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Legitimizing The Detailing Industry Part 3 of 5: Interview with Ryan Hendricks


This is a five-part article series. Click here for parts 1 through 5!

Ryan Hendricks is the owner of FTA Stylings located in Stayton, Oregon.  FTA Stylings is a top of the line detailing shop offering paint correction, ceramic coatings, paint protection film, and window tint options.  His business has grown in recognition over the years exponentially.


Getting to know Ryan I have developed a great deal of respect for how he operates his business.  He runs his business in a first-class manner, including the compensation of his employees.  For the consumer who is looking for a detail shop and the business owner looking to hire someone, I am a big believer that a business that values its employees leads to consistently high-quality service.  I am not just trusting my car to an owner but essentially an entire staff.


Ryan Hendricks

Auto detailing is an industry populated with enthusiasts and passion-driven technicians.  Often this leads to business owners undervaluing their services.  Many people enter this industry with the notion that they need to replace their current wages.  Often they come to the quick realization that there are many other costs involved in running a business.

I started my business 6 years ago knowing that running the business is just as important as knowing how to do the work.  So I’ve invested a lot of time in learning about managing expenses and increasing efficiency in the shop.  Every hour a technician works on a vehicle has to be charged accordingly to stay in business long term.

Many consumers assume they are just paying for an employee’s wages and product costs.  Well, as you can imagine the other costs of running the business can add up pretty quick.  I’ll list some of the larger costs in my business:

  • Rent
  • Advertising
  • Electricity
  • Insurance
  • Internet/Phones
  • Software

These costs add up and can easily end up being higher than employee wages.  This all has to be factored into the cost of each job.  Starting and running a business is a huge risk and takes thousands of unrewarded hours so in addition to the technicians being paid and costs covered the owner needs to make a living and the business has to show a positive profit every year.

In Oregon, our minimum wage is $11.25 per hour.  As an ethically conscious business owner I know this isn’t considered a living wage.  Our cost of living is quite high here so my technicians make $15-35/hr depending on the value they provide.  Techs in this pay scale are much more reliable and trustworthy, which is very important when it comes to working on vehicles worth more than many people’s houses.  When we add up our overhead, labor, and materials we end up with a figure of $60-100, which is pretty average in a small to medium-sized business in this industry.  The shop rate is determined by adding taxes and profit to this figure.

Many businesses in this industry are solo detailers who have trouble figuring out how to properly charge for their time.  Unfortunately, this leads to many consumers getting charged for just products and minimal overhead.  The detailers forget they need to charge for labor, profit, and taxes.  Over time this dilutes the market and larger, more established shops get accused of overcharging.  These more established shops are here to stay, they charge accordingly so they can replace experienced technicians when needed and offer a consistent quality service.

I’m glad to be a part of this ever-evolving industry and hope this helps consumers to understand the costs behind detailing and influences a few business owners to take a closer look at their overhead.


Rodney Tatum
Mirror Reflections Auto Spa
Gainesville, Florida
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