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Posted by buda 
April 21, 2012 01:25AM
Larry wants a little action on the forum, this subject always seems to illicit a great deal of controversy.

How do you price your detail services? Posted prices or by estimate only?

Without question a detail business should never post prices because no vehicle is the same size; same condition so how can you post a price?

You need to sell to the need of the car just like a body shop or a repair shop would do.

When you post prices you often do not get the chance to sell to the need of the car because the customer, not knowing the price of good detailing services and not knowing what their vehicle needs, bases their decision on price. And that does not mean they are price conscious, they just do not know.

Sure there are price-conscious customers who will never buy from you at any price.

In any case let's get some dialogue going on this subject.

Bud Abraham
April 21, 2012 05:09PM
I do not post prices but require an onsite estimate... Even though I have gone to great lengths to sell need of the car... by showing before and after pictures of just about everything I do, I have described at great length what we do what can be done... People still DEMAND to know how much on the phone.. What I have a discovered over the years is behind all of those questions is a problem... so when someone asks how much to shampoo a seat it can be vomit, pet urine, a smell, beg bug infestation which they are NOT disclosing. When someone asks how much to detail? sometimes they are asking for a hand wash, or seat shampoo.. or vacuuming... a majority have no clue what detailing is so you have to really get to the bottom of what they want..... most have no clue how long it takes...for the most part many think you can clean a neglected minivan in 1 hour... or a very dirty carpet in 30 minutes
April 22, 2012 10:00AM
totally agree with you Bud
April 24, 2012 12:21AM
Gina :
I'm not saying it is easy or will work every time , but salesmanship is what's needed . Treat price demands asobjections to be overcome and not as arguments to be refuted :

Example :
Phone caller : ....Why can't you give me a price instead of my having to come in for an estimate .

Detailer : We don't go the " estimate " route. We first examine the car. Then we recommend services based on the type and condition of the car and we give you an exact, guaranteed price before you agree to anything. Doesn't that sound fair---better than just an estimate ?

Phone caller : Well, I want your price so I have some idea of what I'm getting into...

Detailer : ( chuckling ) We'll take good care of you ! Anyway, if we don't keep it reasonable, you can tear up the recommendation sheet, throw it in my face and walk out . Does it get any better than that ?

Phone caller : I want a price I can shop elsewhere .

Detailer : That's why I want you to come in and meet us ! So we can give you accurate advice and a guaranteed price based on examination of the car . C'mon, drive on over right now. I'm here for you and there's no obligation .

April 24, 2012 03:04PM
Or do as the "new car ad's" do.
SAVE, SAVE, SAVE-$14,000 ON A NEW CADILLAC STS !!!!! or whatever brand, etc.
(Small print-limited to stock # 12356, and qualified purchaser credit, color of eye's, type of shoes worn, if we are in a good mood etc)
You all get the idea-loss leader marketing.
I am not a fan of such, so ease off on any flames.
I am old and dry, burn up easily.
April 24, 2012 04:13PM

You assume all you have said has not been done.. People are impatient today and just want to hear a price.. They do not even have an interest in hearing what you will do for the price you are quoting
April 26, 2012 04:22PM
Gina, as usual a thoughtful post and great advise. What I have found is that if people are insistent on price that is what they want, "the lowest price," and if you give them your price and you know it is not the lowest you won't get the business anyway.

If it is, as you so aptly pointed out, about a problem you need to delve into what the exact problem is.

What I have found "disarms" the price shopper is this question, humorously asked:

"Well, are you looking for price or quality service?"

That will usually cause them to pause and you jump in at that point and say, "if you want price you need to go to a "wholesale shop," as we are a retail detail facility and do higher quality work than a typical wholesale shop."

That will either get them to hang up or to ask you what that means.

We then explain that shops that do work for auto dealers do not get much money and so they short cut the detail job, cleaning only what needs to be clean, often not even shampooing the carpets but just wiping them down as well as the seats etc. They cover things up with dressing. On the paint they will use a cheap "one-step" product like a Turtle Wax which might make the car shine for a week or two but not last.

If they are still listening, then we explain how our work is different from that.

There are many ways to handle telephone price shoppers and what you have to do is simply find out if the caller is a price shopper or a person with a problem and does not understand detailing so they ask price, as we all do when we are set to purchase a product or service we know nothing about. Price becomes the determining factor until we are more informed.

One thing about getting older is that you do learn that you "get what you pay for" with products and services so it is simply better to deal with legitimate businesses and pay their price.

Bud Abraham
April 27, 2012 08:03PM
I've said it many times.....the biggest thing a business owner can do to grow their business isn't a class on detailing, but a class on sales. Unfortunately, most have a "worker" mentality rather then a business minded one and this ultimately leads to lost income.
April 28, 2012 11:02PM
Gina :
Your best bet may be an arrogant, intimidating statement and quick close :
Customer : What's your best price for detailing a car ?
Detailer : Our policy is to examine any car before discussing prices or the individual car's needs. Can you come in some time today before 4 PM ?
Customer : I'm too busy...
Detailer : Then give me your name and email address so I can send you some information on shopping for detailing services . Thanks for your interest in XYZ Detail !

Bud : Turtle Wax lasts a lot longer than a week or two . Consumer Reports rated Turtle Wax Carnauba second in a wax test of several waxes . I've tested their "PolyPro Sealant ", "Hard Shell", "Finish 2001" and "Super Hard Shell" waxes . Durability was passable . I also tried waxes by The Wax Shop and Zymol that were made by Turtle wax . The stuff from The Wax Shop did not last long but the Zymol was pretty good stuff . I also tried " Color Back ", which was a heavy duty cleaner with wax in it .

Some hack detailers use a cheap wax that sells for $10 or so a gallon from detailing suppliers and I've seen one such wax fail in two weeks .

Gina :
Another possibility is :
[ put the call on " hold" to gain control ]
Detailer : " Thanks for holding , now let me get some information from you----What year, make and model car are we talking about ? Have this car's parts been repainted ; say, a fender after a fender-bender ? Has it been professionally detailed in the last year ? Has the paint lost its original shine ? Are there black brake dust deposits caked on the wheels ? Do you need any carpet and upholstery stains removed ? Have you noticed any odors : Mold, pet odors or anything ?
Is the car washed by hand or in a commercial car wash ?
Great ! I've got a sheet started for your car. Based on what you've told me, though, we'll need to examine and go over the car in person to give you a price. How soon can you drive it here ?


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/29/2012 01:26AM by Doug Delmont.
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