BY WILL FIFIELD
AFTER TALKING to Paul Schneider, co-founder of high-end auto detailing products
company and Costco supplier Chemical
Guys, you’ll probably want to drop what
you’re doing and go clean your car with his
company’s products. His enthusiasm for
“things with wheels that shine” is that infectious. An entrepreneurial passion drives
everything Chemical Guys (chemicalguys.
com) does, from developing industry-leading
products and educating customers on how
to use them, to empowering its employees.
Roots run deep
Schneider comes by his love for cars
naturally. “My childhood was spent surrounded by cars,” he says. His grandfather,
he explains, took him to his auto shop and
taught him what makes cars run—and
passed along an auto enthusiast’s passion.
Before he launched Chemical Guys with
his business partner, David Knotek, in ;;;;,
Schneider owned his own custom
fabrication and body shop.
“Blending paints and con-
Teaching, not preaching
stantly working on ways to
achieve higher-quality fin-
ishes on our vehicles kept
me up many nights,” he
says. “I was always both-
ered by the fact that it was
so hard to find great prod-
ucts, and it was even harder
to find employees who knew
how to work with the tools and
products that were available at the time.”
This frustration eventually led
Schneider to launch Chemical Guys, whose
name is a nod not only to the formulations
his company creates, but also to the warm
chemistry of its team of employees.
In the process of launching their busi-
ness, Knotek and Schneider sought to
revolutionize the auto detailing industry
by creating a full line of new and superior
chemical formulations, introducing inno-
vations and launching extensive consumer
and professional education.
They chose not to market their products
in traditional ways, but instead to concentrate on developing creative ways of educating potential customers. “We knew the
quality of our products was outstanding,”
Schneider says. However, he and Knotek
felt that the way forward was to help potential customers fully understand how to use
Chemical Guys products and accessories.
They began building an educational platform that includes how-to videos and in-depth classroom training.
To date, Chemical Guys has more than
;;; free educational videos on its You Tube
channel. More in-depth learning takes place
at its Smart Detailing University, a
;;,;;;-square-foot training facility at its
headquarters in Gardena, California.
Here, customers can take a range
of classes, from “The Basics of
Detailing,” a half-day course
designed to help car owners
keep their cars looking
their best, to the “Master
Training Course,” which
runs eight hours a day for
five days and is designed to
equip professionals to take
their business to the next level.
This comprehensive course teaches
paint restoration, windshield repair, headlight restoration and how to seal paint.
Good chemistry, great people
Schneider says that none of this would
be possible without a strong team of creative
employees around him. “The team is really
what makes us who we are,” Schneider says.
“That’s the lifeblood of our brand, and
everybody adds something.”
The team spends a lot of time coming
up with product ideas. “We develop an idea
first, then the product,” he says. For example,
“The biggest reward in running Chemi-
cal Guys is sharing my passion with others,”
Schneider says. “Many entrepreneurs say
that the long hours they invest in developing
their businesses don’t feel like work because
they’re having fun the whole time. For me,
it was a very conscious choice to make a liv-
ing doing what I love.” C
Chemical Guys co-founder Paul Schneider
(left) shares his vision and enthusiasm
with his company team members.
COMPANY Chemical Guys
CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER Paul Schneider
HEADQUARTERS Gardena, California
ITEMS AT COSTCO
13-piece Car Wash Bucket with TORQ
Foam Blaster (Item #1067288); Complete
Motorcycle Care Kit (Item #1117243);
Complete Boat and Marine Care Kit
(Item #1117238). All items available on
QUOTE ABOUT COSTCO
“We sell to Costco because we love Costco.
I go to Costco every single week and walk
the aisles because I love the products. But
beyond the products, I like the energy of
the employees there.”—Paul Schneider
COSTCO AUTO DETAILING SUPPLIER CLEANS UP