Most of you know that I'm usually a 9 to 5 kind of guy and do my detailing thing on the side as a hobby. Well, the powers that be decided to lay me off a few weeks ago, so I started putting applications out there and shaking the bushes. One of the things that fell out was an opportunity to manage a detail shop in town that actually has a fairly decent reputation. They have several shops under this one name and the owner had just opened a new shop that he needed a manager for. I've always wondered what it would be like to do that kind of work, so I tried it out for a week. Yeah... H U G E mistake. lol
This is a shop that does a lot of dealership work, but they also have their own packages for retail customers. Just to give you an idea, here is a cut and paste from their price sheet:
Exterior & Interior Detail
Hand Wash vehicle and clean tires, wheels and wheel wells.
Three Step high speed polish (Maximum Protection)
Reseal paint with Paint Sealant.
Clean and treat non painted metal components.
Condition all rubber, vinyl, and plastic materials with proper conditioners.
Apply polish to exterior glass and chrome.
Engine compartment cleaned and dressed.
Removal of loose dirt, clean under seats and in crevices.
Shampoo and extract all carpets and upholstery.
Clean and condition all plastics, leather and vinyl.
Spot clean headliner.
Blow interior out with compressed air.
Vacuum trunk and clean door jambs.
Clean all Glass and apply odor neutralizer.
Services included with Platinum Package
Leather Conditioning (Value $29.95-$ 49.95)
Fabric Protection (Value $29.95- $49.95)
Scratch Removal (Value $49.95)
Clay Bar (Value $49.95)
Paint Sealant (Value $49.95)
Rain X (Value $19.95)
Small Vehicle $299.95
Medium Vehicle $349.95
Large Vehicle $399.95
Extra Large Vehicle $449.95
I guess I have to raise my prices because I do that on every car I detail and have never charged $300 to do a small car. I would never not condition the leather. I would never not clay the paint. Seriously, who charges extra for that??? That is like ordering a fine steak at the best place in town and getting charged extra for the plate and knife. But the worst part is that they don't actually do all of that on these cars. Most consumers don't know the difference between when their car has been clayed or not or if the dealership used a wax or a paint sealant. I asked the 'detailers' what they knew about the process and not one of them could tell me where the clay was at. Not one of them could tell me what was in the bottles they were squirting on the car. Most of the time they were just using a spray wax and not even touching the paint with a machine. It was a detailing assembly line from Hell if you asked me.
Call me crazy, but if i'm going to pay $400 bucks to get my vehicle detailed, then it should come out looking better than what I could have done myself, right? You'd think at those kinds of prices that it would be a professional who knew what they were doing and had an eye for detail. Not so much here.
The last straw was when they started sanding and primering cars from the body shop ten feet away from vehicles I was trying to polish. Ever had primer overspray on your car? I just spent the last three hours polishing it off my paint and glass from just having my car in their parking lot. I can only imagine what their dealership customers say when the cars come back with grey spots all over them because they got overspray on them after they were polished.
I'm not going to throw them under the bus by giving you their name, but I will just say that I've got new appreciation for what I do and for what some of you guys are able to do as well. There is nothing like getting a job done by someone who has passion for their work. If I can give anybody any advice then it would be to always try to do business with someone who has passion and isn't just a piece of the machine. The job will always come back better.