In short yes! ‘Proper’ detailers use a process to clean cars that takes time. Time, knowledge, experience all equate to reflect the price a detailer will charge.
Personally, I can spend an average of two hours doing an in/out service. I have a particular process and order of doing things, I am in no way saying this is correct or incorrect, but it is a process that gets me the results needed to have an impact on a customer and get repeat custom.
A process that is constantly evolving and changes slightly depending on what scenario you face and car you are working on but there are basic steps that will always be followed.
Do you get what you pay for? (negative)
I have come across multiple customers recently that have said oh I used such an such company and they missed this and missed that. Now these companies are the static ones you may use at a supermarket or a roadside company or the ones you see advertising for a £20 in/out. Automatically the average customer will think, great value for money and in some circumstances it is.
The reason why you pay that amount of money is the time it takes to carry out a £15-£20 service. Paying for a cheaper service will almost certainly mean areas are being omitted or missed, skipping steps that a detailer will use.
Now if you own a car and don’t really care for it, or it may be on lease for example I doubt you will want to spend £50-£60 regularly to get it cleaned. My point is there is a place for car washes that charge £15-£20, I know I used to, the decision to use this kind of service was my lack of knowledge and over time realising it wasn’t actually value for money at all. The idea of writing this piece is that if you own a car and genuinely care about how it is being maintained, you are potentially damaging your car using car washes that charge a price that seems too good to be true. Why I hear you ask?
Do you get what you pay for? (positive)
To wash a car safely you have to use the particular steps and methodology I mentioned earlier. The aim is to remove as much dirt from the surface of the vehicle as possible before we even contemplate touching it with a wash mitt. If you don’t, guess what, you are effectively moving all the grit and decontamination around the paintwork with the wash mitt, thus getting what are known as swirls, lots of tiny little scratches that you see when the sun hits your car and over time dulls the paintwork. I could go on further but that’s for another blog.
Point 2 is chemicals used. I use high end chemicals that are extremely effective, meaning I don’t have to touch the car as much as the cheaper ones used and in addition I know they are safe on sensitive areas like aluminium trim or those lovely black piano finishes you see. On a maintenance detail I can use 10 separate products each tackling specific areas, add further options and enhancement packages the list can double.
Point 3 ALL areas of the car are cleaned, the areas you probably don’t see, but if I pointed them out you will never unsee them! They may be unseen by 70% of customers but they are there. The other 30% of customers are the ones who will use a detailer like me, my aim is to educate and hopefully make that swing to 50/50 or more. Paying £30k for a car but then paying £15 to get it incorrectly washed doesn’t add up to me and ultimately you are reducing the long-term value of that car by not having it washed in a safe manner.
Do you get what you pay for?
A £60 wash will ultimately last longer than a £20 wash, maybe not 3 times longer but certainly twice as long. The last step products (i.e spray sealants) I use, for example Carpro Reload deters contaminants from sticking to the paintwork for up to 4 months on a daily driver, it isn’t a miracle cure like a ceramic coat for example but it certainly goes a long way!
When it comes to cleaning a car you absolutely do get what you pay for!