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Wash and Seal - know your customers expectations


mc2hill
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I did a wash and seal for my mother-in-law today.  I have detailed her car many times, and when I started this hobby, I did full corrections for her.  Over time I realized since the car is outside under massive oak trees all the time, that it was not really the best use of my time.  She is happy with a clean car, and would not know a 'swirl from a squirrel'.    

 

Today I only had 2 hours to wash and seal her car, and could not bring my full arsenal (including 100 ft. of Goodyear hose).  I started with the wheels - diluted APC (1:1) for the wheel wells with the Fender Brush, TRC and the old blue Tire Brush for the new tires, and diluted GWC and the Wheel Brush for the wheels.  While I was in the area, I also cleaned the lower parts of the car.  I used the diluted APC and the Wheel Brush.  Yes, that is not the most gentle method, but again, I am looking to maximize my time, and meet her expectations - a clean car.  This method cleaned quickly, even with some tree contamination on the paint.  

 

Next I mixed up Adam's Strip Wash at 2 oz. per 2 gallons of water, and used a MF covered 'bone' sponge.  I have used several different Adam's Wash Mitts on the car before, but as I am washing in the shade under huge oak trees, things are continually falling on the car.  The stuff keep getting stuck in the fibers of the wash mitt, so I switched to the MF mitt.  This mitt worked well for getting more aggressive on the contamination on the roof, which needs claying.  I left the Strip Wash on the car as I washed it, then reloaded the mitt, and quickly went back over the car to reactivate the suds.  

 

I was not able to remove the nozzle from the hose, so no pool rinse.  Since I could not "add water to remove water", it took 2 GWDT to get it dry.  I wiped with one towel, and it was soaked at the end.  Then I sprayed the car with DS, and wiped it again with the second towel.  

 

Now on to the protection.  I applied PS by hand, using a 6" foam machine pad.  I like this method, as the foam pads are easier to clean than the MF applicators, and I can get a thin layer of PS down.  It hazed over in about 10 minutes, and I wiped it off and took a shower for Mother's Day lunch.  

 

After lunch I found extra extension cords in the garage, and used my Side Kick to blow out all the leaves from the engine area, and in the doors.  Since the car was sealed, the debris that was kicked up easily blown off the paint.  Then applied VRT to the tires and trim to put the 'incing on the cake'.

 

She was beyond pleased with the clean, shiny car.  I know that it could look better, but it meet her expectations.  

In the fall I plan to clay the car, a one-step correction, and probably with finish with a coating.  It will be more than she expects, but I will know it is well protected.

 

IMG_20170514_163444_762_zps0ougpaww.jpg

 

 

Edited by mc2hill
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Looks great. I always take time and talk with people to see what actually makes them happy with their car. If they want a 3 step paint correction, wheels off, and seats out detail or a good wash and hit with tire shine and H2O Guard and gloss, I can do either.

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"Swirl from a squirrel"......lol.  That made me laugh.  Great write up.  

 

 

Great point on making them happy, and I agree the Swirl from a squirrel made me chuckle too. 

 

To give credit where credit due that is a Mike Phillips quote.  I have been to many of his presentations and I always chuckle at that line too!

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I couldn't agree more.  The struggle between satisfying myself and my client is real.  I strive for perfect (or as close to it as I can get) and I'm harshly critical of the work we put out.  At the end of the day the customer comes to get their vehicle and is usually blown away by the results.  I find myself having to stop myself from doing work the client isn't paying for simply in order to satisfy my quest for results.  I don't mind some small things being added in the name of customer service, but at times it can get a little carried away.  More than anything I want my client to be satisfied, but I also want myself to be satisfied.  The those two standards differ greatly at times. 

 

The struggles of detailing for others...

 

Nice work!

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  • 3 weeks later...

My favorite detailing story is of a (then) 12-year old Honda Civic, owned by a grandfather and bequeathed to his 30-year old granddaughter. The car was solid. But was stored outside and often used to catch exterior paint drippings. I would go so far as to say the car was never washed in its life. 

 

She brought the car to me and her order stated, "Just clean it up." You got it, Ma'am. 

 

After putting 5 glorious hours into the car, I went to close the gas fill cover and decided to dress the fill port and surrounding plastic up a little with some VRT

 

She picked up the car with little fan faire. The next day she texted me about how clean her "gas tank" was. Oh, the things customers in general decide to care about....

Edited by PHOKUS
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