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Old 04-03-2012, 11:04 AM
 
525 posts, read 641,570 times
Reputation: 384
Default How much do people make detailing cars?

It looks like a fun job and was just wondering.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,958 posts, read 7,973,880 times
Reputation: 7193
I have a friend who details cars on the side (he's an accountant in real life) to take his mind of days full of numbers. From watching him I can tell you detailing a car is a VERY labor intensive and PICKY job not for the faint of heart.

I've known him to take 2 weeks to detail out a car that was in sad shape so that when he was done it looked like new.

My suggestion is to read about the job and find a shop that might let you watch a car get detailed.

Can you make good money? Yes and no since the material might not cost that much per car it's the labor hours that you'll never get fully paid for since you'll always put more labor into a detail job than you can charge for.

Detailing is a job ya gotta love or you can't stand to do it.
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:23 PM
 
19,057 posts, read 21,756,773 times
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Considering the condition of my "detailed" car when it was returned: Too much. Both times.
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Inland Empire
2,295 posts, read 1,909,214 times
Reputation: 1571
The detail guy at the dealership I worked at was always among the highest paid of all the mechanics, but requires very hard work and long hours to achieve that status... It you think it looks like fun, it probably isn't the job for you. The only fun part of the job is on pay day....
That was detailing new and nearly new cars, no junk..!
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:25 PM
 
8,410 posts, read 8,493,859 times
Reputation: 6432
it depends on a lot of things. Some people think detailing is squirting wax on and swirling it around. Others know that a detail is...detailed...and work accordingly. If my car isn't as perfect as the physical condition allows when I get it back from a detailer, they didn't do a good enough job.

I saw a video about a guy who only does exotics and charges as much as $5k per vehicle. He's probably on the upper end of the pay scale.
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:32 PM
 
883 posts, read 1,854,862 times
Reputation: 637
I have detailed my own cars and it is not really fun, actually pretty intense. It is a good workout, makes me sweat. There is a lot of variation on what is called "detailing". Some consider a wash, wax, interior vacuum and dusting detailing.
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, Va
2,418 posts, read 6,756,908 times
Reputation: 1938
Most will charge around $150-$250...depending on how involved it is! I consider "detailing" to be a VERY detailed cleaning...not just vacuuming and wiping! I expect the interior to be "like new" clean...vents dusted, crevices dusted....everything looking like new!

On the exterior, I expect the wheel wells to be totally clean...painted, if needed! No dirt visible when you open the trunk or on the inside of the doors!

No everyone means the same thing when they say "detailing"....so it should be spelled out as to what the cost covers!
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Living on the Coast in Oxnard CA
10,199 posts, read 13,333,260 times
Reputation: 11675
Had a co-worker that had a detail business. He started doing our employees cars. (Hospital with 1,800 on site employees.) I don't know what his trailor and equipment cost new but he sold it to one of his employees for around $5,000 when he got out of the business. The guy that does it now is here on site all day Thursday and Friday mostly cleaning cars for $15 and up. He was doing a motorhome one day and said that specific RV he was charging $150 for the wash. Still that is not detailing. He told me it really depends on what someone wants. The $15 wash is a starting point.

Some things to consider:

Insurance and business license:

We have another guy that chased off the rest of the "detailers", He asked us if the other guys were licensed and insured to clean cars in our city. When we found that they were not we told them that they can not work on our property without the insurance and the business license. We have had them try it and they always get run off our campus. May want to check out what it takes to do this in your area.

Water reclamation program:

In Oxnard where I live you can not wash a car unless you have a way to reclaim the water. Not only do you end up with a clean tank, but also a dirty tank. You also need additional equipment to get the water. They require a device that you can drive onto that will collect the water and then have it pumped back into a tank.
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:52 PM
 
4,152 posts, read 5,700,767 times
Reputation: 2910
If you want to do this then start with doing anyones car and doing a great job to get your name out there. Go to them. Don't just do details as this isn't where the money is and lets face it, it's not rocket science and any illegal or teenager can do it at Mr. Car wash for a lot cheaper. Then when your name is out there only do high dollar cars. People driving sub 30k cars aren't going to pay big dollars for detailing and waxing w/paint correction.
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