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How Much Does It Cost To Get Your Car Detailed?

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Well, just like most things, it will depend.

What kind of car do you have? Do you want the exterior or interior done? What type of interior or exterior service are you looking for?

Budget is another factor to consider when getting your vehicle detailed. Are you selling your car? Are you going to enter it into a car show?

Make sure to do your due diligence when choosing a detailer. typically you get what you pay for. Don't expect a professional level detail when you let your neighbor detail your car for $50.

Pricing will always depend on who you take your vehicle to. For instance, with our detailing services, we have our prices posted throughout our website.

These prices are not set prices and will change based on the condition of your vehicle. A pet hair-infested vehicle can't cost the same as a brand-new vehicle with barely any wear and tear.

Car Wash vs Professional Detailing

Before we get into the heated debate about pricing, let's talk about the difference between a car wash facility and a professional detailer and what they offer.

There are pros and cons to both.

For instance, A chain car wash will focus on high volume and low pricing,

Their goal is to get through as many vehicles as possible.

Is that bad?

It depends on what you're expectations are when cleaning your vehicle. Looking for a cheap and quick wash on your way home from work? Then this may be the perfect option for you.

However, these are limited to what they can perform as far as professional services. If you want to hire a detailer to restore your paint back to its best possible condition, maybe the dealership detailer isn't the way to go.

Usually, a professional detailer will make an appointment because the detail will take longer to complete. Some services can take days to finish. For instance, a paint correction and ceramic coating can take several days to finish depending on how long the coating needs to cure. So you would have to plan out a time to make this fit your schedule.

Auto Detailing Price Comparison

Remember these are estimates and will vary based on where you're from.

These prices I'm showing are based on what I've seen around Columbus OH. Prices are typically more on the cheaper side, so keep that in mind.

Also, just like when you get things like an oil change or tire change the bigger the vehicle the more the service will cost.

Basic Car Wash

Car Wash Facility: $10 to $25

Professional Detailer: $30 to $70

Deep Interior Cleaning

Car Wash Facility: $60 to $100

Professional Detailer: $140 to $280

Headlight Restoration

Car Wash Facility: $30 to $50

Professional Detailer: $70 to $160

Wash and Wax

Car Wash Facility: $80 to $130

Professional Detailer: $140 to $280

Paint Correction

Car Wash Facility: $100 to $200

Professional Detailer: $240 to $600

To give some more context, let's break down one of the services to show the difference in what's included.

Let's take a Wash and Wax for example. This is a common service we offer in our business. This is what you can expect from a professional detailer:

  1. Clean wheels, wheel barrels, tires, fenders, and gas cap

  2. Remove bugs from front-end and thoroughly wash

  3. Chemically remove iron particles from the paint

  4. Clay bar all painted surfaces to remove any remaining surface contaminants

  5. Dry the car and blow out any standing water from the nooks and crannies

  6. Apply quality wax or sealant

  7. Apply water-based dressing to your tires for a nice sheen

  8. Clean all exterior glass mirrors

  9. Wipe down door jambs

This service will take anywhere from 2-4 hours and cost $120 to $240

Each step is used with proper tools, products, and techniques to achieve the best results. Your tire dressing won't sling all over your paint as you drive off. There won't be water running down your car, there won't be wax residue left on the vehicle.

Not to mention, detailers will take proper precautions to not damage your vehicle and introduce the least amount of swirls and scratches through methods like the two-bucket wash method.

The same service performed at a wash facility might yield something like this:

  1. Clean wheel faces and tires

  2. Remove bugs from the front end and wash

  3. Apply wax or sealant by rotary machine

  4. Apply dressing to your tires for shine

  5. Clean all exterior glass and mirrors

  6. Wipe down door jambs

This service can take between 45 minutes to 2 hours and costs $80 to $130.

You can expect those drips from the mirrors and trunk jamb. It might not seem like a big difference, but they do yield completely different results.

It's Not About The Products, It's About The Results

Don't fall into the myth that pricing is based on what products are being used.

I've seen people say, some detailers are charging more because of more "expensive" tools and products they are using. This really isn't a big factor at all.

The customer isn't going to ask about what products you are using most of the time. I have never actually experienced this myself. All your client wants, is the result.

Yea, the facility is probably using the cheapest products on he market and the detailer is using name-brand products. This doesn't mean the detailer will provide better results.

The price difference is a better way to judge quality. Sometimes there will be outliers, where a sub-par detailer is charging much more than he should.

The chance of something going wrong is much higher at the facility than a professional detailer. Their employees aren't trained with the proper technique needed to perform the service safety.

Hear it all the time where our customer says, "I took my car to so and so and my car has more scratches than before".

Moral of the story, make sure you put some time and thought into who you use to detail your car as it can be an expensive investment.

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