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How long does the average detail take?

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#1 Cholleman


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Posted 17 June 2009 - 08:33 AM

For the pros out there, on average, how long does the average detail take, including correction? I know that time will vary depending on the severity of the paint condition. The reason I ask is that I've been involved in a discussion on another message board with a guy that claims he can fully detail a car in 2.5-3 hours. I contend that there is no way to truly correct the car in that amount of time. Here's a few pics of his last job:

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i'm linking this one because his buddy at carmax decided to flip the bird in the reflection:


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No mention of the steps or products he used, but this is what he claims to have done in 3 hours:

Notice the **** ton of chips, now look outside in the cloud pic, not a damm chip in sight.

I did engine, rims , interior, exterior , full 3 pads, wetsanding, chips , you name it I did it. 3 hours

going back, this was his first post ->

process/product description for the mustang:

Washed, Clayed , Step 3 with polishing pad , Migs NXT wax

again, this idiot thinks it's funny to flip off the camera in the reflection:


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Soooo....what does Autopia think?

#2 Accumulator


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Posted 17 June 2009 - 09:45 AM

..Soooo....what does Autopia think?

I think that it's impossible to judge the work given a) the lighting in the pics and B) the way things can look over the internet as opposed to IRL.

Even *IRL* I'd need very different lighting to evaluate the paint properly.

Eh...at some point you either have to take a leap of faith and believe that somebody has accomplished what they say they have...or you decide that you *don't* believe that.

I usually don't go so far as saying anybody's a liar...hey, sure... over the 'net everyone's ten feet tall and bulletproof ;) But I will say that doing that amount of work in 3 hours would be mighty fast...and then there's the question of the *quality* of the work.

Touching up chips? Gee, how did he get the paint to dry so fast? Wetsanding? Wonder how long he spent taking ETG readings.

But hey, I take two hours to do a wash and that's when I'm working as fast as I can.

#3 Jakerooni


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Posted 17 June 2009 - 10:42 AM

Can it be done in 3 hours? Sure. Can it be done right in 3 hours??? mmmm?? I'm fast when I need to be. But to do things that quickly there are a few factors that must fall into place. First off the car has to be in really really good condition to begin with. Secondly his products most likely are full of fillers and such which make it great for the moment. (I'd say to take pics of that same car in about a week or so and see how much actual correcting he did) and 3rd his process has to be as automated as possible... Or... he's cutting alot of corners and skimmping out on things. I'm not seeing any interior work. Which would be a full detail. If he's just doing the outside in 3 hours then yea I can see it to an extent. It's not going to be perfect but in 3 hours of just paint work I can make it good enough for 95% of the customers out there. Mind you that dosen't include prep work.

#4 BobD


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Posted 17 June 2009 - 10:51 AM

I'd say those results/looks could easily be done in 3 hours using fillers or really rushing. No way he wet sanded and filled chips in 3 hours though. Maybe he just used one of those color matching waxes and called it a day.

#5 lawrencea


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Posted 17 June 2009 - 11:21 AM

Between 3 and 4 hours, depending on how bad it is . That is for a average job.

#6 todd@bsaw


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Posted 17 June 2009 - 11:41 AM

Also keep in mind that you can easily adjust (sometimes automatic on a camera) the levels/contrast/brightness and make any car look brand new from 10 feet away.

I'm waiting for ScottWax to chime in about CarMax detailers. :D
- Todd Schmidt -
Auto Reconditioning Specialist
and Master of Shine

TS Detailing
Wisconsin's Premier Mobile Detailing Specialist

#7 qwkgtp


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Posted 17 June 2009 - 01:49 PM

I hate to threadjack but,
Accumulator, what's your 2 hour process for washing?

#8 nontoxic


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Posted 17 June 2009 - 01:50 PM

I guess it could be done . I dont really know or care. I only clean interiors and could probably spend 3 hours on that one.

#9 Labster


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Posted 17 June 2009 - 02:10 PM

2.5-3 hrs? That usually covers me doing a wash, AIO polish and LSP and a vac and wipedown and dressing the interior. That's just me though.

Jacob Laba
Owner of Mirror Image Auto Detail "See Yourself in Our Finish"
***Serving the greater NE Ohio area since 2002***

#10 Twista616


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Posted 17 June 2009 - 02:24 PM

Dont forget size of the vehicle too! Just way to many factors...

...but to answer the original post question: How long does the average detail take?: For me my average detail includes, wash, clay, AIO, then LSP, Interior vac, steam mats,dress panels, misc stuff. Working alone, 4-6 hours. If i have help, its cut in half.
Garrett Hess
:bow Top2Bottom Auto Detailing--"Your Recondition Specialists"

#11 Accumulator


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Posted 18 June 2009 - 09:18 AM

I hate to threadjack but,
Accumulator, what's your 2 hour process for washing?

See if you can find "Accumulator's Non-marring Wash Technique" in the Articles section. Note that I do the undercarriage/etc./*everything* at every wash.

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