weren’t happy about the idea. It was my sister who convinced her and I was part of the business”

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But now, they are not just car washers. A1 evolved into a car detailing company after its debut in 2016, now offering a wide range of car-care services. Prince says they give car owners great value with perfection and attention. And part of that has been shaped by Prince’s experience from the time he used to wash cars for his uncle.

“The true story is, I used to wash cars a lot. I used to live with my uncle in the flats and he worked in the ministries and he had to always, every day go to work with his clean car. So I was cleaning cars every day,” he tells Accra Times. But his uncle’s constant complaints about the ‘poor work’ he did on the cars got him to make sure the cars he washed turned out perfect and spotless.

“Every day I wash the car, he’ll complain that this place is not done well. So it always kept me on my toes. I’ll always be looking out for a spot I didn’t clean. So gradually, I became very petty about things. I can’t see something, if it’s supposed to be straight, it’s straight.”

As a Ghanaian entrepreneur, he drew inspiration from many places. Most of that motivation came from American figures. He tells Accra Times he was influenced largely by American author, Malcolm Gladwell and his book ‘The Outliers.’

“I began following some people like Gary Vaynerchuk, these are American entrepreneurs. I quite remember I read this book, The Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. And it really shifted my perspective on success and how people make things happen.”

Taking a cue from Gladwell’s book, it perhaps explains why he saw the opportunity of washing cars back then for his uncle as a feasible business idea.

But presently he seems to have found inspiration from the likes of former UT Bank owner, Prince Kofi Amoabeng. He has started reading Amoabeng’s story, from a book he launched in 2022, titled “The UT Story: Humble Beginnings.”

I read the volume 1. I’m actually on the 2nd volume. So I’d say Kofi Amoabeng is a very good guy I read about.”

On Saturday, Februaury 24, at their second branch opening in the residential enclave of Ashongmang estates, the team (having started as just three to more than 35 workers now) want to do more.

“Because we started from the backyards of Sakumono, we couldn’t really express ourselves in terms of our expertise and what we can do. But here because it’s a fully functional garage, we are going to have regular washings. You can just drive in and wash your car, eventhough Sakumono was a booking sort of. We are going to do car upholstery, spraying, body works, quite a number of things,” Prince said at the launch of A1 Solutions’ second branch.

And to keep up with a dream from seven years ago to become Africa’s first automated car cleaning service, Prince said “We are on course. To the glory of God, we’re making a lot of numbers and when it comes to car detailing, it’s A1 and the rest. You can look it up.”

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