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  1. #1
    Senior Member 14automobiles's Avatar
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    Calling all professional auto detailers...

    I hope I got a few people's attention with this subject...


    I need advice. If you have read some of my other posts I am going from a hobby detailer to starting a detailing business. I need to know if I should have any type of aggreement (contract) with the customer before I start work on a person's car.

    This question got brought up to me by my wife... she was wondering if I should have some kind of an aggreement (contract) with the customer maybe something like the paper work when you rent a car. This paperwork has a picture of the car and you are supposed to mark on the vehicle (on the paper) any visible damages seen before you drive away. So that when you return with the vehicle you don't have to pay for damages that were already on the vehicle. This kind of paperwork would help avoid any customer saying that I scratched their car...when it was there before I even started working on it.

    Another point was should there be some kind of a waiver for the customer to sign stating that I am not responsible for electronic or engine failure because of cleaning the engine with chemicals and water. Their wiring may have already been cracking and it only took a little of something to make it fail.

    I am fully aware of the precautions to take with people's vehicles when cleaning their engine and car but I am wondering if any business owners do an aggreement (contract) or do you simply give them an estimate sheet or do you give them only your word?

    thanks a ton whoever can help.

  2. #2
    SELF BANNED ASPHALT ROCKET's Avatar
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    Re: Calling all professional auto detailers...

    Quote Originally Posted by 14automobiles View Post
    I hope I got a few people's attention with this subject...


    I need advice. If you have read some of my other posts I am going from a hobby detailer to starting a detailing business. I need to know if I should have any type of aggreement (contract) with the customer before I start work on a person's car.

    This question got brought up to me by my wife... she was wondering if I should have some kind of an aggreement (contract) with the customer maybe something like the paper work when you rent a car. This paperwork has a picture of the car and you are supposed to mark on the vehicle (on the paper) any visible damages seen before you drive away. So that when you return with the vehicle you don't have to pay for damages that were already on the vehicle. This kind of paperwork would help avoid any customer saying that I scratched their car...when it was there before I even started working on it.

    Another point was should there be some kind of a waiver for the customer to sign stating that I am not responsible for electronic or engine failure because of cleaning the engine with chemicals and water. Their wiring may have already been cracking and it only took a little of something to make it fail.

    I am fully aware of the precautions to take with people's vehicles when cleaning their engine and car but I am wondering if any business owners do an aggreement (contract) or do you simply give them an estimate sheet or do you give them only your word?

    thanks a ton whoever can help.
    You should always do a walk around with the customer and it would help to have a check in sheet like your wife asked about. This way you can mark on the sheet where the damage is on the car and have the customer sign it. As far as the engine is concerned you can cover certain things. I have never had a problem with cleaning an engine but things do happen. The main thing is you do not want to use alot of pressure when cleaning an engine.

  3. #3
    Senior Member VR8's Avatar
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    Re: Calling all professional auto detailers...

    A checksheet and a waiver are smart business decisions. If you have the cash to pay a lawyer to write one for you, go for it. Even you're own version would be better than nothing. But make it professional, nothing worse than blowing your image of confidence with a contract that looks like it was written by a middle school student.

  4. #4
    Senior Member sparkie's Avatar
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    Re: Calling all professional auto detailers...

    Quote Originally Posted by ASPHALT ROCKET View Post
    You should always do a walk around with the customer and it would help to have a check in sheet like your wife asked about. This way you can mark on the sheet where the damage is on the car and have the customer sign it. As far as the engine is concerned you can cover certain things. I have never had a problem with cleaning an engine but things do happen. The main thing is you do not want to use alot of pressure when cleaning an engine.
    Quote Originally Posted by VR8 View Post
    A checksheet and a waiver are smart business decisions. If you have the cash to pay a lawyer to write one for you, go for it. Even you're own version would be better than nothing. But make it professional, nothing worse than blowing your image of confidence with a contract that looks like it was written by a middle school student.


  5. #5
    Senior Member 14automobiles's Avatar
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    Re: Calling all professional auto detailers...

    Quote Originally Posted by ASPHALT ROCKET View Post
    You should always do a walk around with the customer and it would help to have a check in sheet like your wife asked about. This way you can mark on the sheet where the damage is on the car and have the customer sign it. As far as the engine is concerned you can cover certain things. I have never had a problem with cleaning an engine but things do happen. The main thing is you do not want to use alot of pressure when cleaning an engine.
    What do you use for a check in sheet. What does it contain? Price, items that will be done on the detail, scratches or something different..... etc.? thanks for helping

  6. #6
    Senior Member 14automobiles's Avatar
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    Re: Calling all professional auto detailers...

    Quote Originally Posted by VR8 View Post
    A checksheet and a waiver are smart business decisions. If you have the cash to pay a lawyer to write one for you, go for it. Even you're own version would be better than nothing. But make it professional, nothing worse than blowing your image of confidence with a contract that looks like it was written by a middle school student.
    Do you use a checksheet..why or why not? If so, what is on it? thanks for helping.

  7. #7
    Senior Member sparkie's Avatar
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    Re: Calling all professional auto detailers...

    I put down any damage on a yellow paper pad and take pic....


  8. #8
    Senior Member detaildave's Avatar
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    Re: Calling all professional auto detailers...

    I have a inspection worksheet with a driver/passenger & topview of a car. I have many friends in rental car agencies & auto body shops that have these worksheets. I walk around the entire car with the customer and circle any dents/dings/scratches while customer is present, then note them at the bottom of the page. I tell the customer what I feel I can actually remove & I'm honest with what I can't (deep scratch, severe paint oxidation, etc.) remove. Once the "walk-around" is complete I have them to sign the waiver / inspection worksheet. Never over promise & under deliver, it hurts your reputation and for a business it will be a short ride. After all were not Magicians. I also look at the interior with the customer for exploratory reasons; consoles, glove box, side & back pockets, trunk etc. for "Valuables" and ask them to take those items with them. You wouldn't believe how many weapons I found as well. I do this so you don't get the phone call saying "Where's this item"? after I've competed the job and moved on to another. I also place anything & everything in trash bags (consloes, glove box, etc.) that I label and place in the trunk so I can detail the area without stopping every 5 seconds. I'm sure all here have encountered the same issues. Yes I think it's an excellent idea to have a lawyer to write up & approve your waiver for you. Unfortunately their are people out their that are always looking to take advantage of you. Sorry don't mean to sound pessimistic, but you have to "CYA" in todays marketplace. We all work way too hard in this industry to have it taken away by some lazy "Malcontent", beware they come from all walks of life. Good Luck in your new business & I wish you the best. Happy Detailing!!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member 14automobiles's Avatar
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    Re: Calling all professional auto detailers...

    Quote Originally Posted by sparkie View Post
    I put down any damage on a yellow paper pad and take pic....

    thank you

  10. #10
    Senior Member 14automobiles's Avatar
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    Re: Calling all professional auto detailers...

    Quote Originally Posted by detaildave View Post
    I have a inspection worksheet with a driver/passenger & topview of a car. I have many friends in rental car agencies & auto body shops that have these worksheets. I walk around the entire car with the customer and circle any dents/dings/scratches while customer is present, then note them at the bottom of the page. I tell the customer what I feel I can actually remove & I'm honest with what I can't (deep scratch, severe paint oxidation, etc.) remove. Once the "walk-around" is complete I have them to sign the waiver / inspection worksheet. Never over promise & under deliver, it hurts your reputation and for a business it will be a short ride. After all were not Magicians. I also look at the interior with the customer for exploratory reasons; consoles, glove box, side & back pockets, trunk etc. for "Valuables" and ask them to take those items with them. You wouldn't believe how many weapons I found as well. I do this so you don't get the phone call saying "Where's this item"? after I've competed the job and moved on to another. I also place anything & everything in trash bags (consloes, glove box, etc.) that I label and place in the trunk so I can detail the area without stopping every 5 seconds. I'm sure all here have encountered the same issues. Yes I think it's an excellent idea to have a lawyer to write up & approve your waiver for you. Unfortunately their are people out their that are always looking to take advantage of you. Sorry don't mean to sound pessimistic, but you have to "CYA" in todays marketplace. We all work way too hard in this industry to have it taken away by some lazy "Malcontent", beware they come from all walks of life. Good Luck in your new business & I wish you the best. Happy Detailing!!!

    Thank you very much for the in depth explanation. Very helpful.

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