This year is predicted to be incredibly busy; if any year is busy - 2021 will be dramatically busier. As we all shell the cocoons of locked-down life, demand surges and time has been taken to reflect on business and diary management.
Detailed By Andrew is and always has been primarily a Detailing orientated business. In other words, the speciality focus of the service is full vehicle cosmetic preparation and enhancement including decontamination, machine polishing, premium waxes and ceramic coatings. These services take hours and days to complete professionally. However, unlike some detailing firms who only have an interest in "big jobs", Andrew also offers sundry services such as general valeting and aftercare maintenance (to follow up detailing services on a regular basis) that are available. As a one-man-show, managing the various service provisions in the diary is paramount to running an effective and in-demand operation.
Therefore a cap is being introduced on the amount of customers on the books for the (and please pay attention to the service in question) "Monthly Aftercare Maintenance" service. The diary needs a healthy balance between the Full Detailing and Mobile Valeting services; too many mobile valeting bookings and the diary becomes only partly-full with small jobs dotted around everywhere yet completely preventing any multi-day big detailing services from being placed. Likewise, on the other side of the coin, if full detailing multi-day jobs were the only ones being entertained, there would be zero room for any mobile valeting work. A healthy balance and effective planning therefore have to be maintained.
All work that supports the business is graciously appreciated and it is in the interests of everyone involved that diary management techniques come into play to ensure that everybody can get a look in with the service that they would like doing.
Therefore, as one side of the diary has swelled, a maximum allocation for Monthly Aftercare Maintenance is being set to a further 5 vehicles above what is currently in the diary. It is also strongly recommended that all monthly customers now remain booked with two months worth of bookings in advance to secure a spot, as full detailing work is in demand and no existing valued customer should miss out on a diary space. Once these 5 spaces are filled, new *monthly aftercare* customers will only be taken on a "one out, one in" basis whilst the remaining diary space goes fairly to larger works.
Your understanding is greatly appreciated as a smooth transition to the next logical steps for the business are planned for this year.
Detailed By Andrew is preparing customers for changes to service regarding the "Aftercare Maintenance Valets".
Over the course of the recent downtime some internal reflection has been made into how services are being provided to customers regarding "Valeting" level options.
A decision has been made to withdraw offering an "exterior only" variant of the Aftercare Maintenance Valet service to new customers with immediate effect, and that this option will cease to be available to existing customers on the 30th April 2021. The "exterior plus interior" version will continue as normal and will be the only option available to book once this transition phase has passed to honour planned bookings and allow existing customers to make a decision regarding continued service.
The Aftercare Maintenance Valet is aptly named as a service that is available to customer's vehicles that have prior received a Stage 2 Detail, Stage 1 Detail, Interim Detail, Full Valet or Entry Valet initial service that enhance the appearance and apply at least some form of protection in the way of a durable wax or ceramic coating. This aftercare service was launched in 2017 to offer customers a mobile safe wash and valet package that cares for their vehicle afterwards, being able to provide a paint-friendly wash process with high quality consumables and process that offers peace of mind that the risk of inflicting swirl marks and wash marring is kept to a minimum. Not only this, but this service comes fully equipped at the customers convenience of their home or workplace (where suitable) with filtered water on board. This is also a reminder to all customers that a "detailed" appearance can only be maintained once something has been put in place to maintain, and this is why this particular service is only offered as a regular follow-up treatment to the services that Detailed By Andrew specialises in - not all professional detailers offer a routine aftercare valet service after they have machine polished and protected your vehicle.
In 2019 an "exterior only" variant of this service was requested and has since been offered, however it has become difficult to ignore the increased downtime created by having to fit more customers into one route on a given day to make up the difference in workload by not including interior work on each visit. This is has lead to increased vehicle running costs as well as time spent driving between visits, even when routed smartly, that could otherwise be reduced by offering a slightly more substantial service in one visit, that is in fact better value for money for the customer by comparison. Ultimately a difficult decision had to be made against the only other option of raising all Aftercare Maintenance Valet options by £5-£10 for all customers, something that would rather be avoided as its impact to the broader customer base would be larger.
All of Andrew's customers are highly valued not only for their custom but their absolute trust to look after what is potentially their second most expensive possessions in a manner that only a true car enthusiast tends to appreciate.
Pricing for the "exterior plus interior" monthly maintenance remains unchanged since 2018 at £45 for regular sized cars, and £60 for vans and 4x4s - a price point often misunderstood by the less discerning public, but fantastic value for money with quality detailing branded products applied along with time spent and a keen eye for attention to detail for those that appreciate it. In terms of alternative competitors, few can hold a candle to the standard of service on offer, expert detailing knowledge and the way that consumables are maintained to provide a quality service at this level. To look after your vehicle in such a way, at roughly the same monthly price as the average smartphone contract, you cannot go far wrong.
Should any customers past, present or future have any questions regarding this update do not hesitate to get in touch.
As I check back to the dusty corner of the website, the blog section, I see that no new posts have been made since the end of 2018. So I do wonder, without posting this latest blog post to any forms of social media what interaction it evokes...
Perhaps in some way it is for the best that no blog posts were made in 2020 for the otherwise unmentionable subject that we are no doubt tired of hearing about, but in total honesty the reason for the lack of posting here is that business has been profoundly busy and efforts were funnelled into serving clients, making YouTube videos and kitting out a new van for the business. A lot sure has happened since the last post in 2018!
I will no doubt look back on this musing in some time to come and recollect how I was sat there writing a post from memory lane before you know what arrived, and hopefully when that time comes, it will be a thing of the past.
So without further adieu I would like to reflect on a detailing job that taken place back in February 2020, roughly a year beforehand of writing, and show you through what happened.
This Citroen DS3 came in for some enhancement detailing work to improve its appearance for the client's daughter. As usual with all detailing work, preparation taken place in the form of a full decontamination wash to bring the vehicle to a clean base to work on. This featured a pre-wash to break down sediment, pressure rinse, snow foam and three bucket wash method (shampoo, mitt rinse and wheel buckets). To remove bonded contaminants that occur even on new cars, iron fallout and tar removal treatments were applied to the vehicle to safely exfoliate the paintwork, wheels and glass.
The preparation cleaning process was completed with a clay bar treatment, a soft putty that glides across the lubricated bodywork to remove any remaining impurities that the above processes alleviated but always need that extra 10% to get to a perfectly clean state.
From there it was panel wiped down, paint depth measurements taken and provided the prescribed level of machine polishing to alleviate swirling (a term used for the visual fashion that millions of micro wash marring manifests when looked at in direct light) and increase the depth of gloss in the paintwork.
A final wipe-down of polishing oils left the paintwork ready for an application of Swissvax Utopia wax to repel water and enhance ease of cleaning, as well as Swissvax Autobahn wheel wax to the wheel faces. The finishing touches such as dressing the tyres and applying rain repellent to the glass completed the job along side a courtesy interior tidy up.
With the full process complete, the vehicle left looking slick and easier for the client to then maintain on an ongoing basis. If you would like to see blog posts more frequently, or have any subject requests in regards to vehicle detailing and valeting, do leave a comment below.
I hope we are all having a great Christmas.
Below are some updates you may need to know as a customer for 2019.
The cards that were meant to be sent out to some of this years customers with a prize draw were sadly a little delayed in reaching myself and so they should be with customers soon. I haven't forgotten about it!
Water supply and gazebo
It has been apparant in recent months that the demand for me to bring water along for my lower end services, where there are a few to do in one day, is higher than the need for me to bring a gazebo along.
So the decision was made to purchase a larger water tank at the expense of the space the gazebo normally takes up in the van. I will now be able to do three or possibly four Pro Washes from the tank as opposed to just two before in one day, but mains water will still be preferred especially in the longer days where there will be a few to do in one day. The water tank is intended for customers who do not have an outside tap near the vehicle.
The gazebo will still be available to use on "Enhancement Detail - One Stage Machine Polishing" but only if the customer can provide mains water; the water tank would have to be removed from the van in this case. However in all honesty I prefer to be doing detailing indoors for best effect, and anything involving Two Stage Machine Polishing, Ceramic Coating or more must be done indoors.
As you can tell I am doing my best to bring services in such demand to you from my Peugeot Partner van for the time being. Maybe one day a larger van may be in order but for now I must use what I have to best effect.
As usual all pricing is subject to periodic review, and there may be some minor adjustments for 2019. If this is the case they will be published on the website before the 4th January. For the most part, the pricing structure should remain unchanged from Autumn 2018 pricing. If you have not checked current pricing recently please do as I like to avoid awkward conversations. I would like to give a polite reminder to customers that pricing may be subject to change as my operating costs change and business performance is reviewed, especially as the business continues to grow and focus on providing a service based on quality and keeping up to date with current tooling, techniques and standards of work.
Early next year I will be attending some advanced training courses as part of ongoing professional skills development. This may lead to extra services being available as the year goes on, and this will be posted here when that time may be. For now though, I will keep those plans quiet!
January is looking busy considering the time of year, as it may seem - I am always kept busy so please plan in advance and if you intend to book please leave as much notice as possible to avoid disappointment.
Thank you for your support in 2018, and wishing you the best for the new year.
Every so often, it's good to have a little spruce up. Well I say that with what was in mind for the initial intentions, but this one has turned into pretty much a full overhaul.
To recap on what happened in last year's van update and what has happened since then is a good idea before I cover the van changes this year. In July last year I wrote the shamelessly named "Shelving Sh*t and Magnifying It" blog which provides quite an eye-opening insight into how I kind of codge-modged things together in the back of the van back when mobile detailing was new to me (I was full time unit based before 2015).
The changes I made were never going to be permanent but were a pretty good prototype for development into what I needed long term as a proper working vehicle for mobile detailing. The main two things that have remained are the shelving unit and the upright water tank, the latter of which has proved to be much more space effective especially as my work is based around quality over quantity. But those blue water butts? They probably had a better sense of belonging in a brew house or horse stables - what was I thinking?!
To start things off I needed to get some bodywork issues sorted, so it was down to Pegasus Mobile Bosyshop to come over and repaint my rear quarter panel. Based in Leamington Spa they do occasionally come over to the Black Country if there is enough work to justify their travel. I had something else for them to paint but we will leave that for further down the line, as all other things fall into place.
From there, it was down to me to strip the van out of absolutely everything in the back. At first I only planned a re-carpet and lick of paint but the rotting plywood underneath just could not stay. It would have been a shame to go to such lengths of re-carpeting everything with new material on top of wood that was quite literally breaking apart.
So a bit of a stretch on the budget as it may have been, I opted to completely replace the ply-lining. Once fitted it was then a case of making sure that things not only looked the part now in the warm months but stayed that way in the cold and damp. Craig over at The Detailing Detectives recommended me to contact House of Mada to source some insulation to install on the interior walls and ceiling to help keep the heat in during the winter; the kind chap also offered me some advice. Had I have not already purchased my choice of carpeting at this point I would have bought these from him too.
Despite this, the first thing on my agenda was to paint the shelving unit black as it was starting to look a little tatty after a year of products and water being dashed around. Before this happened, I sawed off the top side bits to allow for the unit to sit a little closer to the wall without fouling the sides of the van.
From there, Lizzy from Innovation Creations came over and fitted the new signwriting and a new design of stripes. Here I unveil the extra bit that Pegasus painted and that was a colour coded front bumper to give the van more of a sporty look. Lizzy was able to continue the stripes onto the bumper for a flowing design and also vinyl wrap the plastic tranklements that surround the front grille.
I feel that all of this comes together to show the world a much more professional image, the kind of image that I want people to think of when Detailed By Andrew springs to mind. But not only that, the better use of space means that I can now bring along my air compressor for airbrushing various bits and bobs, or use of the Vortex upholstery cleaning gun.
I'd like to give my kind thanks to everyone involved and to those that have taken the time to read this blog and support the business.
Looking back through these blog posts I realise that it has been quite a long time since I made a case study here. You might say that I have been rather busy and have put the blog to the back of my mind, or as this case may be, waiting for something just that extra bit involved to give me a muse to write plenty about.
Facebook and social media are fantastic tools for quickly posting what you have been up to, in order to show the world and your followers what it is you can do for them. In this case however, I have taken to the blog because there is much more that I need to get across than is possible on a simple status update.
A Correction Detail in its nature, as far as my business and I are concerned, is working with the customer to outline their exact requirements and work with them to suit to their budget (within all realistic reason of course, this kind of work isn't exactly feasible for £1.52 pocket change and a packet of haribo) and meet their expectations. For this reason, every Correction Detail I take on requires a "consultation sur mesure", or a "can you come and have a look at it" in English. This is immediately obvious where paintwork enhancement and correction is concerned, in the nature that no two cars are the same, even though they be the same age and make/model, and also in the way that this is a very personal service; what may make one person happy may not be enough for somebody else. For this reason, it is imperative that a professional detailer knows how to weigh up how many hours/days may be required to meet that customers' expectations.
The most important thing is working safely within the paint-work's clear coat parameters. The process of removing swirl marks, fading, oxidation and other deteriorations by the method of compound polishing via machine is to actually remove paint after all. We are only talking a mere few microns here, but that knowledge of what one is taking on, and getting to know the vehicle before making any inklings of starting these elaborate works is absolutely vital. In this case, on inspection, I found that much of the car had been previously resprayed. Which some may say, is not uncommon for a 911!
Right, onto the day of the job being started. First things first is to look around the car again and have a final chat with the customer. The reason why is because things change, and also having a busy diary with many customers, I will have slept since the consultation! So it is always best to take in everything that is about to be worked on, and have clear communication with the customer.
As with these images above, there were many issues to be sorted. These ranged from blobs of old touch up paint to minor scuffs, faded plastic trim, swirl marks, faded porous paint, and something that had happened since my inspection - a flaking patch of paint from where a stone had jumped off the road and said hello. This being a repainted panel happened because of new paint being layered on top of old paint, and probably not being keyed down enough by the re-sprayers. When this happens, and paint starts to lift, this is what is called delamination.
Later on throughout the work, I found that the minor scuffs were satisfactorily reduced with the machine compounding process, and even though it would take a full panel respray to resolve the missing patch of paint, this was filled in with touch up paint, wet sanded and polished not really for cosmetic benefit but to buy the customer that extra bit of time and protection.
Before tackling these issues, the vehicle needs to be thoroughly decontaminated of road grime, iron fallout (little particles of rust that are present in the air from brake dust and industrial production), tar spots and anything that is sitting above the paintwork holding it back from being "clean".
The industry standard process is to pre-rinse the vehicle of loose dirt, carry out a safe wash using snow foam, a merino wool wash mitt and the two bucket wash method, and apply treatments to diminish the tar spots and iron fallout before clay barring the surfaces to exfoliate any remaining impurities.
From here, a focused and painstaking process of carefully shaving off the old touch up paint with a de-nibbing tool taken place, with any exposed chips to be touched back in later on. This leads me to another point of the importance of an inspection, is that I could ensure that a batch of touch up paint specifically matched to this vehicles' paint code would be on hand for the task ahead in advance.
Drying the vehicle highlighting how porous the paint was. It was evident that this vehicle, despite being quite clean, was rather de-hydrated and needed bringing back to life.
From here, the floor mats were deep cleaned by way of using the Karcher Puzzi spray nozzle to apply Koch Chemie Green Star, allow to soak in order to saponify the dirt, before agitating with a brush attatchment on one of my polishing tools (see, not just for working paint!) and using the extraction function to pull out all of the residue. The effect was most pronounced on the Porsche emblems that were previously a muddy brown rather than their intended colour stitch.
Once indoors with the inspection lamps on, we can see just how bad the paint condition was. What you see here is years of improper wash technique - and although well-meaning - constant dry-wiping at paint, as well as UV damage. This level of Correction Detail as outlined with the customer on initial inspection was to include a two stage machine compounding polish.
This is very different to the Enhancement Detail in the way that the polishing process is broken up into two or more stages or steps rather than one. The Enhancement Detail is essentially a cut down, one-size-fits-all version of the Correction Detail where I do as much as I reasonably can in one day to improve, or enhance, a vehicles' paintwork condition. This Correction Detail however, is to cut as many defects out of the paint in the first stage, and then refine down to a high gloss finish in the second stage. This is truly bespoke in its nature and I cannot stress enough the importance of assessing a vehicle, and it's owners expectations. Adding more and more stages to the compounding, or even taking on the risk of wet sanding the entire body work carries not only a substantial difference in the amount of time taken (going from 2 days to however many more) but also risk.
After restoring the faded headlights, putting so, so many hours of machine polishing work into the paint (a whole day in itself, including the door shuts) and general tidying up, the paintwork was treated to a ceramic coating, and the glass was protected with Angelwax H2GO.
As you may be able to tell, there is no way I can even hope to quote these kinds of works over the phone; they are truly unique in each and every case.
All told, around about 22 hands-on working hours were put into this vehicle. All 5 of my polishing machines were used; those including the Flex VRG, Flex PE14-2 Rotary, Flex Mini Rotary, Flex XFE, and the Vertool 12e 3-inch DA. The most nerve wracking part? Waiting for the approval from the owner once finished!
If this service is of interest to you, please see the Correction Detail service page, and feel free to get in touch at:
p: 07804 604532
f: Detailed By Andrew
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the pictures!
The Christmas break is the perfect time to reflect on the year just gone, take a note of the positive progress and then have a look at what can be made better. It's becoming a recurring theme with the business to use this time of year to plan and pave the way for the direction it is heading.
I hope everyone thoroughly enjoyed their Christmas break and has had a great start to the new year so far. Please take a read of this blog post, preferably sat down with a cup of tea, as there is lots to take in for what to expect as a returning, or even new, Detailed By Andrew customer.
Changes to availability schedule.
The first thing requiring some thought was the business' operating times and schedule. As one man in one van, trying to keep one or two random days off in the diary for downtime just doesn't happen easily, especially when the phone rings and somebody needs something doing ASAP! Part way through last year I implemented the Appointedd booking system to the website, which not only replaces the old pen and paper diary, but also allows customers to make a booking request straight into my diary from the bottom of the Services page and Facebook page. This is great because it takes some of the admin work away from me, and even sends customers a booking confirmation and 48 hour reminder. Don't let that worry you though; I can submit bookings myself too if you still prefer to call, message or email.
Downtime is important when running this kind of business. Being busy enough to work 7 days a week is great, but it does have its vices. Firstly is tiredness, as this being quite an active profession a little rest really does go a long way. Also, it's highly important that time is set aside to clean and strip the van down, re-organise it, service the tools to keep them running sweet, and take stock of consumables so orders can be placed and delivered. Being organised makes a huge impact on the quality of service provided.
For this year bookings will be carried out on a "4 days on, 1 day off" basis with one full weekend "off" per month too. What does this mean for customers? This actually means that more weekend dates will be available for bookings than last year, and still works out at providing service 6 days a week for the most part. All phone calls and emails will still be taken/returned as much as is feasibly possible 7 days a week.
The recommended service plan.
As a detailing business, aptly named Detailed By Andrew, detailing is my speciality. Please take a look at The Intended Car Care Regimen blog post and Services page for an explanation of how the service packages are intended to be used by customers and what the benefits are. This year a recommendation will be made on all visits as to which service you might want to consider next time round. A small leaflet will also be left with customers to outline all of the services on offer.
Service Cleans are a great way to keep your car clean and tidy throughout the year, but they are not to be depended on exclusively; even with the quality products used, there's only so far a wash and valet will take you and this is why detailing exists! Perhaps there is another way to put it in terms that some people may subscribe to; just like with skin care, sometimes we have to exfoliate, face mask and moisturise to look after yourselves - it's the same with your vehicle's appearance too! I am in business to make your car to look and feel like new all year round, and it is only with the full range of treatments and processes that this can be possible.
So now that the formal bit is out the way, we can now have a look at the fun stuff! In trying to offer a premier standard of service and keep up with competition, re-investment into new tools and equipment is an absolute necessity. Whilst some of the below have been on-board for a while now, this time of year is usually the best to make these purchases, as suppliers most often put on generous Christmas and January deals. As a small business, money has to be spent wisely! I guess you could call this 'the January transfer window'...
There were two things that were long overdue, the first being an electrical generator. On a previous service visit maybe a month or so back I was left totally caught out as the electrical socket provided by the customer just did not work. As this was on a private works car park, there was no alternative except to abandon and reschedule the job.
Now being able to provide my own power means that work can be carried out in more remote locations where electricity cannot be provided, or shall I say depended on. This 3.75kVA generator from SGS Engineering has ample power for many of the tools that I use on various tasks. For the foreseeable future, the additional cost of fuelling the generator will not be charged to the customer as extra; it will rather be provided as a free courtesy because it is purely there to ensure that the job gets done when electrical mains are not available. As standard, I still kindly ask for power to be provided by the customer where possible. Due to the added weight and space in the van, the generator will only be brought along on request in advance so please make this clear on any possible booking.
There is one drawback to be considered though, and that is the slightly elevated noise. Whilst 69 decibels (inb4 lewd jokes) is well within noise pollution limits we do not want to upset the neighborhood. I would say that the most realistic comparison in terms of noise is probably to that of a burble from the exhaust of a sporty car on idle. Customers should take this into consideration and make an appropriate arrangement as the last thing I want is to end up in some Jeremy Kyle-esque confrontation when I go to work! Jokes aside, please consider any neighbours in immediate proximity that may be unwell, short-fused or have young infants if you require the use of the generator.
Early last year saw a lot of re-investment into other areas of inventory, such as improving the van layout, replacement digital paint depth gauge, digital microscope and suchlike, that perhaps the basics got overlooked. I had been getting on with the little old Karcher K2 domestic pressure washer, and it wasn't until I taken my trip up north (as covered in the blog posts) that I realised what I was missing out on.
The Kranzle K7 is the benchmark piece of kit for any mobile Valeter/Detailer, and it was about time I made the upgrade. It's quite bizarre when I look back, that I had all of this polishing equipment, and yet only a pressure washer that was recommended for occasional home use. This upgrade now means that the pre-rinse, snow foam, and wash process is now even better - giving a more professional image no doubt
There are always new tools that I look to add to the ranks, and it could go on forever, but for now any further equipment purchases will have to be spread out over the somewhat near future. I don’t want to give the game away all at once, however, but it really does hinge on how busy things get and with what lines of work. Perhaps a gloss meter and a couple more polishing machines? Who knows.
In terms of products, I continually look for new things to try and over the last few months I have been really impressed with CarPro, to the point where most of their products now feature in the inventory. Future ceramic coating jobs will be with their products, including the new anti-static super hydrophobic “Gliss” top coat that can be layered over "CQuartz UK" ceramic coating.
As for waxes, Angelwax “Enigma” will be joining the premium upgrades available on the Detailing services. This is an Si02 (the quality grade that costs £1000 a litre in raw material form) blended wax to give extra depth of shine, protection and water behaviour. Considering that a 250ml pot has an RRP of £180, I really do believe that offering an application at just £20 extra is incredibly fair and good value to the customer. You can book for this upgrade on the Enhancement, Maintenance and Correction packages.
The range of Chemical Guys air freshener sprays carried on-board have also been expanded, giving customers that fun choice of scent to accompany a clean car. When you book for any service, just be sure to let me know which one you'd like so I can make sure to bring it along. A lot of consumables will also continue to be sourced from AutoGlym too, and I would like to congratulate my local franchise Branson Autotmotive on their successes and awards at the recent AutoGlym conference.
There is one last note on consumables to point out as well - and it is that microfibre towels and applicators are frequently purchased all year round, demoted down to wheel duty, then rag duty before the bin awaits. This is critical when considering who you choose to valet and detail your car, as poor quality towels are not good for the condition of paintwork and other sensitive surfaces. Towels and other commodities can often be overlooked but when valeting and detailing properly, only the best quality will do.
The first job of the year was on this Audi A1. This particular car received a CQuartz UK ceramic coating “By Andrew” back in November 2016, and due to the car being used to travel to and from the Welsh coast with long cleaning intervals it needed some of the available upgrade extras along with its Service Clean.
Tar removal, Iron fallout treatment and Hydro2 application featured on top of all the high value for money features found in the base Service Clean package.
The car had sadly picked up a couple of marks including a deeply gouged scratch in the wing mirror. Although correction work is not included as standard with the Service Clean, this was wet-sanded and polished out as safely as possible.
The next recommended service for this car? Another Service Clean in 6 weeks perhaps, and then a Maintenance Detail in 3 or 4 months to fully de-clutter and revitalise the old ceramic coating. It is much better, and cost effective, to maintain and repair coatings rather than strip them back and replace.
In previous years “like and share” competitions featured on the Detailed By Andrew business Facebook page. This is something that has since been discontinued as sadly it didn’t quite generate the marketing impact that was initially hoped for. However, something rather exciting is now in place for all customers that book going forward. "Shout About" is a free quarterly prize draw for customers to enter simply by doing the following:
If you would like to know the full details of this prize draw please feel free to get in touch, or just make sure that you keep an eye out for the leaflets left in your car, is all I can say.
A lot of assessment has been made on the business’ performance and I have looked to address certain areas and improve on what is already doing well. From now on the main thing is a positive outlook for the future. The important thing for me is that having read this blog, and perhaps knowing of Detailed By Andrew’s work first hand, my followers see the benefits of the tools, products, experience, hard work and value for money that goes into the valeting and detailing services carried out. Detailed By Andrew is all about providing a professional service, with a personal approach. Thank you for your custom and support in 2017, now let’s see what this year will bring.
The final part of the trip for a wee Sassenach like myself was with Chris Kennedy of Mint Detailing in Denny. My previous visits up till now with Crystal Clear and Pro-Valet were fantastic for a mobile guy spending time with other mobile guys. However, this final part of the trip was to take a trip down memory lane by working with a unit based outfit.
Already having made acquaintance having a Douwe Egberts caramel coffee over with Johnnie Hamill a couple of days before, as well as our extensive Facebook correspondence in the year running up to the visit, there was no introduction needed as Chris started work pretty sharpish on the Kia Sportage that was awaiting some Winter Protection.
The preparation featured none less than the industry standard of pre-wash, snow foam, two bucket wash method, iron fallout treatment, tar spot removal and clay barring. Chris' advice here was to carry out the prep work as thoroughly and efficiently as possible, ensuring the job gets done properly and also leave as much time as possible for the polishing and protection aspect of the job. We aren't paid to drink tea you know! Even though, this did not stop me walking to the Co-op two doors down to get us some Irn Bru.
Once indoors the Kia was dried thoroughly, as we then set about pampering the paintwork with a micro-fine machine polish using CarPro Essence as a primer polish ready for our layers of protection. Chris told me that his initial experience with machine polishing was in a bodyshop capacity, and back then you would have to get the job of giving that extra bit of finesse to fresh paint with a single speed rotary polisher - a far cry to the advancements of the wide and wonderful world of various polishing machines that we have today. Even so, this was a great opportunity for me to receive some extra guidance on rotary polishing at higher speeds. In the wrong hands they can indeed do damage as they cut very quickly, but once over that barrier, turning the rotary up to higher operating speeds put me at just as much ease as the forced rotation DA that I have made an extension of my hand over the years.
After the machine polishing process was completed, we protected the vehicle with products from Chris' brand of choice - IGL. On the job we used IGL Ecocoat Wax, which contains trace amounts of Si02 as found in Ceramic Coatings, followed by IGL Ecocoat Premier hydrophobic coating spray.
Needless to say, the customer was delighted with her car, noticing how silky smooth the paintwork was, with assurance that the water repellent behaviour now evident on the paintwork would protect it over the harsh Scottish winter.
The feeling of making genuine friends throughout this trip was undeniable. Johnnie Hamill, his partner Mel and Chris so kindly taken me for an amazing meal at Canada Wood on the final evening, and I was treated to a visit to Stirling Castle on the morning that I had to leave, a sight to behold with plenty of history to see.
A write-up on the whole trip featured in the Pro Detailer magazine issue 6 brings us to an end of this great journey working with fellows of the trade, broadening horizons and learning just that little bit more. It is however, not the last time I will meet these great friends that I have also made, and who knows, perhaps another trip may be in order for the not too distant future... Thanks for reading! - Andrew
Whilst Detailed By Andrew has many customers that use the Service Clean package to maintain their vehicle after having a Detailing service package carried out, there are many out there that choose to wash and clean their car themselves afterwards, which is absolutely fine.
I know full well that many people may want to look after their car by themselves on the regular after having the detailing work done, for many reasons. As a result I am often asked for aftercare advice and so here I hope to give a bit of direction for the weekend warrior. In this product review I offer my two-penneth on CarPro's offering on a quintessential piece of kit that should belong in any avid car washer's arsenal; the merino wool wash mitt.
Above picture courtesy of CarPro, used for reviewing purposes.
So what is it?
It is a densely packed washed merino wool wash mitt with a pouch at the back to ergonomically put your hand in during use, offering control and less chance of resigning it to the bin after dropping it on the gravel. The high quality material medium ensures that a gentle and effective wash can be achieved when shampooing your car; being sensitive to paintwork when used properly.
Why I like it.
Okay, so you are here reading this blog because you might trust my recommendation on a product. The CarPro Merino Wool Wash Mitt has a long pile, meaning more surface area to carry suds, shampoo, and any other detailing geekiness out of that product bottle and onto your car. There isn't much softer out there than merino wool, and this higher surface area means that tiny bits of sediments are kept away from the paintwork when you "swipe" along the panel, as opposed to being ground in, causing all sorts of marring, scratches and swirls as you would otherwise incur when using a sponge or harsher item. When using this mitt, you can hold as little or as much product as you will ever need. It just holds loads of shampoo - meaning that if you want that extra bit of slipperiness on the panel, you can crank a load of it out before having to go back to the buckets.
Something to take note of here, always use the two bucket wash method. That means, once you've cleaned a couple of panels, starting with the cleanest first, wash the mitt out in a clean bucket before soaking it up in the shampoo bucket again. Grit guards help, and pre-rinsing the vehicle of as much sediment as possible is vital before considering wash contact. As a final pointer, you may want to consider the purchase of a foam lance attachment for a pressure washer or hose pipe, so that the panels can be foamed up for extra lubrication after that initial pre-wash and pre-rinse.
The old saying goes - you get what you pay for. I have seen many wash mitts in the DIY shops, online stores and eBay, at a fraction of the price; but their longevity, construct and safeness on your vehicle's delicate surfaces match their price - cheap. Granted, the CarPro Merino Wool Wash Mitt isn't going to be considered cheap by general members of the public, and I think these days especially in the detailing scene that this doesn't come to much of a surprise. This item comes in at £18.99 with VAT included, but with any possible delivery charge on top. This is in no means to say that it is overly expensive at all; this is a premium product that has been well constructed out of quality materials. Again, you get what you pay for and the value is there. Indeed, many a wash mitt are in this price bracket, and sometimes even higher. I have previously used similarly priced wash mitts in the past and I am far more impressed with this one for it's softness, ease of maintenance and build quality.
What to be careful of.
The long pile means that sticking this mitt right under the pits of your car will see you unable to get it clean again very easily. The debris from the lower, grittier, grottier areas will prove to be difficult to fully remove from those long fibres when out on the job. No matter how thoroughly you pre-wash and pre-rinse these areas, they will always be the most filthy areas to contact wash. For this reason, this mitt in my opinion is more suited to the top panels of your car. For instance, the roof, glass, bonnet, boot and higher parts of the sides. For the lower parts of the car, I recommend using a shorter pile mitt, such as the Dooka Wash Pad, Sam's Luxury Wash Mitt, or Paragon Microfibre Mitt as these have shorter fibres and "release" debris a lot easier.
Do not use the black netting to scrub your car! Perhaps my only criticism of this mitt is that it isn’t double sided with wool. However, I dare say that if they were, their production cost would be nearly doubled.
As with all long fibre wash mitts, brushing them out after use is necessary. If, like me, you wash cars frequently, it's worth having more than one to allow you that little bit of squad rotation to avoid getting caught out playing a brand new one against Guardiola on the Sunday, and a tired one against Pardiola on the Wednesday. One or two can rest on the bench waiting to be brushed out ready for the next job. There just is no room for error where cross-car-contamination is concerned.
If you are interested in buying this item, it can be found direct from the UK official CarPro site here: https://carpro.uk.com/products/merino-wool-wash-mitt
As with all advice found on the internet, you carry out any works on your own car at your own risk. Detailed By Andrew does not accept any liability for your actions taken as a result of any advice given, reading this article or any other found on this website. One final piece of T&C small print; Detailed By Andrew's reviews are strictly impartial with no third party influence.
If you have any comments or questions please feel free to post in the comment section below. Thanks again! - Andrew.
So it was not to be, I couldn't stay in Middlesbrough forever no matter how much I enjoyed my stay and the company of Mr Fryett of Crystal Clear. After the completion of our task on the Audi S3, we packed our tools away and said our fare-thee-wells. Dusk set in as the trusty Detailed By Andrew wagon sailed off past the Why Aye land of Newcastle just up the road...
The roads became more narrow, twisty and bleaker as I traversed through Northumberland National Park towards the Scottish border. My sense of direction dwindled as did the available amount of radio stations. It came to a point where I seemed to be driving forever with no hope of a service station, and I was left with no choice but to pull over in the woods, only to feel like I was on set in "The Hills Have Eyes" for the most eerie, erm, stop for a sight-see I have ever had.
Many miles later I finally arrived in Falkirk to my Premier Inn hotel where a couple of pints of Guinness and a Beefeater meal greeted me just as well as the the locals. Seriously, as an Englishman visiting Scotland my welcome proved there was nothing to fear. As it was just the start of the weekend and I was booked to be up there until Tuesday I had a night to relax and catch up with some personal admin work.
Before my scheduled visit I really needed to get my barnet sorted. A quick Google search lead me to The Ross Carter Barber Shop and I tell you now, they do a really sharp job there. Sat waiting in the queue I was familiarly acquainted with the usual Premier League commentators voices, Stoke were being beaten to my delight, and it was in no time at all that I was asked "So what is your preference - Celtic or Rangers?" A question that a young wee English lad alone in Scotland best answer diplomatically! In a strange twist of fate, Ross's father used to be a barbering tutor at a college local to me - Dudley Tech. I left, truly with a very fresh trim. With the brisk Falkirk air hitting the sides of my head - man, was indeed, not hot.
This window of time proved well in the end as Saturday's appointment to attend an Audi RS5 with Johnnie Hamill of Pro-Valet (www.pro-valet.net) fell through as the customer was sadly called into work on short notice.
These are the perils of our trade; we fully intend to provide our service to please the customer and pay our bills, but unexpected situations can dampen our efforts somewhat. Not to fear though, as Johnnie had another job lined up on a 2010 Mini Cooper that desperately required some love so he did.
Johnnie's works van is a mobile guy's dream. An MWB Transit T280 with enough space to pack everything you could require into. Much like the Crystal Clear van, I soon appreciated my own efforts to equip my diddy Peugeot Partner van in a space effective manner, otherwise there was just no way I could effectively compete!
Rocking up in the van, firing up the generator and linking the pressure washer to the water supply we were soon on our way after the initial inspection, and meet and greet with the customer.
Johnnie has been in the trade for more than 30+ years so there is more to his wealth of experience than I could possibly hope to include in this write-up, which is why I was keen to get some hours down working with him. There is only so much you can hope to learn on your own, or by reading books, or by watching videos after all.
Sadly this Mini was bereft of TLC, and Pro-Valet was the port of call to get it shining once more. I picked up tips from Johnnie to further up my game on the clay bar process, to name just one of many. Not that I had been doing it wrong or inefficiently, but there are some little tricks to make the side panels a little more comfortable on the hands.
One of the main educational points for me was getting to try the Rupes Bigfoot 15 for size (myself being a die-hard Flex user this was akin to a West Brom fan trying on a Wolves shirt, as some would say), but jokes aside it proved an opportunity to try out some polishing tools that I otherwise would not have unless I committed to buy them. In a strange turn of events, a young man happened to walk by wearing a West Brom jacket... Stifling my temptation to shout "Pulis Out!" Johnnie imparted some advice on how to get the most of the light cut pad and polish in conjunction with that particular machine.
I thoroughly enjoyed working alongside Johnnie, and the lessons I learned will always shine through in my future work.
It wasn't just the tricks, working manner and tools that I had the benefit of learning form either. There was a particular protection product used on this visit that really shone through. I'll keep it a secret for now though, as I really want to offer it to you, the potential customer, some point soon... But not only that, some methodology that works well for mobile guys putting up with unpredictable weather. The customer was delighted with her car, and with Johnnie and I working somewhat in tandem we managed to get the whole thing done in 3 and a half hours. Those are Usain Bolt stats right there!