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Old 04-07-2010, 11:03 AM   #1
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Do you tip your detailer?

Do you tip your detailer?


I actually found a thread on CorvetteForum on this topic and because it's a topic I'm a little bit passionate about I thought I would create a thread on the topic and that way I could share what I posted on CorvetteForum.


If you hire detailers... this thread is for you...
This is mostly for all the people that read AutogeekOnline that hire detailers to detail their cars, it's not really for detailers. So if you're a member or a lurker reading this and instead of doing all the work it takes to detail your own car, you hire someone to detail your cars. Then this is for you and the emphasis is less on tipping your detailer and more on giving them some pro-active word-of-mouth advertising.

The question that came up on CorvetteForum was,


Do you tip your detailer?


And here's my reply...


For whatever it's worth...

I've never paid to have any of my cars detailed as I'm a detailer. But I make it a practice in life to tip generously anytime I get great service and especially if the place I'm at is a place I frequent on any kind of regular schedule, for example a favorite restaurant. I find it insures continued top notch service and if the person taking care of me is genuinely doing their best and usually their very best, I like to recognize it.

When I detail cars, I always pour my heart and soul into the job; I quit doing daily drivers probably a week or two into my detailing career as I was lucky to somehow continually meet owners of "Special Interest" cars and get their business.

Point being while I might pour my heart and soul into a daily driver, it wouldn't be the same as pouring one's heart and soul into a really cool 1959 Corvette for example when you machine compound and polish every square inch of paint on the car...


If it has paint... it gets polished...

This is me wiping M16 off the lower panels of a 1959 Corvette after doing a multi-step rotary buff-out.



But regardless of whether you're paying a detailer to work on your Toy, (whatever it might be), or your Grocery-Getter, even after agreeing on a set price, if they do a good job, give them a tip.

Most detailers I've known in my life detail cars because they have a passion for the craft, rarely do I ever meet anyone that's doing this kind of work only motivated to make a buck.

So if your detailer does a good job, tip them. If they do an out-of-this-world GREAT job, then let them know, not only tip them but make the transaction an over-the-top win/win deal by giving them some word-of-mouth business.

If they do a great job for you, chances are very good they will do a great job for your buddies and if you buddy's cars look like Swirl City, definitely,


Ask your detailer for a few extra business cards and do a little pro-active promotion of their business for them.


A tip is nice, heck I'll do a cartwheel in the front yard if I get a tip, but most detailers live or die by word-of-mouth-advertising and most are not very good about asking for referrals, so step up to the plate and help them out a little if you're in a position to, like at the next club meeting when you notice your buddy Steve's 1972 Corvette looks nice except for all the swirls in the paint.


Pay it forward...


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Old 04-07-2010, 11:28 AM   #2
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Re: Do you tip your detailer?

In addition...

My good friend Rasky pointed out that better than a tip is for the owner of the car to take a moment to post their experience to a forum, either the forum where they hang-out or the forum where they discovered their detailer.

Discussion Forums have become very powerful marketing tools that detailers can use to gain new customers but one of the most powerful aspects of marketing on a discussion forum is when a Detailer's customer posts some Cyber-Word-Of-Mouth Advertising for them in the way of a thread.

Thanks Rasky!

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Old 04-07-2010, 12:23 PM   #3
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Re: Do you tip your detailer?

Excellent advise.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:28 PM   #4
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Re: Do you tip your detailer?

As with any "service provider" type industry, I would tip my detailer. My philosophy is "take care of those that take care of you". All of the prices in restaurants etc are basically the same, as are prices for detailing. If you're happy with the work, show it.
P.S. Before AG, I used to use a detailer in the area ( the only one around). I wasn't thrilled with his work, yet I knew he gave it his all and I tipped him. Now I do it myself. I've always wanted to be able to but was a little chicken. Now I have neighbors asking me if I'd be willing to do their cars. And my standard answer is no. I'll help you, but my passion is for my cars. If they don't want to do it themselves, I give them the name of the guy I used to use. 99% are satisfied with his work. So I guess we both win.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:34 PM   #5
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Re: Do you tip your detailer?

Very good topic. I have brought this up with people before. I have TONS of repeat customers, and in the last year only 3 have ever tipped me. I dont know what it is, but most of the customers I do never tip. Only few have posted there experiences on forums, but yet I still get alot of customers back for repeat business.

I have almost been down to the point of with invoices putting on it in bold "Tipping is Appreciated"
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Old 04-07-2010, 01:36 PM   #6
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Re: Do you tip your detailer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpegs13 View Post

Before AG, I used to use a detailer in the area ( the only one around). I wasn't thrilled with his work, yet I knew he gave it his all and I tipped him.

If they don't want to do it themselves, I give them the name of the guy I used to use. 99% are satisfied with his work. So I guess we both win.
Maybe share our forum with this detailer?

I have found the most knowledgeable detailers are detailers that hangout on detailing forums.

I can't tell you how many hundreds of detailers I've met that have never seen a DA Polisher, let alone a Flex 3401

Most non-forum detailers use,

Rotary Buffer
Traditional Orbital Buffer
Their hands


They don't know about any of the really cool products, pads or techniques everyone on this forum and other detailing forums take for granted because it's common knowledge if you just read enough on a detailing forum.

Same thing goes for the majority of all the so called, "Car Guys" in all the car clubs across America, and probably the world. The all consider themselves knowledgeable about detailing but when they've attended my classes most of what I show them is "new" to them including just about every tool except this on.


TOB = Traditional Orbital Buffer aka The Wax Spreader




I could never count how many SoCal Car Club member's I have personally taught how to use a G100 Dual Action Polisher but it's got to be in the thousands.

Even at the Barrett-Jackson Auction I was at last weekend, THOUSANDS of "Car Guys" at this even and hundreds of them stopped by my booth and looked at all the different tools I had with me and the majority of them said they either work by hand or use a Traditional Orbital Buffer.


But I digress...

Back to the topic at hand... tipping...


If you're a car owner reading this and you normally hire a detailer to detail your car, truck or s.u.v., if the do a great job, show your appreciation by tipping them or joining a forum where they hang out and post your experience for others to read and this will help them gain new customers.

It's all about trust, and a first hand testimony helps to build trust...


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Old 04-07-2010, 02:29 PM   #7
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Re: Do you tip your detailer?

I'm just playing devils advocat here. I used to have my car washed and waxed at the corner gas station and always tipped the guys. They were ridicuously low priced at $35.00 and did a good job for what it was. I think people look at tipping for a service differently than they do tipping a waitress. An example would be getting an excellent meal that took hours to prepare and cost $100.00. You would most likely tip the waitress at least $15.00 or $20.00. Why doesn't the cook get a tip, he or she did most of the work. The answer is that a waitresses salary is based on tips. They only make a couple of bucks an hour and their tips are what they live on. If you pay a detailer and he owns the company theoretically he keeps all of the money. If he is an employee of a company most people would be more inclined to tip. I have recomended friends to detailers on this board based on the fantastic transformations they showed in thier pics. Most people would let their friends now if they are happy with their detailer. A big problem is how many understand what goes into a quality detailing job. The majority compare it to my example above at the corner carwash. When I went to Barret Jackson on Sunday I passed a Carwash that had dozens of kids with orbital buffers applying the wax and the cars were lined up. I couldn't believe how busy they were. It didn't matter that they used cheap cleaner wax that wouldn't last. Their cars were clean and relitively shiney and it cost them less than $50.00. The biggest obsticle is educating the public on what a correction involves compared to just a wash and wax.

Just my .02Cents

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Old 04-07-2010, 03:06 PM   #8
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Re: Do you tip your detailer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike.Phillips@Autogeek View Post
They don't know about any of the really cool products, pads or techniques everyone on this forum and other detailing forums take for granted because it's common knowledge if you just read enough on a detailing forum.

Same thing goes for the majority of all the so called, "Car Guys" in all the car clubs across America, and probably the world. The all consider themselves knowledgeable about detailing but when they've attended my classes most of what I show them is "new" to them including just about every tool except this one.
The sad thing is, I have found that it sometimes takes a lot of convincing when you come across one of these "car guys" who think they know what they're doing, but have absolutely no idea about the advanced and up-to-date products, tools, and techniques we forum types use.

I've even lost business from a few people because of it, amazingly. They show up at my shop and see all the "Frankenstein stuff" I have (the Flex, G100, pads, and tons of product) and ask me why I've got it and "you're not planning to use all that crap on my car are you?"

I take the time to explain to them exactly what I have and use, and why I use it, and they'll resort to the classic "but my buddy who used to detail for the Chevy dealer growing up told me..." or "but my dad always said..." stories about using single-speed rotaries with wool pads, or only working by hand, and insisting that anything else is unsafe and inevitably will destroy their vehicle.

These cases of finding people who know just enough to be dangerous are rare, but it's unfortunate to lose the chance to help people maximize the appearance of their special interest vehicles simply because they don't trust anything outside of their limited and out-of-date knowledge.

It IS really nice when you come across people who are open-minded enough to give new technologies in surface care and the people who use them a chance, though. One of the biggest joys of doing this work is when you can turn owners of special interest vehicles on to a better way to take care of their prized possessions -- not only because it makes your job easier when your customers maintain things properly, but also because they can pass on the knowledge to their family and friends that likely turn to them for advice as the "car person" in their circle.

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Old 04-07-2010, 03:10 PM   #9
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Re: Do you tip your detailer?

My guess is that professional detailers, especially one-man outfits, rarely get tipped. I do not expect that this will change, precisely for the reasons markm has given. I do not tip my detailer (actually I've only paid for a detail once and probably will not do it again), for the same reasons I do not tip a plumber, house painter, or auto mechanic. As a rule, those who engage in contractual work do not get tipped. When I contract with a detailer for a particular job, I assume that doing a good job is part of the deal. If he doesn't do a good job, I look for another detailer.

So who do I tip? Those whose livelihoods to a large extent consist of tips: waiters, bartenders, hair stylists, valet parking lot attendants, hotel porters, taxi cab drivers, etc.

This does not mean that I might never tip a detailer for an outstanding job, but it does mean that I do not believe that he should expect such a tip. If the detailer thinks his work deserves more, then he needs to charge more.

It really is just a matter of cultural expectations. Don't take it personally.
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:13 PM   #10
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Re: Do you tip your detailer?

always tip for good service in anything related to car care, I stand by it. Even tire rotations, oil changes, and such ... you will be rewarded time and again by someone that cares.
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