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Thread: The Mindset of a Professional Detailer

  1. #1
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    The Mindset of a Professional Detailer

    The Mindset of a Professional Detailer



    The Mindset of the Professional Detailer

    Originally posted on ShowCarGarage.com on 11-08-2005, 11:45 PM




    When it comes to detailing cars for profit there are three general camps,

    • Production work
    • High-end work
    • Show Car Detailing



    Production work
    A lot of detailers start out doing production work and as their skill level increases and they begin to establish their reputation, they are able to move up to high-end detailing where they are able to offer higher quality work which usually includes a multi-step paint polishing process and thus a higher price. In some cases doing production work can be more profitable because you can work faster, do less to the car and your customers expectations are not going to be as high because of the price you're charging.

    Generally speaking, (but not always), the people doing production work are either just starting out, or working for someone else and often times both. Because they are paid by the hour or by the car, they often times don't have the monetary incentive to pour their heart and soul into their work, nor are they able to experience the self-satisfaction and pride that comes from a job well done.

    For this reason, over time every car becomes just another car. There is no connection, there is no reason to give it their all, every car becomes an exercise in speed, as in how fast they can get the job done, not how well can they do the job.




    Show Car Detailing
    Another category of detailing is what you would call Show Car Detailing. This would involve doing your best work for typically special interest vehicles where the owner wants and expects a show car finish and understands that to achieve this kind of finish, it requires the person doing the work to have a high skill level and a excellent working knowledge of what I call the 3 P's,

    • Paint
    • Products
    • Procedures


    Of course the owners of special interest cars understand that professional quality work also comes at a premium price. At the end of the day, the value is in the results achieved, but if you want to drill down a little deeper, then what the customer is really paying for, (and in other words, the real value), is the peace of mind the owner obtains knowing that their car is in the hands of a skilled professional. It is this confidence the detailer provides the owner, that enables the owners to hand them the keys and walk away without fear.

    Besides confidence, a professional detailer also brings to the table their soul, by this I mean a true craftsman of the art of polishing paint brings to his craft the human elements of care and passion.





    The mindset of the professional detailer
    The human elements of caring about the quality of your work, and having a true passion for the craft, is a mindset. This mindset is a way of thinking that is an unconscious reflex similar to breathing. By this I mean, just like none of us ever have to think about breathing because it's an automatic reflex that is a part of our physiology, for the true craftsman, doing their very best work for every car they touch is an unavoidable reflex... it's in their blood.

    For myself, when I work on another person's car, I mentally adopt the car as if it were my own. After making this intellectual commitment and emotional attachment towards both the vehicle and the owner of the vehicle, everything else, (the work to be performed), becomes second-nature, I simply treat their car exactly like I would treat my own car, because at some spiritual level, it is now my car.

    This is the mindset of any true professional no matter what their profession. It's never about the money… it's always about the passion for what they were created for.

    When it comes to polishing the paint on special interest vehicles, there is no room for error. This is because automotive paints are a thin, delicate film coating; they are easily dulled and easily swirled and scratched, once they are dulled down or instilled with scratches, it requires the right products and techniques to remove the defects and restore a show car shine. You are limited to what you can do by how thick the working film-build of the paint is, this is why I always say,

    "It's all about the paint".



    Paint is thin
    There is a point of no return when working on paint. Once you've gone past this point, the only true solution is to apply more paint and this can be quite expensive, especially when it's someone else's car we're talking about and not your own! Car owners that know that the paint on their car is thin as well as proper polishing results in an exceptional looking car while improper polishing results in a swirled-out mess, understand why a true professional detailer charges more than the rest of the pack and once they find a professional detailer that actually knows what they are doing and this is key, cares about what they are doing, the price is not an issue.



    If you're reading this and you're looking to learn more about the art of polishing paint, then you have come to the right place. AutogeekOnline isn't just another detailing discussion forum… (there's plenty of these to choose from), no… AutogeekOnline is a place you can learn more about the art of polishing paint.

    Hang around, read the forum, assimilate the information… adopt the mindset of a professional…


    "It's all about the paint"





    p.s.

    If you're reading this as a car owner that prefers to hire a professional to detail their car and are not up to speed as to the topic of how thin the factory paint is on a car, the read my article on this topic here,

    Clearcoats are thin by Mike Phillips



    Mike Phillips
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  2. #2
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: The Mindset of a Professional Detailer

    Just to note, this was actually a one or two page chapter out of a book I wrote in 2000 called "The Art of Polishing Paint"' and self-published for a run of about 1500 copies.

    Mike Phillips
    Host - Competition Ready on Velocity Channel
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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    Click on a book to get your own copy.



  3. #3

    Re: The Mindset of a Professional Detailer

    where do you find your book?

  4. #4
    Senior Member GMC83's Avatar
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    Re: The Mindset of a Professional Detailer

    Sometimes a lot of my customers with daily drivers only want production work, as in Wash/Clay/ AIO and dress the tires. I do not work for anyone nor have I just started out but I try an offer all three types of detailing work you have listed above

    Seems like its all about the customer and what they want

  5. #5
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: The Mindset of a Professional Detailer

    Quote Originally Posted by bulldog shine View Post
    where do you find your book?
    I only published 1500 copies and sold them all at the Portland Swap Meet in one weekend. After that I decided to re-write it and never put it back together again.

    Sorry...

    Mike Phillips
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  6. #6
    Senior Member TheDodgeGuy's Avatar
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    Re: The Mindset of a Professional Detailer

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike.Phillips@Autogeek View Post
    I only published 1500 copies and sold them all at the Portland Swap Meet in one weekend. After that I decided to re-write it and never put it back together again.

    Sorry...

    Well, not that you don't have enough on your plate already...we'll be waiting
    "The only thing that hurts more than paying an income tax is not having to pay an income tax." --Thomas Robert Dewar

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    Re: The Mindset of a Professional Detailer

    Very nice read, thank you!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Gary Sword's Avatar
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    Re: The Mindset of a Professional Detailer

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike.Phillips@Autogeek View Post
    The human elements of caring about the quality of your work, and having a true passion for the craft, is a mindset. This mindset is a way of thinking that is an unconscious reflex similar to breathing. By this we mean, just like none of us ever have to think about breathing because it's an automatic reflex that is a part of our physiology, for the craftsman, doing their very best work for every car they touch is an unavoidable reflex... it's in their blood.
    Nice mindset Mike!

    Great train of thought and it applies to many things besides detailing and being a professional. Some people always do the best they can while others just do what it takes to get buy or what's expected of them.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Buckskincolt's Avatar
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    Re: The Mindset of a Professional Detailer

    I'm thinking AutoGeekOnline needs to get into the publishing business.
    "Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." Lincoln's First Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861.

    Newport, Oregon USA!

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    Re: The Mindset of a Professional Detailer

    Mike Thanks for posting up The Mindset of a Professional Detailer. It was a great read then and it still is today.

    This article was the inspiration for me to change my company name [after checking for web site availability-another of Mikes great write ups!] to the PaintPolisher.

    We Polish Paint.

    al

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