23 comments / Posted on by Stephen S

Why is a detailer more expensive than a regular car wash?

Let's start with the basic business models:

Car Wash: small team of workers with only the most basic training trying to do as many cars as fast as possible often for as little as £40 a day cash in hand wages. 
With the roadside car washes the only goal is maximising profit, that means harsher chemicals, more aggressive wash methods, dirty water and the end result is chemical damage, scratching and often...not a very clean car. 
It's not unusual for the same brush that's on the ground to be used on your cars paint. 
car wash brush | car wash vs detailer
Detailer/Valeter: often only one or two passionate individuals with an eye for detail who decided to turn their hobby into their career by starting a company and becoming self employed. Will often only do one or two cars a day and regularly take jobs that require multiple days spent on one vehicle.
With your local detailer/valeter (whatever term they prefer) their business is built on reputation, not mass turnover. They know they're only as good as their last job and strive to bring your vehicle to as high a standard within the parameters of the service you've booked. They use high quality products and safe washing methods that require more processes, products and time.
As an example I'd like to run through a list of the processes carried out on a car yesterday:
  • Rinse
  • Citrus pre-wash and rinse
  • Snow foam and rinse
  • 2 bucket wash and rinse
  • Wheels cleaned and rinsed
  • Tar removed (2 applications needed with rinsing in between and after)
  • Fallout removed (2 applications needed with rinsing in between and after)
  • Clay bar treatment
  • Snow foam 2 bucket wash, rinse and dry (final inspection to clean anything missed)
  • Minor paint correction using heavy cutting methods to remove around 80% of swirling
  • Paint refining to bring the paint back to a "like new" glossy look
  • Snow foam, rinse and dry to remove any polishing dust
  • Panel wipe to remove any contaminants or oils left, prepping for coating
  • Two layers of ceramic coating applied to painted areas
  • Door shuts sealed
  • Glass sealed
  • Tyres dressed
  • Interior trim dressed.
Car Detailing Glasgow | Ceramic Coating Scotland
Boring and dry to read? A little yes (I won't blame you for scanning through) but important to show the amount of work involved. That took two of us eight hours to complete and a lot of expensive specialist products and tools were used.
Before and after paint correction.
Paint Correction Scotland | Car Detailing Glasgow
Even the smaller details are attended to.
Car Detailing
Next time you take your car to a car wash, look closely and check if it's REALLY clean.
Car Detailing Scotland
Hopefully, this has cleared up a little of the mystery surrounding the price differences between the roadside car washes and professional detailers.
Thanks for reading.
To read more about the ceramic coatings we use to protect your vehicle click here.
If you enjoyed this and would like to read more of our blogs click here.
If you'd like to arrange to book your vehicle in click here.


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