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I consider myself an experienced hobby detailer, just something I do on the side, not even close to a full time job. I am a bit of a perfectionist, and wanting to get more involved in paint correction via rotary, I decided to sign up for a detailing class to hone my skill and further educate myself in advanced paint correction. Why did I take the time to enroll in a class? Mainly due to the fact that there is inherent danger in using a rotary, and if I am doing a higher end car, I want to make sure I am properly trained before screwing around on their paint and possibly damaging it.

Long story short, I took the class, which cost me BIG bucks mind you for a detailing class. I thought I would get advanced tips, training, expertise, etc. which is what they advertise. Well, turns out it was a huge waste of money. I learned virtually nothing. It was more of a car wash class, than a paint correction class, focusing on how to “upsell”, and charge an extremely high amount of money for doing an hour long, half assed detail. It was more of a get rich quick seminar. They spent a majority of the class slamming detailers (they used Paul Dalton as an example) who spend over 8 hours on a car, saying they are essentially stupid doing work a customer will never notice, and how they will charge the same amount of money as Paul Dalton, and get the job done in 7 hours, not 40, therefore they are vastly more successful and business savvy. The main focus was quantity, not quality, to make money detailing. And stressed, and I quote, “Never be a perfectionist! You will be out of business in 2 months that way”.

So I’m curious what the pro’s stance is on this in general, from a business standpoint.
 

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the people that seek out paul dalton are paying for his attention to detail...his fees are around $5,000 for a 40hr detail. so if im paying 5 grand i would hope hes spending 40 hrs and not 7 !i believe quality should always prevail over quatity save the quantity for the local carwashes who claim to have the "platinum detail"for $99....stripper scent air freshner extra! it seems alot of people pick up a can of wax and a rag and they are instantly a "detailer" and god forbid if they get their hands on a buffer!
 

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when i start detailing full time , things has chance from before, i do care of what i work on and finish product but if i have to do detail to perfection u better have $xxxx ready.

to be more specified if u ask 10 people how a detail should look like u will have 10 different answers.
the down side of the business is the weekend worriors or part time detailers who don`t care about time and they focus on the extra cash and of course they work on a car way over so they get the job.

as full time and live from it i explain what i do , how much time it takes, what improvement will be made , for any custom/request detail i charge by hour, other than that i give quotes.

meguiar`s and autogeek does seminars for paint correction.
the moto is true:
“Never be a perfectionist! You will be out of business in 2 months that way”.
as a side note read my post where i went from jobless for 2 months up to $5200 a month and in 8 months i worked on at least 55 Ferraris and more others
55 Ferraris , 12 Porsches , 2 Bentleys + .. in 8 months! - Auto Geek Online Auto Detailing Forum
 

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[They spent a majority of the class slamming detailers (they used Paul Dalton as an example) who spend over 8 hours on a car, saying they are essentially stupid doing work a customer will never notice, and how they will charge the same amount of money as Paul Dalton, and get the job done in 7 hours, not 40, therefore they are vastly more successful and business savvy]

Paul Dalton has done more to show detailing in a positive light and is the most successful detailer thus far; he has a certain amount of talent and produces quality work (both pre-requisite) but most importantly has marketing expertise along with major sponsorship (Swisswax, 3M, etc).

Specializing in a niche market suceeds for very few detailers, but real money is to be made in volume detailing

FWIW negative marketing will only take you so far
 

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Paul Dalton has done more to show detailing in a positive light and is the most successful detailer thus far; he has a certain amount of talent and produces quality work (both pre-requisite) but most importantly has marketing expertise along with major sponsorship (Swisswax, 3M, etc).

Specializing in a niche market suceeds for very few detailers, but real money is to be made in volume detailing

FWIW negative marketing will only take you so far
Agreed.

Here's my (long) reply.

OP, I believe you answered your own question about the guys that held the class. They're focused on making money quickly and doing the least amount of work. They're businessmen and not true detailing enthusiasts. There's definitely a huge gray area between Paul Daulton doing 40 hours perfection details and a hack on the parking lot doing 1hr "full details" for $100. However, just as huge as this gray area is, there are just as many, if not more, clients for each business within that area.

As a detailer I've built my reputation as a quality and high end service provider to the automotive enthusiasts in my area and around the US. My motto is "quality vs quantity" and I mostly concentrate on paint correction work that's 8-14 hours and $400-800. I have a steadily growing client base each year and love what I do.

However, I see not only an opportunity but a need for lower quality work. Many people don't know, don't care, or simply can't afford the higher quality, and these people need someone to provide a good but cheap service. This service differs from my 8 hour service in that it cuts out some polishing, few steps here and there and quite a few hours off the total time. If done with the right tools, products and process though, this cheap service can still be good for the car and I would consider the detailer performing it a good detailer. Also, places like car dealerships need the quicker work done for the vehicles to look presentable.

My issues with lower end detailing arise when detailers take advantage of their clients by advertising something they don't do, and charging much more than they should. Business wise they're doing great, but what they're doing is morally wrong and is damaging vehicles usually with improper buffing, etc.

So in short, from a business standpoint I'd say what the teachers in that class told you is definitely true. Quantity will make you more money because 99% people out there don't care about perfection or anywhere near perfection. There are way too many opportunities to make money doing volume work than there are doing the high end detailing work. Also, if they're not doing anything wrong (polishing cars improperly, false advertising, etc.) I have nothing bad to say about them. They're simply after the majority of detailing clients... those who want to pay $100-150 to freshen up their car with a quick 1-step polish/wax. And they are generally right in that if you start a business chasing only $500+ detail work per client you will more than likely be out of a job within 2 months.

I think you simply attended the wrong class and should seek out a good professional detailer in your area to show you a bit with the rotary. I have detailing classes just for this reason and I always try to reach out to those who want to learn. Best of luck.
 

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We only offer work to be done here, that we allow out the door. Our customers as a whole pay more than other detail shops in the area, because they know they are getting the 6-8 hours of work their car needs vs. the cheaper but less quality work done at other shops. We have for this reason a multi level detailing plethora of options for our clientele. Not everyone needs 8 hours of paint correction. We are busy year around and have 6 full time employees who all detail near Paul Daltons corrective level. On the other hand we do this with a more down to earth, craftsman-like approach, rather than claiming we are the best detailer on earth. We work on tons of very impressive vehicles from $1M+ vehicles to Daily drivers and even econo cars such as the Suzuki Swifts. We do it all, if our customer understands our work is better than competitors and is willing to pay for the work their car deserves, my business will continue to grow just on the praise we receive from every customer who leaves our place. Treat every car as if it were your own, and be honest to your customer on what the car needs, charge appropriately and you wont go out of business. Upselling for upsellings sake is never a good way to run a business, but making sure your customer is happy is a different story. Just my $.02
 

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^Exactly how I would run a detail business...as in all business, if you love what you do and treat your clients/customers fairly and honestly, you will always prosper!
My favorite quote from customers is "Blake, just do what you would do if it were your car" Never had an unhappy customer. This is because people trust us with their most valuable or 2nd most valuable (to their houses) assets.
 

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My favorite quote from customers is "Blake, just do what you would do if it were your car" Never had an unhappy customer. This is because people trust us with their most valuable or 2nd most valuable (to their houses) assets.
+1 on the quote, I treat my customer's cars as if they were mine, and give it my absolute best given the $ I'm paid.
 
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