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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
8th, I need your help with something. I'm thinking about a change in careers and I was originally considering going into mechanics. However, over the past few days I've been reconsidering my original plan and I'm now thinking about going into detailing instead. My ultimate goal would be to open my own detailing shop, but I can't find that much info on the subject though. :(

What I want your help with is:

1. Is this a profitable line of work or will I be working for peanuts until I open my own shop?
2. Are there any pros/cons to this line of work that come to mind?
3. Is there usually some kind of formal training (i.e. a detailing school) required?

Ideally, I would like an opinion from someone who actually works in or used to work in the field.

Thanks in advance guys!!! :)
 

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8th, I need your help with something. I'm thinking about a change in careers and I was originally considering going into mechanics. However, over the past few days I've been reconsidering my original plan and I'm now thinking about going into detailing instead. My ultimate goal would be to open my own detailing shop, but I can't find that much info on the subject though. :(

What I want your help with is:

1. Is this a profitable line of work or will I be working for peanuts until I open my own shop?
2. Are there any pros/cons to this line of work that come to mind?
3. Is there usually some kind of formal training (i.e. a detailing school) required?

Ideally, I would like an opinion from someone who actually works in or used to work in the field.

Thanks in advance guys!!! :)
lets see where to begin...no school is required just a keen eye for detail...u will however need to learn some tricks of the trade..it takes some time to get some of them down with out damaging a vehicle or causing urself un needed work...and in my experience try to get on as a detailer at a major dealership otherwise yes u will be workin fer peanuts....most detail shops are attached to a carwash. and if u do open a shop i would suggest trying to get some contracts with dealerships or bodyshops or anything auto related. it helps with the bills lol....and hope u like holding a polisher for years to come..it will take a toll on ur hands and arms, my buddy has the shakes all the time from doin it for soo many years...i dont think its a bad line of work at all just some long days and it can be stressful times but hey what line of work isnt right?...good luck on ur endevor
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks 07whtSisedan... I'm not to concerned about the toll that the work takes on your body, but I guess that's something I hadn't given much thought to. Like I said though... not a big concern at all. Again, my goal is to open my own shop eventually not do the work all myself forever. :)

I've already started thinking about the best way to approach it (E.G. tie in with an established, quality mechanic and/or get contracts with dealerships, etc...) I guess what I really need to do is go out and get some experience in the field.

If anyone else has anything helpful to say, please feel free to chime in.
 

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Its not what I would call the most profitable job/ business ever. Its challenging at time, and I recommend stating out a weekly detailing type thing to get some future customers and to get referred to others and get your name out there. It will require some money to invest in products if you dont have any.

Firstly of all get experience, and those detailing schools... BS Just saying. It will take at least a dozen cars to get the hang of the power of DA correction etc. Make sure to document the cars you do with plenty of great pics to prove it.

Hard work is a downside, but seeing the customers reaction makes it all worth it, accompanied with a cheque or cash to make everything better :p

Greg at DI is a great person to deal with, with the amazing writeups of products and tutorials by Rasky and other business owners its a great source of knowledge to have. On Detailed Image, its a great source for how-to info and everything else. Rasky does some writeups there on interior cleaning, and other things, so its a good read to have some knowledge.

Also the packages are very thorough but I recommend buying gallons as it will save $$ and last long- that is if you are 100% serious.

Best of all, good luck! Remember the key is to take no shortcuts and to do everything as best as possible.
 

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8th, I need your help with something. I'm thinking about a change in careers and I was originally considering going into mechanics. However, over the past few days I've been reconsidering my original plan and I'm now thinking about going into detailing instead. My ultimate goal would be to open my own detailing shop, but I can't find that much info on the subject though. :(

What I want your help with is:

1. Is this a profitable line of work or will I be working for peanuts until I open my own shop?
2. Are there any pros/cons to this line of work that come to mind?
3. Is there usually some kind of formal training (i.e. a detailing school) required?

Ideally, I would like an opinion from someone who actually works in or used to work in the field.

Thanks in advance guys!!! :)
Talk to Rasky!:badger::badger: Hes got his own sticky about his jobs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the info and opinions guys; I appreciate it. :)

Hopefully one day soon I'll be in here telling all of you about my new detailing shop. (fingers crossed)
 

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Here's my take on it... until you can open a shop and hire min. wage high school kids to do the easy work, or get a few good detailers on your staff, you'll never make that much. A full detail of a car is probably around ~2-300, and will take you all day to do one. If you could get a car every day 5 days a week, you'd make a pretty decent living of ~60k/yr before expenses and taxes. Can't really expect to get a job every day though imo.
 

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I used to detail for BMW and Lexus for two years and now I'm slowly trying to open my own place up but it's going to be really hard. Location is one thing and the other is your customers. At the moment I'm doing weekend details and so far it's not so bad because word of mouth is being passed around which is bringing in customers for me. Basically how i see it you gotta start somewhere.
 

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Go to autogeek.net and learn the professional way to detail. Then charge over $100 for a real claybar/buff detail on just the paint. All you need is one customer a day, if no customers, stand on side of road with sign or do a better job of advertising. Advertising is the way to more customers!

I can do any kind of detail the customer wants and I usually charge $10 for each service with 4 services on the inside and 4 on the outside of the car: wash, wax, rain-x the exterior windows, armor all the rubber. Inside: vacuum, windows, wipe protectant on rubber dash, and clean the carpet with a carpet cleaner. $80 if it is a usual customer that keeps up on their car, where you don't have to vacuum 10 times to get no specs otherwise it is more and it can take about 3 hours for a quickie full treatment or like I said I can spend 8 hours on just one paint job. It just all depends on what the customer wants. I know a shop that washes, vacuums, wipes the dash, and cleans interior windows for $20, so you also have to be competative.

Good luck.
 

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Go to autogeek.net and learn the professional way to detail. Then charge over $100 for a real claybar/buff detail on just the paint. All you need is one customer a day, if no customers, stand on side of road with sign or do a better job of advertising. Advertising is the way to more customers!

I can do any kind of detail the customer wants and I usually charge $10 for each service with 4 services on the inside and 4 on the outside of the car: wash, wax, rain-x the exterior windows, armor all the rubber. Inside: vacuum, windows, wipe protectant on rubber dash, and clean the carpet with a carpet cleaner. $80 if it is a usual customer that keeps up on their car, where you don't have to vacuum 10 times to get no specs otherwise it is more and it can take about 3 hours for a quickie full treatment or like I said I can spend 8 hours on just one paint job. It just all depends on what the customer wants. I know a shop that washes, vacuums, wipes the dash, and cleans interior windows for $20, so you also have to be competative.

Good luck.
i know several shops that charges 20 bucks for what you said. The way you can charge people is depended upon the demographic of the area your trying to start.
 

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i know several shops that charges 20 bucks for what you said
AKA hacks... Probably the same kind of people who do the $75 Full detail with polish and wax... And how long does it take them? 30min!! NO way, they MUST be good.

Honestly...

Charge on what a QUALITY detailer charges (well, build up to that price over doing many cars). And be a detailer who pays attention to things, uses clean tools, and quality products and takes their time making sure everything is DONE to the highest spec.

IMO that is a true detailer.
 

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i agree with what 07wht says i sold cars for 4 yrs and the guys that detailed the cars i sold really knew how to do a great job,somtimes had to do it very quickly, not to mention dealin with whiney customers about swirls or lil scratches they would take car of all of it... find urself a busy dealership and dive in....
 

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^ Truth. I went to a place that charged ~$20 for a full exterior wash/wax/interior "detail"

It consisted of a quick hose-down, quickly wipe car with soapy brushes, dry off, spray on a watery wax, quickly vacuum the interior and done. The car looked like **** - still tons of dirt in seems, dash was still dusty, cup holders still had dirt, etc. It's like saying Morton's Steakhouse can't charge $50 for a steak because Walmart sells a steak for $6.
 

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It can be very profitable once you get your name out there and get into the serious full correction jobs. I know a guy who made over 100k detailing not (deducting expenses) but he worked A LOT!

Negatives are that detailing is not pretty work, lots of times you are laying on the ground, sweaty and in awkward positions while working on the car. You also will work pretty long hours most of the time, and it is common later down the road to have knee and back problems.

There is no formal training required, though Meguiars located in California does offer classes if you are able to make them. Best thing for you to do is just start doing cars and get practice in. YOU WILL MESS UP! It is inevitable that you will do something wrong on a car but this is a learning experience. You will quickly learn products you like and the best process' to use on cars.

So if you want to do this start building your name now. A friend of mine started by going to a local business and making a deal while they were working he would collect keys and wash/light detail their cars. This is hard and fast work so for the person who likes polishing paint it sucks. However, this gets your name established. Also dont price to low, price what you want to make. Otherwise people will wonder why at one time you only charged 100 and now want over 300.

One last note I want to make to you. While owning a shop and people coming to you would be the ideal situation. I feel to really make some money doing this you need to be mobile. I recommend joining Meguiarsonline.com and talking to someone like Joe "superior shine" about owning a detailing business. More than anything though make sure detailing cars is something you love and not something your doing to make good money, otherwise you will get burned out REAL quick.

John
 

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It depends on the market you're targetting. The high-end all day detailing jobs that include the works and are $$$ or to everyday people that are just too lazy to wash their car and are willing to pay.

Question. Why do you need to open a shop to detail cars? A shop is a ton of overhead when you can travel with all your supplies pretty easily to the client's site.

Detailing business is something best built up by word of mouth. If the customer is happy he will likely be willing to provide good references for you.
 

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Do old corvettes also, a happy corvette guy always seems to know LOTS of other corvette owners and will spread your name. Same with any car club. Go to some old car shows and hand out cards.

Single stage paint can really make for drastic before and after pictures for a website!
 
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