A lot of customers will look for auto detailing without really knowing what separates one company or independent provider from another. The differences can be vital to the final outcome of your vehicle, your satisfaction with the service from beginning to end and whether or not you return to the service provider in the future for all-important maintenance.
According to Nirwana Bali Resort in New Jersey, there are six factors to consider when choosing a detailer. For the full article, look to www.nirwanabaliresort.com/2017/06/28/6-important-things-consider-choosing-right-auto-detailing-service/. I'm going to summarize it here along with how Obsessive Compulsive Detailing fits those criteria.
Detailing is becoming one of the fastest growing industries in the world today. People love their cars, especially here in the Motor City. Anyone can watch a few videos, read a few articles, grab a few supplies and become a detailer. What separates a true professional from a weekend warrior at best or a complete hack at worst is accreditation from professional organizations such as the International Detailer's Association (IDA). If someone is a member of the IDA and a Certified Detailer (CD), you can be comfortable with the knowledge that they passed a comprehensive set of exams that cover a broad base of what should be common knowledge in the industry about detailing an automobile. Bottom line, ask the service provider about accreditations and ask for proof. We have it and gladly show it to all of our customers, retail and commercial. An important caveat to this is someone who is new to the business that is upfront about their experience and whose price is adjusted accordingly (i.e. cheaper than their competitors because they are newer and up front about it). As a customer, ask for referrals and go with your gut. Even new people will detail their own vehicle so they can show you at least one example of their work.
Reviews tell you a lot about a business. They not only cover either good or bad service, they also cover how the company handles conflict resolution. Anyone can get a bad review, customer expectations are highly personalized and vary greatly from consumer to consumer. It is the job of the service provider to not only find out customer's expectations, but to manage them. The customer doesn't know what is and is not possible to accomplish with your skill set; the provider knows and needs to make the customer aware at the outset what can and cannot be done. Service providers who operate with honor and ethics will gladly tell you what they can and cannot do; will give you a time frame and expected result with a price that matches the job required. They will also go above and beyond to make it right if they don't do what they said they could or damage your vehicle in some sort of way. This is also where insurance on the part of the provider comes into play, which we will cover in more depth later on. To summarize, read the reviews, flesh out if complaints were reasonable, and go with your gut.
Every industry has higher training available. A legitimate service provider is always looking to improve their skill set, add new skills, diversify the services they provide to maximize their earning potential. Many professional accreditations require a constant amount of continuing education credit. Any service provider that does not see the value in certifications is not the provider for you. Would you trust a doctor who doesn't keep up on the latest developments in medicine, a tax accountant that doesn't pay attention to the legal changes every year? Then why trust a detailer who doesn't try to better themselves?
Over the past year, Scott has gotten certifications from the IDA as a Certified Detailer (CD), from SB3 Coatings in ceramic coating installation and Rupes in Advanced Sanding and Polishing Techniques. We proudly have copies of this on hand for our customers and provide them to our commercial partners as well.
4. Years in Business
The longer someone is in business, usually the better indicator it is to service quality. Notice I say usually, not always. There are some detailers out there that when you see their work you wonder how they lasted so long. Pair this information with the above and below aspects to get a whole picture of what you can expect from a service provider. Another key is consistency. If they do a great job to get your business, what is the next visit like? Just like any other vehicle maintenance, detailing your car is never a one and done. Some consumers want their vehicle tip-top and get monthly or bi-weekly maintenance, others come in one to four times a year. Your frequency of visits depend on your budget, your wants and what the service provider offers. Any service provider that hits it out of the ball park the first visit, but can't reproduce the same results in subsequent visits isn't the detailer for you. At the bare minimum, they should be able to manage your expectations to results before you leave the facility and your vehicle in their hands. We priced our work according to our experience in the beginning, just trying to build a customer base. As time has passed, skills have improved and the price has adjusted accordingly.
What does the shop look like? Is it tidy and organized, with the bare minimum of mess that you should expect from an active working environment? Is it greasy, dirty, cramped? How is the lighting? A good number of detail shops are like caves. Can you clean in a dark environment? Then how can they? Can you effectively wash your dishes in a filthy kitchen? How can they clean your car in filthy shop? Most shops will allow you into the work area with supervision for safety. If they won't and you can't see the shop from the office area, or worse yet the office area is like a junk yard full of grease and filth, run in the other direction. They are hiding something for a reason.
This is so very important. The number of detailers out there that operate their business without insurance is staggering. It is ignorant and short sighted on their part and a huge detriment to you as a consumer. Any honest and ethical detailer will admit that mistakes and accidents can always happen and will plan accordingly with adequate insurance coverage. Ask if they are insured, who they are insured through. Legitimate providers, such as OCD, will not only gladly answer, but show you a certificate of insurance, or have one on display in some way, shape or form. If your provider also has concierge service which allows pick-up and drop-off services, call the insurance company to verify coverage. Better safe than sorry and a legitimate service provider should not be offended by you wanting to confirm coverage.
Scott started OCD in October, 2014. Within 6 months, his wife Shannon came onboard to the company full time. Here we answer customer questions to increase customer education. Feel free to send any questions in via our contact page. We answer the ones we seem to get the most and interesting ones people don't normally ask.