Rowdy's Custom Detailing finds success with social media
by Matt Shinall
Mar 12, 2012 | 2498 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lee and Michelle Dowdy check out their equipment before getting on the road to take care of a customer. Their business fully details vehicles of any type where they sit.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Lee and Michelle Dowdy check out their equipment before getting on the road to take care of a customer. Their business fully details vehicles of any type where they sit. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
With unemployment in the state at 9.2 percent, layoffs and furloughs are occurrences seen all too often. Success found at rock bottom, however, is not often heard of but that didn't stop Lee Dowdy from pursuing his entrepreneurial spirit.

After being laid off, Dowdy was in a desperate situation and with a little advice from a friend began his own company -- Rowdy's Custom Detailing.

As have new and established businesses, Rowdy's found success through social media. Dowdy launched his business with the help of Facebook and found himself working to keep up with demand.

"I was crying because I was laid off, the bills were stacking up, I didn't know what to do and Gloria said, 'Start your own business, do something you know you're good at.' I came back the next day with a business license," Dowdy said sharing the advice of a friend that inspired him. "So I got on Facebook and asked if I could detail people's cars and I got a lot of hits off of it. So I bought a lot of stuff to get it done, I worked out of the trunk of my car and it just exploded last year.

"That's what made me was my friends on Facebook giving me a chance to make a living and it exploded from there. Word of mouth will take you a long way."

Lee Dowdy, working alongside his wife Michelle Dowdy, no longer works from the trunk of his 2006 Cadillac. Instead, he operates out of a professional truck fully equipped with a 500 gallon water tank. Licensed and insured, Rowdy's Custom Detailing is fully mobile washing, waxing and detailing vehicles of any type where they sit.

Lee and Michelle Dowdy travel throughout Bartow and into surrounding counties serving customers at home, work or while they shop. Rowdy's will wash, wax, clean upholstery, restore headlights, repair headliners and fix minor scratches on anything from cars and trucks to boats and tractor trailers. The Dowdys also perform pressure washing services for residential and business needs.

The transformation of Lee Dowdy's business over the past year has even taken him by surprise and looking back at his recent success, he described it as a "Cinderella story."

"I didn't realize detailing cars was such a big demand," he said. "You hear these stories all the time about people that started out with nothing in the trunk of a car and next thing you know they're exploding and they've got a couple of trucks on the road now and that's me. It's like a Cinderella story.

"I was about to lose everything I had, so I started posting stuff on Facebook about detailing cars and the next thing you know I was making almost $1,000 a week working out of the back of my car."

Although Rowdy's has seen its share of success in the first year, the Dowdys look forward to making further strides. Recently, as the weather warms and business picks up again, Lee and Michelle have made a new marketing push. With a new website and an ad campaign, Rowdy's hopes to expand in coming months.

"We're going to expand this summer because I know that I won't be able to handle all this by myself like I did last year. Last year I was working 12 hours a day, seven days a week. I had to, I was the only guy," Lee Dowdy said.

In addition to advertising, the Dowdys have found value through local networking events and connecting with the right people.

When asked about advice for those that are now in the position Lee Dowdy faced not long ago, he encourages anyone with a passion to give it a shot. For the Dowdys, the key was to match personal skills and abilities with what people need.

"I feel like, if you've got the skill and you think you can do it, start your own business," Lee Dowdy said.

For more information, visit or call 770-873-2481.