The task of completing a thorough detailing project which includes an in depth exterior cleaning, decontamination, multi-step paint correction, paint coating application, and all of the other smaller odds and ends that go into making a car look like new is a very time consuming process. As a business owner, saving time means saving money. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to save time without sacrificing the quality of your work? It is easier than you might imagine.
Think back to the very first time you went through the complete detailing process… now think about the tenth time you went through the process. I am willing to bet the tenth time went quicker than the first, but why? With practice, you were able to identify inefficiencies in your work that led to a slower process. This initial increase in efficiency often requires no real planning or thought. As you became more familiar with the process from start to finish, and you became better at handling the products and tools associated with it, you become more efficient. However, if you take a step back and go through your workflow from start to finish, you will probably be able to identify several more areas which can be optimized to increase your efficiency even more, therefore minimizing your time spent on a project, and maximizing your profits. This article will feature just a few tips to help you think through your work with the intention of improving your efficiency.
Develop a Process
It is common to have various packages ranging from more routine cleaning to very in-depth services. Develop a specific process for each service that will enable you to complete the job with as little wasted time as possible. Consider every step of the process and organize them so that you are not repeating steps or causing yourself more work than you need to. For instance, if you’re cleaning an interior, you wouldn’t want to clean your glass before applying UV dressing to plastic and vinyl surfaces (such as the dash) as the chances of you getting some product onto the glass is relatively high, meaning you would then need to clean the glass again. I like to make a check list for each service with the order of operations laid out exactly as they should be. Eventually this will become habit and you will no longer need to reference the list.
Limit Your Movement
Throughout the detailing process, you will find yourself using many different tools and chemicals. You will waste a lot of time walking to and from your cabinet each time you need to get something. I recommend setting up a detailing cart that you can load up with all the products you need for a given task and move it around with you as you work. Now your tools are always at your side. This may save you more time than you realize!
Stay Clean and Organized
Know where everything is without having to look for it. It sounds simple, but surely we have all had that rare occasion when you just can’t find that brush or spray bottle that you need. You’re sure you put it back on the shelf, but now it just isn’t there! Create a designated spot for every item. Our cabinets are organized by category – Interior products go on one shelf, paint correction products on another, wheel & tire products on another, and so on.
We take the time to clean up the shop after each day and put tools and chemicals back where they belong so we can always find them when we need them.
Have the Right Tools for the Job
From wheel brushes to buffers, you want to make sure you have all of the right tools to do your job to the best of your ability. The worst feeling is getting into a situation where you have to scramble for ideas on how to complete a task with tools that aren’t meant for what you are doing. Not only does this waste time, but it might also lead to poor results, so don’t take the risk!
Another way to be efficient with your tools is to have more than one when it makes sense. For instance, we have many polishers fitted with various sized backing plates so there is no need to stop, remove a backing plate, install a backing plate, get a new pad, polish an area, reinstall the other backing plate… you get the idea. You’re in the business of detailing vehicles, and you will maximize your income by doing so in a timely manner, so don’t be afraid to spend a little on additional tools if it will be helpful for your situation.
These are just a few ideas to help maximize your results in an efficient manner. Do you have something specific that has changed the way you detail cars? Do you have any other suggestions to improve other common detailing inefficiencies? Please feel free to share them in the comments below!