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Worth Detailing Yourself?

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  • Worth Detailing Yourself?

    Hi All,

    I have always wanted to get into car detailing as a hobby but it's so intimidating to start with. Normally I just search the net for a cost effective detailer but it is a pain especially when it's something I am very interested doing myself.

    After doing some initial research, my main concern is stuffing it up. I don't mind spending the time, it's more the knowledge that a professional detailer may have over me starting for the first time that worries me, especially when looking at basic paint correction techniques.

    Why do you guys DIY detail over taking it to someone? Is it for the enjoyment, and is that worth potential making mistakes along the way?

  • #2
    I find its one of the most rewarding hobbies/professions. It completely mellows me out and I can work how, when and with whatever I want, testing new products or learning to refine the ones I already have.

    Yes, its expensive to start with but if you build it up slowly and start with the basics, it doesnt hurt quite as much. Be fully prepaired for the bug to bite and sink a fair chunk of your weekly wage into "insert chosen dealers here"

    I would'nt be too worried about stuffing up, just get in there and give it a go. I know places like CCP do intro courses that might be worth looking at but places like this forum and youtube combined with some common sence are a great place to start
    Square 1 Automotive Detailing
    Correct - Refine - Protect - Maintain

    Email: gareth@square1detailing.com.au
    Instagram: square1detailing
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/Square1AutomotiveDetailing

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    • #3
      As long as you don't start out aggressively you shouldn't mess anything up that is not able to be fixed by learning from the error.

      For a full kit and a coating you are looking at spending upwards of 800 dollars. Depending on what the level of damage the car has it might be more cost effective to pay a professional for the correction and then you can invest time and money into applying a coating yourself.

      That way you eliminate your worry about messing something up but you still get to embrace detailing as a hobby.

      Food for thought.

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      • #4
        It would help if you put where you live. You might be able to catch up with someone in your area for a beer and a chat.

        You'll learn more in 5 minutes with someone who knows what they're doing, then in a week of working it out for yourself.

        I do it for the enjoyment, and I think all of us here will say it's worth it.

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        • #5
          It's a trap. You don't save money at all.

          But you'll have a great time while frustrating yourself chasing that perfect finish (and buying toys and supplies to that end)
          If it beads...

          we can clean it.

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          • #6
            +1
            I am a weekend warrior on the buff.
            My biggest outlay was the buff. But it will do me out. Pads, cloths and product is the addictive part. It's hard not to get different things just to try.

            The pleasure you will get from looking at that shiny old car is very rewarding.
            I haven't gone close to mastering paint correction yet. All my neighbours think I'm a Guru, but I know I have a very long way to go.
            Start with slow buff speed and soft pads, all as you are going to do is waste product
            Good luck

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            • #7
              Hey mate,
              Great to hear that you're interested in the hobby!
              I got myself interested after i had a friend show me his foam lance and i had to get one for myself.
              A few months later I just had to compliment it with proper wash technique, products and of course a stack load more of gear and products!

              The feeling you get when you spend a good morning/afternoon cleaning your car, and you step back and admire your work...
              That's what makes it all worth it

              I also get a little giddy when friends and family compliment on how damn shiny my car is too.

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              • #8
                I wouldnt personally underestimate the skill a professional has, but most importantly what it took to get it.

                If you were looking at doing ANYTHING for a hobbie/activity, dont be scared and have a go!

                However, if you were looking for a professional Result, you ultimately would have to take it to a pro.

                Its the same with every trade. Detailing, one thing that comes to mine in this word is "Detail" and attention to it.

                The guys here are actually quite cool i have found..... Maybe share your location, im sure you could make a friend out of a service provider? Personally, i would be happy to provide some basic training and tips if someone paid me to do the job for the first time if you get me?

                Might be money well spent in the end?

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                • #9
                  What separates someone who has lots of experience doing it themselves and a commercial 'pro' Just the equipment which can cost a ton?

                  It would be nice as people have said to see a finished product and know it was my hands who achieved such a (hopefully) job.

                  But it's also interesting, that some people are sayiif it actually costs MORE money to do it yourself for the same result as a commercial pro.

                  I think I am willing to give it a go as I believe I really will enjoy it, but the more I read the more I'm doubting my ability (more that I'll cause some kind of permanent damage to the vehicle).

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                  • #10
                    I started out washing my car with Dishwashing detergant, 1 bucket and a leather chamois my old man would have laying around the garage. Over time I've realised there are better ways to wash and protect my cars as I've always been passionate about them in general.

                    As it's completely a hobby for me with no intention of making any money I've spent a fair bit over the last 10 years or so but I do it simply because I enjoy it.

                    I love being able to look at my cars and see them gleeming, I work hard to be able to afford them so I just like taking a bit of pride by taking care of them myself. It's the simple things in life as they say.

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                    • #11
                      So I did a google search and being in Brisbane the top result for car detailers is a mob called Scrubs Car Detailing. I had a look to see if they listed their detailing steps that I could emulate and came across this - their detail versus DIY:

                      http://www.scrubscardetailing.com.au/car-detailing-comparison


                      They also list the steps for DIY detailing as:
                      1 - Set Up Your Equip
                      2- Thorough Preparation, Initial Wash and Clay Bar
                      3- Machine Polish or Hand Wax
                      4- Paint Protection and Sealants

                      What do you guys think? Do you reckon this is accurate at all - those with experience actuality car detailing. It's probably better to use a wiki or a e-guide right? Probably scour this forum a bit more as well for best ways of DIY?

                      I think most of you have convinced me here that even if it is a little more expensive to start with, being able to look back at my work and enjoy the job as I get my cars gleaming is worth it. Plus I have been looking for new hobbies to fill in time so why not.
                      Last edited by Mattyvab; 26-05-2015, 11:44 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mattyvab View Post
                        So I did a google search and being in Brisbane the top result for car detailers is a mob called Scrubs Car Detailing. I had a look to see if they listed their detailing steps that I could emulate and came across this - their detail versus DIY:

                        http://www.scrubscardetailing.com.au/car-detailing-comparison


                        They also list the steps for DIY detailing as:
                        1 - Set Up Your Equip
                        2- Thorough Preparation, Initial Wash and Clay Bar
                        3- Machine Polish or Hand Wax
                        4- Paint Protection and Sealants

                        What do you guys think? Do you reckon this is accurate at all - those with experience actuality car detailing. It's probably better to use a wiki or a e-guide right? Probably scour this forum a bit more as well for best ways of DIY?

                        I think most of you have convinced me here that even if it is a little more expensive to start with, being able to look back at my work and enjoy the job as I get my cars gleaming is worth it. Plus I have been looking for new hobbies to fill in time so why not.
                        IMO the only claim I take issue with personally on this diagram is that a full detail cannot possibly take only 3 hours (unless you have multiple people working on it)

                        I spend around 3 hours just to wash, decon, clay a vehicle and then inspect the paint and mark areas for sanding or heavy correction etc.

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                        • #13
                          Hmm. See I want a accurate information to follow and some of these professional detailing sites like the one above do list steps/actions. At the same time there are lots of 'how to' guides on the net as well. The ones I look at are kinda similar but I still don't know which one to trust being a beginner. Maybe I should just follow the Scrubs car detailing one. Im just worried it's been too commercial if you know what I mean, but on the other hand the e-guides may be too basic.

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                          • #14
                            Mate, don't be scared. Unless you are going to take a sanding block to your car's paint how wrong can you actually go?

                            As I mentioned earlier I started out washing my cars by stealing my mum's dishwashing detergent and my old mans crappy leather chamois and my car always looked better than my friends' cars. The only difference between that and using proper products is the gloss you can learn to achieve and actually getting some sort of longevity of the polishes etc that you may want to try out. (btw that was when i was a p-plater so I wouldn't recommend using dishwashing liquid and a crappy chamois nowadays, I'm just illustrating a point)

                            If it's a hobby mate just get out there on the driveway and have a crack. You don't need a massive arsenal of cleaning products to start out, just start detailing your car with the basics and see which areas of the detailing process you'd be more keen on going a bit further with, then give one of the suppliers here a call and IMO you can't go wrong!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mattyvab View Post
                              Hmm. See I want a accurate information to follow and some of these professional detailing sites like the one above do list steps/actions. At the same time there are lots of 'how to' guides on the net as well. The ones I look at are kinda similar but I still don't know which one to trust being a beginner. Maybe I should just follow the Scrubs car detailing one. Im just worried it's been too commercial if you know what I mean, but on the other hand the e-guides may be too basic.
                              Under the about section my website has a list of steps required. If you want further clarification on anything either PM me or reply to this thread

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