When your name is Big T, it’s hard sticking to anonymity in a small town — but as owner of Big T’s Auto Detail at 416 Hwy. 90 he found building bridges within a community can be just as rewarding as creating a successful business.
“Everybody knows me,” said Tim “Big T” Fitzgerald, owner of Big T’s Auto Detail in Sealy. “There’s not a time I hadn’t been anywhere and haven’t heard ‘Big T this’ and ‘Big T that.’ God has blessed me.”
Fitzgerald takes his reputation in stride, acknowledging hard work and determination paved his road to success. After working for 21 years at Kroger as a grocery manager on the night shift and Henson Dodge as a detailer during the day, Fitzgerald started his auto detailing service, but things didn’t start out on easy street.
Big T’s Car Wash offers full-service car washing and detailing, including sanitizing vehicles during the COVID-19 pandemic, Fitzgerald said. Cars and trucks are both welcome.
Things rolled off to a slow start though, as operating a home-based business presented challenges in seeking new customers and almost wrecked the company before it could take off, Fitzgerald said.
“When I first started this business, I’m like, ‘Man, what did I get myself into?’ I can’t make it doing 14 cars a week,” he said.
Recognizing the need to raise his public profile, Fitzgerald moved the business to its current location and handed out business cards to every company in Sealy. Immediately his customer list swelled, and now Fitzgerald services vehicles from as far away as Katy, Brenham and Columbus.
Fitzgerald points to his professional touch as the reason customers are willing to drive the distance out to Sealy. The shop specializes in thorough cleaning and handwashing often not found at bigger car washes. Fitzgerald said it’s about quality over quantity, regarding what Big T’s can offer clients.
“They run them through,” Fitzgerald said about more prominent car wash companies. “We wash them by hand here. They’re not as thorough as we are.”
According to Fitzgerald, recent numbers have boomed to almost 180 cars a week, and with a five-member team, he won’t be making any pit stops anytime soon.
Choosing the right people for the job separates a great team from an average one, Fitzgerald said. He keeps employees on their toes by reminding them the worst thing a customer can say is, “you missed a spot.”
Getting as close to perfection is the goal for any entrepreneur, but to Fitzgerald, there can be no compromises — even during the coronavirus pandemic.
He admits that customers were leery during the first few months of the COVID-19 outbreak, but having a clean car matters now more than ever.
Fitzgerald said it’s a good idea to get your vehicle professionally cleaned to stop the spread of COVID-19, and Big T’s has the tools necessary to sanitize and sterilize them to stop the spread.
“We do have everything here to do that,” Fitzgerald said. “I do recommend to at least get it done. We can do just about anything a bigger car wash can do.”
For more information, look for Big T’s Auto Detail on Facebook or call 979-221-7366 to book an auto detailing appointment.