We all lead increasingly busy lives. In fact, many of us are so busy that we don’t even have time to wash our own cars. Fortunately, a huge industry has sprung up over the years based on other people doing this for us. We now know it as the car wash and detailing industry.
While in Europe, China and many other major markets where car washes and car dealers operate, people use the services, pay the allotted price and keep driving, American customers are faced with the inevitable question: how much should you tip a car? laundry worker or detailer? ? Do I even have to tip them for this service? That is the focus of today’s blog.
First of all, we need to be very clear about the differences between car wash workers and car detailers. The latter of the two in particular wouldn’t like to get the same label.
What does a car wash employee do?
If your local car wash is not automated, you may be served by an attendant who will wash your car by hand. If it is automated, there may be an assistant to monitor the operation of your machine. In the case of a hand wash of your car, they will likely use a pressure washer or double bucket system, quickly going over the car with sponges, car shampoo, then rinsing and drying with microfiber towels.
A standard car wash may include a basic vacuum of your car’s interior, but for the most part, a standard car wash will only wash the exterior. The purpose of the car wash assistant is to remove all the dirt, dust and everything else that makes the surface of your car look bad. They usually don’t pay much attention to the closing details, nor do they offer things like waxing, polishing or extra paint protection as part of the standard deal.
At an automated car wash, the attendant will be there to check if the machine is working properly, to point out if there is anything you need to do to prepare to go into the washing machine, and possibly to do an extra rinse to do if the machine has missed something (although that is very rare now with modern machines).
Finally, since car wash agents are on the front lines of your business, they will almost always need to be good at customer service, potentially answering your questions, and helping resolve any issues you may have with the service in general.
How much can you tip a car wash?
If it is automated and the attendant is only there to supervise machine operation, a tip is generally not expected. But for those who hand wash, you can bid between $2 and $5.
In any case and at any car wash, if you think this attendant has given you exemplary customer service, please tip.
With car wash workers, because gratuities are not always expected as in most restaurants and food delivery companies, gratuities are generally very welcome.
The convention could be to offer anything from $2 to $5 as a tip for conventional car wash workers. That’s a good base number to calculate something a little more generous from if you think those in attendance did a great job.
Some people operate on a similar principle to restaurant tipping, offering 10 to 20 percent of the cost of the car wash, but in most cases it will be the same amount. The average car wash in the United States costs about $15. Therefore, regular car wash services are quite cheap, often because the service office is much simpler than a full detail. In either case, you may use common sense. Any of the numbers we listed above would be applauded by the average car wash.
What does a car detailer do?
The job of a car detailer is clearly akin to that of a car wash attendant, but any detailer will quickly tell you that there is much more to it than that. A detailer is different from the average car wash, mainly because a detailer has turned to car cleaning as a more serious career move. Many retailers are freelancers starting small businesses. They have a passion for cars and are committed to understanding the geography of a car and the best way to clean every exterior area and interior nook.
A car retailer offers a variety of services, usually sold in the form of retail packages.
These packages start out quite simple and get much more extensive (and more expensive). A typical basic equipment package costs $50 for a moderately sized sedan. If you have a larger car, such as a full-size SUV, you should pay about $70 for a basic package. It varies from place to place, but it’s common for even a basic retailer package to cost three or four times the price of the average car wash. On the high side, a detailing package can cost hundreds of dollars.
Detailers provide a much deeper and more thorough clean than regular car wash workers. They divide the car into separate sections and pay great attention to each section to clean it perfectly according to the shape and construction of the vehicle. Their services also typically include waxing and other paint protection, even within their lower-end packages. In the car vacuums, vacuums, removes stains, removes odors and more.
One of the biggest differences between a detailer’s job and that of a regular car wash is the “fixer” factor. A car wash will clean your car, but car detailing works to restore your car to the way it was when you first bought it new.
How Much Should You Tip a Car Detailer?
It is customary to tip a retailer 10-20% of the package value, but you should only do this if they have done a really good job.
The more specialized nature of auto detailing work generally warrants a more generous tip. A car wash attendant takes less than 30 minutes to clean your car. A detailer can take 2-5 hours depending on the amount of work you request and the package you purchase.
Shopkeepers are not like diners who maintain good attitudes and earn tips even when the food is lousy. After all, waiters don’t cook the food and you can still tip them for good service. However, auto detailing is a much more qualified and premium service. It’s reasonable to expect a great job being done before tipping.
Car wash or car detailer? Is desire best?
To wrap up today’s blog, let’s give you some additional advice on whether it’s better to hire a mechanic or use a regular car wash. Both have their distinct advantages and disadvantages. Car washing is much cheaper than detailing, but the cleaning level by detailers is clearly much higher. Therefore, ultimately you need to think about your needs. Here are some examples to show you what we mean:
1. You just need to clean the car so it doesn’t look so dirty
If this sounds like what you want, it’s fine if you go to a regular car wash, maybe once a week or once every two weeks, depending on where you live and drive and how dirty your car gets. However, if you have kids, consider letting them wash your car over the weekend. It’s a good way to teach them responsibility and give them something useful to do.
2. Your car hasn’t been cleaned in a long time and you may want to sell it soon.
This is when a detail would be in order. When there has been a long-term lack of cleanliness, dirt collects in places where a regular car wash simply cannot reach it. The keen eye and skilled mind of a detailer ensures that every corner, every corner, every dark recess in the car is thoroughly cleaned. Also, the restorative effect of a car’s details will help add a “wow factor” when it comes to selling the car. The aesthetics of the car have a huge influence on whether or not a buyer is willing to pay the selling price of the car.
Think about which type of car cleaning is best for your situation and don’t forget to always tip. It doesn’t have to be much, but at least a token of appreciation would be nice.