Organize Your Detail – It Will Save You Both Time and MoneyAs Car Detailers we all know the bottom line about Detailing, detailing is hard work. Well, that being said, to me detailing is like a math problem. On the left side of the equation we ENTER: HARDWORK, On the right side we get out, GREAT RESULTS. It’s simple, right. Hardwork Detailing=Great Results out.

One of the very best things about detailing is that it’s an art. The beauty of that is there is absolutely no one way to get great results. If we both begin detailing a vehicle, the exact same vehicle, at the exact same time, and using our own methods, we can both come out with incredible results. One may take longer than the other, but none the less, the results will be the same.

With that said, If you are running a Detailing business, there is one thing that is a must have, “Consistency” and timely results. Since you may have multiple vehicles, that have various issues whos outcome needs to be great results, and needs to be completed in a 3-8 hour time period say, you will need to create what is known as a “WORK FLOW” Even if you are a 1 man operation, you also need to create a work flow as well.

A work flow is simply a SYSTEM, a step by step process for getting consistent results when detailing a customers vehicle. I’ve seen people detail a car and they may start on the wheels, then move to the windshield, clean out the trunk, do the interior, wash the vehicle, shampoo the seats, then finally wax the vehicle (WOW). If this sounds reasonable to you, then you are the guy I’m talking about here in my example.

So, if you own a mobile detailing business and whether you send out a Newbie, a veteran, or even if you go yourself to perform a detail, there should be a laid out, step by step plan that those people should follow in order to achieve the results that both you and your customers have come to expect. You can think of it as a recipe.

So, by having this Step by Step process, you will get the following:

  • Elimination of confusion of where to start the process & what to do
  • Keeps everyone involved on the same page.
  • Keeps you & your crew aware of the time they are spending
  • Helps keep you scheduled day on time
  • Teaches your crew, organization and gives them confidence

So, what’s the bottom line here ? When you arrive at the customers site, and the adrenaline is flowing, things don’t just start happening. Everyone doesn’t just start doing whatever the feel like doing, there will be a strategy in place.

Recently, I sent my son (my business partner), and my daughter on a mobile detail. He is of course very experienced, but this was the first time she would have detailed a car. But, he needed assistance, as we run a 2 man operation. So, the night before the job, I spent a several hours creating a power point slide show complete with audio for her training. I required her to watch the show before doing the job. Actually I didn’t get the response from her that I expected. She was actually grateful, she felt very relieved that my son would not have to spend most of his time telling her what how and what to do. This slide show actually turned out to be our training video for all newbies.


So the preview goes something like this:

  • It opens with an overview image of all of our equipment outside the trailer
  • Next is an individual image of each piece of equipment and an explanation of it’s use
  • Next I explain our work-flow and strategy for the detail (in general)
  • Next I explain the Quality control check-list and what to look for
  • And finally the clean-up process, and who’s responsible for what.


So, when we show up to a Mobile detail, it goes like this:

  • Identify the vehicle and position the mobile trailer near it
  • Meet and greet the customer
  • Provide them with a business card and list of tasks we’re to do
  • Inspect the vehicle for Dents, scratches, wheel rubs, glass cracks etc..
  • Use the vehicle inspection sheet provided
  • Remove the necessary equipment for the detail
  • Spray the wheels and tires and proceed to scrubbing tires and wheels
  • Move to the interior, and aggressively begin the detail
  • Vacuum thoroughly carpet and fabric seats if applicable trunk
  • Clean with all purpose cleaner ALL hard surfaces and dress for shine
  • Clean all inside glass to perfection
  • If shampooing, shampoo carpets
  • Shampoo seats
    Extract both and towel dry as best as possible
  • If Leather > Clean and condition for restoration and softness protection
  • If fabric and customer ordered scotch guard, apply now
  • Now move to the outside of the vehicle – Perform a though Wash
  • We happen to use a foam cannon combined with a wash mitt & bucket
  • We wash all door jambs, trunk channels and under hood channels
  • Dry, thoroughly the entire vehicle – Using Waffle weave supersoft MF
  • Claybar the entire vehicle using detail spray and medium claybar
  • Quick wash and dry of vehicle – Several shortcuts can be applied here
  • Apply Paste wax, or Sealant, or coating – Wax always goes last
  • Dress Wheels and tires – Apply trim improvement if needed
  • Thoroughly clean glass windows
  • Spray wax all jambs, fuel door, trunk rails, hood rails
  • Detailers performs Pre- customer inspection-Left over wax, etc..
  • Customer inspection
  • Any final remediation, questions or concerns
  • Clean-up put away all equipment (check list )so nothing is left behind
  • Complete paperwork, get paid, Thank customer
  • Leave site

This is a very simple, but practical and straight forward work-flow. This may change if you’re detailing a boat, Aircraft, RV or other unusual vehicle. Though I absolutely believe in the work flow process, we continue to look for short-cuts that we can implement to save time, but maintain quality. We have integrated processes into one, eliminated others that seemed to be redundant or obsolete. We can have a general plan in mind but completely change out strategy once on-site. This is especially true once we have 3 or more people.

The work-flow is vital if you have 3 or more detailers involved. The last thing I ever want to do (and it’s happened) is to have someone standing around, not knowing what to do. That’s a waste of company money. I hope this is an eye opener for those new or thinking about going into this business, or hopefully helps to generates your own ideas.