When searching for professional auto detailing services, there are a few important factors to consider before looking at the price. Reputation is one factor, but it's important to remember that even someone with a good reputation may not be qualified or knowledgeable enough to handle your vehicle.
In this industry, the saying "you get what you pay for" holds true. While it's possible to find someone who offers a lower price, this could potentially result in permanent damage to your car. Simply doing a Google search for "Auto Detailing Near Me" won't protect you from potential risks. To ensure a positive experience, I recommend prioritizing the following things when shopping for auto detailing services:
1. Ask about their training and certifications. The International Detailing Association is the main governing body in this field. If a detailer has never taken the time to get certified, it may be a sign that they are not a good fit. Certification demonstrates that a detailer has the necessary knowledge on chemical use, proper care for different materials, and what to avoid.
2. Inquire about insurance. Surprisingly, more than half of detailers operate without insurance and may not even be registered with the state. This can pose a significant financial liability for you if something unfortunate happens. It's important to do business with detailers who have insurance coverage, but also make sure they have the right coverage for detailing services. Many detailers are not aware that standard detailing insurance may not cover Marine/RV/Aircraft, and they may not have enough coverage to pay for a new paint job if they damage your vehicle. Additionally, ask if they have "Garage Keepers" insurance, which protects your vehicle in the event of fire, theft, vandalism, or collision while in the possession of the shop/detailer. Simply asking if they are insured is not enough to ensure they are properly insured.
3. Consider their online presence. Being listed on Google and having a presence on platforms like Facebook is important. However, I recommend avoiding detailers who only operate on Facebook or other social media platforms. It's crucial to have recourse in case something goes wrong. Legitimate businesses are typically vetted through Google and may even be BBB accredited. Checking if they are a member of a Chamber of Commerce can also be helpful. Be cautious of "fly by night" detailers who lack accreditations, certifications, and a Google listing.
4. Ask about the chemicals they use. If a detailer mentions Chemical Guys, it may be a red flag. While Chemical Guys products are widely available and not necessarily bad, professionals often use higher-grade products that deliver more professional results. If a detailer does not have an account with a reputable commercial-grade supplier, it may be best to pass on their services. If they tell you they use degreaser of any kind on the interior of the vehicle, do not hire them. The havoc that degreaser can cause on interior surfaces is astounding.
5. Inquire about their experience in the business. Keep in mind that the number of years they claim to have been in business may not always be accurate. It's a good idea to verify this information on Google. If a detailer is not registered with the state or BBB accredited, it may be difficult to find reliable information about their experience. However, it's important to note that the length of time in business is not always indicative of the quality of work. A detailer who has been in business for 20 years may not necessarily be better than someone who has been in business for 2 years. The key is to do thorough research before making a decision.
In summary, it's crucial to vet the person you are entrusting with your vehicle. The auto detailing industry is unregulated, which means there are many unqualified "backyard detailers" out there. To ensure a positive experience, it's important to conduct thorough research before allowing someone to work on your vehicle!