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  1. #1

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    Critique/advise my detailing chemicals for mobile detailing

    -Interior-
    APC- Super clean diluted 10:1

    Degreaser-Super clean 8:1

    Carpet cleaner- Super clean various dilutions (from 5:1, to 15:1).

    Extractor rinse- Prochem fiber rinse

    Dry shampoo/stain remover- Folex

    Glass cleaner- Meguiars d120 10:1

    Interior plastic/rubber/vinyl dressing- Carpro pearl 5:1

    Fabric protectant- C.G Fabric Guard

    -Exterior-
    Exterior trim dressings- Carpro pearl 3:1, Solution Finish black, and Solution Finish fusion gray.

    Tire shine- C.G VRP

    Detail spray- ONR 8oz/gal distilled water

    Clay lubricant- ONR 2oz/gal distilled water

    Strip wash soap- Purple power vehicle and boat wash

    Exterior trim cleaner- Carpro multi-x 10:1

    IPA- Carpro Eraser

    Iron remover- Adams Iron remover

    Wheel cleaner- Meguiars D143

    Adhesive remover- Goo gone

    Tar/sap remover- Carpro Tar-x

    Bug remover - Superclean 8:1

    Any information you guys have based on experience is greatly appreciated whether its adding to my arsenal, using a another chemical instead, or just using what I have differently for any reason. If anyone has any questions for me I am more than happy to answer to the best of my ability.

  2. #2

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    Re: Critique/advise my detailing chemicals for mobile detailing

    My only suggestion is that the Adams Iron Remover has not been super effective for me, CarPro Iron-X is what I keep coming back to. You don`t list a tire cleaner and I would suggest Adams or Tuf Shine for that. Otherwise your list is pretty standard. (It`s "PERL" btw: Plastic, Engine, Rubber, Leather)
    Thanks AceMobileDetail thanked for this post

  3. #3

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    Re: Critique/advise my detailing chemicals for mobile detailing

    AceMobileDetail:
    Super Clean (The Purple Stuff) by SuperClean Brands LLC (who bought the formula from Castrol) is NOT an aluminum-safe degreaser/cleaner. it WILL etch/whiten aluminum and you do not need that "problem" on clients/customer`s vehicles. Maybe you have had good success in the past with it on your own vehicles and , yes, it is very inexpensive and easy to find over-the-counter (like Walmart), but the risk/liability factor is much too great as a detailer doing someone else`s vehicles.
    I would HIGHLY suggest using Meg`s Detailer D101 All-Purpose Cleaner (the green stuff) and D108 Super Degreaser for your cleaning and degreasing needs. Much more expensive but much more safe for the abundance of aluminum used on today`s vehicles.
    If you like the Adam`s Polishes line, buy their All-Purpose Cleaner (the lime-green stuff).

    Also, I would suggest having a quart can of 3M`s General Purpose Adhesive Remover (Part No. 08984) for removing left-behind wheel-weight adhesive on rims (happens a LOT) and old bumper-sticker glue or old stickers (parking admission, service reminders) on interior windshields. Works SOOOOO much better than GooGone

    For polishing or cleaning clear plastic (Lexan) instrument panel gauge lenses and touch/info screens, I would suggest Plexus Plastic Cleaner spray and a very soft short-nap suede-type microfiber cloth.

    For chrome and metal polish, I am currently using MAAS Metal Polish I found and bought at Ace Hardware, of all places. Great stuff for chrome.
    Again, if you like the Adam`s Polishes line, use their metal and chrome polishes.

    Two cheap, but invaluable, detailing tools I use are cotton swaps (AKA Q-Tips) and round tooth-picks. They get into areas and remove left-behind car-care products in seams, cracks, and crevices that other less-than-professional detailers overlook or just plain miss OR applying a car-care chemicals/products in a tight or thin areas on a vehicle (like chrome outline on a gauge bezel or dash control knob/button or the letter outline on exterior chrome make/model/ trim designation emblems-insignia`s) . I use tooth-picks in gear-shift knob (manual transmission) indented/embossed lettering or red seat-belt button that can built-up with crud over the years OR just tight areas that the Cotton Swab tip will not get into. Time-consuming to do so, but it makes a huge difference in the over-all appearance of the interior and exterior of a vehicle.

    I also noticed you missing a headlight lens restoration kit or products. Many older daily driver vehicles have that "cataract" haze and removing that can make a world of difference in the appearance of a vehicle, not to mention the brightness of the headlight beam at night If you do not have a buffing/polisher machine, Meguiar`s makes a consumer-version Kit for use with a power drill bit tool that may work for you.

    You also did not say if this mobile detailing is a full-time business or a part-time cash supplement "job". Makes HUGE difference to the IRS and state and local tax departments. If it is a full-time business, you may need to create some type of "legal" business entity (Limited Liability Corporation) and register with the above income tax agencies and file quarterly tax returns and tax payments. You may (or should) have some type of business insurance for liability and to protect your assets and business.
    If it is a part-time cash-only job, I would be VERY careful about the clients and their vehicles for whom you choose to do work for. When you get to the friend-of-a-friend-of-a friend`s vehicle and the agreement of "I-can-do-that" may not be the in the best "financial interest" for you. You may not get paid for your work if the client is "dissatisfied" with your work (they are "stiffing" you because you are part-time-on-the-side and not a business) OR worse, break or damage something on the "friend`s" vehicle that you are liable for may eat-up all or more of the cash payments you have received from this part-time detailing enterprise. It is best to know both the client and the vehicle BEFORE you undertake such work. It`s OK to say "NO" to a job, even if it sounds lucrative (IE, a good money-making opportunity for the time spent). I cannot stress this enough: CAREFULLY INSPECT THE VEHICLE INSIDE AND OUT BEFORE YOU QUOTE AND ACCEPT A JOB. It will save you a lot of financial grief and protect your detailing reputation. Takes pictures on your cell phone or digital camera as proof of the condition or damaged areas of the vehicle before you started. Your word and the client`s word no longer matter as a method of legal proof and trust. The more vehicles you detail, the more likely you will run into a "bad customer". Similar to the adage about Indianapolis 500 qualifying drivers; "There are two types of Indy 500 (qualifying) drivers: those who have hit the wall and those that will."
    GB detailer
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  4. #4

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    Re: Critique/advise my detailing chemicals for mobile detailing

    Right now, this is a side gig. Next year I do plan to be a bit more active with plans to get legalities in place before the end of this year. At my previous job I was an auto damage estimator at a very busy auto body shop for just over a couple of years. I have certainly seen the up`s and down`s of having, or not having, proper documentation when handling someones vehicle (ie; "These rock chips weren`t on my 06 chevy pickup`s hood until your shop put a bumper on it!"). Not to say these tough customers are always trying to get a freebie rather, 99% of people don`t and won`t ever look at their vehicles the way someone like a detailer or a shop working on it might. To get off that soapbox, I absolutely agree with the importance of photo documentation through and through. In addition to photos top to bottom, pointing out pre-existing damage as well as 4k footage all around the vehicle, and close up`s of paint condition. If there`s one thing I learned from that position, it`s how expensive auto-body repair is! On the other hand I do now know multiple top quality combo (paint and body work) auto body technicians.

    In regards to the super clean, firstly thanks for pointing that out! Knowing how caustic it is I have been very diligent about quickly wiping off after spraying. I have yet to run into any sort of issues with it, however would rather not take a chance. I use a 3m wet sanding kit and a 3" rotary polisher for headlights and have had great success with a few family members with that service. I will certainly take you up on the 3m adhesive remover, have yet to be disappointed by a 3m product.

    Lastly, from the research I have done I was told general liability insurance for something like a mobile detailing business will NOT pay for damage done to a customers vehicle from a detail, in other words even with insurance I would still be fully liable for repairs. Have you experienced a detailers insurance covering damage to a vehicle done by a detailer?

    Thank you!
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  5. #5
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    Re: Critique/advise my detailing chemicals for mobile detailing

    PERL @ 1:5 is an excellent interior protectant but be mindful that it is slick. Your customers will notice the slickness on seats and anywhere else they touch. I personally love the feel however make sure to never apply it to a steering wheel or anywhere your feet go (pedals, steps etc.) Last thing you need is someone having their hand or foot slip and they cause an accident. And please never dress rubber floor mats. I see that way too often around me
    shanesautodetail.com
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  6. #6

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    Re: Critique/advise my detailing chemicals for mobile detailing

    Thanks for the tips! Have really enjoyed Perl thus far. I have avoided using it on floor mats, however I have wondered if there might be another solution to enhance the color of rubber mats without compromising grip. I remember hearing about a mixture of different products on YouTube that others have used, but haven`t managed to find that again. Any solutions you could recommend?

  7. #7

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    Re: Critique/advise my detailing chemicals for mobile detailing

    Quote Originally Posted by AceMobileDetail View Post
    Right now, this is a side gig. Next year I do plan to be a bit more active with plans to get legalities in place before the end of this year. At my previous job I was an auto damage estimator at a very busy auto body shop for just over a couple of years. I have certainly seen the up`s and down`s of having, or not having, proper documentation when handling someones vehicle (ie; "These rock chips weren`t on my 06 chevy pickup`s hood until your shop put a bumper on it!"). Not to say these tough customers are always trying to get a freebie rather, 99% of people don`t and won`t ever look at their vehicles the way someone like a detailer or a shop working on it might. To get off that soapbox, I absolutely agree with the importance of photo documentation through and through. In addition to photos top to bottom, pointing out pre-existing damage as well as 4k footage all around the vehicle, and close up`s of paint condition. If there`s one thing I learned from that position, it`s how expensive auto-body repair is! On the other hand I do now know multiple top quality combo (paint and body work) auto body technicians.

    In regards to the super clean, firstly thanks for pointing that out! Knowing how caustic it is I have been very diligent about quickly wiping off after spraying. I have yet to run into any sort of issues with it, however would rather not take a chance. I use a 3m wet sanding kit and a 3" rotary polisher for headlights and have had great success with a few family members with that service. I will certainly take you up on the 3m adhesive remover, have yet to be disappointed by a 3m product.

    Lastly, from the research I have done I was told general liability insurance for something like a mobile detailing business will NOT pay for damage done to a customers vehicle from a detail, in other words even with insurance I would still be fully liable for repairs. Have you experienced a detailers insurance covering damage to a vehicle done by a detailer?

    Thank you!
    No, I cannot say that I have ever heard of someone using the business liability insurance of a detailer, personally. I HAVE personally from a dealership that failed to fill my wife`s Maxima with motor oil after an oil change. The oil filler cap was on top of the engine when I opened the hood for an inspection of WHY the engine sounded so noisy after an oil change when I started the Maxima in their customer pick-up lot. At least I recognized what had happened and "negotiated" some engine oil analysis and oil changes. LOTS cheaper than replacing an engine!!

    Sounds like you know A LOT more about car-care and detailing from your experience as an auto body shop estimator. Auto-body shop personnel are the "dentists" of car appearance; detailers are akin to the teeth-cleaning "technicians and hygienists". The fact that you mention a 3" rotary tells me you are well on your way to acquiring the skill-sets to become a good detailer. It just requires some "practice" (which is funny that medical professions are called just that!) and experience and a little knowledge and learning from others. I think you will find that this forum and its members are the one of the most valuable "tools" you can have for detailing. It is for me!!

    One of the biggest issues you will have is figuring out how much to charge for your services. Again don`t sell yourself short. You might do that at the beginning to build a customer-base or for offering an "introductory price". That`s up to you. It is a good way to learn about detailing processes while still getting paid. The down-side is that word gets out and many individuals take advantage of you. Or the next time they come back and want the same service for the same price, even though they KNOW it was a one-time "introductory" price. DON`T GIVE AWAY THE FARM just for the sake of business. You just need to fair in your prices for the market you are in. And if something seems too big a job or out of your skill-set or you do not have the proper equipment to take care of a particular detailing task or special "problem", just be honest and say "NO" to a customer/client.
    An example would be someone whose vehicles smells like a skunk. Do you REALLY want to clean that vehicle up?? (Don`t laugh; it`s a good service to provide here in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Vehicles run over roadkill skunks ALL the time and end up with that skunk smell. There`s a reason people swerve dangerously while driving to avoid roadkill!)

    Another thing is with the money you make initially, you may find that "re-investing" those profits in detailing equipment and products is a must and not a need. They just help you work more efficiently, safely , and easily. Good example is a small-engine power washer and electrical blow dryer. Both are expensive, but washing and drying a vehicle is the ONE task that most detailers do the most of and if it can be done in half the time of "manual" washing and drying and not be so physically demanding on you, it might be something to consider for your detailing service.
    The "physically demanding" part is something that a lot of individuals do not realize is part of the process of detailing. The more you do it, the more you will realize it. It`s just a "heads-up".
    GB detailer
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  8. #8
    William_Wallace's Avatar
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    Re: Critique/advise my detailing chemicals for mobile detailing

    I would use just super clean for all degreasing, apc, bug removal, interior at different dilutions. I have used the citrol 226 with good results on tar, sap and spotting on interior bad stains. It’s is surprisingly dilatable with water.

    The megs wheel acid is an amazing product and can also be used as iron remover or water spot remover. I use it on coated cars all the time because of calcium and other minerals are removed easily by it.
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  9. #9

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    Re: Critique/advise my detailing chemicals for mobile detailing

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
    No, I cannot say that I have ever heard of someone using the business liability insurance of a detailer, personally. I HAVE personally from a dealership that failed to fill my wife`s Maxima with motor oil after an oil change. The oil filler cap was on top of the engine when I opened the hood for an inspection of WHY the engine sounded so noisy after an oil change when I started the Maxima in their customer pick-up lot. At least I recognized what had happened and "negotiated" some engine oil analysis and oil changes. LOTS cheaper than replacing an engine!!

    Sounds like you know A LOT more about car-care and detailing from your experience as an auto body shop estimator. Auto-body shop personnel are the "dentists" of car appearance; detailers are akin to the teeth-cleaning "technicians and hygienists". The fact that you mention a 3" rotary tells me you are well on your way to acquiring the skill-sets to become a good detailer. It just requires some "practice" (which is funny that medical professions are called just that!) and experience and a little knowledge and learning from others. I think you will find that this forum and its members are the one of the most valuable "tools" you can have for detailing. It is for me!!

    One of the biggest issues you will have is figuring out how much to charge for your services. Again don`t sell yourself short. You might do that at the beginning to build a customer-base or for offering an "introductory price". That`s up to you. It is a good way to learn about detailing processes while still getting paid. The down-side is that word gets out and many individuals take advantage of you. Or the next time they come back and want the same service for the same price, even though they KNOW it was a one-time "introductory" price. DON`T GIVE AWAY THE FARM just for the sake of business. You just need to fair in your prices for the market you are in. And if something seems too big a job or out of your skill-set or you do not have the proper equipment to take care of a particular detailing task or special "problem", just be honest and say "NO" to a customer/client.
    An example would be someone whose vehicles smells like a skunk. Do you REALLY want to clean that vehicle up?? (Don`t laugh; it`s a good service to provide here in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Vehicles run over roadkill skunks ALL the time and end up with that skunk smell. There`s a reason people swerve dangerously while driving to avoid roadkill!)

    Another thing is with the money you make initially, you may find that "re-investing" those profits in detailing equipment and products is a must and not a need. They just help you work more efficiently, safely , and easily. Good example is a small-engine power washer and electrical blow dryer. Both are expensive, but washing and drying a vehicle is the ONE task that most detailers do the most of and if it can be done in half the time of "manual" washing and drying and not be so physically demanding on you, it might be something to consider for your detailing service.
    The "physically demanding" part is something that a lot of individuals do not realize is part of the process of detailing. The more you do it, the more you will realize it. It`s just a "heads-up".
    I can`t lie, I was definitely surprised by just HOW demanding it can be. That is very valuable advice that will not be over looked, thank you! I have never used a higher powered pressure washer or high quality air blower before so I really hadn`t given it enough thought in those regards.

    I have been very happy with this forum and how members converse and share on here. Experience is an invaluable resource that is for sure, and autopia appears to have plenty of that. Body shop experience has certainly aided me in the detailing world a great deal! However always have plenty more to learn, and of course, new products to buy! I have been putting almost every dollar I have made on more tools and products etc. when possible. I have little doubt I will be ready to hit the ground running next year.

  10. #10

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    Re: Critique/advise my detailing chemicals for mobile detailing

    Quote Originally Posted by William_Wallace View Post
    I would use just super clean for all degreasing, apc, bug removal, interior at different dilutions. I have used the citrol 226 with good results on tar, sap and spotting on interior bad stains. It’s is surprisingly dilatable with water.

    The megs wheel acid is an amazing product and can also be used as iron remover or water spot remover. I use it on coated cars all the time because of calcium and other minerals are removed easily by it.
    Awesome, I hadn`t seen it used as a water spot remover before so that`s great to learn another use for it. I have had a great experience with it thus far as well!

  11. #11
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    Re: Critique/advise my detailing chemicals for mobile detailing

    Quote Originally Posted by AceMobileDetail View Post
    Awesome, I hadn`t seen it used as a water spot remover before so that`s great to learn another use for it. I have had a great experience with it thus far as well!
    the megs wheels stuff is a great product the megs glass cleaner is also good for a prep wipe a few of use on here use it to clean glass and as a prepwipe.
    Thanks AceMobileDetail thanked for this post

  12. #12

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    Re: Critique/advise my detailing chemicals for mobile detailing

    Quote Originally Posted by William_Wallace View Post
    the megs wheels stuff is a great product the megs glass cleaner is also good for a prep wipe a few of use on here use it to clean glass and as a prepwipe.
    Awesome! Very good to know as well. Extremely valuable information.

  13. #13

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    Re: Critique/advise my detailing chemicals for mobile detailing

    Here`s some things most first-time mobile detailers do not consider or are unaware of:
    1) Having the client look over your shoulder as you work
    OR having their children or pets (dogs and cats) "interfere" as you are working
    2) Using the client`s water supply.
    a) Where is the water spigot located
    b) Is the water pressure enough
    c) Is the water source hard water or soft water
    d) Is it cold water only
    3) Using the cllent`s electrical service
    a) Where are the outlets and are they grounded (3-prong) OR are they Ground-Fault Interrupted (GFI)
    b) What is the service amperage (15 amp or 20 amp~ Important for use with carpet extractors or steamers)
    c) Do you access to the service breakers/fuse box in case of overload
    4) Local codes/ordinance concerns
    a) Water limits during a drought and/or environmental water runoff and containment
    b) Noise limits
    c) Start and quitting time limits
    5) Client Property concerns
    a) Use of their garage or driveway
    b) Stains to floor tile/epoxy or driveway concrete/brick from cleaning products
    c) Damage to lawn, flowers, or gardens from cleaning products
    d) Where to dump dirty water; sewer drain , "out-back", or take it with you
    e) Can I use the bathroom in the house (gotta go when you gotta go!)
    Hint: Don`t EVER "relieve yourself" outside in the woods in the country because you WILL show up a on camouflaged wildlife-hunting camera and then on the Internet YouTube or the cable-TV show "Ridiculousness"!!)
    6) Outside ambient conditions
    a) Shade from trees or buildings OR no shade whatsoever through-out the day
    b) Insects, lawn cutting, or tree leaf debris and dust on windy days
    c) Ambient heat/cold or humidity
    d) Unexpected timing of rain ,storms, or temperature changes from weather forecasts

    It has been said, "Control what you can." Many of these things/conditions are out of a mobile detailers` hands. You are just going to have to deal with them accordingly. Having one (1) 100-foot or two (2) 50-foot garden hose(s) and 12-GA wire electrical cord(s) are good starts and maybe some heavy-duty plastic tarps to catch cleaning products to protect against stains on floors or driveways.
    GB detailer
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  14. #14
    dansautodetailing.com Stokdgs's Avatar
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    Re: Critique/advise my detailing chemicals for mobile detailing

    For finding out what "Pricing" you should be charging, first you need to do a real self-evaluation of your experience in all phases of Detailing..

    How many years have you been doing it for just family, friends, etc., or just out there in the garage working things out on your own personal vehicles..

    At what "level" are all your abilities to absolutely do "perfect" work on all the parts that involve Detailing a vehicle?

    There are a Lot of parts to it, as you know, and they all have to be in play at some time to get from one end to the other on a vehicle..

    A lot of people think they can just wash a few cars, put some wax on them, perhaps clean all the glass inside and out, and decide they are Detailers now..

    As you have already just said, Yes, there are a lot of things to do, and this is why even the most experienced best Detailers with years or decades at this use a lot of hours to complete one vehicle; no short cuts, just do - everything - perfect, the first time, so you do not have to go back and get something you forgot, etc..

    And it IS exhausting if you are not in shape for it too.. Running a big 10+lb rotary for 10 hours will make one tired if not in some reasonable kind of upper body shape.. But the beauty of it is if you do this a long time, you will get into really great shape, and can stay that way.. But you have to stay at it, which means having access to a lot of Clients who have nice vehicles, have that discretionary money to spend on their "investments", but also want what they pay for..

    Another factor for finding reasonable pricing after you have had your self-evaluation, is to go around and find all the Detailing shops around a wide area, going into their shops, looking around, getting their pricing pamphlets, looking at how good or bad they do their work, how clean or absolutely destroyed their shop is, and speaking to the owner about what Products they use on the vehicles they service..

    You need to know All of this information from All of them...

    Mobile Detailing- are you using an enclosed trailer, etc., are you supplying your own multi gallon water tank, your own electricity via a generator, big enough to handle a minimum of 1 20 amp circuit, preferably 2 ??

    Knowing that all the equipment needed to do this seriously for really nice vehicles (whose owners are the Best Clients), is going to cost a few $ thousand bucks for lights, vacuum, heated water extractor, steamer, air blaster for drying, small floor fans for drying out Interiors carpets faster, machines, heavy duty extension cords, Rotary machine/s and/or random orbitals, etc., all the chemical products, a zillion pads, microfiber towels, drying towels, buckets, rolling carts, pop-up tents, etc..

    Then, you should have back ups for a lot of the most used, important things, in case something dies unexpectedly and you are in the middle of the Detail..

    Then, you have all the factors you need to help you see where based on your experience and time in years, and have been doing this to a very high level, you can come up with pricing that will fit in the "Detailing Market" Pricing of your area, and there will be 1 more thing off your list of things to prepare for..
    Dan F
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    Re: Critique/advise my detailing chemicals for mobile detailing

    This year has so far been acknowledging as many factors to doing the job successfully, full time, as well as adding to my arsenal every chance I get. Including about EXACTLY a zillion pads . Ultimately I plan to secure a garage to work out of and focus on paint correction. I was fortunate enough to start my detailing experience at a dealership, so I had access to top of the line tools to learn on as well as a great manager that went on to open his own mobile detailing and rim repair business (actually just recently tried offering me a job!). While working at the dealership, the bulk of the work we did was on trade-in vehicles that were often very neglected and required huge amounts of work to be even near lot-ready. That certainly helped put into perspective what is possible and what is not in regards to "perfect". In fact, from my previous experience at a body shop, I have stopped using that word all together in regards to vehicles as it tends to mean something different to everyone. I would agree that visiting other shops etc would be great idea before going full time as many shops seem to be very vague with their service descriptions, making it impossible for even an experienced detailer to know what their process actually is.

 

 

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