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You don’t always get what you pay for


Unfortunately, many of my clients seek my services only after experiencing a poorly done detail job.  Fortunately, that number is getting lower and lower, so instead of the prior 40-50% of my clients experiencing sub par results prior to my work, now it’s closer to 20-30%.  A recent detail job I performed fell into the poor detail category and has one of the worst stories behind it.  The client in question was promised a “showroom shine” type paint correction by a very well reviewed shop in Chicago.  Needless to say, he got the typical, quick “buff ‘n shine”, which we expect to see when someone pays at most $100-150, not $400+!  Thus the title of this article.  As you can imagine, the client was rightfully furious and is seeking legal action at this point, but here I want to focus on the actual detail and condition of the paint.

The client first called me as many do after suffering a poorly done detail job… with a bad feeling about it all and desperate, but cautious about finding a solution.  He got my info from a detailing forum and figured he could trust me with the car and believed I could help in fixing the paint.  After explaining my process to him and how my detail work is not the typical work performed at every corner car wash and detail center in the city, we scheduled an assessment so I can inspect the car and see what can be done.

After going over the paint with my lights and checking the thickness with a paint gauge, I decided I didn’t want to do any overly aggressive polishing due to the paint thickness reading on the lower end of the norm.  I did a quick polishing test spot during the assessment and knew that a 2-stage paint correction would fix all the holograms and dullness left by the previous detail job.  It also corrected deeper swirl marks and scratches quite well.

We scheduled the detail a few weeks later and it went really well.  I did some additional polishing on a few panels that really needed it, but overall the entire car got the 2-stage as planned.  The car was sealed with Klasse Sealant Glaze at the end of the detail and the owner was extremely happy with the results.  The car in question is a 2006 Mercedes E500 and below are photos I took to show the condition before and after I worked on it.  I tried to arrange the photos to show the same spot before and after, so have a look and see exactly why you don’t always get what you pay for.



























As you can see, the detail job turned out great and most of the paint is nearly perfect.  The main reason behind this article is to remind all those seeking a quality detail shop to do their research very well and trust only knowledgeable sources, but most importantly speak with the person(s) doing the work and make sure everyone’s on the same page.  I’m sure this client or any of those close to him will not make the same mistake again.

Hope this helps a few out there and hope you guys enjoyed it.  As always, thanks for reading!

Ivan Rajic LUSTR Deatil
Ivan Rajic
LUSTR Detail
257 N Woodwork Lane
Palatine IL 60067
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12 comments on You don’t always get what you pay for

  1. Kevin says:

    Great work Ivan. Posting on Facebook now.

  2. Bradley Houser says:

    Nice recovery from the service the car had originally undergone! When you pay that type of money for a detailing service, you expect the best results!

  3. Greg Gellas says:

    Awesome article Ivan. The after pictures are amazing!

    Greg G

  4. Ivan Rajic says:

    Thanks for the kind words guys!

  5. Aurelius says:

    that’s a job well done. reflections 🙂

  6. Tony Kiger says:

    Loving swirl free reflections full of luster!

  7. Chad M says:

    Great work on that Mercedes. if i remember right that car was there when we had the detail day at your shop and that car was definantly shiny.
    Again nice save

  8. Pete says:

    great work on that Benz Ivan…I have a paint correction on a 2012 E63 next week…

  9. Spike says:

    Nice work. What did you use to correct the paint?

  10. Ivan Rajic says:

    Thanks guys! Spike I used a mix of Meguiar’s 105 and D300 as the first step and Sonax Perfect Finish for the 2nd polishing step.

  11. chris_u says:

    amazing work on the MB. everyone i have a question i just got a 2013 Chevy Tahoe its a light gold metallic color dealer never polished it. when i got it there was a car ahead of me in the detail department and the something went bad with there buffer and the cars hood ahead of me was destroyed. so they just washed mine off i went. what do i need to do to it and how do i find a good detailer here in Fresno CA

  12. vito sgaramella says:

    Very informative,and outstanding results, excellent work Ivan. new to this site wished i had found it sooner.THANKS Vito

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