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Ounce
04-14-2011, 06:29 AM
I've had my car for about 6 months now (2.5 of which were spent in-transit back to me from ED however) and I'm looking to get a full exterior detail/wax/polish/clay job (keep in mind this is exterior only, I can handle interior work on my own) done to get me through the summer until early fall (at which point I'll have another detail done). As I don't have a garage where I live and frankly the time/inclination to properly do the job myself, I will be looking for a local detailer to take care of me.

My questions primarily revolve around the following:

- How much should I expect to pay from a reputable detail shop for a good exterior detail including all necessary steps to keep my paint clean/protected through the summer (I'm assuming I'll want a clay bar application, polish application, then wax)?

- Are there any services/steps in the exterior detail that I should look/ask for outside of clay/polish/wax?

- What would be the best way to go about finding a solid detailer I can trust who'll do quality work in my area? (Charlotte, NC in case anyone already has a lead)

Thanks in advance for any advice.

dboy11
04-14-2011, 07:56 AM
Finding a good detailer that you can trust is not easy, its more of being a good judge of the person than anything. I would stay away from any dealership in your area. Have a look online and go visit indy shops around you. The places that you are likely going to get the best work is the owner operator shop. Not the larger shops that hire help, that's a very general rule of thumb. If its a owner operated shop, the guy is banking on repeat business so his work has to be up to par or above.

What services are preformed..wash and clay are a given, but ask about claying. Polishing is a tricky one, ask how many stages of polishing is preformed and what type of buffer is used? If you have heavy amount of marring then a rotary buffer would be required (an experienced detailer can do this with no issue) For a good paint correction at least two stages of polishing up to three. Then with last steps, I would recommend you go with a sealant ..greater durability, if you want paste wax that's something you can do on your own or ask the detailer for a combo.

The price is hard to say, depends on what the going rate is in your area. For me here in No Calif. I would be $200 on the outside only. This includes, wash and clay, wheels and wells cleaned and dressed rims polished and sealed, paint correction with polishing (two to three stages) glaze and seal. All plastics are polished and dressed according, rubbers seals are dressed. Every surface on the outside of the car is cleaned and protected.

I don't know of anyone in your area, but I wish you luck. If you find someone that you like and would like me to call on them and ask a few questions, send me a PM..I have a tad over 30 years hands on detail experience and would be happy to help you.

rmorin49
04-14-2011, 08:17 AM
If your car is only 6 months old and has not been subjected to acid rain or other damaging pollutants, the finish should be in excellent shape. Stop the next person you see with an older car say 5 years old that is in excellent shape and ask them if they use a detail shop. I would not use any dealer as they often end up ruining a newer car leaving lots of swirl marks and fine scratches especially with dark colors.


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jfs356
04-14-2011, 09:47 AM
I was curious about detailing costs too, exterior only as my interior is so easy to keep clean. $200 sounds reasonable given all the exterior surfaces, nook and crannies, and different materials
(paint, rubber trim, plastics, etc.). Besides, the exterior is what people see and what makes the car "pop" compared to other cars. I'll have to check my area for costs.

Ounce
04-14-2011, 10:22 AM
Thanks for the advice thus far guys. With a lack of knowledge on whom to go to in my area, I was hoping a reasonable price point would help me seperate out any "bargain bin" detailers who would do a cheap but barely adequate job. I firmly believe you get what you pay for generally so knowing what to spend for good work makes things easier.

I agree that I dont' need any major paint correction type work, as the car is only 6 months old and isn't driven extremely frequently (2400 miles so far). More what I'm looking for is a solid layer of protection to keep things in good shape until the next detail (I'll be hand washing or using touchless washes in between to keep things shiny).

RJ
04-14-2011, 10:30 AM
Below is what a local detailer charges here. I have not seen their work, so I am not sure how good they are. Some of the pricing looks a tad high for me. I think it lacks detail of what is done. For example it does not say if the car is clayed or not for their higher priced packages:

Express Package $99.
Our entry level package, the Express consists of a thorough in and out cleaning designed to refresh your vehicle, it includes the following:
Warm sudsy hand wash, door jambs, wheels and wheel wells all spotlessly cleaned. Interior and trunk cleaned and vacuumed. All windows cleaned. Tires cleaned and conditioned to a sparkling shine.
The perfect maintenance package to keep your vehicle looking its best, at a price that will keep you coming back.
Mini Package $399.Our most popular package, the one our clients rave about. Created to revitalize your vehicle, the Mini includes everything in the Express package, Plus:
A thorough shampoo and steam cleaning of your vehicle's carpets, seats, floor mats and trunk will leave them sparkling clean. Add to this a coat of durable hard wax applied to your vehicle's finish to create a brilliant shine and protection from the elements.
This package focuses on what you told us matters most, and nothing that doesn't. The perfect package for a vehicle "freshening" before selling or rejuvenating a recent purchase, to make you feel great about your car
The Platinum Package $599
The ultimate "Make you feel great about your car" package!

The Platinum is the most in depth cleaning available. For our most discerning customer; it includes everything that we do in the Mini, but takes it to the next level.
Our exclusive de-ox process precludes the wax, producing an amazing shine, while removing oxidation and light scratches. The engine is thoroughly steamed and meticulously conditioned and detailed, both protecting and keeping plastics and rubber hoses pliable. Your vehicle is painstakingly detailed inside and out to create "a better than new" spectacular appearance. Nothing is over looked.
The Platinum is where we get our chance to shine (literally). It is tailor made for those discerning clients, who like us; actually enjoy driving their car more when it is impeccably clean.
Add On to Any of the Above Packages:
Hand Wax $150 Protect and beautify your vehicle's finish
Paint Sealant $200 Long lasting "triple plate" polymer protection to preserve a high gloss finish.
De-Ox $200 Remove light oxidation and minor scratches while producing a brilliant shine.
Spot Polish $99/Hour Remove one or two scratches, without polishing the whole vehicle
Fabric Guard $125 Protect against unexpected spills, and ground in dirt. Like an invisible seat cover.
Leather Conditioning $125 Keep your leather moisturized to prevent seats from drying, fading and cracking.
Interior/Exterior Vinyl Protection $75 Keep your interior vinyl and exterior trim protected and looking its best.
Engine Detail $125 Complete the look, while letting your engine run cooler and more efficiently by removing built up dirt and grime
Polishing $399Restore your vehicle's new car shine and luster. Our certified paint restoration techs are the best in the business. Choose from a quick polish all the way up to a complete revitalization of your vehicle's factory paint, resulting in a flawless better than showroom finish.

Ounce
04-14-2011, 10:38 AM
I dug around a bit and found these guys in my area: http://www.exclusivedetail.com/

Pricing almost seems a tad low (150$ for a full in & out detail, lacks clay bar however) but the reviews and feedback are excellent. I don't see any other place in my area picking up that much good "press" so to speak.

This also looks promising review wise, and I like that they have a package specifically targeting new vehicle paint protectant, no idea on pricing unless I call:

http://www.detailingbytim.com/makeovers.htm

dboy11
04-14-2011, 10:58 AM
I dug around a bit and found these guys in my area: http://www.exclusivedetail.com/

Pricing almost seems a tad low (150$ for a full in & out detail, lacks clay bar however) but the reviews and feedback are excellent. I don't see any other place in my area picking up that much good "press" so to speak.

This also looks promising review wise, and I like that they have a package specifically targeting new vehicle paint protectant, no idea on pricing unless I call:

http://www.detailingbytim.com/makeovers.htm

The second one looks better than the first one, just like his web site better. Again hard to tell from a web site they can put up what ever they want. I suggest you go visit them and have a look at the shop. Again owner operated and the guy that is doing the paint work would be my choice:D

NotEnough
04-14-2011, 06:40 PM
Take a look around at autopia. It's a detailing forum.

TOGWT
04-15-2011, 01:34 AM
Request a reputable detailer's name (s) on one of the detailing forums. Once you've selected a detailer be specific about what services you require (i.e. full vehicle detail, exterior paint renovation, interior detailing, etc) It requires an exchange of information between the consumer and the shop so that the extent of each detail and the estimated cost, a vehicle drop-off and collection time are clearly established before work commences.

A successful outcome will rely on good communication between you and the chosen professional. You want someone that makes you feel at ease with the process, someone that you can easily trust. They should be able to answer your questions in simple easy to understand terms, not techno speak, so that you understand what needs to be done, and the benefits.

Listen to their suggestions. The more that things can be explained and agreed upon, the more at ease that they can make you feel, and the more confident that you can be in their ability to meet or exceed your expectations.

An accurate estimate can only be given when the professional is able to see the vehicle and ascertain your expectations, a phone-quote can only be a ball-park figure. Many professionals will need 10+ hours of work to transform your vehicle back to like-new condition

Some things you may want to consider
***8226; Look for a courteous staff willing to answer all of your questions.
***8226; Look for policies regarding estimates, labour rates or pricing, guarantees, acceptable methods of payment, etc.
***8226; A Professional Detailer should have been in (full-time) business for at least one year
***8226; Should have business licensed and be state registered
***8226; Ensure they have adequate insurance cover (including Public Liability) and that they are a registered business
***8226; Obtain (telephone number) references from three recent clients and check them
***8226; How long they have been in business
***8226; Check with the local Better Business Bureau
***8226; Ask them where they received their training and what products they use.
***8226; Ask the prospective detailer for photographs of vehicles they have done recently (most detailers have a portfolio) or they may have photos posted on detailing forums of their work on similar models
***8226; Ask them their detailing 'steps' this will indicate exactly what you are paying for
***8226; Ask them what detailing products they use (known brand names are preferable)
***8226; Do they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee?
***8226; Discuss a price and if satisfied set-up an appointment
***8226; If they quote a very low price it could reflect the quality of service offered.


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Angelo@properautocare.com
04-15-2011, 06:09 AM
One of the best in Charlotte, NC will be David. I'll PM his number to you.

TOGWT
04-16-2011, 02:22 AM
Take a look around at autopia. It's a detailing forum.

I must be confused, I thought this was a detailing forum ;)

RBinDC
05-10-2011, 07:05 AM
I've had my car for about 6 months now (2.5 of which were spent in-transit back to me from ED however) and I'm looking to get a full exterior detail/wax/polish/clay job (keep in mind this is exterior only, I can handle interior work on my own) done to get me through the summer until early fall (at which point I'll have another detail done). As I don't have a garage where I live and frankly the time/inclination to properly do the job myself, I will be looking for a local detailer to take care of me.

My questions primarily revolve around the following:

- How much should I expect to pay from a reputable detail shop for a good exterior detail including all necessary steps to keep my paint clean/protected through the summer (I'm assuming I'll want a clay bar application, polish application, then wax)?

- Are there any services/steps in the exterior detail that I should look/ask for outside of clay/polish/wax?

- What would be the best way to go about finding a solid detailer I can trust who'll do quality work in my area? (Charlotte, NC in case anyone already has a lead)

Thanks in advance for any advice.

I had my car detailed shortly after taking delivery. It included wash, clay, light polishing and application of a sealant. Also the wheels were cleaned with Sonax and tires were dressed. No interior work. The car looked fabulous and the price was $130. I gave the detailer a $20 tip.

My next detail will probably cost more as I have acquired some minor scratches and scuffs on the passenger door (not sure how).

manutod
05-19-2011, 07:28 PM
RBinDC,
Can you let me know where you've got the detailing done ? I am in Northern VA and looking for a good detailer - basically I would like to get the exterior detailing done, with some paint correction, swirls, tar,etc...
Appreciate any other comments on a good detailer in VA ?

RBinDC
05-20-2011, 07:55 AM
RBinDC,
Can you let me know where you've got the detailing done ? I am in Northern VA and looking for a good detailer - basically I would like to get the exterior detailing done, with some paint correction, swirls, tar,etc...
Appreciate any other comments on a good detailer in VA ?

See Detail Dan. His website is: http://www.dndautodetailing.org/2006vwtouareg.htm

The silver 335is on his website is my car (I think. Don't they all look alike?). As Ronald Reagan once said, "if you've seen one [tree] you've seen them all. Carol Doda (of 1960s fame) paraphrased Reagan, " If you've seen two...."

Todd@properautocare.com
05-22-2011, 03:20 PM
Prices vary. I think anything with paint correction is going to be at least 300.

Ounce
06-01-2011, 11:58 AM
Will a mobile detailer still be effective if I dont' have a garage where I live? My brain/logic tells me contaminants might be much more likely to get into any polish/wax job post clay bar application in an outdoor environment so it might be a bad idea. I really have no idea though. Anyone with some input?

Ilovemycar
06-01-2011, 02:23 PM
Will a mobile detailer still be effective if I dont' have a garage where I live? My brain/logic tells me contaminants might be much more likely to get into any polish/wax job post clay bar application in an outdoor environment so it might be a bad idea. I really have no idea though. Anyone with some input?

Yes, though it could helpful if there was some shade. If there isn't, see if you can pick a cool day.

Post clay bar has nothing to do with being more susceptible to contaminants, assuming you put a coat of sealant/wax back on. The clay REMOVES contaminants, so I don't see how not claying is better in this regard (assuming it's contaminated?)!

Can you see these search results for "charlotte"?
http://www.autopia.org/forum/search.php?searchid=1006821

If not, try running one yourself in this subforum:
http://www.autopia.org/forum/southeast-usa/

Ounce
06-03-2011, 06:30 AM
Thanks guys. I've reached out to a few options near me. The general quote I'm getting for pure exterior work (Mainly a clay application followed by polish/sealant for maximum protection) on my low mileage 6 month old car is around 200$.

There is a place right downtown where I work that has a pure exterior package for 145$ (http://www.clearwaterautospas.com/)
They somewhat look like an assembly line type operation though so I don't know that it isn't worth the extra 55$ to get the dedicated time of a pro.

Do those figures sound like a good range?

dboy11
06-03-2011, 10:42 AM
Thanks guys. I've reached out to a few options near me. The general quote I'm getting for pure exterior work (Mainly a clay application followed by polish/sealant for maximum protection) on my low mileage 6 month old car is around 200$.

There is a place right downtown where I work that has a pure exterior package for 145$ (http://www.clearwaterautospas.com/)
They somewhat look like an assembly line type operation though so I don't know that it isn't worth the extra 55$ to get the dedicated time of a pro.

Do those figures sound like a good range?

For me its extremely hard to answer that question. At 6 months your car would be easy for me to detail, the paint can't be that bad. That said the 150 mark sounds about right for cleaning up the paint and applying some sealant. 200 for me would be on an older car that has some real work to get done.

Ounce
06-03-2011, 12:20 PM
For me its extremely hard to answer that question. At 6 months your car would be easy for me to detail, the paint can't be that bad. That said the 150 mark sounds about right for cleaning up the paint and applying some sealant. 200 for me would be on an older car that has some real work to get done.

Yea, one quote said "6-8" hours time which makes the 200$ quote reasonable but 6-8 hours seems a bit excessive for a relatively new car with just exterior work being done...

dboy11
06-03-2011, 02:31 PM
Yea, one quote said "6-8" hours time which makes the 200$ quote reasonable but 6-8 hours seems a bit excessive for a relatively new car with just exterior work being done...

I agree I could do your whole car inside out with motor and trunk in less than that. My guess is they are padding the time to make you feel like your getting your moneys worth.