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How to Start a Career As a Car Detailer

person detailing outside of vehicle

Being a car detailer can be a very satisfying career. You get to work on the inside and the outside of vehicles, and are responsible for making cars look show quality. If you are a good detailer, you can have a shop where you work with individual customers, and you can also do work for auto shows and dealerships, to help them get their vehicles looking top notch.

Plus, if you love cars, you’ll get to constantly be around them, making sure that they always look their best. If you’re the kind of person who likes to spend Saturdays washing and waxing your car to make it look perfect, then a career as a car detailer just may be for you. Logistically, it’s a pretty simple career to pursue.

Part 1 of 2: The preparatory work

Step 1: Take some automotive classes. You don’t need a master’s degree or a college education to become a car detailer. However, you should have a high school diploma, and some experience working with cars.

If you took auto shop classes in high school and did well in them, that should be sufficient. If you didn’t take auto shop in high school, you may want to look into taking a one-semester shop course at your local community college.

A shop course isn’t a necessity for getting a job as an auto detailer, but it can make it a lot easier for you to land a job, and can also help your pay.

Step 2: Familiarize yourself with the industry. If you know someone who already works in the field, ask if you can shadow them for the day.

Getting a realistic sense of what is actually entailed in the day-to-day work life of a car detailer will help you prepare for what’s ahead, as well as solidify your decision about whether this is truly the path you want to follow (or not).

sample new york license

Step 3: Make sure your driver’s license is valid. Since you’ll be working on cars as a detailer, it’s imperative that you have a driver’s license.

There will likely be times when you’ll have to move a car short distances, which you obviously cannot do if you aren’t a legally licensed driver.

Until you obtain a current and valid driver’s license, your chances of getting a detailer job are slim to none.

Step 4: Make sure you have a clean background. Most car detailing companies perform a background check on potential employees to make sure you’ll make a good hire.

Part 2 of 2: Getting a job as an auto detailer

spiffy car detailing

Step 1: Reach out to auto detailers about open positions. Lots of different businesses have the need for auto detailers.

In addition to detailing specialists, car washes, auto dealerships, and rental agencies, many mechanics and auto shops all have detailers as well. Check your local newspaper or phonebook for any company that may have need for a detailer, and give them a call.

Start reaching out to any place that may have a detailer, and ask them about open positions. Be sure to express that you are passionate about being a detailer, and that you are willing to do whatever is necessary to learn how to do the best at your job.

  • Tip: When reaching out to potential employers, it’s a good idea to have a reference that they can contact. Your high school shop teacher would be an appropriate reference for you.

Step 2: Be humble and hardworking. When you first get a job as a detailer, you’ll want to impress right away. After all, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

Make sure that you always show up to work on time (or, better yet, early), that you’re dependable and always in a good mood, and that you’re willing to learn.

If you show that you’re humble and want to learn, you’ll quickly get in the good graces of your employer, and you’ll start to work your way up. If you have an attitude that suggests you already know everything from day one, you probably won’t last long at your new job.

With a little effort and dedication, you should be able to start a career as an auto detailer. It’s a satisfying line of work, and if it’s the right job for you, you should start pursuing it as soon as possible.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
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