When I get a call from a new customer 9 times out of 10 the first questions all of them ask is : How much for xxxxx on my xxxxxxx vehicle? I get it . Everyone wants to save money. But there are much more important questions that you should ask and know the answer to when considering the detailer your going to use for service. Honestly anyone can make a vehicle look good , heck you could go to wal mart right after reading this and acquire the products to “detail ” your vehicle yourself. The difference between a professional detailer and a person who cleans cars for a living is knowledge , knowledge of there products, knowledge of your vehicles surfaces , knowledge of tools . Like I mentioned earlier anyone can wax a car , clean an interior etc , but doing it safely without harsh acids and chemicals is what separates a professional from the average joe. Below ive compiled some questions with answers to help you determine whether your dealing with a professional detailer or someone who just operates a car cleaning business.
1) Are they IDA certified or do they have any professional training?
A professional detailer should have formal training like any other profession at a trade school or as an apprentice with an experienced detailer. In my opinion they should also be IDA certified . Heres a link to the IDA:
2) Are they using chemicals to clean your vehicle , if so what kind of chemicals?
Auto detailing has come leaps and bounds in terms of how we SAFELY clean and protect vehicles today, but some detailers refuse to adapt to these newer methods because they have been doing it a certain way for so long or there older method is faster but harsher on your vehicle. Heres an example: If you have water spots on your vehicles exterior and they say they use acid to remove them, RUN run away now. hydroflouric acid is what was used to remove water spots in the early 90’s . While it will remove the spots , it also breaks down your vehicles clear coat finish , etches your glass and if not used properly can cause irreversible damage to multiple surfaces. Not to mention how bad it is for health in general . Today we have much safer products , designed to safely remove water spots with out inducing vehicle damage or jeopardizing the longevity of your vehicles clearcoat.
3) How are they cleaning your vehicle carpets and upholstery?
If your vehicles interior is not in to bad of shape , a professional detailer will not have to use harsh chemicals to clean your interior back to like new condition. These chemicals are extremely bad for pets , children , and yourself. If your vehicle does require chemicals and extraction , you should also ask if they rinse out your upholstery after initial extraction to remove the chemicals there carpet shampooer has injected. A professional detailer should have both a steam cleaning system and an extraction carpet shampooer. 9 out of 10 vehicles that come through our shop for interior detailing are cleaned with only European steam cleaning machines , no chemicals needed. This steam technology revolutionized the way interiors are cleaned , they keep your carpets dryer , clean just as effectively as a deep extraction and sanitize your interior at the same time. So in short if you don’t want to get your vehicle back with wet carpets full of harsh chemicals that your unknowingly exposing your loved ones to, make sure to ask how your vehicles interior is going to be cleaned and if they don’t mention the European steam method they probably are still using harsh chemicals and only have an extractor if not just a shop vac and scrub brush.
4) What kind of protection are they using to protect your vehicle after cleaning?
This answer can largely apply to how much you are spending on your detail but a professional detailer should have several different options to give you . Most detailers still use carnuba wax , while it does give your vehicle an initial shine it doesnt do much in the way of protection , it lasts about a month or two tops. They should also have a sealant option , these are a great upgrade from wax and last longer , typically 6 months . Here at my shop we do not offer wax , we include a ceramic based sealer in all of our detailing jobs. A professional detailer should have your vehicles and your best interest at heart. They should be able to explain how important it is to keep your vehicles protected year around not just giving you a shiny vehicle that lasts a month or two . I dont how you would feel but if it were me i would feel ripped off.
5) How long have they been detailing professionally?
Like any other profession , you wouldn’t hire just anyone to work on your house right? I hope you would want to know how long they have been working on houses , there background in it etc. Same goes for detailing . A professional detailer should have at least 5 years of experience working at a private detailing shop not a dealership. Dealerships provide minimal training to there detailers and provide limited equipment and products while pushing the detailer to go as fast as they can , that combination does not create a quality , knowledgeable detailer. They should have worked under a true professional detailer who has been doing this for at least 10 years. The detailer you choose should be confident in what there doing, what there using and like any other professional industry always be improving with the newer advancements in there industry. If they are using the same old techniques and products they have been for twenty years I would encourage you to look else where.
Whether you choose to use our shop for your detailing needs or not , I feel as a professional detailer it is my duty to inform the public on what proper, safe detailing should be . I hope this helps you make an educated , more informed decision about who you choose for your detailing needs.