Working as a Professional Car Detailer

Here you'll read all the interesting, weird, and fun things that come with the job

1y ago

First things first - I was a little skeptical about posting this at first because I wasn't sure if any of you would be interested in reading because 'you just clean cars', but that isn't the case.. Also, I was a little nervous about the feedback I'd receive. This post has been many months in the making, so I hope you enjoy, and maybe gain some insight on the matter. As the title suggests, I was a professional car detailer working at a well known and prestigious dealership here in my city. I can't exactly name the dealership because I don't want to cause any issues, and I'm not entirely sure they'd like to be mentioned. Duly noted.

I never really thought that this would be my sort of thing, but the opportunity arose a few months ago when I overheard one of my friends mention that they were looking for a full-time detailer. Hmm. That piqued my interest. How did I end up at that particular dealership that day, you ask? Well, I was inquiring about a Mini that had just come in, naturally. I'm obsessed with them! Even though the mini deal fell through, I went out on a limb and handed my resume in. It made sense, right? A way to get my foot in the car industry? I write about them, lust after them, and am really passionate about them. I wasn't expecting to get the job either, because the only experience I had was from my Auto Body course that I had taken eons ago. But the person I spoke to must've seen something in me that I didn't. Drive? Determination? Passion? Well, whatever it was, it worked!

We all think that there's nothing special about cleaning a vehicle, and that everyone with a sponge and bucket could do it, right? Nope. Not even remotely close. Sure, you can use whatever you want on your own vehicle and there isn't much to it, but detailing cars for dealerships is completely different, and actually requires a bit of skill and heavy lifting. When I first started, I had no idea what I was doing. All the materials and cleaners were foreign to me. Everything was industrial grade that could really harm you, or damage a car if you didn't know how to handle it properly. It was almost like being pushed into the deep end without really knowing how to swim.

The first month was really difficult. I made mistakes. I missed details that would have otherwise gone unnoticed if the job didn't require meticulousness, and attention to fine details. You would be surprised. When working on a car, you have to really pay attention to every little thing. Every crevice, every nook and cranny. Like a detective with a magnifying glass, looking for clues. Borderline OCD, if I'm honest, which had its perks and setbacks. The car would be immaculate and spotless, but sometimes I'd spend too long on a black vehicle and overdo it. White and black vehicles were the hardest to clean, and became my enemy rather quickly, and you can imagine why. They show every mark, every streak and watermark.

And I didn't just clean cars. I had to lift heavy tyres out of SUV's and work in really dirty, disgusting cars, and not so great working environments, like extreme heat during the summer.

Because I was working and handling hazardous materials that were in spray bottles, we couldn't have any air conditioning in the bays. If we did, there was a high chance that the particles would get sucked up into the vents and spread throughout the entire shop, causing potential health issues. Not good. So we could only open the bay doors. So we'd basically be dripping with sweat after the end of the day. So it was a huge strain on me physically so it would be easy to burn out. You wouldn't think that this could become a potentially physical job, but all the repetitive movements and tasks winded me. And believe it or not, I became even more physically fit. By the time I had left that job, I was down nearly 10 pounds and had put on a bit on muscle as well!

Some of the things I would find in used and traded in cars was very interesting. Some of them rather embarrassing, too. I won't tell you about the embarrassing bits, so you can leave that up to your imagination. Some of the vehicles that came in would make your skin crawl. Thank goodness for zip up cleaning suits! A​s horrible as it all sounds, my employers treated us very well. We'd get free lunches, monthly bonuses, and hour lunch breaks. I worked there for nearly a year, and learned a lot. Each month I progressed and became better at my job, and was really proud when I recieved positive feedback.

A​nd now that I look back at it all, I sort of miss working there. Sadly I had to leave due to other health issues and my body was beginning to protest. But everything I learned can be used for many years to come and can apply my skills in other aspects of my life.

A​nd if you have any questions, whether it be about cleaning your own vehicle, ask me in the comments!

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Comments (4)

  • I learned to wrap cars and that is equally a hard job.

      1 year ago
  • Your story sounds exactly like what I have experienced last year. It was my first job with cars. It was great and very exhausting. Thank you for sharing your story!

      1 year ago
    • Thanks for reading! Was a couple months in the making though! Lol

        1 year ago
  • I have my cars detailed professionally every 4 to 6 weeks depending on the time of year and I have the utmost respect and time for our detailer the work is so finite inside and out plus he is always their with a friendly smile and advice on how to keep our cars looking tip top !

      1 year ago