The New Clear Detailing HQ (Part 1)by Coleton Guerin
Building a brand-new detailing facility has been a pipe dream of mine since I started detailing out of my dad’s residential garage in 2015. This garage allowed me to grow my business slowly and hone my skills while running the business with low overhead and zero rent or utility expenses. Fast forward to 2019, my business is literally bursting at the seams and I need more space. In the residential garage I was not able to work on large vehicles such as trucks, which severely limited my client base in Northern Colorado. I am excited to announce the brand-new Clear Detailing Headquarters!
As I said before, this shop has been a long-time dream of mine. I guess it’s better late than never, right? Talks about this specific shop began in early 2019, with a projected completion of September 2019. As with any construction, there were substantial delays. As I’m writing this now it is mid-July 2020 and the shop is about a month from completion. It is important to understand that this shop is attached to a high-end “storage facility” with units big enough for other tenants to build their ultimate man caves to store RVs, Boats, and of course cars. My specific space is a 1,280 square feet L-shaped unit. I feel this space is more than adequate for my needs, as I am the sole owner and detailer in my business. I am coming from just over a 300 sq ft workspace, so this feels massive! I am still at the beginning stages of getting this shop set up exactly the way I want it to feel.
These photos are from my first walkthrough of the new shop, and there are so many things I need to consider to create my dream detailing studio. The first item on my list to figure out is washing. Previously I could only wash vehicles outside (in the shade of course) which was an absolute pain when it’s a bone-chilling 20-degree day in Colorado. It’s hard to see from the photos but there is actually a floor drain that runs into a sand and oil separator. The sand and oil separator is required by the city of Windsor, CO, and is something to consider if you are building a facility of your own and wanting to wash inside. I am still working on figuring out ideal drainage, as the floor drain was not exactly what I had imagined. Unfortunately, it looks like we will need to cut up the fresh concrete to expand the floor drain.
The second item on my list to figure out how to integrate an office space into the shop. I am planning on building a second-level mezzanine above the back L-shaped wall for 300-400 extra square feet of office space. This mezzanine will not only provide more floor space but a ceiling for my planned paint correction/paint coating bay in the back area of the shop. The ceilings in these units are massive, almost 30 feet at the highest point in mine. Without building a mezzanine I would have to create some sort of drop-down ceiling for lighting.
Lighting is everything in detailing and being able to easily see paint defects and dirt is critical for paint correction and detailing alike. I am planning on purchasing 6500k LED 4-foot lights to run vertically along the wall and ceiling.
One of the biggest considerations of this shop I’ve had to think about is flooring. I’ve changed my mind at least a dozen times, gone back and forth weighing the pros and cons. I originally wanted epoxy floors but have seen numerous issues with peeling and overall wear as it ages. I’ve also considered polished concrete, but through research, I’ve found it is extremely slick when wet. This would not allow me to wash inside or do any PPF (Paint Protection Film) installs. I stumbled upon Swisstrax modular flooring which is a 3/4-inch-thick plastic tile that is fully customizable and removable. These tiles also have channels underneath to allow water to easily flow. For my shop, this will be around $5,500 to fully cover the first floor 1,280 square feet.
At this point in the process, there are still lots of things I am still trying to work out, such as electrical, heating and/or air conditioning, vehicle lifts, and much more. I am planning on this being a multi-article progression and cannot wait to bring all of you along the way. My goal with this series is to discuss different aspects to consider when building a detailing facility and to show the progression of an empty shell into a proper high-end detailing facility.
Hey Coleton, I’d highly recommend still considering epoxy. The peeling issues are typically from the cheaper waterborne epoxy “paints” you get from big box stores. The high solid epoxies are MUCH more durable and will probably do what you’re looking for. Here’s some more reading on it: https://allgaragefloors.com/choose-the-right-epoxy-coat-system/
Nicholas, thanks for the info! I have actually decided to go with epoxy flooring since writing this article. I am still skeptical, but like with any product or decision there are pros and cons to everything. After going back and forth for months, the need to move water with a squeegee was the deciding factor.
Congrats and I can’t wait to see the progress on this! For flooring check out some polyurea products too. I had this applied two years ago and it’s doing better much than my previous epoxy applications.
Thanks Greg! I did decide to go epoxy for this project after much consideration of Swisstrax, polished concrete, and epoxy!
Keep us updated
Coleton, don’t know what the local regulations are, but with putting up mezzanines and lifts you may have to consider projected loads, deeper concrete and sprinkler systems. I’m really looking forward to your continued reports.
Correct, everything will be permitted based on the required load and regulations with the city for fire suppression.
with washing vehicles inside is there anything HVAC wise that has to be in place with the amount of water vaper in the air? Does the walls, doors need some kind of protection some kind of barrier?
I do not know Coleton’s exact set up but he may have a dehumidifier and having the right kind of paint, like an exterior paint or gloss interior paint should be enough protection for the interior. You can check out an recent article with a video that shows more details of Coleton’s shop at https://www.detailedimage.com/Ask-a-Pro/clear-detailing-tesla-model-s-plaid-paint-inspection/ as well.
I usually crack the door, it can get humid but often use dehumidifier!