Why does detailing cost so much?

It doesn’t!

I have seen this question along with similar lines of questioning a lot on the forums and Facebook groups recently, so i thought I’d try and answer some of those rather hurtful questions,

I have said hurtful because just the other day when I was answering one of these questions on a Porsche owners group it suddenly hit me, not just me as I’m sure there are a lot of other detailers out there who will think the same way and if they don’t now they possibly soon will.

His comment was “all this detailing on high end cars is ridiculously over priced”

I obviously questioned his comments and during the conversation that followed it hit me just how insulting the comments that detailers get like “how much just to clean a car” or “that’s far too much” and one of my personal favourites “i could do it myself but I’m far too busy” really are.

Most detailers work long hard hours and 12 hour days, 7 days a week is common place for most professional full time detailers, despite this though many of them can only dream of owning the types of cars that they spend there days working with, so just put the shoe on the other foot for a moment and think how would you feel if you worked every waking hour as hard as you could to then be told by a person that has an expensive vehicle that you are over priced! Especially if this on first encounter and that person has no idea of your work.

Let me explain to you now why detailing is not expensive and is actually one of the lowest cost and their for best value for money services available,

Here is a list of professions and there hourly rates that i can find on google

Mechanic – £80
Auto electrician – £70
Body repair £75
Plumber £40

Detailer £20!!!

Like all professions there are detailers out there charging more per hour and there are some charging less, myself i charge around £30

Are you now scratching your head or even shaking it saying “no no detailers charge a fortune” if so then let me break it down for you,

Let’s say you have a mid sized car and its quite badly swirled so it requires paint correction and you then want it ceramic coating with a 5 year coating and not just the paint but the wheels want to be removed and coated too plus any other areas like glass, this kind of job could cost you around £1400.

That’s expansive i hear you cry!

No its not it’s extremely reasonable and here’s why.

That kind of job could easily run into 3 maybe 4 days or maybe even more but for this example I’ll use 4 days and also massively simplify the costings.

Firstly to carry out detailing at a high level you must have a good workshop or studio as us detailers like to call it, not only must this be a reasonable size to fit vehicles in but it also has to be well lit, well heated or cooled and ideally the humidity must be controlled too.

Once all this is set up you will still have a daily cost for rent, electric, gas, council tax and most importantly insurance this could quite easily be costing you £100 a day

You will have consumables to think about like soap and water, who am i kidding that is a very minimal cost but it is still there, you have got other products used during the wash and decontamination process though and the most notable for myself would be the iron removal products, we quite easily use 1 litre per car and that would cost you £10, remember I said I’ve simplified this A LOT.

Now its clean and inside its time to start polishing the car and correcting the paint, for the time being I’m just talking consumables so I’ll glaze over the fact the car is now parked on a ramp that costs £1500 and i’m about to start using 3 or 4 different polishing machines that all cost in the region of £400 each, I’ll just talk about the pads that are £15 a piece and you’ll use around 4 of these minimum (£60 total) plus 250ml of polish being around £10.

After spending 20+ hours of back breaking polishing we can finally think about applying the ceramic coatings, A good coating especially a certified detailer package that will come with a 5 year warranty will cost the detailer £150.

Add that all together and what do you get?

+£1200 total paid for the job
-£400 in overheads
-£10 in iron remover
-£70 pads and polish
-£150 for the coatings


Now divide that over the 32 hours the detailer has worked over the 4 day detail and it gives you £17.81 per hour!

Can you honestly say if a detailer quoted you £17 a hour you would say they were expansive?

Can you think of any other profession where a person would dedicate years of there life in order to start up a business, have years of experience under there belt detailing a verity of cars and then earn £17 an hour?  No?

I thought not, so just think of that before you next tell a detailer they are too expansive, because that detailer is probably working as hard as they can and already feels undervalued they don’t detail for greed and money they detail for passion and the love of cars but don’t expect them to do it for free. 2020-

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *