What is Auto Detailing? Every day, countless times the word “detailing” is used to describe some sorts of service that typically involves the cleaning and reconditioning of cars. Around the world, people use this term, but what does it really mean? The truth is – the term is so widely thrown around, that the actual meaning has become loose and subjective.
According to Dictionary.com : ““
SO what is Detailing? To me, detailing simply means paying attention to the minor and small details. But for all intents and purpose, it’s a layering of services performed by a trained and skilled technician with the purpose of cleaning and improving the condition of a vehicle. It doesn’t specifically describe a singular service, but a group of services designed to meet the expectations of a compensating customer. There are many different levels of detailing. Some cater to daily drivers, while others cater to high end sport cars, while others cater to show cars, etc. Not every detailer will specialize in everything, so choose carefully.
According to Wikipedia.com : “Auto detailing is the performance of thorough cleaning, restoration, and finishing of an automobile, both inside and out, to produce a show-quality level of detail.”
As a professional “Detail-er”, I actually hate the term. Every day I have clients ask me to detail their vehicles, and every day I have to ask them to clarify. You see, using the word “Detailing” doesn’t really describe much of anything to us. Basically, each of us use our vehicles differently from one another and require service that is more specific than one word can describe. So as a professional, I’m going to ask you questions. I’m going to need to know if you want the focus on reconditioning the exterior, interior, or both. I’m going to need to know the condition of your vehicle. I’m going to need to know what your expectations are, and of course, I’m going to need to know your budget.
Not All Details Are Created Equal. Don’t pay attention to just the sizzle, you need to know what side dish that steak comes with. Just because a service is labelled with the term “detail” doesn’t mean it will satisfy your needs. There’s many different levels of detailing. Some will remove your wheels, calipers, and spend 3 days perfecting every inch of your paint, while others focus on the general areas. The key is NOT to focus on what the packages is called, or costs. You need to know what is included, and if those inclusions are what you are expecting.
B-B-But the package is labelled “Platinum Diamond Full Complete Super Detail”, and wow, it only cost $80!?! So it sounds like a good deal but an hour later you come back and while your vehicle looks washed and feels squeaky, but those pesky swirls and water spots are still there. But wait a minute, the package was called the FULL DETAIL, and that means my car should look brand new! Sorry folks, there’s more to it than just a name or label.
Value is subjective. Every single day us detailers have clients that looks at our service menu, skims through the offerings until they see a price that resembles what they expected to pay, and say “I want THAT one!”. I literally cringe inside when I witness this. I mean, you’re an adult right? You know what you’re doing, you’ve done your research! I should just do what you asked for right? WRONG! I’ve learned my lesson, value is subjective. You saw $60 and felt that it was expensive, but at the same time thought at that price, “it should include everything I want”. But unfortunately, I cannot read minds. I don’t know exactly what you were expecting unless you verbalized it to me. If i let you just select that $60 option knowing you didn’t read the description I am truly setting both of us up for failure. I’ve learned this the hard way, 9 out of 10 clients who choose a package based on cost instead of content, will wind up dissatisfied. So as a professional, and a business owner who truly cares about our customer satisfaction, I make it a point now to make sure the client knows what is included before I take the keys and start my work. You, as a paying customer should be clear on what you are getting for the price you are paying.
Hiring a Professional. To be honest, a lot of what us Detailers do – can be done yourself. Even your kids can do it! It doesn’t require any special skills to vacuum, or clean windows, or apply a wax. A professional brings much more to the table though. A trained and experienced professional has advanced knowledge and high grade tools to accomplish the task at a level far superior to a non professional. We are also licensed and insured in the unlikely event of an error or accident. Today’s auto manufacturers source materials from all over the globe, even within their own model range there will be paints, plastics, glass sourced from different manufacturers. Not every product will work on every component. A professional will have multiple products, tools, and processes that will vary from car to car to achieve the same outcome. Our knowledge, expertise, and costs of doing business WILL cost you compared to a non-professional. Skilled labor is rarely cheap, and cheap labor is rarely skilled.