Why detailers cant give customers a set price without seeing your vehicle first

I recently had a customer post a review about my customer service , basically saying that i was trying to up sell him the whole time . This wasn’t the case , I did up sell him on a ceramic coating via messenger but that was it. He contacted through messenger and  finally on the phone . I asked him different questions about the  vehicle and his concerns, Im assuming he gave me his best answers. His vehicle was a mid size pick up with light branch scratches and some interior work needed . This was his description.  The day of his appointment he shows up with the vehicle and it was in lack of other words , not as he described.  Not to say that he was lying or down playing his vehicle but consumers dont see vehicles the way detailers do . His vehicle did have branch scratches and while they were light on the surface they covered the entire vehicle . Also his interior needed more work than the interior detail package he wanted. So after talking with him , I tried my best to explain to him that based on the vehicles condition it would require more work , this happens from time to time.  I explained to him different levels of paint correction and why i thought he needed a better package to achieve the results he wanted. At the time we rescheduled the detail and he seemed to understand , a day or so later , I get a review saying that i tried to up sell him and that he took his vehicle to multiple shops and no one was even close to my prices. These points to me are irrelevant, Had i saw the vehicle up front like the other shops got to , my estimate would have been higher than just talking through messenger. Also it does not matter what one shop vs the other shop charges. You dont go to a steakhouse order a burger and then ask them to match McDonald prices . Not all detailers are the same and we dont charge the same rates.

 

Over the phone and via messenger , I did the best i could to give and accurate quote based on this customers description , no pics , no prior inspection like the the other shops had.  Again had i seen the vehicle in person in the first place my initial quote would of been about what my second quote was. Please give your detailer as accurate info and pics as you can . I  gave him  a quote that ended up being inaccurate for the reasons stated above . At the same time my mistake was not making it clear to him that pricing is subject to change upon inspection , lesson learned.

The point to this is , without seeing your vehicle there is no way to know exactly whats needed to detail your vehicle . There are also things that consumers dont think of or know how difficult they are to remedy . Please be open minded and if the pricing isnt what your looking for go to a shop that fits your budget. This customer came to me because he wanted a steak house detail , but in the end wanted it at a McDonald price.

Why not all detailers are the same!

First Off I need to say I did not write this blog , it is from detailed image but it is a great source on some things you should be looking for in a detailer.

Here is some advice on how to choose a professional detailer:

Don’t automatically think that anyone that calls themself a pro, is in fact a pro. There are many people in detailing looking to make a quick buck with limited knowledge and supplies. On numerous occasions, images of work professionals have done has been stolen and used illegally without their permission.
Do research on potential detailers within driving range of your area or detailers that are willing to come to you. Individuals should be able and willing to share some of the work they’ve done for other clients with you and answer questions on the type of work they offer.

Don’t expect a professional to be able to give you the most accurate quote price over the phone. Until we see a car in person under light, we can’t be sure what to fully expect. In some cases, odd or rare problems arise and require extra time to work on them.
Do expect to pay a fair price for a fair amount of work. Many professionals will need 10+ hours of work to transform your car back to like-new condition (and in some cases nearly 40!). A Professional using a lot of high quality products may spend over $100 in product use alone on your vehicle: don’t expect to get a miracle turn-around performed for $75.

Don’t hesitate to ask about a detailer’s background,if they have certifications and have work as an aprrentice why and how they got into detailing, or questions about your specific type of car. Many of the top detailers are passionate about their work and avid car enthusiasts. A professional that truly loves cars is more likely to provide a higher level of work than someone who’s indifferent about automobiles. Put your car in the hands of someone that will treat it as good, if not better, than their own car.
Do be sure to find out about payment options, safety precautions, and scheduling information as soon as possible. You’ll need to make sure a detailer accepts your form of payment before they start on your car. It is additionally important to find out about various safety precautions a detailer takes. To begin, your detailer should be insured and his or her business should be registered. Other important factors to some clients include but is not limited to: does a detailer take paint thickness measurements, what risky areas are on your car that may need special attention, what type of wheel cleaner will be used on your specific type of wheels, and if the detailer has an opening for the time of the year in which you want work performed?

Some other keys to discuss with your detailer or to think about:
o Do you have options in the look / finish of interior surfaces? Matte finish vs satin finish vs gloss. This also applies to tire-dressing
o Are no-slip products used on interior surfaces, especially pedals?
o Is the detailer well organized?
o Does the detailers have untouched photos of cars they’ve worked on in full sunlight or under intense halogen lights?
o For those looking for something special to brag about; are luxury wax options, or concours prep details offered?

I hope this article has shed some light on this topic for those looking for a third party source of car care. Feel free to ask any additional questions you may have (comment box below), and be sure to check out the Detailed Image Find A Detailer for a certified professional near you!

Detailing or Car w

Auto Detailing Defined

Many confuse the term “Auto Detailing” with “Car Washing.” While part of detailing does consist of washing, it is actually just one component of many. A great explanation comes from www.dmv.org which states:

“More than simply washing the exterior of your car with soapy water and a rag, or swiping the interior with Armor All and a vacuum, detailing means just what it says: focusing on and cleaning the tiny details of your car to take it from “clean” to ‘sparkling like new.’ ”

A quicker car wash service, such as OUR MAINTENANCE DETAIL PACKAGE, serves to maintain a vehicle AFTER it has received a Full Detail. Most of the time, if a vehicle has never received a really detailed cleaning inside and out, a quicker wash will not help as much as it should.

As an analogy, think of a new suit or outfit. To maintain a nice appearance, you can’t always simply wash a suit or use a suit brush. Instead, you take it to your trusted professionals at the dry cleaners and let the experts there handle it using tools and chemicals you may not have access to.

Maintaining After a Full Detail

You’ve probable heard us caution our customers about visiting automatic car washes as they have the potential to not only undo the detailing, waxing or protective layer of your car, but can also cause serious damage to your paint by creating scratches and swirls (more on that here).

What if you don’t have the immediate time to bring your vehicle in for maintenance and need to quickly clean it up? Fortunately, there are a few tools that can help you out in this situation.

California Car Duster

A large brush specifically made for your car that won’t damage the paint. This can be helpful when your car gains a layer of dust or pollen after a wash. Our friends at Autogeek expand on this tool here.

Microfiber Cloth

This is an easy item to keep in your trunk. Use it with some water to gently break up and remove bird droppings or bugs. Microfiber is easy on your cars surface, as opposed to materials like paper towels that can scratch! Autogeek.net states, “Microfiber is a man-made material that combines two fibers, polyester and polyamide. The polyester gives the material strength and durability, the polyamide allows the fabric to be tremendously absorbent and quick drying.”

Compressed Air in a Can

You may already have this item in your office. A can of compressed air, generally used for cleaning keyboards, can help remove dust from some of the harder to reach places. While this will help remove dust and dirt from areas like your cup holders and console, the down side is that the dirt will end up on the floor of your car. Not worry, as we can take care of that with your next Wash + Vacuum or Interior Shampoo!

Protective Coatings

To further protect your car, you may decide to invest in something that can help prevent scratches and making cleaning easier in the future. OUR EXCLUSIVE line of coatings provide a layer of protection unlike any other.  Opti-Coat Pro  can help PREVENT scratches, fading, corrosion and more. If you would like to know more about ceramic coatings or to schedule a FREE estimate, please call or come by the shop.

Paint Correction vs Paint protection and Do you need it?

Polish, Compound, Wax, Buff,… These terms get thrown around a lot during discussions about car detailing. Often, they are used interchangeably without regard to their real meaning. However, they all have very distinct meanings and knowing how they differ can make a world of difference. Whether you have a show car or just want to have your daily car looking it’s best, learning about the detailing process will insure that you are getting the most out of your time and money.

Before we look at the difference between these terms it is best to get an understanding of what paint correction is.

PAINT CORRECTION

Picture the painted surface of your car as a smooth, mirror like plane. Over time, dust, dirt, and other contaminants build up on that smooth surface. Unfortunately, the process of washing this dirt and dust away causes the fine particles to act like sandpaper, scratching and digging grooves into the once smooth clearcoat surface. As these fine scratches build up, the surface becomes dull and hazed. Paint correction is the use of specialized machines and polishing agents to slowly remove microscopic layers of clearcoat to once again make the surface smooth and mirror like.

A buffing or polishing machine (here the words are safely used interchangeably), is a handheld machine with a motorized spinning head. Foam or fiber pads are placed on the head and used to spread wax or polishing agents onto the painted surface.

Think of wax as makeup for your car. Though it is often applied with a buffing or polishing machine, it is simply a coating which fills in the scratches – making them harder to see. Over time the wax is worn and washed away, once again, revealing the underlying scratches. In terms of paint correction, wax is purely cosmetic. It will make your car look good for a short time, but does nothing to remove the underlying scratches.

Removing the scratches requires the slow removal of microscopic layers of clear coat to, once again, level out the surface. Compounding agents or leveling agents are specifically formulated liquids that, when added to the rotating pad of a buffing or polishing machine, act as extremely fine grit sandpaper to slowly shave down the clear coat surface.

Once the compounding agents have done the heavy lifting, a polish is then used to remove any final haze and add to the depth and clarity of the finished surface. Think of polish as an even finer grit sandpaper that is used to fine tune the newly leveled surface, revealing a beautiful, highly polished surface.

PAINT PROTECTION

Once the painted surface is perfected, it is now ready for a protective layer. Protection comes in the form of waxes and paint sealants. Waxes and sealants are applied in the same way, but offer differing types of protection. Both will protect the painted surface from acid rain, fallout, bird droppings and tree sap. A paint sealant is a synthetic polymer that will provide a high gloss finish yet will last much longer than a wax – up to a year in some cases. It was once the case that though waxes wouldn’t last as long, they would provide a higher gloss and deeper shine. However, paint sealants have come a long way in the last few years – almost making waxes obsolete. Today’s paint sealants have a higher melting point than wax, allowing them to last longer in extreme elements while still providing the depth and shine provided by a wax. Waxes can also be applied over a paint sealant – further protecting the hard work that went into your car.

Taking the sealant process one step further, we enter into the world of polymer coatings. Polymer coatings chemically bond to factory clear coat to provide a permanent protective layer. Here at PERFECTION PLUS AUTO DETAILING we specialize in a specific protective coating, Opti-Coat PRO by OPTIMUM Products. Opti-Coat PRO is a ceramic coating that is approximately 100 times thicker than typical wax and sealant products. Opti-Coat PRO is a permanent coating that will protect the factory clear coat from harsh chemicals and environmental fallout, provide increased scratch resistance, easy maintenance and permanent gloss. OPTIMUM Products is so sure about the durability of this coating that it comes with a 5 year warranty.

We can now see that the act of buffing is not synonymous with polishing, compounding, or waxing. Buffing is a generalized term for making a surface smooth and shiny. Compounding and Polishing are similar in that they fall under the paint correction umbrella, yet vary in the amount of surface that they remove. Waxing, sealing, and coating are similar in that they all offer protection for the recently corrected surface.

Each of these processes requires special tools and many years of experience to perfect. Paint correction should always be preceded by a thorough washing and claybar surface preparation to remove any surface contaminants. Any contaminants left on the surface can be picked up by the buffing agents and act like sandpaper – easily ruining a good deal of hard work.

Today’s automotive finishes are complex and designed to look good for many years with minimal effort. However, a professional detailing can bring out the true beauty of your car’s finish – sometimes making it look even better than it did when it was new! Even if you don’t plan on attempting paint correction yourself, knowing what the procedure entails will insure that you get the most out of your detailing dollar.

Spring is Almost Here! Tips on cleaning up your ride!

 

The cold winter is almost behind us and there is no better time than now to spring clean your vehicle! Perfect time to get it all cleaned up and ready for the summer ahead.

So get your rubber gloves out; here are some helpful tips for car spring cleaning:

Wax every season: Each winter season, your car’s paint colour is dulled by the elements and picks up scratches, so keep it looking clean and new with a liquid spray wax.

Out with the dirt in with the clean: Get out your vacuum to suck up all the dirt and dust in the small corners of your vehicle.  Remember to put your seats down to get between the cracks and also vacuum all the cup holders throughout your vehicle as these areas collect dirt, too!

     It’s called washing your car, not your dishes: Never use dish soap to clean your vehicle as it will dull and scratch the protective clear coat off your car. Try using Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo and Conditioner.

Put a break on your brake dust: Get rid of that reddish, brown coloured powder on your wheels caused by normal brake wear.  Wipe down your wheels with a cleaning solution safe for alloy wheels (available at any hardware store) and address those hard-to-reach places in between the wheel’s spokes with a scrub brush or rag.

Take a load off:  Do you use your car as a storage unit? Be sure to empty out your trunk and back seats of all your winter build up. Removing unnecessary weight also improves fuel efficiency and your car’s handling!

What’s happening under the hood? Cars need a ‘medical’ check-up, too! Every spring, it is a good idea to take your vehicle in for a quick under-the-hood inspection and get an oil change, filter replacement and tire rotation.

Freshen up: After you are finished cleaning your car, add your favorite smelling air freshener to keep your car smelling clean and fresh all spring and summer!

Do you spring clean your car every year?  

Image result for SPRING CLEANING CAR

A trained certified detailer VS a detailer

In this blog im going to point out some big differences between detailers that are educated , and continue educating and advancing in there field versus a person who has some experience detailing cars and decided to go into business for themselves. Not all detailers are created equal!

There this huge misconception that detailing cars is detailing cars , this could not be farther from the truth. That is  like saying that all chefs are the same , your not going to get a five star meal from the McDonalds cook , and your going to pay more for that five star chef. Same goes with detailing vehicles , sure pretty much anyone can clean up a car and make it look better than it did but did they use the proper products to ensure that the materials use to make up your vehicle were not damaged? Did they take the extra step and measure the thickness of your paint before they started running a high speed polisher on it ? Are they knowledgeable about the different functions of your vehicle and how to safely operate those functions without damaging your investment? Those are just some of the things that separate a professional detailer from some one who opened a detailing business. Just because they own a detailing business does not make them an expert.

Another big difference is continued education , as with any  other trade technology changes and advances the way we can do things . 20 years ago the only tools we used to polish paint were a high speed buffer , wool pad , foam pad  and compound and polish. Today we have a variety of choices such as random orbitals , forced rotation , 15mm /21mm d/a’s just to name a few. That’s just the tools ! The pads today are much better , the compounds and polishes more advanced etc so keeping up on them is very important . A detailer who has 20 years experience might look at these and say “I’ve been doing it my way for 20 years!” . His method probably has wokred for him for his career , but is he using the safest methods available on your vehicle ? Not if he is still using the same tools and methods he did 20 or even 10 years ago .

The types of materials your vehicle is comprised of is always changing as well , so educating ones self about the new materials is vital . Using the wrong product on the wrong material can cause irreversible damages. Again most shops have one product they use to clean everything usually an all purpose cleaner . We have come so far in the industry the last ten years with great SAFE cleaning products that will not harm your vehicle , loved ones , and are environmentally friendly as well. To me personally this comes down to wanting to detail the right way versus just wanting to make money .

These are just a few instances of lack of education and what are industry is dealing with at this current time . I would advise anyone considering having a vehicle detailed to to do your homework on the shop your thinking of using . Also if the price of your detail is cheaper than most others in your area ,my guess is there’s a reason . You get what you pay for . Also if you are a fellow detailer reading this and scoffing at it , its probably time to revaluate how educated of a detailer you truly are , its time to start detailing the right way!

De-Icer on the roads? How it affects your vehicle

In central Oregon , winter time every year here we have the state spraying down all the major roadways with magnesium chloride (de icer ). This is to to help with ice build up on the roads , but it is terrible for your vehicle. In this blog , we are going to discuss why its so bad and what you can do to minimize the damage.

We will start with the obvious , the outside of your vehicle , magnesium chloride is a chemical designed to melt things , it does not dry, it can only be flushed away with water. That being said when you drive your vehicle around this time of year and it gets sprayed with de icer and you let it sit on your vehicle for any length of time it is literally eating into whatever surface its on. Your wheels , paint , chrome , plastic trim , rubber , glass is all being attacked by this melting agent. Also your undercarriage , suspension parts , etc as well.  to help minimize the damage to your vehicle, you should be washing your vehicle after any major road trip or anytime after a storm has passed and there is deicer mixed in the melted snow runoff every where.  You should have your undercarriage washed at least once a year to prevent rust from damaging the major structures that keep your vehicle together . Any professional detail and some car washes offer undercarriage washes .  I recommend frequently this this time of year to minimize the damage.

Your vehicles interior is also at risk to magnesium chloride , how ? you might be thinking. From your shoes!  Magnesium chloride eats your rubber mats , carpets etc. Those need to be cleaned and shampooed regularly as well . A good trick that i teach my clients is to flip there mats upside down this time of year . That way the bottom of the mat takes the brunt of the damage from the mag chloride .

Your  vehicles are the 2nd biggest investment you make it your lifetime , we invest hundreds in them monthly , thousands in them yearly . In my opinion if your taking the time to properly clean and maintain your investments throughout the year, you might as well light that money on fire . Happy vehicles last longer and look better.

Why your new car needs detailed too.

At the shop this week we have several 2018 vehicles in the shop for our detailing services. I know what your thinking : Why does a brand new vehicle need to be detailed? There a few reasons but the main point Id like to discuss is protection.

When new vehicles leave the plant and head to the dealership , they are transported on trains , boats , trucks etc. They are minimally protected , usually wrapped in plastic. They are exposed to all kinds of environmental contaminants such as rail dust, exhaust gas , UV rays , acid rain , tree sap , bird droppings . When they get to the dealership , typically they receive a quick wash , remove the plastics and out to the lot they go where they sit for months once again exposed to all the environmental contaminants that cause pre mature paint failures such as oxidation , water spots  , paint staining etc. All of these reasons are why a new car should be detailed .

You should have at least the exterior of your new vehicle detailed asap after purchase to have the above contaminants removed and some sort of protection applied. Protection can come in many varieties from a simple wax job , to a permanent protective coating. By having your vehicle protected right out of the gate ,your setting yourself and your vehicle up for easier maintenance , better looking , more affordable detailing in the future.

Many consumers believe that the dealerships wax the new cars right when they come in , In my experience they only do this if they see a problem or issue such as a black car covered in swirl marks. On top of that most dealerships don’t employ competent professional detailers but rather anyone they can get to wash vehicles as fast as they can. Dealerships might also offer some sort of protection package for your new car , this is usually just a decent paint sealant and some scotch guard, a professional detailer will have long lasting durable options at an affordable price that will outlast any dealer offering.

As a professional detailer and car enthusiast my recommendation is to have your new vehicle detailed and protected as quickly as possible , this will give you the best start to maintaining your vehicles appearance and longevity on your investment.

Your vehicle is an investment ! Treat it like one!

cupholders cleaned and sanitized

I talk to a lot of people about detailing , some tend to think detailing is a waste of money or only needs to be done before trading it in or getting ready to sale .  Those are two reasons that you should have your vehicle detailed but there is many other reasons as well. Those topics are what I’m going to cover in today’s article .

First and foremost is the amount of money you have spent on your vehicle , now days vehicle prices have gone up dramatically , some reaching 50,000 – 70,000.00 !! With monthly payments and cash down , vehicles are the 2nd largest investment in our lifetime. That alone should be enough reason to have your vehicle detailed at least yearly if not regularly on a maintenance schedule like  a lot of our clients on our maintenance program. Your investment should be taken care of . Did you  know that vehicles that are cared for regularly get an average of 1500.00 more when you trade them in or sale them? That pretty much pays for the cost of keeping it detailed regularly .

Next is appearance to me , no one wants to ride in some worn out ,beat up neglected vehicle. Also if you use your vehicle for work , on a job site etc , it doesn’t leave a good impression on people when your vehicle looks dirty . Neglected vehicles are often stinky , grimy feeling and uncomfortable.

The biggest reason I can think of to keep your vehicle cleaned regularly is your loved ones! Kids , spouses , friends , pets , if you have uncleaned spills in your vehicle you could be exposing your loved ones to bacteria and harmful gasses that cause sickness , nausea etc. Take a coffee spill for example: If you use cream and sugar in your coffee, if it spills that milk and sugar over time off gasses in your vehicle and emits air borne bacteria that can smell awful and cause headaches, nausea and vomiting . You might not even smell it before its to late .

In the scope of things keeping up on your vehicle is a great way to insure you get the most money out of it when you go to sale it, trade it in etc, it also keeps it looking better and protected as well as making sure your not exposing your loved ones to any harsh bacteria .

SPORT FABRIC SEATS CLEANING TIPS FOR D.I.Y.

I’m sure if your reading this , you know the exact seats I’m talking about. Those light colored ones , that even spilling water on them makes them look horrible.  Those seats that seem impossible to clean . I know your struggle , even as a professional detailer these seats are probably my biggest challenge. In this article I’m going to give you some good tips on how to clean them up .

First , lets discuss why these seats make stains and spills looks so bad. Car manufacturers for a number of reasons decided to go with this type of fabric . Its supposed to repel stains out of the fibers of the seats so that stains and spills don’t get embedded into the fiber but rather sit on the surface of the fabric seat , creating those “white and dark looking rings” my clients describe. In theory it was a great idea but in my opinion they dropped the ball on thinking how consumers seats would look after multiple spills and how tough those “rings ” are to remove .

Now that we understand the science behind the fabric , here’s some tips to keep your sport fabric seats looking good. First , if something is spilled on the seats wipe it up asap , using light pressure and hot water if possible. You want to continue to lightly rub the stain with a towel until you see no more of the stain transferring onto the towel. Next if possible lightly rub the entire seat area with hot water to blend in the surrounding area so that you don’t end up with clean spots on your seats.  Try to avoid using chemicals as these fabrics are very sensitive and can be damaged if not treated properly. If stains persist have your seats detailed by a certified , trained professional .

I know these seats drive a lot of my clients insane so i hope this helps , also I always encourage my clients to have these seats treated with our fabric guard to help further repel stains and make cleaning easier .