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VOL. 4, NO. 2 SPRING 2019

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CONTENTS The Business of Detailing . . . 4 Being a Good Employer

Fill in the Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Elbow Grease. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Steam On: Ways in which ‘dry’ steam can kills germs, and bring in more money

Tricks of the Trade . . . . . . . . 12 Nitty Gritty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Getting to Know Ian Porter

In the News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Innovations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 IDA News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Wax On, Wax Off: Why Your Detailing Training Matters The IDA RTC Program Helps Detailers Build a Solid Foundation

Cover Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 A Boatload of Information

One More Thing ...

Letter from the Editor

Spring? Is that you, is it really you? Here in Upstate New York, the only sign of

I also want to give a quick shoutout to Chris

Spring has been March Madness bracket sheets on

Evans. After months and months of hard work and

my kitchen table and the fact that my taxes are due.

dedication, he published his book, The Detailers

I wish I could wax poetically about the coziness

Dictionary. I don’t know about you, but ever since

of the cold weather and paint you a picture of a

I was around the age of 12 I have always come up

Northeast wonderland filled with snowcapped trees

with book ideas, but I never actually put the pen

and a warm blaze in the fireplace and kids building

to paper. But, Chris did it. He had a vision, saw a

a snowman, but in reality, I am glad the winter is

need and went for it. I especially know how chal-

over. One of the brightspots was the always pleasant

lenging it can be to produce thoughts onto paper

trip to Orlando for the 2019 Mobile Tech Expo.

and the mindbender that goes with the uncertainty

It was a nice resprite, the weather was wonderful,

of whether or not anyone understands what I am

the educational sessions were beyond phenomenal

trying to say, or if anyone cares. So, I am immeasur-

and, as usual, it was so great seeing everyone. I was

able impressed that Chris produced an entire book,

so glad to meet up with Vincent Macri who was

and a great one at that.

able to introduce me to Ben Thompson, Founder

One more thing before I sign off, who is going

of Mavinate, who made this cover story possible,

to The Car Wash Show? Publisher Jackson Vahaly

as well as Robert Wrasman, who gave a wonderful

and I will be there. It will be my first time in

Vol. 4, No. 2, Spring 2019

presentation on the history of automotive paints.

Nashville and I am excited for Jackson to show me

Publisher: Jackson Vahaly Editor: Debra Gorgos Design: Katy Barrett-Alley

All of those connections, new and old, made this

his stomping grounds, and to meet more detailers

current edition possible.

and see old friends. If I don’t get to meet or see you

Auto Detailing News is published 4 times per year and is independently owned by Jackson Vahaly. Web address is

All inquiries should be directed to: Auto Detailing News 110 Childs Ln. Franklin, TN 37067

at The Car Wash Show, then you can always reach me at or by calling 518-598-2287. Until next time, Copyright © 2018 2 Dollar Enterprises/Auto Detailing News All Rights Reserved.





Being a Good Employer By Rob Schruefer

go on vacation? Or when you are sick? What will happen when you get too old, or your back gives out? Who will be there to continue to make money for you and your family? Most importantly, can your business run without you? These are all questions that I ask people when they tell me that they do not need staff, or employees are too much trouble. If you do not know or have not thought about the answers to these questions, then now is the time. Whether you have known for a while, or you are just coming to the realization you need help, it is a good idea to understand the 4 pieces of the employment success: ✔✔ Hiring Rob Schruefer is the owner of On The Spot Detailing out of Columbia, Maryland. He proudly serves on the board of the International Detailing Association and works tirelessly to ensure that detailing business owners receive business development support to help them achieve their goals..

One of the most important aspects of turning your single-man detailing operation into a true business is the ability to hire and properly manage employees. Jeff Bezos does not package and deliver your socks, and Bill Gates is not installing software on your computer. They have learned and mastered that getting ahead in business means relying on other people to complete jobs and projects so you can focus on the big picture. Having employees is not easy, ask anyone who has them, but they are a necessity to growing your business. Do you have to close your business to




✔✔ Rewards/Promotions ✔✔ Discipline ✔✔ Termination

Hiring The first part of hiring the right person is actually knowing where to find


VOL. 4, NO. 2 • SPRING 2019

them. There are many avenues online with programs like BetterTeam, Indeed, and Craigslist. Find out what works best in your market. Recruiting is also an effective tool. If you find someone you like that has a strong work ethic and character skills, jump all over them, that stuff cannot be learned. Detailing is a skill that can be taught, common sense cannot. Holding proper interviews is essential to getting to know potential staff. What are their goals? Where do they see themselves in 5 years? Asking about them personally will set the tone from the beginning that you care about them, but it also has the benefit of getting them talking and opening up, which could alert you to any potential red flags. You should also take this time to explain what your company is about. Tell them about the company culture, what you expect, and what potential career avenues await them. The best people are rarely just looking for a “job”, they want a career and stability for themselves and their family.

Once hired, proper training from day one will set the tone for what you expect from them as an employee. Failing them here, will definitely result in them failing you later. Create a training program that each employee goes through so they are all taught the same way. Standard Operating Procedures will ensure that each employee will produce the same result, every time. Set them up for success.

Rewards/ Promotions It is important for people to feel valued. No one wants to come to work each day at a place that does not appreciate them or their hard work. Simple team building outings, like taking everyone to play paintball, or going to an amusement park, allows staff to interact outside of the work environment. Not only will friendships be forged, but there will also be shared experiences or jokes that will last for weeks or months. Continuing education classes or


The excuse I get from customers the most about their dirty vehicle is ______________ ... just got back from a camping trip

... my lifestyle

... it’s the kids’ fault

... I’m a hoarder

... this is my sister-in-law’s car. Doing my brother a favor…

... this stuff is here just in case I need any of this stuff

... I practically live out of this car

... my job site is dirty

... I’m busy all the time

... I bought it like this

... the dogs

... I don’t care. That’s why I have you

... it’s from the kids AND the dogs

... oh this wasn’t me, someone else has been driving

certifications allow for the employee to grow with the company. Let them go and learn about new techniques and products. Have them bring them back what they learned to the company for review, even if they are not implemented, them presenting will build ownership in their position. Requiring all detailers of a certain level to have an International Detailing Association (IDA) Level 1 certification will establish a baseline standard of knowledge for all of your detailers. Certifications are also great marketing tools to show customers why you are better than your competition. Giving raises or promotions at random should be avoided. Regular evaluations present the opportunity for you to have 1 on 1 time with each employee. Look over the past period and determine both the positive and negative performance. You can get in front of potential problems and cultivate good habits. Each evaluation should include goal setting for the next period which can be measured during your next meeting.

This is also the prefect chance to talk about raises, promotions, or discipline.

Discipline No one likes to discipline an employee, but it has to happen sometimes. You have provided the expectations and the tools to complete the job, and if it is up to them to meet your standards. If it is an ongoing problem, it has to be solved. Find out the root cause of the problem, and work to help them succeed. Refresher courses, outside training, or rethinking the position they currently hold are all positive ways to deal with a negative situation. Any time we talk about discipline is it also essential to talk about DOCUMENTATION. It is not enough to just tell someone to not continue an activity or to be on time to work. Verbal warnings have their place, but for more serious or ongoing infractions a record of the interaction must be retained. Write ups and incident reports should be completed and signed by the employee at

the time of the discussion. If and when you decide termination is in order, you will need this.

Termination Termination does not have to be a bad thing. Some employees want to leave on their own with proper notice, and other times, it is absolutely necessary to remove a problematic employee. No matter what the reason, you should try and keep it from getting messy. Make sure that you have everything documented (see above) and a termination form completed incase legal or unemployment issues arise. Nobody likes being fired, so be professional about it, and keep it civil. If the opportunity presents itself, have an exit interview. It sounds very corporate, but someone on the way out the door will be very honest with you about their experience, and why they are leaving, if it is voluntary. This is a chance to learn what mistakes you might have made and why they think they did not succeed or want to stay with

We asked (via Facebook & AutoCareForum) & you answered. Here is a new feature in which detailers fill in the blank.

your company. Take what is said, learn from it, and make changes accordingly. Also be aware that an employee with nothing left to lose could rant negatively about people and possibly you or your company. Allow them this time as long as it does not get out of control. Do not argue or be defensive, nothing good will come of it.

Let’s Review Whether you have 1 or 100 employees, it is important to be a good employer. If you have high turnover, not only is it expensive, but it is also an indication something is wrong. Learn as you go, and use the employees for feedback and as a barometer as to how you are doing. There is nothing more rewarding as a boss than to have a top employee come into your office and thank you for allowing them the opportunity to have a career in the profession that they love.




Steam On

Ways in which ‘dry’ steam can kill germs, and bring in more money The following is a Q&A with Yujin Anderson of Steamericas.

Why should a detailer consider using steam?





Vehicles are made of different materials and have many uneven surfaces. Due to these factors, detailing a vehicle inside and out traditionally requires various tools, chemicals and lots of elbow grease. Having a proper commercial grade steamer with consistent dry steam can decrease the number of tools and chemicals required to do the same or a better job. For example, a true commercial steamer eliminates the use of a pressure washer and in most cases and air compressor for interior cleaning. Steam’s high temperature breaks down grease, dirt, glue residue and food stains,

VOL. 4, NO. 2 • SPRING 2019

which eliminates the need for most chemicals. When used correctly, steam is completely safe on various materials — paint, leather, fiberglass, glass, upholstery, plastic, metal and even on moisture-sensitive engine compartments. Using an (almost) all-in-one tool means streamlining your operation, increasing cleaning efficiency and lowering on-going overhead. Moreover, steam is excellent for cleaning nooks and crannies. The fastest and most eco-friendly way to clean and sanitize every nook of the surface is dry steam. Unlike hot water or wet steam, dry steam, which is the gaseous form of water that carries heat, can travel around obstacles and reach areas that hot water in liquid form cannot. Imagine trying to clean a cup holder with sticky

food deposits wedged in corners. Doing it the traditional way, you would need more than one tool and even the help of chemicals. With a steamer, you are all set. No matter what you are cleaning, steam does a very thorough job of cleaning and will sanitize the surface at the same time.

How does steam work to sanitize an interior? Steam’s high temperature makes it a natural sanitizer. Most bacteria, yeasts and molds are known to be eliminated when exposed to a consistent temperature range of 140-180F degrees. Steam’s saturated vapor is able to penetrate better than dry heat alone, making it ideal for

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you can go back with steam to remove any remaining glue residues. Steam is also used to remove vehicle wraps and decals.

What about the eco-friendly factor?

delivering its high temperatures to difficult areas which are most often impossible to reach using hot water or chemicals. Currently ozone and other chemicals are widely used to sanitize or deodorize inside vehicles. Steam is completely organic and natural while ozone is a known hazardous material to OSHA, which requires to be monitored and regulated at a place of employment. Also think about the residual costs. Water is a whole a lot cheaper than replenishing chemicals! Sanitizing services can easily be the biggest side revenue generator. If you service young family-oriented neighborhoods, having a steamer equips you to offer car seat and stroller sanitizing services. Using dry steam makes these cleaning jobs a piece of cake. Services like these can turn rare customers into regular customers. And, because you are servicing a niche market, customers are prepared to pay for the premium especially something that is beneficial to their children and family.

What else can steam do? Steam is great for removing old window tinting films as well as preparing the surface before installation. Simply direct steam from the top of the old film to loosen the glue. Then apply steam from a side angle to help peel it off. Once films are removed,





VOL. 4, NO. 2 • SPRING 2019

I have witnessed my detailer customers gaining the competitive edge and growing their business thanks to the fact that there is no wastewater runoff. Not having wastewater runoff means that you can bypass water disposal restrictions by the Clean Water Act. If you operate a mobile service in a local jurisdiction that heavily enforces the federal law, you understand the pain of setting up the reclaim mat before cleaning, pumping the wastewater to collect it in a recovery tank and having to drag it around in your van until you can properly dispose the wastewater. Naturally, you save time or preps and post clean-ups, space for water and recovery tanks in your vehicle (you only need 1-2 gallons of water to clean an entire vehicle) and rising fuel costs. Using a steamer, detailers can easily detail in gated community and HOAs with water run-off regulations, country clubs that don’t want any mess from cleaning operations, parking garages or lots without drainage and the list goes on. And, if you have a fixed location, it gives you the freedom of setting up a wash or detailing area wherever you want without drainage or water reclaim requirements. If you choose to, you can expand and offer on-site services for a large account. Another great benefit of using dry steam for cleaning and sanitizing interiors is minimal drying time. Depending on the weather, it takes only a few minutes to 20 minutes to dry. When you use barely 0.08 gallons of water per minute and most of it evaporates, there is not much left on the surface to dry. For some operators, this is a reason enough to ditch an extractor and go to steam for a faster turnaround, especially if you are in a colder climate.

What should a detailer look for

when purchasing a steamer? If you Google “steamer,” you would be overwhelmed and confused by different options. Most steamers retailed online are not technically commercial grade although advertised as so. To make it even more difficult for buyers, many online resellers give very limited information on product specifications. If you are in the market for a steamer, first decide what you want to achieve with a steamer. All you want to do is occasional steaming of small areas such as cup holders or uneven dashboards, a residential grade steamer (see definition below) may be sufficient. Once decided, you have to do your homework and find steamers that are capable of giving you what you are looking for. In other words, narrow it down to steamers in the same class or category.

Do not compare a 3,000-watt steamer to a 30,000 watt or fuel-run steamers. They are in completely different classes of steamers. I have seen many detailers make this mistake and have to re-invest in a commercial steamer after spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in a residential grade steamer. Here are the variables to consider: Steam capacity rate and output: To compare steamers, look for the steam capacity (or production) rate. This shows how much water the steamer is capable of turning into dry steam per hour. The steam capacity rate is directly related to the power output (for electric) or BTU (for fuelrun) of the steamer. If you want to have continuous dry steam with a strong flow to have an option to clean exterior with steam safely, you need at least a 12,000watt electric steamer or fuel-run steamer.


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Output (watts) equals to voltage (v) times amperage (amps) in regular single phase power. Standard outlets in North America are for 110V power, and each circuit has maximum of 15 amps typically. This means on a regular North American outlet, the largest steamer you can run is limited to about 1600 watts. Most steamers retailed online first came from Europe where 230V power is readily available in every home. In Europe, an introductory residential steamer has over 3,000 watts. In North America, unfortunately we had to settle and work with the power we have Boiler size: Another way to gauge the performance of a steamer is finding out its boiler size. If the steamer has a small boiler, you will run out of steam very quickly and have to wait for steam to replenish after few minutes of use. Many resellers tend to hide boiler size information, but manufacturers should have this information, so ask for it. Water tank size and direct hose hook-up availability: If the steamer has a small water tank, this means you have to refill it often. True commercial grade steamers often come with a direct water-line hook-up so that you never have to refill the water tank manually. It is built for continuous operation all day long. Flow rate, pressure & temperature: Do not solely focus on the pressure (psi) specification. Understand the relationship with the pressure and temperature. In a




vapor dry steamer, the pressure is created from boiling water inside the boiler not from a pump (like in a pressure washer). When the temperature of steam is at a certain degree, it has a corresponding pressure (psi) point. For example, at 212F, the pressure is 0 psi. At 250F, it is 15psi; at 300F, 52psi; at 350F, 120psi; at 400F, 232psi and so on. When a product description says the steamer’s boiler temperature is 250F, and pressure is 200psi, this should be a red flag. Either the specifications are dishonest, or the product is not a true vapor steamer. You can have two steamers with an identical pressure (psi) rating but have completely different cleaning power. Pressure is only one part of the cleaning power equation. The other important factor is the flow rate. If a steamer has good psi but will only give you a small stream of steam, it cannot have good cleaning power or agitation. When comparing psi, don’t forget to verify matching temperature as well as the flow rate of steam. Hose length: Because steam is a form of gas, it cannot travel as far as water (liquid) can, which limits the length of the hose. If you have a commercial-industrial grade steamer, you can somewhat overcome the hose length restriction thanks to its abundant steam flow and pressure. Imagine having to move around the steamer each time you move when you have a very short hose. Commercial |

VOL. 4, NO. 2 • SPRING 2019

steamers should be able to deliver 50100 foot of hose length and be able to support multiple hoses at the same time. Parts and service availability: Find out if you can order parts within the country and quickly. Most online resellers are quick to sell you a machine without stocking parts or offering local service. Find out where you can get the unit serviced when needed. If they tell you that you have to ship the unit back to them for repair, decide for yourself if you can afford weeks of downtime. Ideally, they have a service center within driving distance.

What are other things to consider when purchasing a steamer? Commercial steamer or not, steamers require soft water, period. If you have hard water in the area, add in the cost of a soft water system into your budget. Since steamers do not use much water, you can easily get by with a smaller residential water softening system which will run you under $400-500 from a local hardware store. Remember hard water is the biggest enemy of dry vapor steamers. One requirement (aside from providing soft water to the steamer) for a steam wash is high quality microfiber towels. Exterior steam wash is a spray-and-wipe process. To avoid watermarks or streaks, you need good quality microfiber towels. You may use a lot of them during the learning

curve, but you will be able to maximize towel surface as you get more efficient with using steam. Educate yourself on proper microfiber towel care as well. For example, you cannot dry microfiber towels in high heat! If you have never worked with a dry steamer in the past, expect a short learning curve, but a learning curve nevertheless. Because steam is and behaves like a form of gas, not liquid like water, it loses its temperature and pressure very quickly once it exits from the nozzle tip. Know that to decrease or increase the pressure and temperature on the surface you try to clean, you must adjust the distance between the nozzle tip and the surface. The learning curve is well worth it as it will save you an incredible amount of time and help you expand your service menu going forward. Steamericas parent company, SJE Corporation, begun as a janitorial pressure washer supplier 28 years ago in South Korea. In 2006, SJE Corporation was asked to customize a unit that does not leave waste-water run-off by one of their customers. The main engineer and one of the founders of SJE combined his marine engineering knowledge of designing steam boilers and pressure washer expertise and created the first prototype of the Optima Steamer, which is essentially a commercial-industrial grade dry vapor steam pressure washer with continuous steam at 352 F and 125psi. Since then, the Optima Steamer has been sold in over 120 countries, and Steamericas was established in 2010 to help the sales and service of the Optima Steamer in North America.


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By Jeff Brown Jeff Brown is the Marketing & Sales Manager of Griot’s Garage. Griot’s Garage is a manufacturer and supplier of detailing products and tools based in Tacoma, Washington.

“Primum nil nocere” … this phase is Latin for “first do no harm” and while it’s a much hallowed, centuries old axiom for medical doctors, it should also be at the heart of the matter for all serious detailers. Car care done wrong can have dire consequences. Always consider the surface you’re working on and ensure the least invasive process is used because anytime you touch the surface you’re tempting fate. Even a task seemingly as simple as washing a car can have a trap door. The emergence of snow foam over the last five years has made getting a deeper, safer clean as easy as pulling a trigger. What makes foam a better solution?

ORIGINS The origin of the term “snow foam” is unknown. However, this technology and approach to car washing has been used for years in the tunnel car wash industry. Employing pre-soaks, followed by a high pressure rinse, enables car washes to deliver touchless washes… or to ensure a deeper clean prior to mechanical agitation via brushes, microfiber, or foam agitators. Europe has been recognized for driving the transition of this technology into the automotive detail industry by introducing highpressure foam cannons, special car wash tunnel inspired foam formulas, and unique application techniques. Tunnel car washes also apply unique polymeric and hydrophobic formulas to protect and enhance all exterior surfaces and

the detail industry has followed suit. Not only is snow foam a better solution for vehicle maintenance, it can also be an incremental profit center for detailers. Customers will pay more for a wash

which avoids wash-induced scratches and, long-term, it means less paint correction and the retention of proper paint film thickness.

TRADITIONAL WASH METHODS Washing a vehicle to remove loose contaminants, using what is considered common best practice, will inevitably introduce scratches in the surface. Road contaminants composed of oil and grease from engines, transfer cases, rear ends, suspension, and transmissions can form an abrasive, grime-attracting film. This combined with ferrous particles emitted from brake friction materials, along with tree sap, bird droppings, and more escalate the need for a more frequent and robust maintenance regimen. Optimal washing methods include: using two five-gallon car wash buckets, one for washing and one for rinsing; using a high-lubricity car wash; and employing premium microfiber wash tools. Techniques encompass washing the vehicle from the top down and using two wash tools dedicated to the belt-line up/belt-line down (upper and





VOL. 4, NO. 2 • SPRING 2019

lower sections). The wash tools should often be rinsed throughout the process to free them from abrasives and contaminants. There is an inherent flaw with this process. Prior to beginning the wash, the vehicle is typically low-pressure rinsed. This type of rinsing is incapable of breaking many abrasives and contaminants free from the surface. The purpose of high-lubricity car wash solutions is to lubricate the surface to reduce wash-induced scratches. However, the washing process mechanically breaks the abrasives free and moves them across the surface, inescapably imparting microscopic surface scratches. These build up over time and detract from the paint’s clarity, eventually necessitating paint correction.

PRE-WASHING VS. TOUCHLESS WASHING The old adage, “pay now or pay later” comes into mind here. Investing 10 to 15 minutes more in your wash process will assuredly delay the need for paint correction and keep that flawless coated or sealed protection you’ve worked so hard to attain intact well into the future. Employing a pre-soak of specially formulated cleaning agents followed by a thorough high-pressure spray, delivered via a pressure washer equipped with a 20 to 30° nozzle, can eliminate the need for mechanically breaking abrasives free from the surface via a wash mitt/pad. This incremental step called PreWashing or Snow Foaming involves ridding the surface of abrasives and contaminants preceding a mechanical

wash process. With regularly maintained vehicles, the snow foam treatment can deliver a “touchless” wash, thereby leaving the vehicle free of contaminants and ready to dry. The pre-wash involves applying a specially formulated, highfoaming surfactant to chemically soften and encapsulate contaminants. Then, by way, of gravity the encapsulated particles are carried to the ground. Following a brief dwell period, the surface is thoroughly high-pressure rinsed, leaving a deep cleansed surface free of grit and grime. The rinsing technique must be purposeful and thorough. Imagine you are painting the vehicle with a nozzle at a distance of one to two feet. Simply work from the bottom up, then top down with each pass methodically overlapping.

THE FOAM CANON There are many viable foam cannon options on the market. Most feature brass construction which can be susceptible to corrosion, especially when using highpH detergents. The best utilize precision machined stainless steel components which delivers exceptional chemical resistance and durability. Leaking is another consideration. Designs that use open ventilation on their manifold are susceptible to leakage, so look for a cannon that features one way vents that will confidently contain liquid solutions within the cannon’s reservoir. Traditionally, foam cannons require the user to pre-dilute 2 to 4 ounces of detergent with water prior to application. New innovations have come to market delivering auto mixing of concentrates that provide fast and efficient foam delivery. Regardless of your choice, be sure you properly maintain your foam cannon by thoroughly rinsing the cannon prior to storage. If solution remains in the cannon, it can eventually clog up and kill foam production. Adding a snow foam maintenance regimen or using this technology prior

SURFACE PREP VS. SURFACE MAINTENANCE Employ a surface prep pre-soak prior to a paint correction process to strip the surface of waxes, oils, silicones, and grease. Effective formulas utilize detergent builders to enhance the cleaning efficiency of surfactants by inactivating water hardness and promoting corrosion prevention for metals. Detergent builders, when used with surfactants, neutralize acidic soil, emulsify oil and grease, suspend removed soil, and prevent re-deposition. Avoid simple degreasers often used in this step, which are corrosive to the surface and impart unsightly white

residue. When applied via a foam cannon, this treatment is superior for deep cleaning wheel wells, door jambs, filler compartments, and cracks and crevices. The high-pH formulas should not be used in maintenance regimens. Surface maintenance must rely on a pH-neutral solution to ensure waxes, sealants, and coatings aren’t diminished. Optimal formulas employ readily biodegradable surfactants and co-surfactants to emulsify water with oil and dirt, allowing the contaminants to be rinsed away.

SNOW FOAM TED S U B MYTHS… MYTH: CAR WASH SOAP BASED FORMULAS WHICH ARE SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR HAND WASHING AND/OR RELABELED FORMULAS MARKETED AS SNOW FOAM WILL EXCEL IN A FOAM CANNON APPLICATION. BUST: These pretenders do deliver high-foaming and high-lubricity characteristics, but fall down due to their lack of dual-foam technology, cleaning properties, and vertical dwell time. When applied, they quickly slide off the surface, side stepping one of the biggest advantages of snow foam: the time to work.

MYTH: SNOW FOAM CAN BE RINSED OFF RIGHT AWAY. BUST: If dwell times are limited and a snow foam is applied for a short period then immediately, haphazardly rinsed off from top to bottom it has not had the time for chemical softening to occur and the foam to realize its full effectiveness. Average dwell time ranges between 5 and 7 minutes. Note: It’s critically important to not allow the solution to dry on the surface.

MYTH: PRE RINSING BEFORE FOAMING SETS THE STAGE FOR SUCCESS. BUST: This is a no-no. Snow foams require tooth or something to adhere to. Applying the detergent to a cool, dry, contaminated surface ensures the foam can “bite” so it can enjoy a full dwell and deliver maximum concentration of cleaners.

to paint correction will prevent wash induced scratches and deliver a deeper clean. This incremental step should be considered a viable high-value upsell. In addition, the ability to deliver high gloss and enhanced protection via a foam cannon and polymeric snow foam in minutes is an add-on value that can be easily and economically incorporated. Let the blizzards begin!

MYTH: OVERCONCENTRATION … YOU CAN’T HAVE TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING. BUST: Surpassing a manufacturer’s recommended dilution on any concentrate is asking for trouble. The actives in concentrates, when used in overconcentrated form, will not perform as intended and may damage the surface. Going overboard with snow foam concentrates will likely lead to extensive rinsing, the formation of residue or film, and potential staining. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended dilution. VOL. 4, NO. 2 • SPRING 2019 | AUTO DETAILING NEWS |


Nitty Gritty

Getting to Know...

Ian Porter

By Debra Gorgos

What is your full name? Ian Porter For someone as noticeable as Ian Porter, he actually has a very quiet, unassuming disposition. Although he has a sharp sense of humor, he doesn’t demand the spotlight, but thanks to his resplendent red facial hair, and a stature that would put him in line to play a relative of Game of Thrones’ Tormund, Ian is hard to ignore. And, even though he is also extraordinarily self-effacing, and modest, both his résumé and drive, command attention and acclamation. From starting his business, Red Beard’s Detail Shop, all on his own, to being the only person in the entire state of Oklahoma to detail Air Force One, Ian’s business was also recently named the best car wash in Tulsa in the 2018 Best in the World edition of Tulsa World. And, inline with his aforementioned modesty, he didn’t share those last bits of achievement, they instead were uncovered through my own research. In the following interview, Ian instead shared a bit about he got started, what he thinks of the word “motivation” and what advice he has for those starting out.




Where did you grow up? The savage town that is Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. What is the name of your business and where is it located? Red Beard’s Detail Shop located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. When did it open? Officially speaking, May 2017 How many employees do you have? I’m a one man wolf pack. What type of detailing operation is it (mobile, appointment only, etc.)? It is a fixed location, and appointment only. When and how did you get involved in the detailing industry? Originally, I got involved in detailing right outside of high school. I got my first detailing job at a dealership in Tulsa. After a few years doing that, I |

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got the opportunity to work on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. I did that for 10-11 years. In 2014 there was a slight downturn in the industry, so I ended up out of work for a while. I told myself that this would never happen again. Outside of turning wrenches and producing oil, the only thing I knew how to do was detail. So as Cardi B would say, I started making “money moves.” I got another detailing job at a high-end local dealership, and from there I took the necessary steps to start a legitimate detailing business. In September of 2015 I trained with the one and only Renny Doyle. After that training I formed my LLC in December of 2015, but then I got another opportunity to go back into oil & gas. In my off time I would do detailing and try to get my name out there, while I had the security of a full time job. In January of 2017 I came upon a Craigslist ad for the location that I am currently in, and in May of 2017 I moved in. In December of 2017 I got laid off from my oil & gas job, but this time I was prepared and from there I’ve been snapping necks and cashing checks with Red Beard’s Detail Shop ever since. I also work with a local detail company, Total Auto Solutions, where one our

passions is reducing plastic waste with our product line called HyperCLEAN. If you were not involved in the detailing industry, what would you be doing? Still working on oil rigs. What is your most popular menu service? Interior details and Ceramic coatings. What detailing tool is your most favorite and why? The Tornador air tool and VLB-1 from HI-Tech. The Tornador allows me to thoroughly clean the interior and save time. The VLB-1 is a scrub brush that is the best thing since sliced bread. It cuts through grime on leather and vinyl like nothing else I have used. What is it you like about your job? The freedom to choose my own path, and my boss is kind of cool. What are some of the biggest challenges facing detailers today? Everybody and their brother is jumping on the ceramic coating bandwagon, and it has caused a lot of


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misinformation that detailers have to combat. Also, plastic waste is a huge problem that needs to be dealt with. What advice do you have for detailers who are facing setbacks? Success is built by CONSISTENT day to day action. Action doesn’t happen without a plan. So, develop a business plan, reduce your overhead and expenses, and understand that it takes

time. You are in a marathon, not a sprint. What is the biggest mistake you see detailers making in terms of detailing a vehicle? It is a combination of improperly prepping a vehicle for a ceramic coating and using low quality ceramic coatings. What is the longest, most intense detailing


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job you have done so far? Air Force One. What keeps you motivated? Motivation will fail you every time. I don’t really need it, I enjoy what I do and love the challenge of business. Everything that happens to you is in direct relation to the choices you make. You are playing chess with yourself, your market and your competition. So, this is

what stimulates me. I know what my ‘Big Picture” looks like, and I know what it will take to get there. Is there anything about you (talents, hobbies, famous relatives) that might surprise our readers? I played rugby in high school. I love candlelight dinners, long walks on the beach, and underwater basket weaving.

In the News


2019 2019 Heartland Carwash Association’s Annual Product Show APRIL 16-17

Des Moines, Iowa

Car Wash Show™ MAY 13-15

Music City Center Nashville, Tennessee

Car Wash Excellence Summit JUNE 10-12 Park City, Utah,

Mobile Tech Expo – Las Vegas SEPTEMBER 5-7

South Point Hotel Las Vegas

Northeast Regional Carwash Convention

Over 3,000 people attended Mobile Tech Expo – Orlando The 18th annual Mobile Tech Expo celebrated the mobile automotive appearance, enhancement, and recon industry January 10-12 at the Orange County Convention Center and hosted over 3,000 attendees, according to the Mobile Tech Expo website. “Highlights of the show included a keynote address by Dennis Gage, host of My Classic Car TV Show, the annual

Dent Olympics and recognition of the people who have donated time and energy to improve the industry.” Kevin Halewood, Show Director and Founder, released the following statement: “It was an amazing gathering of the best in the automotive enhancement community. We listened to all the suggestions attendees and exhibitors gave us and we’re excited for the changes to

come. We want to continue to bring excitement to the show floor for new products, new ideas, and the networking opportunities we’re able to provide.” The new venue and headquarter hotel brought ups and downs, according to the press release. Show management listened and the 2020 Mobile Tech Expo will be using a new headquarter hotel and show venue, the website states.

The winners of the Dent Olympics included:

The following awards were also announced:

The Nat Danas Memorial, Lifetime Achievement Awards were given to:










Plans are in the works to have the 19th annual Mobile Tech Expo – Orlando happen within January while Mobile Tech Expo – Las Vegas will be taking place for the first time at the Southpoint Hotel and Casino from September 5-7, 2019.


Atlantic City Convention Center Atlantic City, New Jersey



Mirage Hotel, Las Vegas

SEMA Show 2019 NOVEMBER 5-8

Las Vegas Convention Center Las Vegas

Popular demand drives Sonny’s Investor Seminar to venues across the country Sonny’s Enterprises LLC, a global leader in the manufacture of conveyorized car wash equipment, is expanding its immensely popular “Car Wash Investor Seminar” to four more U.S. cities, in addition to its regularly scheduled East and West Coast venues, due to increased demand.

The expanded schedule is as follows: ✔✔ Boston, Mass. April 04, 2019 ✔✔ Seattle, Wash. June 19, 2019 ✔✔ Newark, N.J. Sept 06, 2019 ✔✔ Milwaukee, Wis. Nov 19, 2019 The “Car Wash Investor Seminar” is a one-day introductory course designed

to help familiarize both existing owners who want to expand their business with new locations while learning the industry’s latest best practices, and new car wash business owners with the process of operating a car wash, including selecting a location, financing, selecting and maintaining equipment, and more.



2019 Federal Civil Penalties announced On January 15, 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor (OSHA) released the following statement: Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Inflation Adjustment Act) requires the Department to annually adjust its civil monetary penalty levels for inflation no later than January 15 of each year. Adjustments are made by issuing a final rule that is effective on its date of publication in the Federal Register. Due to a lapse in appropriations funding for

certain government agencies, including the Office of the Federal Register, publication of the Department of Labor Final Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustment for 2019 Final Rule has been delayed. The Department of Labor is making the prepublished version of the Final Rule available on its website for informational purposes only until the official version is published in the Federal Register. The unofficial version of the Final Rule is subject to review and revision by the Office of the Federal Register. The Final Rule will not go into effect until it is published in the Federal Register. The effective date will be the date of publication, and the increased

penalty levels will apply to any penalties assessed after the effective date of the increase. After publication, the Final Rule can be accessed through the Federal Register website at To the extent that there are discrepancies between this unofficial version and the official version published in the Federal Register, the latter version controls. Below are the adjusted maximum penalty amounts that will take effect in 2019 upon publication in the Federal Register.





Other Than Serious Posting Requirements Failure to Abate

$13,260 per day beyond the abatement date

Wilful or Repeated

$132,598 per violation

Car Wash Show™ 2019 to offer enhanced program, expanded education The Car Wash Show 2019, presented by the International Carwash Association (ICA), has announced it will offer an enhanced program structure and expanded education lineup, to all attendees. The Show, which will take place in Nashville, Tennessee, from May 13 – 15, will present the largest trade show floor in the history of The Car Wash Show, giving attendees access to a larger collection of the industry’s top exhibitors, largest brands and emerging companies. A redesigned program will provide attendees with expanded education offerings ensuring attendees will experience a high-level and larger breadth of educational content, in addition to valuable business workshops. Car wash and car care industry professionals who purchase the Premium Pass will enjoy three days of exclusive content with the Premium Education Program, which will take a deep dive into areas critical for business success. Each premium path will begin with an impact session, featuring a world-class speaker, which follows with the attendee’s choice of focused courses. The mix and match program structure will allow attendees to create an experience that is customized for their business needs. The final day of the show completes




the path with a Wrap-Up Workshop in the attendee’s chosen path. These facilitated, interactive discussions bring it all together, giving attendees take-home actionable steps to apply what they have learned to their business. In addition to Basic and Premium Passes, The Car Wash Show will introduce an all new Member Experience, designed to provide attendees of any pass type with more opportunities to engage with peers to learn and draw from each other’s experiences through the new Peer Power Hours. Peer Power Hours provide a source for solutions from peers on a range of topics selected by fellow members. Other Member Experience features include exclusive trade show time, programming and VIP perks. “Peer Power Hours, part of the Member Experience, give attendees an opportunity to focus on attendee-driven discussions, roundtables and panels that cover a range of topics generated by their peers,” shared Claire Moore, Chief Content Officer. “We felt there was a true benefit to providing a platform for attendees to share stories and ideas with like-minded business owners facing the same challenges and concerns. This exclusive experience will allow car wash |

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leaders to form powerful networking relationships with peers that will go far beyond the trade show experience and provide a mentoring resource year round.” Members will also experience a members-only State of the Industry Breakfast & Keynote Address, featuring best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage and Big Potential, and one of the world’s leading experts on happiness and success, Shawn Achor. The Annual Membership Meeting and Keynote Address will be held on Wednesday, May 15 at 8 a.m. For the first time in show history, the

Partner Solution Sessions, which offer education relevant to new investors and industry veterans, is now open to all attendees. Quick Hits will also return this year to give attendees expanded access to education in quick, twenty-minute presentations on boosting profits, conserving water, maximizing efficiency and increasing capacity. The over 160,000 square foot trade show floor, featuring more than 350 exhibiting companies, will welcome experts, industry thought leaders, vendors, and attendees.

DRB Systems is helping Tennessee car wash operators with sales tax assessment Recent actions by the Tennessee Department of Revenue (TDOR) are presenting a significant financial threat to Tennessee car wash operators. A DRB Systems press release states that the company has contributed $39,500 to efforts aimed at rectifying the situation. “We believe it is important to get out in front of this issue quickly to protect not only Tennessee operators but the industry at-large,” Dan Pittman, CEO of DRB Systems, stated in a press release. The TDOR auditors have held that providing assistance to vehicles entering a building (guiding vehicles onto conveyors, folding over side mirrors, etc.) is subject to sales tax. This is not

how most Tennessee car wash operators have interpreted the law, which was written almost 50 years ago and does not address the modern express car wash. A recent audit of one Tennessee car wash resulted in a tax assessment that could exceed $3.5 million by the yearend 2018. The operator has filed an administrative appeal. If the TDOR decision stands, it could open all Tennessee car wash operators up to similar assessments and potentially have a domino effect in other states. “We’re proud to stand by our customers and fight for the best interests of the industry,” Pittman said in the press release.

Kleen-Rite loses beloved employee It goes without saying that KleenRite, being a company that truly feels like a family, suffered a major loss with the passing of Tom Allen, Kleen-Rite’s senior technician and dedicated employee for 35 years. According to a Facebook statement, “For many car wash operators, Tom’s name is synonymous with problem solving. He was the first person many customers and employees turned to for information and guidance on all things car washing. Everyone who met Tom had a story about how he assisted them. Helping others was simply Tom’s way.”

According to the obituary, Allen, 65, passed away unexpectedly of natural causes on January 7, 2019. He was the husband of Derotha “Dee” Ellison Allen with whom he was married 42 years, and he was a graduate of Michigan State University where in received his degree in metallurgy. After working in several foundries, he was employed for the past 35 years as a technical supervisor for the Kleen Rite Corporation in Mount Joy. Allen shared with Dee his children, Thomas, Amanda fiancée and Tyler Faus and his grandchildren, Karli, Oxzonna, Cassie, Bryan, and Ryan.

G&G hires Vice President of Sales and Director of Marketing G&G Industrial Lighting of Clifton Park, New York, has named Terry Crawley as Vice President of Sales and Erin Noonan as Director of Marketing. Crawley and Noonan come to G&G with extensive experience within the electrical industry, both having worked for LED lighting manufacturers prior. According to a press release, Crawley’s most recent tenure was with RAB Lighting, where he worked for 11 years starting as a Regional Sales Manager and was eventually promoted to Regional Vice President of Sales. Preceding his time with RAB, Crawley was with Zumtobel Lighting and BEGA-US and is also an active member of IESNA. Noonan previously had an 8-year stint with Shat-R-Shield, also a manufacturer of specialized industrial LED lighting products for harsh environments. Her experience there consisted of a series of promotions from Sales & Marketing Assistant, to Marketing Communications Manager and finally Director of Marketing. Noonan was recognized as one of tED Magazine’s 30 Under 35 rising stars of the electrical industry in 2016. “Terry and Erin both not only have

the pertinent industry knowledge to make them successful but also exemplify the culture of G&G,” stated Jason Baright, President of G&G Industrial Lighting, in a press release. “We look forward to continuing our company’s rapid growth under their leadership as we expand throughout the industrial market.”

Bo Bowditch Joins Lock America as Security Consultant. Lock America is pleased to announce that veteran security consultant Bo Bowditch has joined its sales team. With more than 30 years serving clients in the OEM market and for industries such as petroleum marketing, EMS and vending, Bo adds an experienced and proven performer to Lock America’s sales team as the Corona, CA based company grows and expands its markets. Lock America’s CEO Frank Minnella expects Bo to be a key contributor to Lock America’s ongoing growth:

“Bo will be an important member of our team as we continue to move into new markets and expand our product line in our current markets.” For over 30 years, Lock America of Corona, CA has developed and marketed a wide range of locks and security products for the amusement, fuel distribution, gaming, information management and self-storage industries. Bo will be responsible for accounts in the western states and Canada.



INNOVATIONS Introducing new and improved products for professional auto, boat and motorcycle detailers. New website from PDQ PDQ Manufacturing, Inc., of De Pere, Wisconsin, is pleased to announce the launch of the new pdqinc. com. Easy to navigate, mobile responsive and elegantly designed, the new website embodies PDQ’s commitment to optimizing car wash operations so that all customers can drive clean. “PDQ has designed our new website to create a seamless, optimal user experience for our customers,” said Gary Campbell, General Manager for OPW Vehicle Wash Solutions, which includes PDQ and Belanger. “This easy-to-use website will serve as a content hub for our customers, and will be able to be accessed through a variety of internet enabled devices, making this information readily available, no matter the location.”

The enhanced design of the new website introduces a series of helpful features and offers a superior experience for new and returning visitors. It also includes an expansive resource library complete with technical guides and training videos. Additional features of the updated website include: • Improved navigation featuring a more intuitive menu system • Improved search to allow you to more easily search by the type of content you need, and the ability to filter search pages to narrow down and refine results • Cleaner layout to emphasize key content and make it easier for users to get to their destination • New branding and design

Detailers Dictionary by Chris Evans

Foaming Tire Cleaner from Griot’s Garage

Certified and Skills Validated detailer, Christopher Evans, has put together the ultimate compilation with the Detailers Little Black Book - the Detailers Dictionary. With over three decades of experience in the detailing industry, Evans wanted to share his wealth of knowledge and expertise with the world. The Detailers Dictionary has been described as the Detailers Little Black Book, containing easy to understand definitions and terminology used in the detailing industry, consequently making it easy for beginners and professionals in the industry to have a good understanding of the detailing vernacular. The book also contains facts and tips that will help readers to become more efficient as well as a series of quizzes to test the detailing knowledge of the readers. Containing 104 pages of quality information about the detailing industry, the book is currently available on Amazon.

Unleash the power of foam to cut through brake dust and road grime, strip away silicone residue, and prepare your tires for dressing. Griot’s Garage Foaming Tire Cleaner is safe for use on whitewall and raised-white-lettered tires. Simply spray on a thick layer, let the foam come alive, and leave it to sizzle for 3 to 5 minutes. Once the foam takes on a brown hue, agitate if needed, rinse or wipe your tire clean, then reach for your favorite Griot’s Garage tire dressing.





Ultra-Concentrated Glass Cleaner from CSI® Cleaning Systems, Inc. (CSI) of De Pere, Wisconsin, is pleased to introduce the first true ultra-concentrated glass cleaner, Vision™ Ultra Glass Cleaner. It is the most concentrated glass cleaner in the industry providing over 750 spray bottles from one gallon of product. It is a unique blend of cleaners that creates an anti-fogging property and excellent cleaning of organic soils and tough oily films. It is safe for all exterior and interior car surfaces and will not stain non-glass surfaces including polycarbonate. The Vision™ Ultra formula will reduce cost while improving performance.

VOL. 4, NO. 2 • SPRING 2019

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Wax On, Wax Off: Why Your Detailing Training Matters

The IDA RTC Program Helps Detailers Build a Solid Foundation By Erin Reyes, IDA Communications Coordinator

Wax on, wax off: two seemingly simple motions that are, in fact, elemental skills that help build the foundation of an entire martial art. In the movie The Karate Kid, the main character is given these instructions by his teacher as he begins his karate training…with waxing cars (and other laborious chores). At first, the trainee doesn’t understand the purpose of these repeated mundane tasks and how they relate to learning karate. However, as anyone who has seen this movie knows, the instructor eventually reveals to the student that the movements he has been learning through these supposedly irrelevant tasks have actually been building muscle memory for basic defensive blocks, crucial to anyone attempting to become a karate master. So, what does this have to do with detailing (besides the fact that there’s wax involved)? A quick Google search for the phrase “auto detailing tutorial” will yield more than 130,000 results. Another search for “auto detailing supplies” pulls 77 million – yes, million – hits. In a world where anyone can watch a brief YouTube tutorial, pick up a few supplies and tools, and call oneself a detailer, it appears there are very few barriers to entry into the detailing realm. How then do we go about separating the amateur detailer from a true professional? It starts with one’s training. Of course, the movie’s karate master could have dove right in to the thick of training, going for the big moves right




out of the gate – but that would not have provided the same results for the student. The master knew he would have to build a solid foundation first before he could get into the more complicated moves. By the time the student learned the basics, he was prepared both physically and mentally to move on to the more challenging aspects of the art. And so it goes with detailing. It is imperative to learn the basics first before attempting to tackle the more difficult jobs. You have to walk before you can run, as they say. But again, with information so readily available on the internet, how does one know where to begin? Returning to Google, a search for “auto detailing training” will find you 35 million resources, while “auto detailing for beginners” yields – are you ready? – 142 million results. Imagine sifting through all that information on your own. First, you would have to know which skills are necessary to become a successful auto detailer. Then, you would have to narrow down the results based on training offered in your area, at your price point, and by someone who knows what they are doing. You might then want to research the credentials of the trainer. Where and with whom did they train? What certifications do they have that qualify them to teach others? It certainly sounds like a lot of work just to get to the basics of detailing. This is where the IDA Recognized Training Center (RTC) program comes into play. The RTC program was established in 2017 with the express purpose of providing detailers and IDA members with high-quality, well-equipped training centers to assist in their detailing education. |

VOL. 4, NO. 2 • SPRING 2019

A training session at the Professional Detailing Products (PDP) Recognized Training Center. Applicants to the program go through a rigorous vetting process to determine whether they are eligible to hold the prestigious title of IDA Recognized Training Center. Essentially, the IDA is weeding out those millions of unhelpful search results and making it easy for detailers to find top-of-the-line training. “RTC” is not just a meaningless moniker, haphazardly bestowed by the IDA on any training center that applies. An approved RTC must meet specific criteria to earn the title, which acknowledges the educators’ dedication and desire to make a positive impact on the industry. For example, they must operate an established facility, with at least one training bay and classroom, showing that proper training includes a mixture of both procedural knowledge and hands-on learning. It also means that you won’t be learning from someone who set up their phone on a bucket in

their driveway in order to show you the “intricacies” of detailing. In fact, an RTC’s head trainer must be an IDA Recognized Trainer, meaning they have gone through various levels of certification and have been verifiably providing professional detailing training for a number of years. Additionally, assistant trainers at the center must hold their Certified Detailer-Skills Validated designations. Basically, everyone at an RTC knows what they are doing, has worked hard to hone their skills, and wants to share their knowledge with you. A pplicants mus t als o s ubmit supporting documentation, including a history of the training center and letters of recommendation from past students who were trained at the facility. These letters are used as a confirmation of the educators’ commitment to providing the highest possible level of detailing education, and a testament for how their

A hands-on training session at the Majestic Solutions C.A.R.E. Tech Training Center (Photo Credit: Majestic Solutions) training has made an impact on the students and their careers. To date, the IDA has welcomed three highly qualified Recognized Training Centers into the program. Professional Detailing Products (PDP) in Canton, Ohio, was the first center recognized in 2017. Its newly-built 4,000 square-foot training area, complete with 50-person classroom and two training bays “fully

The Majestic Solutions C.A.R.E. Tech Training Center, the IDA’s newest Recognized Training Center, is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Majestic Solutions)

equipped with all the latest innovations of the detailing industry,” helped PDP earn the title. The training team – led by IDA Founder’s Club member Michael Dickson, CD-SV, RT – has a combined 100+ years of industry experience, and the center offers a range of education tailored to detailers at every stage of their career. Since earning the RTC designation, PDP has helped train countless

detailers. RTCs are also required to hold a minimum of two IDA Certification Events per year, and, as a result of such events, PDP has helped certify and validate the skills of more than 20 detailers. Shortly after, Cypress College in Cypress, California, was named the second IDA Recognized Training Center. This was a natural progression for the longtime IDA Institutional member, as

the accredited college already offered detailing education as part of an established Automotive Collision Repair program, conferring both certificates and associate of science degrees to its students. IDA member Ed Terwilliger, CD-SV, RT, has long provided detailing education for the program, which itself has been around since 1988. According to the college’s website, the program’s

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VOL. 4, NO. 2 • SPRING 2019

“detailing training involves both interior and exterior care, with an emphasis on the latest technologies and materials.” Students that have taken Ed’s classes could not speak more highly of his teaching and how his training has helped benefit their careers more than any other classes they took. The IDA’s newest RTC is Majestic Solutions C.A.R.E. Tech Training Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, which earned the recognition in late 2018. According to its website, the center is a 4,000 square-foot facility, “specifically designed for detail training and certified education.” Instruction – led by head trainer, Ron Evans, CD-SV, RT, and a team with more than 50 combined years of industry knowledge – is provided for detailers at any level, and focuses on “efficient procedures, product application, [and] chemical safety” – all necessary basics for running a detail operation. Its two-day C.A.R.E. Tech Training Course “combines the most thorough

fundamentals of the detailing industry,” and advanced classes help students “take their detailing and reconditioning skills to the next level.” Of course, there are numerous training centers out there that are not part of the RTC program but still provide high-quality education. Many IDA members run comprehensive training programs that are helping to shape the detailers and detailing industry of tomorrow. The RTC program is meant to be a resource for detailers who might not know where to begin, as it highlights the centers and educators that have gone above and beyond to earn the designation to prove to detailing professionals that they are invested in your education. However, even if you decide not to train at an IDA Recognized Training Center – based on location, cost, or any other factor – it is still important to consider where and how you are receiving your detailing education, and how that will affect your career long-term.

Starting with proper training means that you will be able to offer a higher quality of service because you have learned how to do the job right from the beginning. When a customer is impressed with the job you do, they will likely become a repeat customer and might even bring in referrals, helping your business to grow. With proper training, you will know the right techniques and tools to use, and you will be able to justify a higher price point for your services. Although learning from internet tutorials may be free or low-cost – which is understandably attractive to a detailer just starting out – you should consider how much those free lessons might actually cost you over time if you end up taking bad advice or learning incorrect techniques. Investing in your training upfront will invariably set your business up for success in the long run. You should also think about what proper training means for your marketability. When a prospective customer asks where

IDA NEWS you trained or got your skills, wouldn’t you rather impress them with a recognized name than potentially losing their business by saying you pulled all your knowledge from YouTube? Just like in other industries, where you obtain your training and credentials matters. Besides, proper training is a net positive for the entire detailing industry. When things are done the right way, not only does it make a difference to your business, but it also helps build legitimacy for the detailing profession. So why not let one of the IDA’s very own Mr. Miyagis help you master the art of detailing? Hey, you might even learn how to wax a car. If you want to train at one of the IDA Recognized Training Centers, please visit to get started. If you operate a detailing training center and wish to become an IDA RTC, visit to learn about program requirements and to submit your application.



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Boatload of Information Picture yourself in

a boat on a river...

With boating season right around the corner it’s time to maximize your profit potential By Ben Thompson There are currently over 12 million registered recreational boats in the United State. Of these, more than 70% are outboard motor style and less than 26 feet in length. Approximately 95% of Americans live within one hour of navigable water, meaning the water is safe for your average boat and boat owner. Even though there are many more cars on the road than there are recreational boats on the water, by providing boat detailing services to your

current and future customers affords your business many untapped benefits. These benefits include: ✔✔ A more versatile business model ✔✔ A very profitable source of additional revenue, and ✔✔ Added access to possible high-net worth clients

An attractive, yet often forgotten advantage of detailing boats versus cars, is boat and yacht owners traditionally schedule heavy maintenance and repairs, known as ‘refits’, in the off season. This is usually between the months of

October and March. This time of year is notoriously slower for auto detailing throughout most of the country. This is a perfect time for scheduling longerduration and larger-invoice jobs such as ceramic coating. Many times, in the off season, the vessel will be hauled out of the water and placed on boat stands and wood blocks, otherwise known as being ‘on the hard’. This provides the advantage of being able to work much more efficiently on work platforms and scaffolding versus from a dinghy or inflatable work float.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AUTO & BOAT DETAILING There are some stark contrasts between the processes used to detail cars and boats. Most cars today have a base coat/clear coat paint system applied over a steel and/or aluminum substrate with a clear film thickness of 0.75-2 mils. Today’s average recreational boat has a gel coat system applied over a fiberglass substrate with a gel coat thickness of 15-20 mils. One obvious difference continued ...



is most boats will have more surface area that will require more detailing attention in comparison to the average car. This can seem like a daunting task at first glance, especially a boat in fair or poor shape. Many boats have many more surface types than a car that require different processes. A boat can have raw aluminum and stainless steel components, plastic parts, and powdercoated items. The most common boats have vinyl upholstery, but you will very rarely see other covering materials. Many boat owners elect to have a boat storage cover to provide extra protection to their boat between uses. This cover is usually made from acrylic fabric. A person’s car is driven practically every day, giving its owner an opportunity to see its condition on a routine basis. A boat on the other hand can be used only 10 days per year. This makes you consider the true expense of owning a boat with everything that is involved. Often, a car may be garaged and cared for weekly or bi-weekly, whereas a boat is commonly left outdoors and more greatly exposed to the elements. Boat detailing can be done in a shop environment like you can with cars, but this becomes impractical if your clients have boats that cannot be trailered, or your shop is too small to accommodate a particular boat. If your client has a larger boat in a marina, some tips from current mobile car detailers can be utilized. Things that will come int play include:



What is the ugly grimy build up that can discolor fiberglass boat hulls? By Bob Kuczik

Gel Coat Oxidation is evidenced by the fading of hull color and a chalky surface feel which will occur with all boats. (The hull is the outside portion of the boat that rests in the water.) It’s important to preserve the original gel-coat on fiberglass hulls. This acts as a fiberglass-sealant. Detailers can remove stains without damaging gel-coat. Gel coat is a resin-passed paint that is pigmented with colors such as white, blue or red. This coating will impede UV (ultraviolet) ray degradation. Sun and weather break down gel coat. You see this most dramatically when red hulls turn pink. Combined with elements in the water (algae) and air (pollen), boat hulls develop mold, mildew, stubborn lime and calcium deposits. Left unattended this can cause serious pitting and unsightly brown scum stains on fiberglass. In the worst situations abrasives are used to smooth

✔✔ Weather planning ✔✔ Environmental concerns, and p ✔✔ Possibly different business insurance

Even still, when on an above average length vessel outdoors, it is rather impractical to use a pop-up awning to provide shade and shelter for your work surface as a mobile car detailer routinely uses. The weather planning aspect will surely come into play when it comes time to apply more technical sealants and ceramic coatings. Special care should be taken when selecting the day and time considering the temperature, humidity, possible rain, and winds.





VOL. 4, NO. 2 • SPRING 2019

pitting on porous gel coats to restore shine but gel coats are damaged. Salt water conditions are more severe with heavy mineral and oxidation build up. These stains are not water-soluble. It’s a waste of time to attempt to remove them by scrubbing alone. There are marine specific cleaners specifically developed to attack the oxidation on fiberglass. Some also work with metal boat hulls where rust is evidenced by reddish -brown discoloration. Rust is oxygen reacting with iron in the presence of water. Oxidation will invade the gel coats of even meticulously maintained hulls. This natural environmental occurrence makes gel coats lose their original shine. The majority of boat hulls develop that yellow, dull, chalky, powdery look which will not be removed by waxes. Oxidation should be removed before it really builds up without using abrasive chemicals or heavy grinding because it will hurt the gelcoat which protects the fiberglass hull. Avoid

products which scrape away gelcoat. When the oxidation is removed marine detailers may find heavy fiberglass stain spots remaining and be tempted to use caustic acids requiring rubber gloves and goggles to finish the job. Those fumes can be harmful and even burn your skin. If they are not biodegradable don’t rinse them in to the environment. There are affordable and many green, eco-safe products in today’s market as viable alternatives to past methods. It is important to protect our waters and marine life and today’s technology has solutions that were not available to previous generations of boating enthusiasts. Bob Kuczik is Director, Sales & Marketing Cork Industries/Wheel-eez Division with corporate offices in Jacksonville, Florida, and Folcroft , Pennsylvania. He is a member of the International Detailing Association and the International Carwash Association. Bob lives in New Jersey and can be reached at (201) 819-7937 or




Terminology ON THE HARD = When a boat is out of the water and placed on boat stands and wood blocks

OFF SEASON = October – March REFITS = Heavy duty boat repairs and maintenance

When pricing a car for detailing work, it is often done on an agreed price all-inclusive of labor and materials and other times done on an hourly basis for paint correction and specialty work such as bio-hazard remediation. When pricing boat detailing services, it is routinely done on a per linear foot formula. A detailer will often have a minimum price per linear foot for a particular service which is then quoted by multiplying that figure by the overall length of the boat. For instance, a prospective customer has a 25-foot boat and wants you to wash and wax it. You have a minimum linear foot price of $22 for this level of service. You multiply the boat length of 25 feet by $22 per foot to give them a quote of $550. This method of quoting work to current and future customers can often be a disservice to your business. One of the main reasons is because it allows a customer to price shop around, especially if you give this type of quote over the phone without seeing the boat. It allows your work to be perceived as a commodity and most likely undervalued. The best way to quote a customer is to see the boat first hand. There is a lot of surface area and many facets of a boat to look at when evaluating the potential work involved to achieve the customer’s expectations. Find out from the owner what they ideally want done to their boat and perform a test spot for them. Back to the wash and wax, wash a spot of a few square feet on the side of the boat and apply a wax of your choosing. More times than not, the most fitting thing to do would be to do a ‘test spot’ by using a DA/Orbital style machine with a medium to firm foam buffing pad and a heavy cut cleaner wax or sealant to the washed area. This will allow the potential customer to see a sample of the work involved, the results it provided, and your value overall versus a simple quote over the phone. By performing a test spot for you prospective customer, you ensure much more probability of earning the business from them. The most preferred continued ...




After way to deliver the amount you want to charge from this point is an all inclusive number, not an itemized quote showing labor, materials, etc. A customer may be alarmed by seeing a bottle of buffing compound on the quote for $50 when they may think a $10 jar of ‘rubbing compound’ from the local auto parts store for would do just fine.

GETTING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS While some products for auto detailing can be also used on boats, there




are some that should not be used or will produce dismal results. For example, the majority of the exterior surface of the average boat is coated with gel coat. This material is a basically a plastic made up of various additives such as UV inhibitors and color pigments. Most interesting is often it will contain particulate fillers such as talc to provide more ‘solids’ content and to reduce production cost of the gel coat itself. The chemical makeup of gel coat makes it respond to correction differently than a car’s clear coat. Boat specific products to have on hand:


VOL. 4, NO. 2 • SPRING 2019

✔✔ Rotary buffer tool

✔✔ Work platforms and/or scaffolding

✔✔ Four ply twisted wool pads

✔✔ Inflatable work platform for boats in the water

✔✔ Gel coat specific buffing compounds

✔✔ In-line GFI breaker for extension cords

✔✔ Firm foam polishing pads ✔✔ DA/Orbital polisher, ideally forced rotation style ✔✔ Cleaning products that meet MARPOL V and EU REACH environmental standards, especially an acid or acid replacement product to help with hull bottom and rust stains, along with scale and water spotting ✔✔ Durable synthetic sealant, not ‘pure wax’ ✔✔ Assortment of long and short, firm and soft bristle brushes ✔✔ Chamois towels (or mop for larger boats)

WHAT ABOUT CERAMIC COATINGS? In the marine world, ceramic coatings are much newer and not as prevalent as within the automotive industry. The good news is that leaves more opportunity for growth which will be most affected by further educating potential customers of their existence and the value they provide. Earlier it was mentioned the conditions


After in which a boat is stored. This means a ceramic coating will experience much more exposure to the elements and faster potential for degradation, especially on a larger boat that is kept in the water. The aspect of consistent subjection to high humidity and salt air in seawater environments is a torture chamber for many coatings on the market. Many coatings available to detailers have an affinity for minerals such as calcium and magnesium, the same minerals found in ‘hard’ fresh water, meaning the coatings still can have a challenge in freshwater lakes and rivers. Because of this affinity,

these minerals can become bonded to a coating and can be very difficult to remove, even more common on dark colored vessels. This can happen when an owner takes their boat out for a multi-day trip in hard freshwater or seawater during warm weather and full sun and does not rinse or wash the boat down when coming to tie up or anchor. It is important to inform your customers that a ceramic coating still requires maintenance and is not bulletproof. In essence, a ceramic coating does the same thing as a well designed synthetic sealant does, just for a longer period of time. A

phrase I like to use to deliver the message to a future customer is, “It will help keep your boat clean, shiny, and easier to maintain”. This helps to set realistic expectations for the boat owner and protect you from over committing on coating claims. To ensure this longer length of protection, a coated boat needs to be washed down with fresh, soft, or ideally low TDS water after every use or biweekly at minimum for wet slipped boats and dried with a drying aid to prevent unnecessary wear to the coating. If soap is required, an environmentally certified (as mentioned earlier) neutral pH formula is best.

Ben Thompson’s professional career began in commercial/industrial chemical and coating sales with a Fortune 500 company. During his almost 10 years with that company, two of which were spent full time with ‘The Mouse’ in Orlando, he gained a solid foundation for all things related to detailing and restoration. Mavinate, his current company, was started in 2014 and focuses primarily on the marine industry. Since then, he has been able to travel to Spain, France, Malta, Germany, and throughout the U.S. performing various marine projects and trainings.








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