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Am I crazy?


InDepthAutoDetailing
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So I'm kinda wanting to do this auto detailing thing on the side for extra money. I'm not sure how much to charge so I thought I'd call around and see what the going rates are.

I've talked to 3 different places.

 

All of them said a complete detail includes:

Wash & Dry

Polish out all Swirls

Wax

Clean the inside (Spot clean or shampoo the carpet)

Under the hood

Black out the fender wells

 

The first place was $170 for small car + $10 for midsize SUV and it would take about 8 hours to complete the detail. This package includes "Meticulous Vacuum". Not sure what that means.

 

Next was $70 for small car + $15 for midsize SUV and would take about 3 1/2 hours.

 

Last was $65 for small car + $20 for midsize SUV and would take about 1 1/2 hours.

 

I can go along with the first one but the last two just seem that you would get what you pay for.

 

What do you think? Should I just set a price that I'm comfortable with and let my work speak for itself.

 

Thanks,

Len

Edited by InDepthAutoDetailing
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Personally I would set a price I was comfortable with and go from there. If its to high or low adjust accordingly. After attempting to get a swirl free finish I wouldn't do it for anything less than $150 and thats pushing it, I wouldn't expect a swirl finish if I paid less than that either. A swirl free finish in 1.5hrs? Your right, their customers will get what they pay for and I doubt it'll be swirl free, more than likely it'll have more swirls. haha

Edited by 09G8GT
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Agreed, can't believe the 2nd or 3rd place gives results that YOU want attached to your reputation. Unless of course they have the personel to put a person on each panel simultaneously.

 

Pricing has so many variables that it's tough to come up with a set standard. Give people what they pay for though. The most difficult thing you may encounter would be stopping at customer satisfaction. When I say that, I mean... not everybody's going for show car finish. You could spend 20 hours on a vehicle when the owner would've been stupefied after a 6 hour detail.

Edited by RyGo
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Agreed, can't believe the 2nd or 3rd place gives results that YOU want attached to your reputation. Unless of course they have the personel to put a person on each panel simultaneously.

 

Pricing has so many variables that it's tough to come up with a set standard. Give people what they pay for though. The most difficult thing you may encounter would be stopping at customer satisfaction. When I say that, I mean... not everybody's going for show car finish. You could spend 20 hours on a vehicle when the owner would've been stupefied after a 4 hour detail.

 

Thats a good point too. I get people that say my car is clean and are dumb founded when I tell them its been 3 weeks since I washed it. Or after I wash and the neighbor says their car doesn't look that clean after they wax theirs and ask if I just put wax on it while my wax is 6 months old. They would probably pay good money for a simple coat of MSW, whereas fellow Adams addicts would want something..... a bit better.

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Agreed, can't believe the 2nd or 3rd place gives results that YOU want attached to your reputation. Unless of course they have the personel to put a person on each panel simultaneously.

 

Pricing has so many variables that it's tough to come up with a set standard. Give people what they pay for though. The most difficult thing you may encounter would be stopping at customer satisfaction. When I say that, I mean... not everybody's going for show car finish. You could spend 20 hours on a vehicle when the owner would've been stupefied after a 6 hour detail.

 

That I've got to learn. If you saw my "Worst Case Scenario" I wasn't satisfied with the exterior because I didn't get all the scratches out. The owner of the car was thrilled to say the least. She said, "It's like I have a brand new car all over again."

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Thats a good point too. I get people that say my car is clean and are dumb founded when I tell them its been 3 weeks since I washed it. Or after I wash and the neighbor says their car doesn't look that clean after they wax theirs and ask if I just put wax on it while my wax is 6 months old. They would probably pay good money for a simple coat of MSW, whereas fellow Adams addicts would want something..... a bit better.

 

Yep. One of my coworkers wants a price on a good detailed cleaning (interior, exterior, engine) and a coat of wax.

 

When I mentioned claying the car they've never heard of it or understand the importance of it. Me personally, I was amazed after claying my own cars and seeing how important it is in the detailing process. I know you dont do it on every detail just maybe twice a year. How do you get someone to understand that their car needs to be clayed?

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Yep. One of my coworkers wants a price on a good detailed cleaning (interior, exterior, engine) and a coat of wax.

 

When I mentioned claying the car they've never heard of it or understand the importance of it. Me personally, I was amazed after claying my own cars and seeing how important it is in the detailing process. I know you dont do it on every detail just maybe twice a year. How do you get someone to understand that their car needs to be clayed?

 

When I clayed my wifes trailblazer she was like WTH are you doing to my car, I did half the hood and told her to run her fingers across both and she was shocked at the difference it made. Maybe the best way is to show them?

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Pricing has so many variables that it's tough to come up with a set standard. Give people what they pay for though. The most difficult thing you may encounter would be stopping at customer satisfaction. When I say that, I mean... not everybody's going for show car finish. You could spend 20 hours on a vehicle when the owner would've been stupefied after a 6 hour detail.

 

That's the hardest part!

Another factor is how they will maintain the car when you're done. A 90% correction will get 100% trashed if they are using the gas station car wash. In most cases a little scratch removal and MSW to protect the finish is fine, along with cleaning the wheels & tires, and getting the stains out of the carpet. Most folks will not appreciate or comprehend a 'restored' finish.

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Ya theres no way those guys are buffing/polishing. 3 hours for a car? Ya right. Maybe if you have 4 people working on it at a time but lets be realistic. You cant vacuum it while someone is washing it and you cant wax it while someones claying it.

 

I'd say start cheap, cover you're expenses. Figure out how much 1oz of product costs you and figure out how many oz's you use. Charge them for the product to start and thats it. After awhile when people start coming back or telling others about it then start charging labor.

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I detail on the side and I charge 50 bucks for wash/wax, 75 for wash clay wash wax, 125 for basic swirl removal, 35 for interior. But I have stipulated up front the level of swirl removal and tell the customer what i can and can't get out after i see their car. I also tell them up front I don't get into any steam cleaning. If the Adams carpet/upholstery cleaner won't get it..it stays.

 

As long as I'm up front with everyone they've all seemed fine so no false expectations were made. Now granted out of the bunch I've done since summer most have all been friends, family, neighbors, friend of friends so I haven't taken just some random guy stopping by.

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Ya theres no way those guys are buffing/polishing. 3 hours for a car? Ya right. Maybe if you have 4 people working on it at a time but lets be realistic. You cant vacuum it while someone is washing it and you cant wax it while someones claying it.

 

I'd say start cheap, cover you're expenses. Figure out how much 1oz of product costs you and figure out how many oz's you use. Charge them for the product to start and thats it. After awhile when people start coming back or telling others about it then start charging labor.

 

That's kind of what I was thinking. Go cheap until I figure out how long I'm going to spend on a detail. That's also the reason I did the "Worst Case Scenario" car so cheap. I wanted to see how long it would take. I'll probably do a couple more on the cheap side and try to keep it to only what the customer requests.

 

As for the reputation, if a customer doesn't want or pay for a full correction and another potential customer sees scratches or swirls in the finish would that hurt my reputation?

 

I'm thinking of putting together a flip book of before and after pics to show customers the difference between a total correction and a simple wash and wax.

Thanks for all the comments.

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That's kind of what I was thinking. Go cheap until I figure out how long I'm going to spend on a detail. That's also the reason I did the "Worst Case Scenario" car so cheap. I wanted to see how long it would take. I'll probably do a couple more on the cheap side and try to keep it to only what the customer requests.

 

As for the reputation, if a customer doesn't want or pay for a full correction and another potential customer sees scratches or swirls in the finish would that hurt my reputation?

 

I'm thinking of putting together a flip book of before and after pics to show customers the difference between a total correction and a simple wash and wax.

Thanks for all the comments.

 

 

Ok so, the first example you gave @ $175 is a pretty conservative estimate and chances are that detailer is using the standard "watered-down" cleaners, there by making a bigger profit then if you used a premium car care products such as Adams. The other estimates are either new starts trying to build business or amateurs offering a wash,vacuum, tire dressing and wax and calling it a detail (i know quite a few of these sort of "parking lot" detailers)!

 

As for the reputation, if a customer doesn't want or pay for a full correction and another potential customer sees scratches or swirls in the finish would that hurt my reputation?

 

Only if you do not meet the customers satisfaction! If, like you said b4 explain what you can do for a set price and do that more often then not the customer will be pleased; in turn if someone mentions there's a scratch or swirl mark The customer will often tell the other person the kind of detail package they actually paid for and kinda of educate a potential new customer. That has been my experience in the past. If you educate your customers on proper car care and each service/package you offer & produce the desired results then more then likely you will have a good rep.

 

I'm thinking of putting together a flip book of before and after pics to show customers the difference between a total correction and a simple wash and wax.

Excellent idea many use this as an effective tool! Even though its evolving more to online albums.

 

I would also suggest you search for a few websites of members that run detailing operations and use mainly Adams products, This will help you develop a price list as well as a list of services;

I know one the guy in alaska (i am bad with names) but its like taig (sunddog detailing) ....his site has a great service menu as does that of steve@adams or autoartofatlanta.com.

 

Get a list of services that you will be offering, i.e., carpet/upholstery, int. vinyl/leather cleaning/conditioning, COMPLETE INT. PACKAGE, headlight recon,Wash only, wax/polish only ....... I would set up diff detail packages to be able to reach out to different customers, for example I have three,

1)LOWEST PRICED-a basic ext/int clean, i.e., wash/dry, clean/dress tires trim, clean glass *sealant extra push it like rainX cause it truly is better IMO*, vacuum int., clean vinyl/leather *conditioning extra*

2)MEDIUM PRICED- "Express detail ;wash/dry, clean/dress tires trim, clean glass *sealant extra push it like rainX cause it truly is better IMO*, vacuum int., clean vinyl/leather & conditioning, Polish and wax (on this one myself i would use revive hand polish and buttery with option to upgrade to Americana for additional cost * to push this you will need to explain the basic diff in the waxes.**

3)HIGHEST PRICED- All inclusive of all your services including scratch and swirl removal. *This one will take you the most time, require the most cleaners/polishes and the price should reflect that a lil.* it is verry common for reputable detailers charging well over 245$ for this service when done correctly.this is also the one i would use the machine polishes and waxes on as the tend to do better after making corrections and the MSW last longer then Americana.

 

As far as how to price, you must figure a price that 1) you can profit being able to reorder (from detailing cash) and be "justly" paid for your hours of work. 2) it must be , especially if most your customers are friends and fam to start, a price that's not out of your potential customer's range. as you grow you can adjust prices and give current customers a price break once you do :)

 

all suggestions & not set in stone hope some helps :)

 

 

OH AND THE ABOVE CAN BE DONE AND PRESENTED IN A SIMPLE FLYER ALLOWING YOU TO START CHEAP AND ADJUST AS YOU GO. THE DIFF DETAIL PACKAGES ALLOW BOTH FOR CAR CARE OPTIONS AND PRICE OPTIONS...... I MEAN AFTER YOU CORRECT A FINISH YOU STILL WANT THEM TO COME BACK FOR FUTURE DETAILS AND THEY WANT NEED (HOPEFULLY) THE EXTRA CORRECTION IN THE NEXT FULL DETAIL.

***SORRY CAPS LOCK STUCK NOT YELLING****

Edited by w0lfy
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oh yeah something that goes an extra mile of service..... if you have a small air compressor handy, check customers tire pressure and correct it if necessary... do not charge for it but let them kno hey yer pressure was low so i corrected it to right air pressure..... kinda shows you thinking bout more then just the job at hand :)

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