Auto Detailing Price vs. Quality

A professional detail can cost hundreds of dollars, depending upon the size and condition of the vehicle. Contributing factors to value over price includes the time it takes a detailer to thoroughly complete the job and the quality of service, levels of training and professionalism, business registration and affiliations, insurance, and the products and equipment the detailer uses.

The amount of time it takes to complete the detail and price will vary depending on the size and make of a vehicle. Other considerations include whether the exterior has any visible scratches and swirls the owner wants removed, the amount of tree sap, road oils, tar, and other environmental contamination, and the condition of the interior. A detailer might have to take more time to clean a vehicle with a heavily soiled interior, such when removing stains and odors. Basically, the bigger the job to detail the interior or exterior, the more hours a detailer will need and the more it will cost. In general, expect a quality detail job to take four to six hours, or more.

An important consideration is the detailer’s level of training and professionalism. A professional auto detailer upholds the professional image of the detailing industry as a whole. Professional detailers are auto care experts, trained in the latest techniques and technology in keeping a vehicle clean. A professional detailer recognizes which cleaning products to use on different types of materials and components of a vehicle’s interior and exterior. A detailer who is certified by the International Detailing Association (IDA), for instance, has completed a series of 10 written exams. The professional detailer may also hold the IDA Skills Validate Certification. If a detailer isn’t certified, question the length of experience, and how and where he or she has been trained to use tools and products.

Check to ensure the auto detailing business is properly registered and insured. You want assurance that you are hiring a legitimate business. An auto detailing company should meet all state and local business license or registration requirements and have the proper liability and business insurance to protect you and your vehicle in the event of an accident or mistake. Be suspect that a service may be a “fly-by-night” operation if it isn’t properly registered or insured. Also, many detailing businesses become affiliated with companies, like the Better Business Bureau, that certifies the responsibility and reliability of the auto detailing business. Reputable detailing companies will join these organizations to validate their services.

Consider the quality and type of equipment the detailer is using. Quality detailing equipment, supplies, and chemicals can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, and this can add to the cost and quality of an auto detail. Reputable detailing companies, fixed site or mobile, are fully equipped with the equipment and supplies to detail a vehicle, inside and out. Some mobile detailers, but not all, will supply water and electricity or ask to connect to yours. A professional detailer should have a complete knowledge of the particulars of each piece of equipment and chemical in order to effectively detail a vehicle. You want to know that those working on your vehicle understand the purpose and function of each piece of equipment and chemical.