The whole point of paying for a professional car detailer to come and clean your car is so that you don’t have to do it… right?
While it is partly true. The main benefit of paying for a detail is that you don’t have to deal with the mess you created, there are things you should do before handing the car over.
If you don’t follow these 5 steps you may be charged extra, receive a half-done detail or in some cases, the detailer may refuse to work on your car at all.
What To Do Before Getting Your Car Detailed
Every detailer is different. Some will work with the hand they’ve been dealt and others will request that the car is in a certain condition before they do the work.
Make sure to speak with the person doing the detail beforehand to see whether they have any requirements before they’ll work on your car.
The 5 steps below are a mixture of common courtesy and common sense.
There’s also a bonus tip which will help you to save money or encountering surprise costs.
Take Photos Of The Car
For me, this is by far the most important step you should take. It protects yourself should anything happen to your car.
99.9% of the time, you’ll come away from a detail with a clean car and a smile on your face.
However, that .1% of the time, the detailer could damage the car or even just perform a sub-par detail.
It’s important as the customer that you document the condition of your car, taking photos that clearly show every panel of the car.
I also recommend taking photos of your interior and any pieces that are already damaged.
It’s the same if you’re the detailer that’s working on the car.
The last thing you want is a customer trying to claim that you caused damage to the vehicle while working.
Always make sure to take photos whether you’re the customer or person doing the detail.
You could even walk around the car highlighting the damage and potential issues to watch out for. This benefits both parties.
Remove Your Personal Belongings
Again, this is beneficial for both parties.
Removing your personal belongings from the car before its detailed means that nothing will be lost, stolen or potentially hoovered up.
It also means that you’re able to use your belongings while the car is being worked on.
Most detailers are honest. Especially if they’re a legit company/trader. However, there are some that you need to watch out for.
Some detailers expect you to remove the goods beforehand and others will bag them up while they work on your car.
The last thing anyone wants is to work around your belongings. This will make the detail take a lot longer, and you may get a lesser service as a result.
I’ve heard of scenarios where someone has paid for a full car detail, but because they couldn’t be bothered to get their possessions out of the trunk, it never got cleaned.
Removing your possessions will not take long. Just do it. It’s best for everyone involved.
Remove Any Booster Seats Or Car Seats
Depending on the service you’re getting, you may or may not want to remove your car seat from the vehicle.
Obviously, you want the car to get cleaned properly. Maybe the car seat is also dirty and in need of a clean.
The best thing that you can do is disconnect the car seat so that it can A.) Be moved & B.) Still be cleaned.
If you don’t disconnect it, the detailer will try to do it themselves or just leave it where it is. This will result in the seat under your childs car seat not getting cleaned.
It’s not a huge deal, but it makes life easier for the detailer and you want to get the services you pay for.
Sanitize Your Frequented Areas
This one only matters in 2020. With the situation being what it is.
I know that the person cleaning your car will be climbing around your car, cleaning up your mess, but it’s still good practice to sanitize the areas that get high traffic.
This means that you should sanitize the steering wheel, any plastic grab handles, and probably your door cards too.
Doing this will make it slightly safer for the detailer while they work on your car.
Hopefully, this won’t be necessary for much longer.
Bonus Tip: Clean Your Car To Avoid Additional Costs
This one can vary based upon who you’re dealing with.
Some detailing companies will not price the job until they’ve seen an accurate representation of the work involved.
Other companies will offer a base package and then add extra costs on top based upon the work required.
The best thing you can do to make sure that you’re not hit with additional costs is to remove your belongings and any large pieces of trash.
Obviously, since you’re paying someone else to do it, you don’t want to spend ages doing it. However, removing the big and obvious pieces of trash will make the job look like less work and hopefully keep the price low.
If you’re disgusted by it, so is the professional
I know it’s in the job description, but if you’re getting a full detail, interior included and you’re disgusted by the state of your car yourself, it’s going to disgust the detailer too.
Try your best not to let the state of your spiral out of control.
Keeping your car clean will not only save you money on future details but make you happier overall. These are just 2 of the 10 reasons why you should detail your car often.
If your car is an absolute mess and the person doing the work has decided not to charge more, maybe consider leaving a tip to show them that you appreciate the work they’ve done.
Unsure of how much to tip at a car wash? I’ve done the math for you.