Owning a fleet of vehicles means that you need people to drive them! Not everyone has the same level of cleanliness and without proper maintenance, the vehicles can deteriorate quickly and can break down over time. Not only will the vehicle be unpleasant to drive due to being dirty, it’s also a poor reflection of a business when trying to uphold a professional image.
When it comes to doing business, we understand that first impressions matter. Now, we know it’s not wise to ‘judge a book by its cover’, however it’s known that first impressions are incredibly influential when it comes to making a sale or gaining a new customer. Driving a business vehicle with signage is a great way to market yourself, but when it’s covered in road grime and dirt you will blend in with the crowd. Bird droppings on the bonnet, a smudgy windscreen, bug splatter on the front bumper, and brake-dust-covered wheels – these are the elements that’ll prevent your vehicle from standing out!
Having a clean company car with shiny tyres, clean glass, and glossy paint really does give that ‘WOW’ factor and will convey a message of ‘We take pride in our business so much so that keeping our vehicles clean is important!’’ – and that speaks volumes.
What should you look for in a professional detailing business?
After looking up the basic things to know about car detailing, you can now start looking for a professional car detailer. It starts out with the detailer’s online presence. What does their website look like? Is it up to date? Is it easy to understand? Do they have their services spelled out? From there, what are they like to deal with on the phone? How did they answer the phone? Do they answer the phone, “Hello,” or do they answer the phone, “Hello, thanks for calling Clean Getaway. How can I help you?” or, “Hello, this is Joe.” If they don’t have a professional web presence, it could be they aren’t a professional detailing business or are not well established. This just might be a hobby for them. If they answer the phone with a simple “hello,” again it might be a sign that detailing is a hobby for them. And it should go without saying but, when you are spending your money, you don’t want the hobbyist, you want the professional.
And then from there, we look at the first time we meet. Are they prompt? If they set up an appointment, are they there on time to the appointment? If they’re going to be late to the appointment, are they communicating that with you?
Are they communicating the services that they’re going to perform on your car? Are they communicating the price for those services? Are they asking you questions about what your needs are as the customer?
What’s the difference between a wash and wax, wash and sealant, a detail and a full detail? The problem is that all those terms get thrown around very loosely, and that’s why it’s important for the detailer to ask you what each of those terms mean to you.
A wash and wax tend to be more of a maintenance and preventative detail. A full detail is when you would get into the shampooing of the seats, shampooing the mats, and even a clay bar and a wax on the outside of the vehicle – minimum.
When you start getting into the differences between a wax or a sealant it is best to know what each of those terms means. Most people know what a wax is. When you start getting into terms like a sealant or a coating, those terms get thrown around pretty loosely, and then when you add to that, that consumers don’t know what they mean, you can see where the confusion comes from. These terms are getting into different levels of protection for the exterior of your car.
A wax is going to give you maybe a month or two worth of protection from the elements on the outside of your car – fallout, overspray, road grime, etc. A sealant is going to give you upwards of a year worth of protection on your car. A coating is going to be 3 to 5 years (if not more) worth of protection. What we are trying to protect is the clear coat on your car. That’s the final layer before the paint.
How much time should it take for these various processes?
The most basic detail, which would be maintenance interior clean, wash, and wax, should take about an hour. A full detail is probably going to run 4 to 5 hours. When you get into any kind of outlier or extensive detailing, like removing scratches or putting on a coating, you may be up into the 8 to 12-hour plus range. The other thing that affects how long it takes is the condition of the car and what the customer wants to be done to the car.
What kind of exterior issues can be fixed with a detailing service that includes machine polishing?
Minor scratches, yellowed headlights, any oxidation… Using an example of a red car, if the paint is looking a little bit more salmon pink than red, which usually can be fixed and restored to a bright, deep red. Same thing with a black or any colour car, if it’s looking a little duller than it was when it was new, that can be fixed.
Those minor scratches are known as spider-webbing and are the ones that can be fixed. Water spots can be removed. Chrome rims can be polished out and made to sparkle. These are the main car issues that people look for in a detail.
What kind of exterior issues cannot be fixed?
Deep scratches, like someone keying your car – that’s not going to be fixed even if you perform a multi-stage paint correction. If you can see the bare metal under the paint, then you know it cannot be ‘fixed’ – it must be repainted. Also, when you notice the clear coat is starting to turn cloudy or you can actually feel it deteriorating on the vehicle, most likely it means that the clear coat has failed and must be resprayed.
What kind of interior issues can be fixed with a detail?
The removal of dirt and grime, mainly. Any spots where any part of your hand or arm touches and leaves a build-up of dirt can be removed. Elbow grease on the door panel can be removed, issues on the steering wheel as far as dirt build-up, grime on the centre console, the little cracks around the shifters, and the emergency brake where dust has crept into can all be cleaned out. Most spots can be removed, and stains can be made less visible.
Many plastic trims such as on doors are very easily scratched. These scratches are mainly caused from entering and exiting the vehicle with your shoes or boots. Always try to prevent your shoes from scuffing the plastic panels, as they are nearly impossible to repair, and they scratch incredibly easily.
How do you find a Professional Detailing Business?
When it comes to this industry, word of mouth is a great way to discover a professional detailing business – ask around. If no one can recommend a business, head to Google. Check out Google reviews, as well as Facebook and Instagram. Read through reviews and check out the content the business is producing on their social media pages. Don’t make the mistake of picking a car detailing company by price alone.
Generally, the cheapest will be the least experienced or most unreliable. A professional detailing business should have systems in place and have schedules and booking times. It would possibly be a concern if the business could come out to your location within 10 minutes after your phone call.