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Thoughts on auto detailing

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Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by milspec6 on Tue May 23, 2017 4:46 pm

I was at the barber shop today and heard the barber talking about how her kid puked in her brand new Ford Explorer the day before. She sent it to the dealer for them to fully clean / detail and it was on the way back.

I asked her what they charged to clean / detail the interior? The reply was $172 to which the other customers mentioned that they felt that was cheap. When the car returned, it was not good so I offered to inspect the results.

Seats and floor still had visible stains along with mud and gravel on the driver's side floor along the door. There were also some stains on the back seat. No odor at least, but not a very professional result.

The barber called the dealer who then transferred her to the shop that is contracted to do all their detailing. It was at that moment that she handed me the phone. This company is located a few blocks away from one of the largest car dealerships in America and they told me they "tried everything" but couldn't remove the stains....from a scotch guard nylon nonetheless. scratch

The more I talked to this shop, the more they admitted that they aren't very successful at removing stains. They touch up the vinyl, shine the plastic, and remove the odors with an ozone machine, but it sort of ends there. They have a small heated portable spot extractor and detail tool in their arsenal, but they wouldn't tell me about their chemical selections.

The barber is asking for me to clean the vehicle as long as the dealership approves the warranty work. I am supposed to hear from the regional office on that tomorrow. All this got me thinking, maybe I can capitalize on this?

I would never be able to wrestle the contract away from this place since they own an automatic car wash on their premise as well, but I might be able to work out a deal where I would take care of the fabric cleanings on all the vehicles. Sounds like they do about 12 per day, so their would certainly be steady work.

IF I could work out terms at near $100 per vehicle, it could make for a pretty good arrangement, especially if they have extra shop space where I could work during the winter.

Any experience or thoughts on this?
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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by milspec6 on Tue May 23, 2017 4:49 pm

This is that dealership....crazy amount of business.

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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by Freemind1 on Wed May 24, 2017 5:52 am

I think $1200 a day would be a decent income, but how are you planning it?

Would you hire someone to be at the dealership daily? How long are those average 12 vehicles going to take every day?

If you had to be there every day for 6 hours to knock out the vehicles, how will that affect your residential/commercial cleanings?

Also the problem arises if those other people doing it now, learn how to do it right watching you. sooner or later, they'll take it back and you'll be out. Dealers here use Mighty extractors and do pretty good jobs of detailing fabrics. Where I bought my truck, they have 3 bays with extractors for cleaning.

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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by milspec6 on Wed May 24, 2017 9:38 am

I was thinking that it would be just me and one well trained tech. That way I still have the ability to send a truck out to cover the carpet cleanings as needed.

That last part is my concern as well, but where they fail is with stains. They use a mytee spot extractor for their detailing work, but they don't understand the chemistry. Like many cleaners, they just guess and top it off with some deodorant along with a list of excuses at the ready about how the stain is permanent.

As long as the interior work was kept in a separate area, the black magic might remain a secret....at least for awhile.

I don't know if it would work or not. Right now, it takes me about 20 minutes to detail an interior unless it is a custom van or something. Seems like a good rate for the time involved and you sure don't need a TM to pull it off. Over-head would sure be lower.

I haven't heard back from the dealer yet, so it is all just a thought at this point.
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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by dp1 on Wed May 24, 2017 10:31 pm

Ok, $ 172 is what the customer's pay the dealership, dealership pays those guys probably around $ 130 - $ 140 to do the whole detail, if dealer is interested in splitting that up and have you do the upholstery, you would probably make $ 50 - $ 60 ? I doubt it if those guys willing to take less than $ 80 to detail the whole car including the mats and carpets.
At $ 60 in 20 minutes ( which is really quick imo ), you would be making $ 180 / hour, and you can complete 12 cars in 4 hours and bring home $ 720, that's steady income, I would schedule one or two residential customers in the morning and do those vehicles in the early afternoon to make sure all 12 would lined up ready to be cleaned.
That will guarantee $ 1000 or more / day, $ 22,000 - $ 23,000 / month gross, after expenses and taxes, probably looking at $ 12,000 net, not bad at all, a whole lot of work though, you're going to need young spine and hands to clean all of those upholsteries.
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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by milspec6 on Wed May 24, 2017 11:47 pm

I spoke to the kids doing the detail work now....they are getting paid $12.50 / hr and have 3 people working per vehicle. I have done a few this past year and 20 minutes has been the average for the interior...I don't do the exterior stuff.

I figure one guy handles the trim work and the other handles the cloth. Shouldn't be too time consuming unless you have to touch up a scratch or have a difficult stain (ink for example).

The biggest issue that I see is that the dealer holds a warranty on the stain protection of 6 years. As a result, they specify which products can be used on the fabric and it doesn't seem to be very effective stuff. That could cause a problem.

That shop also cleans / details boats and aircraft.
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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by Freemind1 on Thu May 25, 2017 4:07 am

That kinda sours the deal, IMO. If the dealer says what you can use, that could be why they can't get stains out.

If you had to do detailing as well, I would not want it myself.

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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by dp1 on Thu May 25, 2017 8:29 am

Hire the one guy at $ 12.50 / hour to do the detailing on the outside and you still will come out ahead, I would try to get that contract if I were you.
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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by Mo on Thu May 25, 2017 4:36 pm

I have always declined auto detailing it just didnt seem robber very profitably never thought about just the interior though. My sister in law loves when i do nhe interior of her car .

All that bending would definitely be a young man's game
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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by milspec6 on Thu May 25, 2017 5:10 pm

That chemical restriction is a big issue to me as well, Freemind.

Mo, you don't need to be flexible, just need to have long arms.

I am going to try Dp, I think there is potential.
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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by dp1 on Fri May 26, 2017 2:04 am

That chemical restriction is just that, a restriction ! You don't necessarily needs to honor the restrictions and they are not going to find out about it nor they should care especially if you are using a higher quality sh!t on them, over the years I learned that if you have to lie to make your work easier and you put higher quality stuffs than they require, I don't see anything wrong with that, especially if that's going to make your life easier in the future.
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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by milspec6 on Fri May 26, 2017 10:32 am

That is certainly true until you have eat the cost of new seats if something goes wrong. That costs more than the living room set in most homes.
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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Sat May 27, 2017 11:34 am

Man that is a huge car lot. Thought it was Langley.
If there was a place you could set up shop(car wash, back street car lot, auto repair place),
That would be a nice deal! Train a lead tech, knock em out, bamm. Can you imagine the residential refferals from those car customer??

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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by milspec6 on Sat May 27, 2017 12:16 pm

This lot actually sells over 1,500 vehicles per week on the internet as well. They practically own the town.

I never thought about the referrals aspect Matt, that is a great point. I am heading down there today to see if there are any available shop space for rent nearby.
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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by dp1 on Sat May 27, 2017 4:52 pm

Bob, if something goes wrong, all you have to do is re upholster the seat, not change the whole seat, it is unlikely that something will go south if you use a high quality scotchgard to begin with.
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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Sat May 27, 2017 5:08 pm

I just goggled map'd the car lot; wholly cow!!!! That is huge. Your pic is only part of it. Then there are 2 other dealer next door.

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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by milspec6 on Sat May 27, 2017 6:16 pm

Yup, the place takes up a 1/4 of the city and those other dealers are related. There is enough work there to stay busy year round.
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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by UtahTheo on Mon May 29, 2017 1:19 am

@milspec6 wrote:This lot actually sells over 1,500 vehicles per week on the internet as well.  They practically own the town.

I never thought about the referrals aspect Matt, that is a great point.  I am heading down there today to see if there are any available shop space for rent nearby.

Holly smokes!! I can only imagine what's their turnover is...

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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

Post by milspec6 on Mon May 29, 2017 11:15 am

It is a crazy business to watch operate. The get vehicles delivered 4 times per day.....mostly trucks.
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Re: Thoughts on auto detailing

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