How to Start a Career As a Car Detailer

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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.


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Bernie

50 years of experience
41 reviews
Bernie
50 years of experience
Honda Accord - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
I specifically asked for Bernie to come back, since I was so pleased with the work he did on our other car. This time I got to meet Bernie personally. He is a kind family-man who exhibited the quiet confidence of someone you would expect with the 50 years of automotive experience that he has. I felt very comfortable giving him the key to my car. Two of my kids (ages two and four) came out to greet him, since they remembered him from his first visit. Bernie is great around kids and was very kind to my two-year old son who was trying to "help" Bernie do his job. Thanks again, Bernie!
Honda Odyssey - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
I was very pleased with Bernie's work, professionalism, and courteousness. Best brake job I have ever had, and I have had many done (and several done myself, but not on this vehicle). This was a maintenance appointment -- not a repair of something broken -- so I was surprised when the brakes felt so much better after Bernie did the work. You can really see the care he took with our vehicle when I examined everything after he was finished. Thanks, Bernie!

Daniel

9 years of experience
17 reviews
Daniel
9 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Sacramento, California
Awesome customer service. On time and answered my questions with patience. Listened to my concerns and made helpful suggestions. Seemed very knowledgeable and experienced. I will be glad to request him again. Thank you!!

Breck

18 years of experience
532 reviews
Breck
18 years of experience
Toyota RAV4 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Conroe, Texas
Breck was awesome! He called ahead of time and asked if he could arrive early. He was friendly and easy to talk to. He made me feel comfortable with the service he was going to provide and explained things clearly to me. He smiled and made this experience a good one. I will absolutely be booking future appointments with Breck and I will recommend him and Your Mechanic services to others I know. Thank you!

Brian

19 years of experience
101 reviews
Brian
19 years of experience
BMW Z4 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Phoenix, Arizona
Brian knows what he is doing and I am so happy yourmechanic.com suggested him for my Z4 car inspection prior to purchasing and even happier he was available to perform my 1st service on the vehicle I purchased. His knowledge on the brand gave him ability to to an in depth inspection and he communicated very well informing me what to prepare for in ownership of my BMW. When he came to perform maintenance on my vehicle he shared so many tips with me. I will absolutely be having Brian come back out when I need future servicing on my car.

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