Building on from last weeks instalment, I am writing the second part of the July Detailing Digest to include a product review, another case study and some anecdotal thoughts of a man who spends too much time thinking. I intend to structure the blog as a monthly review, split into several parts written throughout the month. So let's get on with the product review.
This week saw me do a much needed stock refresh from various suppliers. Here's my order from Liquid Elements UK, there is something to be said about new full bottles of products. A nice little carry case features to help move around the car with my paint depth guage, scangrip lights and other polishing paraphernalia.
I am forever researching the latest and greatest products in car care in order to continually increase the quality of my workmanship. If you are not moving forwards you might as well make a conscious effort to go backwards. There is an old tale that Enzo Ferrari told the press that it was the driver who was to thank for their Formula 1 success, but behind closed doors stated that it was the car that takes the credit. My personal opinion where detailing is concerned is that it is both the professional and the inventory that lend to a job well done; a good set of products are useless in the hands of someone who does not know what they are doing, and even the world's best detailer would need decent apparatus to do his or her thing at their very best.
You may be expecting my first review to be about a polishing compound or a wax, or even a coating. But no actually, this review is indeed for Krystal Kleen Detail's new product Kleenthru. What does it Kleen thru, you ask? It fills the gap in the market for a maintenance product that prevents snow foam lances from becoming clogged up with detergent build up and limescale.
I must admit that I am fairly harsh with my foam lances, I run bodywork protective shampoo's and rinse aid products through them as well as simple snow foams, which have evidently coated the internals of my lance. To make things worse, I run stronger concentrations of snow foam to get round this as a shortcut to dismantling them and giving a thorough clean, a negative spiral so to speak. The resulting ailment is that I no longer cover cars in excitement, and a white dribble limps out the end of my pipe instead. This hasn't mattered too much, as I was using the Gilmour Foamaster hose attachment as a back up.
Following instructions I filled an inch or so in the bottle with Kleenthru, and ran it through the lance until empty. This didn't really achieve much, but consulting with the instructions lead me to leave a 10:1 mixture with water in a bucket and leave the lance to dwell overnight. On carrying this out, I still found the lance to be no better. This perhaps, was not the blue pill for my neglected lance afterall.
However, I have a second, not-so neglected lance that I tried this on and it managed to bring it back to life. It takes patience, but it does work. See image below.
The lesson to be learned here is that prevention is better than cure, just like defects in paint, and that this product should be used as intended to flush through once a week or so to prevent the lance becoming totally fubar'd. Would I buy this product again? Yes. I still have some left, and for my new lance, I shall certainly use this to ensure that it does not fall into disrepair like the two good servants of the cause that preceded it.
Case Study #2.
July's second case study isn't actually about a car, I shall do that for part three. Instead, I thought I would post the results of a survey I published online asking people seven questions about the valeting and detailing industry. The survey was shared by other professionals around the UK to ensure a good spread of data from around the country.
A quick debreif.
Q1. Most people who answered had already had a service, perhaps owing to a more informed answer for the following question.
Q2 and Q3. The majority were prepared to pay around £30 for a service that is percieved to take 1 hour.
Q4. A full day of paintwork detailing happily commands over £200 from most of the participants. How much they may be prepared to pay may depend on their location in the country and if this is a mobile or premises business. Suprisingly, people from Glasgow were happier to pay more than Londoners, which contradicts common preconception. Also, those who were happier to pay more liked a mobile service just as much as a premises one.
Q5. The strong majority for higher prices is lost slightly where messy cars are concerned. Strangely enough, these types of jobs are more difficult and less pleasant to take on.
Q6. Without giving away too much, the correct answer here is in the minority.
Q7. People like both; a result as close as Brexit.
Aside from being out there and doing the job, one has to consider the possibility of any given situation presenting itself. Working on a mobile basis out in the public domain, the occurence of being approached by passersby is relatively high. Their approach is usually one of intrigue into what you are doing, followed by an eerily predictable "excuse me mate, what do you charge?". Whilst meaning well, I can't help but imagine some kind of Terminator scenario where they await in multitude somewhere in another dimension waiting to spawn near an unsuspecting vehicle detailer. I don't mean to sound brash, as there are some potential customers out there. My reason for approaching this subject of how to answer said question is one of thinking outside the box, for three reasons.
Firstly, the likelyhood is that the inquistor has only just seen you, so they won't be aware of how long you have been working on your customer's car, or have much understanding of what process you have gone through. They may just be walking past to notice you giving the paintwork a final wipe down for presentation with a finishing spray product thinking that is all you have done, not fully aware of the hours of decon and machine polishing you have worked to arrive at the shiny car they are looking at. This creates a rift in the inquistor's expectation of what they think you might "charge" compared to what you, ahem, "charge". PS I hate that word. Giving a headline figure of the price for the job you are working on often results in unpleasant surprise and impolite remarks which then escalates into bad feeling for both sides. Any chance of them wanting to book their car in are now diminished as they struggle to comprehend how a such a simple "wash and polish" could cost three figures. The key to this one is to get the inquisitor to understand the process and benefits of what exactly you have done to the car, and give them chance to shy away if they can conclude that it may be a bit more specialist than they might feel comfortable with.
Secondly, the inquisitor may not even be interested in having their car done, but simply are your customer's nosey neighbor who wants to pry on what amount of money your customer is spending. This is none of the inquisitor's business, and it is a professional's duty of care to uphold customer confidentiality in high regard. A similar scenario is being approached in the pub whilst I am enjoying myself a pint, it is purely for gossip.
The third reason is perhaps the most sinister in nature. I cast my mind back to a job carried out last year, in a housing estate of inhabitants with questionable quality of good hearted demeanor, shall we say. My customer was lovely though. However, she noticed me being approached by hooded passersby asking the catchphrase "excuse me mate, how much do you charge?" and called me to one side. She said "I hope you haven't told them" to which I hadn't. Further explaination for her concern was that it was not out of character for some of the local youths to pry on tradespeople, knowing full well that they are about to be paid at the end of the day, follow them down the road into some kind of road trap and mug them. Charming.
So how do you approach these propositions? I came up with a simple answer that saves face, keeps customer confidentiality in check, and hopefully stops me from getting mugged or again hearing "yow'm the expensive car washa ay ya" in the pub.
I like to give a business card, stating that the website has different service packages and whatever service I have done for my customer may not be the right one for them. Asking them to look online gets people to engage, think about what kind of care their vehicle needs and possibly choose a service to suit their budget. An interesting note to finish part two on, is that my website hosting app tells me where visitors are directed from, and very little have typed out the url so far this month; so I've been approached by nosey neighbors.