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shane@detailedreflections last won the day on September 14

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About shane@detailedreflections

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    Master AF Detailer

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  1. shane@detailedreflections

    scuff marks on Vinyl stripes

    Thanks @8675309'SS...I missed this. A scuffed vinyl stripe is not a good scenario. The vinyl is damaged if it’s scuffed, and we can’t polish it like paint since it’s not paint. Heres some things you can try, but they come with no guarantee to work or not cause further damage. Revive Hand Polish is a go to start for us with vinyl. It doesn’t build heat like polishers do. It tends to work well to level out the vinyl. You could try a finishing polish at a slightly lower speed. You still want it fast enough to polish, but you’re actually trying not to build up heat. If the vinyl is damaged and you’re facing replacing it, you might as well attempt to play with it. The worst case is it’s damaged and gets replaced anyway. But along the way you learn some things. Unfortunately, options are limited with vinyl.
  2. shane@detailedreflections

    Heavy Correcting / Microfiber Pads

    You’re very welcome. And if it’s light swirls, start with the finishing and see if it’s enough. No need removing more clear if you don’t need to.
  3. shane@detailedreflections

    Heavy Correcting / Microfiber Pads

    Mixing the two just gives essentially a different polish. It won’t perform the work of both. When it comes to polishing, there are no shortcuts. If there are, they’ll show through in the results. If the car is newer and with little damage, finishing polish may be all you need. A test spot where there’s damage will give you your answer. If it needs two steps, or even three...that’s what it needs and takes.
  4. shane@detailedreflections

    Ceramic Strip Wash

    You ask a question with endless answers. So let’s go one at a time. Can you strip wash a ceramic coating? Yes, you can. It’s a waste of strip wash though since it won’t remove the coating. What cleans coatings is decontamination, not stripping the waxes off. Removing the ceramic coating is a big variable. What brand of coating is it? Consumer grade coatings will come right off with polish. Professional grade coatings and you may be looking at taking a rotary to it with a compound or possibly even wet sanding. It depends on the product really. Given that you say it’s got heavy damage, I’m assuming it’s a consumer grade product and will come off with polishing. Most likely a step or two with compound, then correction, then finishing to do it right. It may take a couple passes of each and the speed of the cut will vary based on your pads/machine. You will test for removal of the coating by applying water and seeing how it reacts. If it’s coated, you’ll know. And my typical disclaimer...for this type of work the value of a quality paint thickness gauge can’t be understated. You want to remove the coating, not the clearcoat. It’s easy to get carried away with aggressive pads/polishes and cause irreparable damage. You don’t want to remove more than the top 1/3 of clear coat over the lifespan. That’s where the bulk of the UV protection lies. Once that’s gone, you accelerate greatly the time until clear coat failure. A garage will help you to know exactly how much you’re removing.
  5. shane@detailedreflections

    Heavy Correcting / Microfiber Pads

    Exactly what Chris said. MF pads are a bit harder to work with because they flatten out and need to be blown out and brushed constantly to keep cutting well. A test spot will reveal the process you’ll need for the most part throughout the car. My word of caution though is to be careful chasing imperfections with compound and MF pads. You can take a lot of clear coat off in a hurry depending on the exact products you’re using.
  6. Some clay and/or polish should rip that right off most likely.
  7. Try clay. If that doesn’t work, try a finishing polish. The abrasive is sometimes just enough to grab it and rip it off. Just remember to apply whatever protection you usually use on it again.
  8. shane@detailedreflections

    Ceramic Coating over a sealant

    Usually it’s a year or two. Once opened, the life span shortens considerably.
  9. shane@detailedreflections

    All of our latest work

    The coating we used is actually two different coatings. One went over the stripes, one went around them. We have coated wheel wells on vehicles. We will usually only do it on newer vehicles. The cost to a client to properly clean and prep older wheel wells is a point of diminishing returns. This truck had the carpeted style as well. Typically the undercarriage spray works well.
  10. shane@detailedreflections

    All of our latest work

    And we were back at it again with a black truck. This one had about 40,000 miles on it and had never really been protected. It was new to it's owner and he wanted to really bring it back to life so he brought it to us. This truck got a three step polish (compound, polish, finishing) before being coated in three layers of ceramic for nine years of protection. While it was in, he also had us toss some tints on the fronts to match the rear windows.
  11. shane@detailedreflections

    Ceramic Coating over a sealant

    You’ll definitely want to get the sealant off of there. A coating should always go direct to polished and prepped paint.
  12. shane@detailedreflections

    By request...pricing for service and how it’s established

    @pirahnah3 you ask some good questions. You need to do some market research. I looked at a bunch of websites to see what they offered for services and pricing, made some phone calls to see what my money could get me. Prices certainly do vary widely by region. They also vary based on what services they can offer. For example being accredited to install a product has a value to it. It shows I’ve taken the time to get the training and invest in ourselves. All of that is worth a few extra dollars in my mind; both as a consumer and a business. We could still do some more market research, but we have work pretty regularly coming in and we’ve never advertised. That tells me that we are doing something in the right direction. Oh, and I still have so much more to learn before I could ever entertain the thought of putting something as long as a book together. Most days I feel like I’m fumbling through business ownership. I don’t think that’s a feeling that will ever go away.
  13. shane@detailedreflections

    By request...pricing for service and how it’s established

    Thank you! Some days are long, and others not so much. We have a system down and we usually tag team work to make it go quicker. It’s all about balance and the type of work we book. The worst was trying to ceramic coat three cars in just over two days and the coating required four layers each. You manage and push through it!
  14. I have some time this morning before the day starts and last night @falcaineer expressed an interest in a write up on how we establish pricing. Pricing has a ton of variables to it. Your local market will have a large influence on how much you can charge for your service. But outside of that, it should also be a calculated number. Before we get too far into the numbers though, you have to decide if you’re just detailing for some cash on the side or detailing for business. Both involve taking dollars for a service, but one has far more flexibility to it. When simply detailing for some cash, it’s more of a friendly arrangement. Maybe you’re covering some product you ordered or used? Maybe you want some beers for later? Maybe you just want to help a friend? If this is the case, it’s a straight equation. The cost of materials plus whatever you want to be compensated for your time. And there you have the simplest pricing structure. If you’re detailing for business, you are into a far more complex set of calculations. You have some overhead (or a lot). I work out of my personal garages, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have considerable expenses. We have equipment tha we’ve invested in (and expect a return on), electricity, labor, product, etc. One thing to consider is recurring costs. These are for maintenance items. Towels wear out, wash mitts, disposable towels for coatings, etc. We assume a certain amount of “waste” on every job we do. This covers consumable products...chemicals and such. We tried tracking product used each job and it’s a logistical nightmare full of estimations and errors. We just assume a set amount based on the job. We could share the numbers, but it’s a mute point since the number varies based on the job and what products you individually like to use. That’s part one of the calculation. Up next are your labor costs. How much do you want to get paid per hour? Don’t think in terms of how much the business is making for this. It’s a straight hourly rate for yourself and anyone working for you. I know how much my guys cost me, and I know what I’d like to make. Keep in mind that the guys ALWAYS get paid...I don’t. I often choose to reinvest what I would get paid back in the business. If a job takes longer than anticipated, the guys still get paid their full rate for however many hours they work. It’s not variable and not optional. You should have a good estimate for how long a job will take. Sometimes they’ll go quicker, sometimes longer. But I know we shoot for about three hours with two guys on a “one step” job. So the rate is calculated as (employee A + employee) x three. And there you have your labor costs. That’s part two. Next up is how much do you want the business itself to make? The business alone is an interested party to all transactions. The business needs to retain earnings for growth, expansion and other overhead (product orders and such). You can calculate this as an hourly need or a percentage of each job. The two should be close either way. That’s part C. Now add up part A, B and C and you’ve arrived at the minimum required rate per hour to be viable. You will not always hit the rate. Accept that. Things will come up. And some jobs you’ll make more than the rate. It should average out over time and jobs. So now you do the math and realize that your hourly rate is too high and you’ll never get that in your area with your experience. What do you do? How can you impact your numbers? You can raise prices a little bit and see if you have resistance from clients. More importantly though you can do something that won’t impact your clients. Look at your purchasing and see if you can buy smarter. Buying in bulk usually offers discounts. Negotiate with your vendors for better pricing. This will lower your costs and give you more profit without impacting your clients. We still do this constantly without even looking to avoid a price increase. Better buying means more money for the business. As a business owner you owe it to yourself, your clients, employees and business to buy smart and maximize your profit dollars to ensure success. You should also also research what other detailers in your area are offering for services and pricing. We don’t let them dictate our pricing, but we do want to know so we can expand on what makes us different. Things like equipment, exclusive products, training, services, etc. We have an internal policy that we don’t get into pricing wars and drive the price of our service down. We offer a fair service at a fair price. If we let clients dictate our pricing, we give them total control and train them that they can tell us how much something costs without them knowing the background information. If we don’t value our time, who will? Which brings up the last point...there’s a difference between a customer and a client. A customer is someone passing through. They’ll use you one time and then they’re off into the sunset. They won’t promote your business for you and won’t maintain a long relationship. A client will sing your praises, recruit other customers and clients and constantly be a stream of revenue for your business. Customers and clients both have a place in your business model. And that’s the long-ish version of calculating pricing...
  15. shane@detailedreflections

    The “professional” versus the “amateur...”

    Ask and you shall receive...maybe tomorrow! We will see how my day goes!