NEW CAR PROTECTION
Don’t fall for the dealer’s tricks when you buy a new car. They recommend a “Protection Package” with a long term warranty but check with us first! We are more affordable and WE’RE HONEST about what you’re really getting with a paint sealant.
Exterior Paint Sealant
Your car is brand new and it shines like crazy right? Why do you need paint sealant? Because the paint (clear coat) is “naked”… there’s nothing on it to keep the sun’s UV rays from starting their inevitable fading process.
Price: $208 to $298
Fabric-Carpet Stain Guard
We treat all your fabric and carpet for protection from stains. Our Fabric Guard is a polymer based coating which bonds to the individual fibers, sealing out stains from most spills.
Price: $58 to $198
Convertible Top Protectant
New cloth convertible tops are treated with a UV protectant from the factory. After about a year, this UV protectant has done its job and needs to be re-applied. This is similar to the way wax is your first line of defense against UV rays on your paint.
There are two main reasons we apply undercoating. First, is to significantly reduce road noise. Many cars are now built without the traditional undercoating we’re used to seeing on older cars. This is because of the advances in corrosion protection within the metals themselves, so the factories can save money by no longer applying these undercoatings. This is ok from a consumer standpoint unless your car is just too loud from a road-noise perspective.
The second reason we apply undercoating is to improve corrosion resistance for vehicles traveling to high corrosion areas such as: Oregon & Washington coastal areas Alaska & Hawaii States where they salt the roads Price: New Vehicles $200 to $500, Used vehicles require our Undercarriage Steam Cleaning service ($128 to $198 additional)
Auto Laundry News, April 2005
This is an excerpt from Prentice St. Clair’s article in April 2005, Auto Laundry News, a detail trade magazine targeted to businesses like mine, Fresh Start Detail Co. Prentice is a well respected detail industry expert. We have italicized especially important information.
We are all familiar with the common automotive dealership practice of offering vehicle protection packages to their customers who are purchasing new vehicles. They make it sound like a very important service- “You know, this is a brand new vehicle, and our protection package will help your car look new for years to come.” Many dealers sell their protection packages with multi-year warranties, often three to five years. And I have heard these packages going for $300 all the way up to $1200!
Certainly, the dealer has the right to make a profit just like anyone else in business. I am not here to bash dealer practices. My point in this month’s column is to remind professional detailers that we, too, can compete for the business of the customer who has purchased a new vehicle.
WHAT IS REALLY BEING SOLD?
We know from experience that there is no exterior or interior product that provides protection for more than a few months. So what’s really being sold by the dealer is the warranty paper and the perception that the vehicle will be protected for years to come.
Have you ever read one of these warranties? The front often says, “application of our product protects your vehicle’s paint from tree sap, bird droppings, UV rays, oxidation, et cetera, and this warranty is good for X number of years.” The funny thing is, you turn over the paper and read the fine print on the back and it says something like, “This warranty does not include damage caused by bird droppings, tree sap, et cetera.” That is, the warranty doesn’t even cover the things it implies as being covered!
Another interesting fact is that many of the vehicle-owner’s manuals now include recommendations for exterior maintenance that often have language like, “your car should be waxed or sealed once a month for best protection.” (I recommend that you look for yourself at the owner’s manual of every vehicle that comes through your shop. You will be pleasantly surprised at what you find.)
SO WHAT’S GOING ON?
Basically, a new vehicle protection package from the dealership is like purchasing an extended warranty on electronic equipment from the stereo store. The store is simply banking on the fact that a vast majority of people purchasing such warranties will never actually bring back the equipment if it ever breaks.
Likewise, the dealership is banking on the fact that, by the time the paint really starts looking bad, the warranty is over, the customer has forgotten about the warranty, the customer has lost the warranty, or the customer just does not feel like dealing with the hassle of fighting with the dealer over the terms of the warranty.
HOW DO WE FIT IN?
You will have active customers who purchase new vehicles. It is important to educate your current customer base on the benefits and drawbacks to dealer-applied protection packages. We have nothing against the products- they do their jobs well. What we object to is the price that’s usually charged, the promises that are made, and the manner in which the products are applied.
If your customer already got the protection from the dealer, be careful to help educate the customer without making him or her feel bad about paying an exorbitant price. Instead, gently inform the customer that the protect will probably wear out over the course of the first year and that the protection will require “re-application” or “re-activation” on a regular basis to really hold up. Also help the customer understand that the interior of the vehicle will get dirty despite the application of leather protectant and liquid repellant. You can reassure your customer by quickly adding something like, “it’s not a big deal, though, because I can refresh the look of your car anytime you want and re-apply all those products.”
Also, make sure that your advertising and promotion includes language about your ability to apply new-vehicle protection, because there is an increasing percentage of new vehicle purchasers who understand that new vehicle protection application can be “shopped.”
Unfortunately, too many dealers rely on low-wage, poorly trained employees to apply professional detail products. The job can be sloppy and incomplete. We, as professional detailers, on the other hand, will professionally treat the new vehicle. We do things like using detailer’s clay before applying sealant. Often, those vehicles are coated with all kinds of surface junk that accumulates during transport and while sitting on the dealer’s lot. This stuff does not come off with a car wash or while wiping on a sealant.
Make sure that your customers understand the difference in results that they will get when the vehicle protection is applied by a trained detailing professional versus a dealer’s “wash guy.” I have often had customers say, “wow, the car looks better than when we drove it off the lot the other day. How did you do that?” My answer is, “I use professional chemicals, equipment, and techniques. And I can help you keep the car looking this way for as long as you have it. Just keep bringing it back on a regular basis.”…
Professional detail operations should be offering new vehicle protection packages, just like the dealers. In general, we can provide better service for a better price….
authored by Jason Barker