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  • Writer's pictureSam Spirer

8 Things Detailing/Paint Protection shops hate when customers do

When you're in need of detailing or paint protection services make sure you avoid doing these 7 things that annoy or aggravate the services working on your car.


  1. Leaving your vehicle as messy as possible for the detailer

Yes you are getting your car detailed but should you drop it off in the worst condition possible filled with garbage? Absolutely not, Unless you want to pay the price. Most detailers are not trash removal services, the interior detailing job usually consists of vacuuming the carpets, seats, floor mats, wiping down other surfaces with cleaning and potentially shampooing stains. Most detailers hate when you show up with a ton of trash or belongings in your vehicle I.E: used tissues, food wrappers, clothing, drink bottles, take out drink cups with soda still in them, etc. This is nasty, we may be a car cleaning service but none of you want to pay us enough to deal with your biohazard of a car. I can't tell you how many countless times people show up for a basic detail service with their car absolutely trashed and disgusting inside expecting us to clean it up for the starting price for interiors. Most of them walk away or get annoyed when told that its going to cost a whole lot more for labor. What do you expect? This adds countless hours onto the job and can severely mess up a work flow schedule. Always remove al


l your own trash and send photos of the current condition of your interior that you think "is not that bad". Detailing services hate dealing with this and the generally extra picky/entitled customers that usually drop off vehicles in this condition expecting to pay bottom of the barrel pricing.





2. Watching the service and asking questions or giving your 2 cents


You called a professional for a reason right? Your car is dirty, you called the 5 star detailer for your local area whether they be mobile or a brick and mortar so why don't you trust them to get the job done right? Detailers and paint protection film/wrap/tint installers hate when people watch! We understand you might be fascinated by the services if you've never seen them done but there is no need to stand there asking questions, pointing out something that we haven't gotten to yet or asking why we do something one way when joe schmoe on YouTube says to do it another way. If there is something wrong with the service after its completed then say something but if you ask a Tech "Why is that spot still dirty" or "Why is there a bubble right there in the film" or "are you going to wipe that up after you're done?" while they aren't even half way through the job, this is highly annoying and seems accusatory that we aren't doing our job correctly because you do not understand the process. Its also just plain uncomfortable to work while someone is watching your every move and questioning your skill level when they themselves have no idea what they're doing. We don't pretend to know more about your career, so please don't pretend to act like you know more than us about ours.



3. Being overly picky about your service


We all want to get exactly what we paid for right? 9/10 times what you pay for is what you get. If you pay for a basic service such as a basic exterior wash or a quick vacuum only interior detail then you need to understand that it is what it is. BASIC. If you bring a car that is trashed and think a car wash is going to remove all the scratches or bird poop etching or that a basic non interior shampoo detail is going to make your interior look perfect again for low cost, you are sorely mistaken. Most services do set expectations and we do our best to point out anything that likely won't come out or would be difficult to do without charging more, but you as the customer need to listen. Detailing is not just some lame no college education job where low pay gets you far. If you want the works and you want perfection you have to pay for it, you can't be getting the poor guys lowest level service and then complaining that this car wash didn't remove a dent in your door or now you can see a scratch you never noticed before and how come it wasn't removed or you spilled coffee 6 months ago and vacuuming the seat didn't remove it. Detailers hate when you pay the bare minimum and expect a golden egg. If you want the car to look 100%, then pay for the 100% package. Don't nitpick when you were on a budget and listen to the professional when they explain what is possible.


4. Pointing out damage you never noticed before but was obviously not done by the service


There is no worse feeling than when you finish a car, it looks 100% better than it did before, the customer comes to pick up and immediately points out damage they never noticed was there before. Even BRAND NEW CARS are damaged whether its upon delivery (super common on Tesla or open carry trailer deliveries or even the dealer techs will crash a car) or on your way to the shop for paint protection. Or if you have a car that isn't brand new and never driven, i can almost guarantee you have rock chips, road rash, interior damages, scratches etc in on your vehicle. Auto shops of all kinds are constantly accused of damages that were pre existing. Some people its just coincidental and others actually plan ahead to place blame on a shop to get a free fix. We do our best to fully inspect your vehicle or take video ahead of time to prove no damages but honestly theres always stuff you are not going to capture right away especially if you drop off a dirty car. Sure we can say "We will inspect once washed" but that means its been touched and gives the customer the opportunity to say damage was caused by the worker. Inspection sheets can be a double edged sword because if signed off on and you did not notice damage, could come back to you later. I personally experienced this when we missed a spot on a lower part of a mirror that had been touched up by a previous owner, the owner did not even believe my body worker who said the paint was clearly old, and he accused us of damaging his car in a way that wasn't possible for us and insisted we pay to repaint his mirror. It was after this incident that I started doing video inspections which can still not always pick up on stuff. Most cars have damages and most of the time it wasn't the 5 star service that caused them because most of us will own up to mistakes as were insured and its not a big deal to fix something if you are an honest high rated business. Please know your car before you drop it off, take your own videos, and stop accusing shops of damages and causing huge headaches financially or dragging them through the mud online over a false accusation. In 10 years of being in business, 90% of the accusations against us for damages that were unknown prior to drop off are not something we caused and were super obvious could not of been caused by us. The other 10% my business has paid for without question as any good business would because no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes, its how you handle the mistakes that defines your business.



5. For PPF in specific: Complaining it doesn't look perfect, has a bubble, a line etc.


Paint protection film is a marvelous product, it protects our high value paint from taking physical damage and saves you money, car value and hassle over time. However PPF is not perfect! It is a plastic urethane film with adhesive on the back that we wrap on your vehicle. It is not meant to look exactly like paint, the film itself has its own defects such as little lines, adhesive marks, etc. These are not things the manufacturer will reimburse installers for because that's just how it is and given that most rolls of film start at $1350+ for premium brands of film in only 50 feet (one full car or 3 front ends), the installer is not going to like replacing film because of one little defect somewhere. This is totally normal, it is also normal for most installs to have 1 or 2 pieces of dust underneath as there is really no way to have a truly 100% dust free environment unless you have hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in a state of the art facility which most of us small businesses do not and those larger businesses still tend to pump out lesser quality work due to the size of their staff who may not care as much as a smaller owner operated shop. If we replace your film over 1 piece of dust, chances are theres going to be another one somewhere else and we just lost most of our profit on the piece of material and skilled labor. THis stuff is meant to protect your paint! not look perfect! Please start listening when services set expecations or read the documents you sign with the businesses policies on fixes for any errors that are not within spec. The car you bought likely isnt 100% perfect from the factory where its built by precision robots and engineers, so why would a piece of aftermarket plastic film look perfect? If you want to pay a $2000 premium on your full front end coverage to cover additional film so you can try to get close to perfect, go right ahead or you could just be happy with the $1895 you spent on the job that is like 95% perfect which is about the max you can do.


6. Watching YouTube videos that say installers should do it a certain way


There is tons of misinformation online, my favorite is the misinformation youtube where detailers, film installers etc say stuff like "Oh if your installer didn't do your bumper in one piece with no seams then he's a hack" or "If they didnt do paint correction but sold you a coating, they have no idea what they're doing". There are a lot of idiots online, there are quite a few PPF installers who like to say that they can do every bumper or car with no seams and you can stretch the film or spend the time to get it to stick in a hard corner or whatever. What these guys do not tell you is that they have no idea what they are doing because if you stretch film too far you can damage the integrity of the film, if you try to lay film down where a relief cut should be made then probably in 2-3 months that area is going to bubble up and have issues or if it takes damage it might have issues too because the film was stretched too far. If a software company plots it a certain way, that means that like 8/10 times that that is the best way to do it, maybe a custom bulk install could have 1 less seam somewhere but that's about it. Usually you will have issues when trying to make film look "perfect" . Please do not try to advise your installer on how they should do something because most of them who are good are doing it the way it should be done. IF they have a long history and tons of 5 star reviews, then they are probably doing something right. If a detailer sells you a ceramic coating without paint correction, this doesn't make them a hack, this means you most likely did not want to pay for paint correction and thats okay! Coatings are there to protect and replace wax, many of our customers have no clue their paint is swirly, so why make the job take longer and cost more if the customer doesn't notice and they just want shiny, easy to clean paint? Not every car has to have a show car finish to be ceramic coated and most consumers swirl up their freshly corrected paint within 6 months to the point where you could never tell any work was done!



7. Getting an opinion from another business before going back to ask to fix something


There is nothing more annoying in my opinion as a seasoned business owner than a customer who gets work done and then goes somewhere else to make sure it was done right. If you book a service as a highly rated business, chances are you are getting it done right. IF there is something wrong, then chances are they will fix it no questions asked because if something does go wrong, it it usually a fluke issue, or a new employee, or someone just had a bad day and that's okay. Unless a business damaged your vehicle badly, then always give the benefit of the doubt and go back to ask to fix whatever issue you may have. Most other shops will tell you stuff like " oh don't go back there, just let us re do it" because they want your money, they know you'll likely try to charge back the other shop and then re-spend with them when realistically, you could have probably done a simple fix with the shop that did the work originally. Do not go charging back your purchase or go on an internet tirade because of a few lifting edges, bubbles, high spots etc. Most of us paint protection an detailing businesses are small, charging back a major purchase is detrimental to a business like us. Most good shops are willing to fix anything and usually have their policies outlined and signed pre-purchase. If you choose to ignore these, then you are honestly the problem here, not the business. If you are booking your service with a 3 star business to save money, then sure go get someone elses opinion because you chose the crappy route and it is probably done incorrectly, but if you go to a 5 star shop and then pull this kind of stunt, you are just being unreasonable, why would they have so many reviews and be constantly busy if they were doing actual bad work? Not every car comes out perfect, there are many factors such as temperature, humidity, air quality, etc that can have a major effect on all these services. You cannot blame or hurt the shop for things that may be out of their control especially if they are willing to fix it. There are too many good businesses being hurt by overly picky clientele or other businesses talking trash. Stop doing this. Always give the benefit of the doubt and go back to see if they will fix it before you decide to chargeback your whole purchase over a small error and cause everyone a headache. Remember these are aftermarket products being applied on your vehicle, they are highly expensive for us to install and sometimes there are issues, it doesn't mean a business is bad.


8. Leaving a bad review even after having your issues solved or before you attempt to resolve


It sucks when you get a bad review! This is another thing that can make or break a small business. There is nothing more depressing than when you handled a situation perfectly, honored a warranty, given a refund, etc and then you still wind up with a bad review even though you were super nice, respectful and did everything you possibly could to make things right. Don't be one of those people (karens) who hurts a small business even after they tried to make it right. If you leave a bad review before even trying to resolve the issues then to most of us we just think you have no clue how to confront people or handle a situation and ultimately we lose a lot of respect for you even though we try to reach out to the make things right. Remember that every human being makes mistakes and think about what if a client of your job left you a bad review whether you are an employee being mentioned or an owner and how you might feel when you could really have easily resolved the issue. don't be a karen.



If you've done any of these 8 things, you've probably severally aggravated or hurt a small automotive business. Please remember we are all people too and have bills, families, overhead, etc and most of us are willing to work with you. Please help to keep your detailer/paint protection installer happy by not doing the things mentioned in this article and being respectful towards them.


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