Eri Dacaj is passionate about cars and having spent the last nine years working in car washes in Belfast, Northern Ireland, he wanted to take his passion to the next level. He dreamt about owning his own company whereby he could provide his customers with a more premium and personal car valeting service right outside their house. In June this year, he took a leap of faith registering as a sole trader and Shine Clean Valeting was born. Eri then began building his local business but with a full-time job and a family, it was tough to find enough time to build up a customer base. Thankfully, neighbours on Nextdoor stepped in to support him and get the word out. He is now fully launched and fully booked. We chatted to him about how Nextdoor has helped him get started.
How have you used Nextdoor to grow your business?
“I was already on Nextdoor as a neighbour and had received plenty of trusted recommendations from my neighbours before, so I created a post about my valeting services. Our neighbourhood Lead was so supportive; she informed me that to post as a business I needed to firstly create a business page, which was free and easy to set up. From our business page, we would be able to show recommendations from customers and create Local Deals. She offered to be our first customer on Nextdoor, so I booked her in. She was so impressed with the car valet I did for her that she posted a recommendation with photos on Nextdoor and a link to our business page.”
“Within days the recommendation had 237 comments and I was fully booked! Seven days later, I quit my full time job to focus on the business”.
What does being on Nextdoor mean for your business?
“It’s all about local customers. Typically, I would have needed to advertise my services far and wide to attract enough business but on Nextdoor my customers are my neighbours, they’re literally on my doorstep. I don’t even have to charge a call-out fee as they are so local. I will finish four jobs in one day and be able to pick up my daughter from nursery and spend time with my family; this is what it’s all about.”
“We have improved connections in our local community, being on Nextdoor has enabled my family to have a different quality of life.”
What would you say to other businesses who are thinking of joining Nextdoor?
“Nextdoor already has your local customers so you don’t need to build an audience or drive traffic to your website, all you need to do is create a page for your business and from there you’ll be able to post messages to spread awareness of your local business. Since joining Nextdoor as a business, I’ve been able to launch Shine Clean Valeting fully. Some days I get so many messages from customers that my wife has to reply to people on my Nextdoor business page for me as I simply can’t keep up! For every booking we get on Nextdoor, we seem to get another customer straight away as Nextdoor is all about word of mouth, Nextdoor neighbours speak to their neighbours even if they aren’t on Nextdoor.”
“People often stop me in the street and say “Hey, aren’t you that guy on Nextdoor who does the valeting services everyone is raving about?!” It’s been amazing to feel so supported and valued in my community.”
What does community mean for your business?
“I feel extremely lucky, Ravenhill is a really tight community where people look out for each other and trust their neighbours. This has been critical for our business; our community has helped spread the word about my services through recommendations, taken in parcels for me when I’ve been out so I have had the products I needed ready to use the next day. We even have neighbours knocking on our door asking for business cards which just shows the power of getting a recommendation from a neighbour, business literally comes to our front door!”
“Before we had a business page on Nextdoor, we were considering moving out of Belfast but now our community has rallied behind us, we have decided to stay put. We feel so supported and we love giving back to our customers, who are essentially our neighbours. You can’t buy good neighbours!”
If you would like to find out more about joining Nextdoor as a Local Business visit our Local Business page where you’ll be able to create your free business page.