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For starters, hiring a detailer isn’t cheap. Knowing what to look for when hiring a professional detailer will help ensure you’re getting your money’s worth. Unfortunately, there is no official standard for detailing. That means anyone with the skills can pick up a few tools and start a business. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t skilled. That said, there are a few things to look for to ensure your detailer is doing things the right way.

Hire a detailer with a paint depth gauge

Polishing paint is often seen as the holy grail of detailing, but it requires in-depth knowledge to do well. Any detailer worth spending your money to hire will have a paint depth gauge. If they plan to machine polish your paint, it is the key to working safely.

The depth gauge allows them to measure how much clearcoat is sitting on top of the paint. The detailer will measure the doorjambs first since they typically have little or no clear coat. Then, they’ll measure the paint in multiple areas around the vehicle to understand the paint’s condition.

This will let the detailer you’re hiring know how aggressive they can be when chasing down imperfections. For this reason, it’s key tool for restoring shine without burning through your paint. If your detailer is just putting a polisher to the paint without taking these measurements, that’s a red flag.

Pressure washer

Hiring a detailer like the man shown here will help make your car look its best.
Detailer working on a Porsche | Getty Images

Some detailers will claim that waterless washes are the wave of the future, but we don’t believe that to be the case. Those wash methods are great in a pinch, such as during the winter or for those who live in apartments. But as AMMO NYC says, if you have free-flowing water, you should use it.

Water and soap pick up contaminants and wash them away from the paint without scratching it. A pressure washer helps with both phases of this process. A foam gun creates a thick, soapy texture that sits on the car for longer and helps carry away more contamination. In addition, both the pre-rinse and final rinse processes use high-pressure water to blast away the soap and any loose dirt.

From there, a towel and bucket wash will help wipe away the remaining surface grime without the risk of larger dirt and sand particles scratching your paint in the process.

Organized towels

A professional detailer working on car windows
Steam cleaning exterior glass | Getty Images

Speaking of towels, a professional detailer should have their towels organized and separated according to use. Keeping towels clean is critical to the quality of a detail, as any contamination will risk scratching your car’s paint.

In addition, the detailer should have separate towels for wheels, interior, exterior paint, and windows. Wheels are the dirtiest part of the car; they should be washed first and those towels discarded immediately. This avoids bringing any dirt onto the more sensitive paint to maintain the quality of the finish.

Hiring a quality detailer is a great way to take care of your car

Now that you know what to look for, you can feel good about hiring a detailer to take care of your car. Finding a quality detailing service can apply professional-level tools and car care products to help make your vehicle look its best. Keep these tips in mind and you can be confident that you’ll find the right detailer for your next job.

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