Jump to content
Customer Service 866.965.0400
  • 0

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


shane@detailedreflections
 Share

Question

Between here and the Facebook group, I’ve seen some posts from users about wanting to start detailing for money. This got me thinking about the “pro” versus the “amateur” on a few levels.

 

One level is the results that can be achieved. Quite honestly, an amateur can achieve the same results as a pro. It may take them longer in most cases to achieve, but it’s certainly possible. 

 

The biggest reason for this time difference is usually knowledge of the process and the tools and resources available. An experienced detailer usually has seen enough situations to be able to visually determine a process. At the very least they can come close to what’s needed as an educated guess. That’s less time spent guessing and realizing what doesn’t work and more time getting to what does work. 

 

Another big difference is that the pro usually has more products at their disposal. If you look on my shelf, you’ll find multiple wheel cleaners, waxes, polishes, compounds, pads, etc. We don’t use them all on every job, but when we need them we have them in stock and ready to go. 

 

This brings us back to knowledge of the processes. The pro has usually established a routine and it’s been honed down considerably to be efficient. The efficiency comes from the repeated application of the process. We don’t just do this a few times a year. We do it frequently and we are often in search of the most effective ways. The more effective we are, the more money we make. If we waste time on steps, we waste money. Both in terms of the job itself, but also on the next job coming in. 

 

And the biggest difference between the pro and the amateur...tools and equipment. Our workspace is set up with a multitude of equipment that the majority simply doesn’t have access too. 

 

Off the top of my head we have:

 

- a lift 

- five polishers 

- steamer 

- hot water extractor 

- blower 

- air compressor 

- paint gauges 

- extensive lighting 

- multiple pads of differing types and sizes 

 

That’s just off the top of my head right now. So for every situation, we have a tool that helps make it that much easier. It doesn’t mean it can’t be done without them, but it’s a time/effort equation. 

 

So the amateur can achieve the same results. There’s rarely some deep, dark secret in the detailing world. It’s just patience and experience that separates us. And even at that, we can all learn from each other, pro and amateur alike!

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

  • 0
13 minutes ago, imatt27 said:

Good info. I’ve been considering doing some detailing jobs on the weekends. But my fear is I’ll take to long on a job and end up working for free. 

 

That’s a very real concern. Sometimes it works like that. You need to decide if you’re just looking for extra cash doing what others simply don’t want to do or offering a higher level service. If it’s a business with she service, you work your pricing backwards. We aim for anywhere between $65-95/hour with $85 really being the target number. Sometimes we come out ahead, sometimes behind. Everyone’s calculations are different. 

 

I could write a whole separate post on pricing along and how to establish it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
11 minutes ago, shane@detailedreflections said:

 

That’s a very real concern. Sometimes it works like that. You need to decide if you’re just looking for extra cash doing what others simply don’t want to do or offering a higher level service. If it’s a business with she service, you work your pricing backwards. We aim for anywhere between $65-95/hour with $85 really being the target number. Sometimes we come out ahead, sometimes behind. Everyone’s calculations are different. 

 

I could write a whole separate post on pricing along and how to establish it. 

 

Yes, please!  :cheers:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Excellent information Shane!    

I have most of the tools you listed, but some I don't want (extractor) as I really don't want to do interiors that are bad enough to require one! 

 

Not sure when I decided I had reached the 'pro' status, but probably when I figured out there was not much detailing wise that I could not do!  Turn around a neglected interior - no problem; Clean & polish a priceless pre-war car - sure; Sand, polish, and coat headlights - give me about an hour.      

 

Not an issue in your case, but I had an disagreement on another forum were someone stated that you could not be considered a 'real' detailer if you used the customers water and power.  In my mind it is the experience and knowledge that determine if someone is a 'detailer' or a 'car washer' (nothing wrong with just cleaning, but I want to polish something!).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
6 hours ago, DanITD said:

Did this happen? 

Anyone have a link?

 

(thanks in advance)

 

It did happen. Usually if someone asks and others have interest, I’ll write it up or if it’s short I’ll answer right in a thread. But here you go. 

 

Should you have questions or something you want to see...just ask. I stay pretty available here because I enjoy the feeling and attitude of the community here. Also, if you search my post history you’ll find other writings I’ve done that may be of interest. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

I really wish we had a way to differentiate this beyond just "professional" and "amateur" because it's not acceptable to put people who do work like the OP in the same category as people who do work like this...

 

image-22.jpg.b65bc45777d180ba8c9a76911905a450.jpg

 

That absolute catastrophe came out of the detail shop at the dealership where I traded my F150 for my 4Runner.  They didn't clean the face of the wheel the whole way, they didn't even touch the barrel, and there's as much disgusting tire grease on the wheel as there is on the tire.  I'm sure every amateur that posts here could do a better job and not spend a minute more doing it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
42 minutes ago, zw470 said:

I really wish we had a way to differentiate this beyond just "professional" and "amateur" because it's not acceptable to put people who do work like the OP in the same category as people who do work like this...

 

image-22.jpg.b65bc45777d180ba8c9a76911905a450.jpg

 

That absolute catastrophe came out of the detail shop at the dealership where I traded my F150 for my 4Runner.  They didn't clean the face of the wheel the whole way, they didn't even touch the barrel, and there's as much disgusting tire grease on the wheel as there is on the tire.  I'm sure every amateur that posts here could do a better job and not spend a minute more doing it.

 

Man, that’s bad. I get that it’s difficult sometimes to really clean the barrels without taking the wheels off. But that’s a horrible job and they didn’t even take a brush to the inside of the barrels and work around the spokes. 

 

I would hope that’s a one off experience. Things happen and slip through the cracks. We’ve had it happen; but we always make it right. Hopefully they took care of it and it’s not a matter of practice. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

@zw470, you said the key word thou, Dealership, they are horrible and dont pay worth a dang. Sadly most folks there leave soon after starting as if they are a real detailer they cant stand the rush jobs they are forced to do. 

 

We keep saying professional and amateur, however I think we are missing the third category....Hobbyist. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

In the context of this discussion I think hobbyist definitely fits better than amateur.

 

I agree with you about the dealership, but someone who takes that little pride in their work probably isn't going to do much better on their own.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

I was a witness on how dealership workers wash the cars. It's always a rush thing trying to finished fast to do other things. They didn't used the proper microfibers to dry and cleaned the vehicle. This happened at the vent Adam hosted Keyes of Van Nuys. I agree with @pirahnah3 Hobbyist  is the right word for us.

20180812_122343.jpg

Edited by wildcatz80
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
3 hours ago, zw470 said:

I really wish we had a way to differentiate this beyond just "professional" and "amateur" because it's not acceptable to put people who do work like the OP in the same category as people who do work like this...

 

image-22.jpg.b65bc45777d180ba8c9a76911905a450.jpg

 

That absolute catastrophe came out of the detail shop at the dealership where I traded my F150 for my 4Runner.  They didn't clean the face of the wheel the whole way, they didn't even touch the barrel, and there's as much disgusting tire grease on the wheel as there is on the tire.  I'm sure every amateur that posts here could do a better job and not spend a minute more doing it.

 

2 hours ago, shane@detailedreflections said:

 

Man, that’s bad. I get that it’s difficult sometimes to really clean the barrels without taking the wheels off. But that’s a horrible job and they didn’t even take a brush to the inside of the barrels and work around the spokes. 

 

I would hope that’s a one off experience. Things happen and slip through the cracks. We’ve had it happen; but we always make it right. Hopefully they took care of it and it’s not a matter of practice. 

I wishi could say its a one off, I worked at Land Rover Denver this past summer. It was cool in the way that you get to drive nice expensive cars around but the people i worked with would produce work exactly like this. I was a Lot tech and basically i would clean cars as the sales people would sell them, vacuum , windows, scrub the car with giant brushes that sit on the floor... cringe. And apply tire shine. The two guys I worked with were 25, and 23.making barley $13.00 an hour. didn't go to college. The 23 year old had a 5 year old daughter. yikes. they would basically say if you cant see it its not my problem. They would spray tire shine all over the wheels and it would drip down the wheels and fly on the paint when they drove out of the shop. the most cleaning wheels would get would be with a power washer and if it didn't come off with he power washer with one or two passes, it wouldn't matter. I dont like the way dealerships clean cars. PTSD Car washes are real:eek:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

 

 

12 hours ago, zw470 said:

I really wish we had a way to differentiate this beyond just "professional" and "amateur" because it's not acceptable to put people who do work like the OP in the same category as people who do work like this...

 

image-22.jpg.b65bc45777d180ba8c9a76911905a450.jpg

 

That absolute catastrophe came out of the detail shop at the dealership where I traded my F150 for my 4Runner.  They didn't clean the face of the wheel the whole way, they didn't even touch the barrel, and there's as much disgusting tire grease on the wheel as there is on the tire.  I'm sure every amateur that posts here could do a better job and not spend a minute more doing it.

 

8 hours ago, ObsessedDetailer said:

 

I wishi could say its a one off, I worked at Land Rover Denver this past summer. It was cool in the way that you get to drive nice expensive cars around but the people i worked with would produce work exactly like this. I was a Lot tech and basically i would clean cars as the sales people would sell them, vacuum , windows, scrub the car with giant brushes that sit on the floor... cringe. And apply tire shine. The two guys I worked with were 25, and 23.making barley $13.00 an hour. didn't go to college. The 23 year old had a 5 year old daughter. yikes. they would basically say if you cant see it its not my problem. They would spray tire shine all over the wheels and it would drip down the wheels and fly on the paint when they drove out of the shop. the most cleaning wheels would get would be with a power washer and if it didn't come off with he power washer with one or two passes, it wouldn't matter. I dont like the way dealerships clean cars. PTSD Car washes are real:eek:

 

Totally agree with this.  I worked at a Chevy dealership when I was younger and a short stint in the Detail shop. I’m to OCD to cut the corners they wanted us to cut so I got a job in a different part of the dealership.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Answer this question...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...