5 Tips to Consider Before Hiring an Automotive Detailer.
Updated: Jan 23
Are you sketched out about hiring a detailer to care for your vehicle? Have you had some bad experiences after trusting a local detailer to care for your vehicle? Maybe you've never had your vehicle detailed and want to ensure you make the right choices from here on out. Either way, follow these tips below to help ensure you make the right decision when picking a detailer to care for your vehicle.
All it takes is for a nonprofessional detailer to make one small mistake that can cost you a large amount of money in repairs. So why risk it? Read carefully and take these tips into serious consideration before hiring a detailer. Lets start this off with the definition of a Professional Detailer! A professional detailer combines technique, knowledge of chemicals, knowledge of equipment, knowledge of vehicle surfaces, operates under industry standards and customer requirements into systematic procedures that yield quality service and ultimately the restoration of a vehicle.
5 Tips to Consider Before Hiring an Automotive Detailer
Below are the categories we will cover in this blog that can save you a ton of hassle when choosing an automotive detailing company to trust with the care of your vehicle. The main question is, "do they really care?"
How Long Will it Take?
How Much Does it Cost?
Do They Use Professional Auto Detailing Tools?
Do They Use Professional Auto Detailing Chemicals?
Does Image Mean Anything? NOTE: We will be focusing on using a Full Detail as an example because that's the most that can be done no matter the size or condition of a vehicle.
How long will it take? Time Commitment: The amount of time it takes to complete the job at hand. This is a key question. Ask the detailer how long it will take to complete the detail. If the detailer says 1, 2 or even 3 hours to complete a full detail, they are not performing a true full detail on your vehicle. Example: A true Full Detail can take between 6-8 hours and some times longer depending on the size and condition of the vehicle. So be concerned with this question at hand and always ask the detailer, about how long will it take. The answer to whether or not they are a true professional lies within their answer.
How Much Does it Cost? The cost can say a lot about the quality of work they perform right alongside with how long it takes. So another key indicator that is over looked more often than not is, the detailers prices? Low priced detailers are non-professionals. A non-professional detailer charges what they think its worth to them based on their level of knowledge & abilities which will always be much less than what a professional detailer would charge. They know they are not a professional even if they don't admit it to you, so naturally they charge less. The fact is, they know less, so they do less, so they charge less. A clear indication of a non-professional detailer is their cheap prices. A professional knows more, they do more so they charge more. Example: If a detailer offers a full detail for say around $150, ask them about how long it will take. If they say 1, 2 or even 3 hours, they are not performing a true full detail on your vehicle. Although this may be good enough for some people, it is indeed not a true full detail. Again, a full detail takes 6-8 hours and sometimes longer which is one more reason professional detailers charges more. It simply takes longer. A true full detail in the central Florida area will cost anywhere between $325-$500 and will take 6-8 hours and sometimes longer. Even more truth lies within the price.
Do They Use Professional Auto Detailing Tools? When it comes to professional detailing, tools should be on the top of the detail companies list. Now as a customer, you may just trust that a detail business has professional tools right? I mean let's face it, they are a real business, right? Well more times than none, they do not. Professional tools are needed to provide professional services, period and they are not cheap. From brushes to scrubbing pads, buffers, buffing pads, microfiber towels, steam cleaners, vacuums, clay bar and so much more. If the detailer does not own professional auto detailing tools plus understand how to use and care for them properly, damage can and most likely will be done to your vehicle. Example: We received a call from a distressed person about their vehicle. This person sounded pretty upset. They explained to me that they purchased a wash & wax for $40 from a local mobile detailing company. Then what I heard next blew my mind. They told me the detailer left very noticeable thin scratches all over the paint of their once shiny black Cadillac. The client informed me that they contacted the detailer and the detailer blamed it on his helper. The helper used a green scrub pad to wash the entire vehicle... You know, the ones we use to scrub our gunked up pots and pans after frying some pork chops. Where was the detailer when the helper was going to town on that nice shiny black paint? You guessed it, on the job right there with him. Anyways, the detailer told the client that they were sorry and didn't know how to fix the problem nor could they afford to pay for the repairs. Long story short, I re-introduced my self and apologized to the customer for having gone through that experience and explained that this detailer is not a professional and does not in any way shape or form represent the professional detailing industry and explained how a professional detailer would never have a green scrub pad in their tool arsenal. Then I gave them my detailing background and explained how it can be fixed and with out them mentioning it, I forwarded them my website plus a video of me performing paint correction as well as some different before & after photos. They agreed to have me come out and look at their Cadillac. The client was sad to be informed that their mistake was going to cost them an additional $625 in repairs but they hired us. Actually they became a regular. All this could have been prevented had the client knew some of the more obvious differences between a professional and non-professional detailer. Moral of the story is, do your research and always ask questions! Below is a photo of the Cadillac after we finished the job.
So, ask the detailer this question. Do they use professional tools! They should say yes with out hesitation. If you meet them, ask to have a look around their setup! Check things out, ask questions if you want! Ask to see their towels, are they clean and free of contaminants? Ask them anything. It should also look clean and organized. A true professional would be more than happy to show you around because they are proud to be a professional and they want you to trust them. A non-professional will be hesitant and come up with excuses.
Do They use Professional Auto Detailing Chemicals? The wrong chemicals can ruin the look and feel of your vehicle causing it to decrease in value and even cost you a lot of money in repairs. So it's easy to say that chemicals are at the heart of the professional detailing industry. Knowing which chemicals to use and where to use them, as well as where not to use them. This is knowledge that shouldn't be taken lightly and is another factor that separates the professionals from the nonprofessionals. Now as a customer, professional detailers realize you do not know the difference and you shouldn't have too. That's our job but that shouldn't stop you from asking questions! Ask them what they use to clean the windows and see what they say! Example 1: As a professional my self, I know not to use Windex on a vehicle that has tented windows because Windex and many other window cleaners contain ammonia. Over time, ammonia will discolor the tent causing it to turn purple and will also cause the film to become weak and brittle. Did you know that? I bet the nonprofessional detailer didn't know that either. We do not allow ammonia on our job sites period. Example 2: WD-40 verses Headlights: Many detailers will say WD-40 restores faded headlights back to its original shine & transparency. This is indeed not true. Though WD-40 does not cause any further damage, it does not restore headlights at all. It only provides a wet surface making it seem to be restored but over a short period of time, the headlight will begin to look faded after the WD-40 wears off. The only way to restore headlights is to remove the top surface using a buffer and a cutting pad with a cutting compound or by the 3 step wet sanding method either by hand or buffer. So don't be fooled! If you're looking to have your headlights restored, ask how they will do it! Any professional will say the same.
Does Image Mean Anything: YES. At least we think so. Take my advice when I say that there is proof in a detail companies quality by the way it looks and presents itself in person and online. From the uniform to the shop, to their mobile detailing trailer, to their social media and website. The way they look can say a lot about the company and whether or not they take the detailing industry serious. Question 1: At first glance, who would you trust more with the care of your vehicle? A. The detailer dressed in a tank top, basketball shorts and flip flops? B. Or the detailer dressed in the standard automotive button-up with their logo on it, cargo shorts with a belt, none slip shoes and a hat that all match the colors of their business? If it were me, I would choose B. While this doesn't necessarily determine whether or not they are a true professional detailer, it simply shows more professionalism. Option B just seems less risky. Question 2: Would you hire the detailer that when you look inside their shop/mobile detailing trailer, A. its a mess, trash all over the floor, dirty rags all over the place, empty bottles on the floor, power chords and vacuum hose entangled, dust everywhere, no labels on anything and it basically looks like they are lazy and don't care? B. or it looks well thought after, clean and well organized, bottles have labels and everything is snug in its own place on shelves, brackets, hangers or straps? Again if it were me, I would choose option B. It just seems less risky to hire the clean & organized detailer over the messy detailer who doesn't seem to even care about their own work environment. Question 3: When searching for a local detailer company online, who would you be more inclined to hire? A. The company that has limited information online, runs their business from their personal Facebook page not a business page, has no website, has no My Google Business account, has very little proof of being a professional such as before and after photos, detailing videos, photos of their equipment, photos of their shop or trailer and no reviews? B. Or the company that is at least establishing an online presence which shows their experience, services, prices, contact info, through a completed Facebook business page, a website, a Google my Business account, that all provide at the very least before and after photos, detailing videos, photos of their equipment, photos of their shop or trailer and reviews all which provide proof they are indeed a professional detailing company? So again when choosing a detailing company, my obvious choice is going to be option B. Image says a lot about a company. I would be more inclined to hire the detailing company with a clear honest presence online over the company who does not. In my opinion, option B seems less risky.
Summary: Do they really care?
1. How long does it take? Professionals take longer because they don't cut corners. The time it takes can say a lot about the quality of work they do. Ask how long it will take. Their answer will tell you whether or not they are a true professional. A true full detail will take 6-8 hours and some times longer depending on the condition of the vehicle. Time matters when it comes to professional detailing.
2. How Much Does it Cost? The cost can say a lot about the quality of work they do right alongside with how long it will take. Be cautious of lower-priced detailers. They tend to cut corners and use cheap chemicals & tools not designed for your vehicle's exterior or interior. A full detail will cost between $325-$500 depending on the condition of the vehicle and what needs to be done. Professionals charge more because they know, they do more and they do a better job.
3. Do They Use Professional Auto Detailing Tools? Professional tools are needed to provide professional service, period. As you learned from the above examples, the wrong tools can damage your vehicle and cause you more time and money than your willing to spend. So ask the detailer if they use professional tools. When you meet them in person, ask to check out their setup and don't be afraid to ask questions! A professional would be proud to show off their arsenal of tools! BUT... Don't be afraid to walk away if it scares you. Or you may be putting your vehicle & your pockets at risk.
4. Do They Use Professional Auto Detailing Chemicals? Using the wrong chemicals not designed for automotive detailing can cause damage to your vehicle. Also knowing which chemicals to use and where to use them, as well as where not to use them is what sets the professionals apart from the nonprofessionals. So again, don't be afraid to ask questions! Give them a pop quiz and ask them what they will use to clean your vehicle's windows. If they say glass cleaner, ask them what kind! If they say Windex or any other cleaner that contains ammonia, walk away. No professional detailer will have ammonia in their shop or on their mobile detailing trailer period.
5. Does Image Mean Anything: YES it does! I believe looking the part, matters. Whether it's in person or online. Image can say a lot of good things or a lot of bad things about a business.
- Professionals look presentable. Clean cut and dressed for work, not the couch.
- Professionals have a clean, well-organized shop and or mobile detailing trailer.