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Speedy multi-car detailing

by

Lately, I have been going through the process of starting up another volume based business to compliment the higher end, one off business most here know about, Envious Detailing.  I have had to go over and over and over processes to come up with the most effective ways to get the most amount of cars done in one single day.   A few of the ways I have been able to cut down on the timing were the following:

  • Hire a second set of hands
  • Streamline things
  • Easy to use products/products for multiple steps

There are some processes that work better based on the job at hand.  For example, if you are trying to get 4 cars washed, it would require a different process compared to 3 cars prepped and polished.

Here is my process for the 3 cars to be single step polished in one day: (must have two people)

  • Wash the car – one rinses, washes the paint and windows while the second cleans the wheels and tires, wheel wells, exhaust tips.  Both dry the car together following each other so one gets MOST of the water off the car while the trailing person gets the rest of it.
  • One person starts claying the car while the second begins polishing.
  • Once claying is finished, this person moves onto the interior vacuuming, wipedown, door jambs.
  • As soon as the polishing is completed, this person waxes the car as well.
  • While waiting for the wax to cure on the paint, one person dressed the tires, and re-wipes the wheels from moving the car around and polishes the exhaust tips.
  • While the other person wipes off the wax, the windows are cleaned AFTER the waxed panel is wiped free of wax so there is no wax transfer onto the windows.  Continue onto car #2 and repeat.

On a M3 sized car, this process takes about 2.5 hours

Here is my process for washing 4 cars in one day solo with all leaving at the end of the day:

  • Wash exterior of car with ONR
  • Clean door jambs
  • Clean wheels
  • Repeat on all cars
  • Then go back and vacuum all cars in a row
  • Go back with your latex glove, tire dressing applicator, and tire dressing and hit all the cars in a row.
  • Clean all windows on all cars

There are a couple of reasons to streamline things:

  1. Cost savings! – Discarding only partially used/wet towels from car one washing when it can be reused on car #2 and so forth, only one set of gloves used for tire dressing application instead of 4 sets – non-resuable gloves.
  2. Time savings! – Dragging the vacuum cleaner back and forth to the supply truck after each car is wasted steps, pulling the different products out each and every time takes longer.

Using easier to use products for multiple surfaces has led to lower overall costs, saved time from walking back to the truck, and prevents having to do extra work like removing wax from trim.   I have found that ONR makes for a great interior cleaner, yet it still needs to be topped with a protectant.  APC can be used on many surfaces from tires, wheel wells, interior plastics, carpets, leather (interior gets used at a different dilution ratio vs. exterior uses).  Finding a wax that wont stain trim, yet will protect trim, is a HUGE time saver when doing wash and wax type jobs.  No need to slow down around the trim, or worry about cleaning it off anymore.  Finding the right products for the job at hand is key part of operating at max capacity and staying cost effective.

Here are a couple products for mulitple uses:

There may be other ways to speed things up, but these are a couple that I have implemented in my new business that seem to work out rather well.

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Eric Schuster Envious Detailing
Eric Schuster
Envious Detailing
Orange County, CA
EnviousAutoDetailing.com

9 comments on Speedy multi-car detailing

  1. Ron Ayotte says:

    Great advice for those cleaning multiple vehicles…

  2. travis says:

    ive been trying a bunch of new products trying to figure out which ones will give me the fastest desired results to compliment time management skills. A wash and wax is fairly easy to get faster once you have a system you like in place. where im failing is one step or even multi step polishing. i cant seem to get a one step done under 6 hours. (just me detailing) any advice for a one man army? a good finishing polish you recommend thats fast and easy to use?

  3. Jon says:

    Eric,

    Thanks for the write-up! Two questions: 1. what is your ‘go to’ non-trim staining wx? 2. What ONR dilution ratio do you like for interior detailing?

    Thanks,

    Jon

  4. Greg Gellas Greg Gellas says:

    Eric,
    Loved the article. I love working with other detailers, once we get going we begin to “dance” together and know exactly what one another is going to do. Big time savings. I also love the Meguiar’s Quik Interior Detailer. It great for a fast wipe down.

    Greg G

  5. MobileXcellence says:

    I have been using the Meguiars Microfiber Pads/Finish Wax as a AIO and it Rocks. No staining trim, it actually makes trim look better, seems to darken it. I also hit the tail lights and headlights, gives them a little ‘pop’. This wax seems to clean the paint for an AIO and hides/eliminates swirls. I am in California and I use this wax outdoors in the direct sun and the wax loves the heat (even black vehicles). I know it says not to in direct sunlight but when your a mobile detailer you cant get shade very often. Give it a try, you wont be disappointed. Also, its very inexpensive, a quart is $15 and I on average use 2 ounces per vehicle, making it cost 94 cents to wax a car, very cost effective and you get great results. This item has really streamlined my business. Wash car, dry, vacuum interior, DA wax on, dress interior (giving wax time to dry), dress wheels and engine compartment, door jambs, windows, then wax off. I also just started using the ONR (Pro Blog suggestion) and for door jams and clay lube it is unbelievable, and very cost effective. Thanks again Ask A Pro for the suggestions, you guys have not steered me wrong, you have made me a better detailer, definitely raised the bar.

  6. Dave Pa says:

    Eric,
    Once i finished washing three of my cars two weekends ago the first thought that popped into my mind was just what you covered ‘how can this be done faster/easier?’.

    This is great information for someone who has multiple cars at home to wash and the products you use are easy enough to be used on any surface w/out having to have multiple trips to the car chemicals shelf in the house.

    keep up the great work!

    Dave

  7. James says:

    Eric,

    Very interested in hearing what your go-to wax is for the quick process you described in your article. That was a good cliff hanger. Or if anyone can shed some light on a wax they use and are happy with the results in not staining trim I would be interested. Thanks.

  8. george j says:

    I respectfully disagree with the concept of finishing one car, then starting the cycle all over again on the next vehicle.

    In my opinion it breaks continuity, resulting in slower performance. For example, once you have finished the washing process, you’re done with the buckets and whatever else used in the process- they don’t get handled over and over again- very time consuming.

    Try one person leading the way who rinses the car, then soaps an area. He moves to the next area while the second person follows with a wash mitt. After soaping the next area, the first guy rinses the previously washed area. When finished, one person sprays compressed air while the other follows with hand drying. Stay together, find a rythm, and watch how fast you work.

  9. Ej says:

    Great article! What polish and machine do you use for this kind of job? Thanks!

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