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Minimalistic tools need to detail your car

If you’re quite new to the world of auto detailing, it’s easy to think that it’s a life of tremendous clutter, with vans jam-packed with equipment, tools, and cleaning products. In my experience, you can actually quite easily be a busy and productive auto detailing professional while still keeping a streamlined and minimalistic approach when it comes to your gear. In today’s blog, I’ll explain in more detail how that’s possible.

You Don’t Need As Much Gear as You Think - Keep it Simple

First of all, there’s no need to complicate things when it comes to each task area of a typical detailing job. You certainly will have more gear than a regular car washer has, but that doesn’t mean you have to go in with armfuls of different things.

Take the job of shampooing the carpets, for instance. In my experience, all you really need is a steam cleaner, a good soft-bristled detailing brush, and a high-quality cleaning shampoo. That’s it. There are some who load water extractors into their vans, taking up huge amounts of space, but the fact is that these are generally not needed. You might keep some special devices back at your base for special cases, but there’s no need to load your van daily with the

Simple is better.

Make Equipment Cuts When It Works

How long have car care and detailing blogs talked at length about the importance of the two-bucket method. For years it was necessary to prevent dirt and grit from staying on the mit and potentially scratching a customer’s car.

However, times have changed!

Now we have buckets with safe and reliable grit guards. I have taken to using a single bucket, which I know is safe because I take the proper precautions, invest in great cleaning products, and I can be sure the guard is stopping grit from getting back onto my wash mitt. When you can, cut down on unnecessary gear, and save yourself some space.

Clear Out Your Stock Regularly

One way to quickly become a “hoarder” when detailing is if you are always trying out new cleaning products, waxes, sealants, and other products.

Experimenting with promising new products is fine, but your goal should always be to maintain a regular set of products and tools that you stick with (see below). This means you can regularly clear out your stock, throwing away empties as you finish them and simply replacing them like for like.

When you’re jumping from item to item, your van or storage unit gets filled up with half-used tubs of wax, bottles of shampoo and leather conditioner, and so on. Clean out your van and stock and remove all things that you are no longer using.

Stick with Products You Know for Consistency and Efficiency

As we touched on above, it’s always better to find specific brands and products that you like and then stick with them, using each one up and not wasting product. Beyond that, however, such a practice helps you to work in a more streamlined and consistent way, delivering crowd-pleasing results that compel customers to call you again.

Over time, your routine becomes more satisfying and enjoyable, too. The products you use become more intimately associated with your brand and method, and can also be integrated into your staff training routines.

Other Tips

Here are a few more tips to help you along:

  • No matter how complex you think the task is --- even paint correction --- it’s possible to simplify your equipment roster. I only ever take my one favorite buffer for polishing, for example.

  • Save additional space in your van by cutting long electrical cords down to just 5 or 6 feet. You’ll plug those devices, such as the power washer, into an extension near your job site anyway, so the long cord is unnecessary.

  • Experimenting with new products and tools is fine as long as you have good reason to believe it will be beneficial to your service offering.

  • “Combining” products also helps cut down on clutter, such as using 2-in-1 shampoos or conditioners.


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