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Owning A High-End Detailing Business Part 2: What Does Being An Expert Professional Detailer Mean


What do I do for a living? I clean and cosmetically repair, and protect expensive delicate surfaces not designed for aggressive chemicals.  Due to marketing of wash services and miracle detailing products, customers and professionals have unrealistic expectations for how long this service may take, the cost of goods to provide this service, and the thoughtful skills required for good results.  These vehicle surfaces are often razor thin and uniquely respond to different cleaners.  When I apply protective products, you cannot see them.  I am in an industry where many owners of detailing supplies will sign off on protection and durability claims based on ambiguous and often false information.  I am competing against people who do not get the consequences of this and customers who do not understand or are so jaded by misleading information that they have formed prejudices against me and generalizations about the detailing industry.  In addition to the service I provide, I operate a business that is commonly overlooked by all parties as a business that occupies a significant amount of my time and energy.


Yes, I am the owner of an auto detailing business and professional detailer.  You can gain so much of an advantage over your competitors by just being an expert and doing all of the things that communicate professionalism.  As so many people believe this to be unskilled labor performed by people who they believe work for them (aka not a real business) until things go wrong.  It is also important to have processes which you protect yourself as well.  That is also part of being the professional business owner.

If you are someone looking to get into the detailing trade, meaning running a serious business, read carefully.  There is something very ominous about the low barrier to entry world of a detailing business, that few people talk about.  There is no real vetting for people getting into the detailing industry.  When I started, I read through the forums and write ups of high-end detailers’ processes.  I read the instructions (imagine that).  Spoke with brand representatives and chemists.  I have gone to several trainings (paid and not paid).

People pay me for peace of mind not just the 50/50 shot, which is also great.

An example of working with someone for the first time.  Customer says, “I was on the phone with a few other businesses, they seemed like fly by night.  So, it should be about.”  More.  “Someone said like $200 less and it looked great, but you sound like you know what you are doing.”  How much energy do you invest in learning the why a product works a certain way?  Why don’t you?  You are supposed to be professional, the expert.  You want customers to show you that level of respect, what have you done to earn that?  Your 50/50 shot does not make you a professional or an expert at what you do.  I booked a detail multiple times because I told future clients what I could NOT or may NOT be able to do something.  And I gave a detailed explanation as to why.

Client asked me, “what kind of products do you use?”  10 seconds into my natural conversation, “oh ok, I just wanted to make sure you were using professional products.”  A lot of your future clients no it does not take much for someone to call his or herself a detailer.


Rodney Tatum
Mirror Reflections Auto Spa
Gainesville, Florida
YouTube | Facebook

1 comment on Owning A High-End Detailing Business Part 2: What Does Being An Expert Professional Detailer Mean

  1. Jim says:

    Rodney, thanks for another good article. We all appreciate your insight into the real world of professional detailing.

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