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How long does a full detail take?


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#1 TOGWT

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 02:13 PM

As with most other things, the price of automotive detailing varies by quite a wide margin. Many more people are concerned with perceived value (a cheap price) as opposed to quality; the secret is to sell quality over price, while keeping in mind client needs.

The cost of having a professional perform a detailing job on your vehicle will vary by geographical region, the experience and reputation of the detailer, and the condition of your vehicle, and your expectations of the finished detail, among other factors. Most detailers will offer a specified package of services that are included in their standard prices, and generally will provide additional services on request for an additional fee.


Detailing Exterior (8 hours)

• Wash and dry exterior paint – 1.5
• Detailer’s clay – 1.0
• Tyres and Wheel surfaces – 0.5
• Clean exterior glass – 0.5
• Clean and lightly polish paint – 1.5
• Wax or seal paint -1.0
• Clean and protect rubber seals – 0.5
• Exhaust, tyres and trim etc 1.5 hours


Interior (4.5 hours)

• Brush and Vacuum carpets – 0.5
• Shampoo mats – 0.5
• Shampoo / extract carpet – 1.0
• Clean upholstery – 1.0
• Apply protection to vinyl and leather – 0.5
• Clean interior glass -0.5
• Deodorize interior - 10 min
• Protect carpet and upholstery – 0.5


These times are indicative and are provided as an approximation only

Depending on location / skill level / /reputation, to transform a vehicle back to ‘like-new condition; so expect to pay a fair price for the amount of work and materials involved. This level of detail on an average sized and condition vehicle would take approx 13 hours, a larger vehicle will obviously take more time, most professional detailers will charge between $400 and $550 to do this level of work.

Relevant Articles

1. “How much would a full detail of my vehicle cost? “ - http://www.autopia.o...hicle-cost.html

2. "Selecting a Professional Detailer" - http://www.autopia.o...sional-detailer[.html

Detailing Art; where applicable Chemistry meets Aesthetics See Autopia Detailing Wiki

#2 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 03:52 PM

Jon, first problem, "what is a detail?"
Go around the country, this one or almost any other, and ask 100 people in each country and you will get at least 75 different answers.
10 or so years ago at a meeting in Orlando, Steve Okum, Bud Abraham and myself, I think Renny Doyle was at the table as well.
There were aprox 40 detailers in attendance, and over 80% of them had a different answer.
We had done something similar at the ICA CarWash Show in Vegas a year or so earlier. There, the attendence in the hall was over 300 who worked detailing. Same thing, no one seemed to have a "standard" of time or services which would be a "standard detail".
In these two events, we did find one thing to be fairly constant and that was the "time factor" to do an exterior, interior, wheels and quick engine bay clean.
4 hours--total!
Now, go out and find pricing by full time detailers who really do detailing for a living and have been in business for more than 4 years (hard to find, but they are out there) and most will give a figure of $125 to $150 for a detail.
Needless to say, the detail is not the super-duper, climb every mountain, ford every stream detail of the enthusist detailer or a small % of regular detailers.
What the one's that make money and survive will share with you is that the real money is in knowing how to communicate with a client and "up-sell" by show and tell.
What they will tell you is that "yes, 60% or so of details we do are the low end, get it in, get it out over the curb and keep labor costs low"
They will then add that the other 40% or so of details become very profitable by up-selling to add on or additional services.
Not your "car show" details, not for any like that, but doing the "average" detail for the "average" customer is what the largest percentage of detail jobs really amount to.
Your figures show 12.5 hours, and if the shop is going to stay in business in the USA, that means they must charge no less than $30 an hour for a revenue of $375.00. (As fuel costs, insurance, products, rent, etc continue to rise, this figure may now be closer to $40 an hour)
Not going to be the easy sell, just over the budget for the vast majority of car owners.
Real world stuff in this post, not attempting to start an argument or be flamed by anyone.
If one can get the big dollars they say, do it everyday, more power to them, just not the "normal business" and such of detailing for the masses.
Grumpy

#3 Hey, Moe!

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 08:18 PM

I'm not a pro detailer, though I do well by my own vehicles, and follow this forum religiously.

Ron's post makes complete sense to me, and it outlines the difficulties in being a professional detailer.

Pricing a detail at a "sustainable price" will surely put off a lot of customers, who don't understand the value of a "true detail," nor possess the "oomph" to maintain a nicely-detailed vehicle.

Sometimes, the detailer doesn't have the wherewithal to do a good job, which means unhappy customers trashing the detailing trade in general.

For the customer, it is often "buyer beware." Detailing is a "perfect storm" for an inferior detailer to prosper, at least for a while.

For the great detailers out there (you all know who you are), you've gotta find a niche in the market that works. I see this in Barry's high-end details (love to look at 'em--think I'll road-trip there to watch), and Scott's prolific number of quality details in a good market (Still some money left in the land of Jerry Jones and J.R. Ewing).

You can flame me if I missed the point.

And, good detailing is hard, hard work. After a two-step, minor correction detail on my BMW in May, followed with some Wet Diamond, my shoulders were screaming at me.

I still haven't figured how Scott details, then rides his road bike afterwards, in Texas heat.

Ron's "real world" comment is right on. For all of us, detailing is a passion. For some of you, it is a business. There's a big difference.

I'm pleased to be friends with a handful of successful small businessmen. I listen to them, and learn a lot.

It's all about putting in the time, offering a quality product, and charging a fair, but sustainable price.

Fringe benifits? Healthcare is not cheap. Being able to contribute to an IRA?

In my own "specialty" as a tennis pro, I noticed much of the same issues. I was lucky to have a regular job; I taught/coached tennis for fun, and some extra income.

I'm retired from my teaching job, and am still teaching tennis a little (it pays for my healthcare). I know a number of full-career tennis pros my age (59) who don't have the wheels to teach anymore, and have nothing else waiting for them but boxed macaroni and cheese every evening for dinner.

Sorry to get on a soapbox, but Ron's words hit home, and I just wanted to throw this out to those considering this profession/craft/art.

#4 TOGWT

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 12:11 AM

[Jon, first problem, "what is a detail?"
Go around the country, this one or almost any other, and ask 100 people in each country and you will get at least 75 different answers.
10 or so years ago at a meeting in Orlando, Steve Okum, Bud Abraham and myself, I think Renny Doyle was at the table as well.
There were aprox 40 detailers in attendance, and over 80% of them had a different answer]

Let me say two things: I am not nor have I ever been a professional detailer (although I got paid to detail, but that’s just semantics) and I realize there is a big divide between volume and high-end detailing.

See also “How long does a full detail take?” - http://www.autopia.o...tml#post1509378 and "Detailing Defined" - http://www.autopia.o...tml#post1457441

Before you can be price competitive you must agree on what you are pricing (like for like) otherwise “Full detail $100” (or less) is meaningless and more important, something on face value you cannot compete with, as a customer just wants a full-detail. If detailers cannot agree on what a full-detail is, how can we expect Joe public to know?

In an industry that has no set standards or descriptions perhaps it’s time to start; and “What constitutes a Full-detail” or even “What is detailing” may be a good place to start.

As the leading detailing forum; we should at least help to set detailing standards



Give me some time, as it takes this old man a lot longer to climb down from this high horse of mine these day ;)

Detailing Art; where applicable Chemistry meets Aesthetics See Autopia Detailing Wiki

#5 Ron Ketcham

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 06:53 AM

Jon, was very active in the original national detailers association, which was folded into the carwash assoc and died, then a group, and I was part of it, tried to start a new one, plus another was also started up at about the same time.
The original assoc was gaining ground, but could never get any type of agreement regarding standards, processes, etc.
Same with the later ones.
Today, the only one I am aware of, is the IDA, don't know how they are doing.
The worst thing is that most detailers are so ego driven, and usually poor business people, they can't see the forest for the trees when it comes to any of these needed standards, which would create credibility in the consumers mind.
Most the time it has been a response, to any attempt to produce a marketable standard, etc of "ME, ME, I, I," as they actually believe that no one does anything as good or such as them.
So, they reject any sort of effort to build the industry, which of course would improve their business, instead they retreat to their old ego driven habits. (and point fingers at those who are attempting to aid the entire industry)
Grumpy




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