Archived Blog Posts for September, 2012

Just like a golfer requires a cart full of clubs, an archer stocks a quiver of arrows, and a mason brings along a bag of trowels and grout, so too must a professional auto detailer show up to work with a full contingent of auto detailing brushes in order to properly clean and detail a vehicle.

Sure, maybe you’ve got a couple of fancy orbital polishers and a 3,500-psi pressure washer, but the real workhorse in your arsenal of cleaning tools is the humble detailing brush. It’s a bristly tool that enables you to get aggressive on those surfaces that a rag or water can’t even begin to touch. Brushes get down and dirty, finding their way into those hard-to-reach areas such as those found among tightly squeezed engine components and in between the spokes of a chrome wheel.

And it goes without saying that Detail King carries more varieties of these whiskered tools than a door-to-door Fuller brush man — but now we’re just dating ourselves. Here’s a list of the must-have auto detailing brushes to help you clean each area of a vehicle:

Wheel and Tire Auto Detailing Brushes

When you dress tires it’s most important that you scrub and clean them properly in order for the dressing applications to shine bright and last longer. In addition to liberally applying a tire cleaner chemical, you’re going to also need a Polypropylene bristle tire brush that resists heat, acids, solvents and chemicals. A Polypropylene brush is also great for scrubbing wheel wells.

For tires with whitewalls or white lettering, you should have either a nylon bristled brush or brass bristled brush on hand, both of which enables you to bring the white color back to the surface where it belongs. Then there’s our cone brush with Tampico bristles that’s perfect for getting into the hard-to-reach areas of wheels and in between wheel spokes.

And flagged tip bristled brushes go to great lengths to remove all the dirt, debris and brake dust without harming or scratching the wheel finish.

Car Body Detail Brushes

A soft nylon bristled flagged brush or polystyrene bristled flagged brush is just what the detailer ordered when it comes to scrubbing around the bottoms of vehicles, the engine and door jams. Flagged brushes are also great for  Continue reading…

One of the drawbacks of the automobile detailing business is that, once you’ve done all you can to spruce up a customer’s vehicle, and no matter how much praise that customer heaps on you for doing a great job, you might not see that client for quite a while. But here at Detail King, one of the ways we can also guarantee that you — the professional auto detailer — will get an encore performance is to offer your customers an Express After-Care Package.

What’s express after-care, you ask? Simple. After you’ve wowed your customer with your detailing prowess, and while their head’s still spinning with the wonderfulness of you, encourage them to stop by in a couple of months, or to book you to bring your mobile auto detailing service to them, to get a quick spruce up.

You need to tell your auto detailing customer that this facelift isn’t going to be as thorough as the full Monty you just performed on their vehicle. But you guarantee it will restore the shine and get it looking like it did maybe three to six months prior. And the Express After-Care service and package won’t break their bank account, either.

Here’s what an Express After Care Package typically offers:

  • Exterior: Wash, bug and tar removal, tires dressed, express wax or machine polished using an orbital like or similar to the Porter Cable and Cyclo Polishers (and by using an orbital like these mentioned will really help save you on product and move through the job a lot quicker!). If you don’t have an orbital polisher we highly recommend looking into a couple express waxes and sealants like our Aqua Seal and Final Touch Ultra.
  • Interior: Inside the vehicle, tasks include complete vacuum, clean windows, wipe down and  Continue reading…

As a professional auto detailer, you can wash and wax cars all day long and make a good living at it. But as long as you’re standing in front of the vehicle to be cleaned, it is important to do a “walk around” and seek out imperfections on and in that vehicle that might require your attention, including plastic trim restoration and molding repairs.

It’s during those initial face-to-face customer interview that you have the opportunity to point out additional services you can perform — again, like easy but very profitable restorations you’re able to make to the car’s moldings and trim — that will make that vehicle stand tall and increase its resale value. (By the way, plastic trim restoration and molding repairs are an easy up-sell to anyone who’s selling their vehicle or is about to turn a leased vehicle over to a dealership.)

These quick, easy-to-do, profit-making restorations start with the door handles, plastic trim and moldings on the car in question. You see a dull and faded set of door handles on your customer’s automobile and you point them out. Then you say:

You know what? I can make those door handles look brand new for about five bucks each.”

That’s not hard sell. That’s just a suggestion. And when you slap a reasonable price tag onto that suggestion, all of a sudden you’ve got more work. And more profit. Keep this in mind: Once you know how to do it, dying plastic trim and moldings is among the easiest money making restorations the professional auto detailer can perform.

Most plastic trim and moldings fade in quick order when exposed to the sun, rain and other atmospheric elements on a regular basis, causing plastics to become dull looking. There are no paints with clear coat that can protect these plastic products from losing color and fading. And, lucky for you, most cars come equipped with an abundance of plastics.

Think about it… there’s a plethora of plastic, all begging for your attention, including: Continue reading…

Nothing makes a Marine Corps rifle range instructor more nervous that a new recruit with an M16 rifle locked and loaded. That goes a long way in explaining why boot camp recruits “dry fire” the first week on the range. They just repetitively aim at the target and squeeze the trigger of an empty rifle. The theory is, if you don’t give them ammunition, nobody gets hurt.

Flex Dual-action Polisher

Same goes for professionals who operate their own auto detailing shop. The last thing they need is a new employee wielding a 3,000-rpm rotary buffer near their customer’s automobiles. That’s because a rotary polisher is one of those tools you can’t just pick up and start going postal on a vehicle’s paint job. It can be a dangerous tool without proper training and experience.

And that’s where the Flex XC3401VRG dual-action polisher comes into play. Rotary buffers can run between 600 to 3,000 rpms, which can easily burn through a car’s clear coat and paint — not to mention leave some pretty nasty swirl marks. But with the Flex dual-action polisher (a/k/a the Flex DA), there’s no fear of leaving swirl designs or torching your way through the paint.

This gentle beast is designed to protect your client’s paint while offering some light paint correction. There will be times when you need the impact of a rotary polisher to level the clear coat, but that’s why you have a powerful rotary — kept high on a shelf, away from the new guy. But in most instances, the Flex DA is perfect when you need to  Continue reading…

When a customer shows up with a 33-foot-long Fleetwood motor home and wants an estimate for detailing a “toy” that put him and his wife back a hundred grand, what do you tell him?

Scratching your head and saying “we’ll figure that out later,” isn’t going to cut it. You’ve got to be able to look that owner in the eye and say, “It’s going to cost you $17 a foot and I’m thinking you won’t find a better deal.”

Confidence. That’s what you need when estimating a cost for detailing oversized vehicles.

Backing up for a moment…we recently published a blog post about how to properly price an automobile detail job that can help you pencil out the appropriate costs and charges. Today we’re going to help you come up with a fair yet profitable price tag for oversized vehicles — tasks that often take a full day or more to complete.

Pricing oversized auto detailing jobs

When arriving at a cost for detailing an oversized, there are several things to be considered. First and foremost, remind yourself that if you’re a one- or two-person operation, that these types of jobs usually take a minimum of a day to complete, and they can entail a lot of trips up and down a ladder.

Other considerations include:

  • The size of the vehicle to be detailed
  • The type of vehicle (limousine, cube truck, small bus, conversion van, over-the-road haulers, RV or full-size extended crew cab and even boats)
  • The amount of work required to properly detail the vehicle.

In addition, you’re going to need to know the break-even number — what it’s going to cost you to do the job — so you can more accurately determine a charge for your professional detailing services. And, of course, you want to set a fee that is competitive with other detailers in your area.

Lucky for you, Detail King is the best in the business when it comes to products and detailing know-how. We went to great lengths to gather information from various sources — including our instructors and your peers in various parts of the country — in order to come up with what professional detailers typically charge for working on oversized vehicles. And the consensus seems to be a price range of $10 to $22.50 per foot; depending on the amount of work your customer wants to have done.

For instance, if the oversized vehicle is in for a simple wash, the going rate would be anywhere from Continue reading…