Many auto detailers fall short in their sales presentations. I have often shopped the competition to see what their knowledge base was to gage their worthiness as a formidable competitor in the market place. What I have found is that many auto detailers lack the specific knowledge needed to help their business grow and to present themselves as experienced in their work to the customers.
When a customer asks you about the wax you are using or the best type of wax for their particular car, Shouldn’t you know the right and true answer? Well apparently many professional auto detailers do not know the right answer. They just lack the knowledge. In a recent competitor survey, which was done without their knowing it, we casually asked hundreds of detailers while in incognito over a period of six months about the wax they used. Less than 1 in five were able to give us the straight answer without BS’ing their way through it. From the Dry Wash, kerosene like product, to the Teflon save the world crowd all we got was a little memorized line of sales brochures and a trial closes. In my company the Detail Guys, our team does have the knowledge of such things and we really have no desire to BS a customer, especially one which will be with us for years. Two reasons; (1) It is called lying and (2) Double Talk later will be found out.
When a professional detailer embellishes the performance, longevity, finished look before the job, he will have an unhappy customer later on. Perhaps when he is done when the customer is under whelmed for the amount paid or perhaps a month in the future when the “Teflon” Sealant, which was suppose to last 3-years is worn off and was supposedly guaranteed by DuPont? Well maybe on pots and pans baked on at 450 degrees, but there is no such guarantee for their product when used as automotive wax. Dry Wash also is interesting in that the operators say it does not scratch? Maybe if the car is in the garage with dust, but a dirty car, well it really needs a washing first and we have seen where Dry Wash tends to attract dust easily compared to hard shell waxes, of course no one ever tells the customer that. It is important to know your vendors, their products, what those products can do, what they cannot do and which is the best solution for the individual car you are working on.
So what are the types of waxes available and which ones do the best in the professional auto detailing industry use?
Most plants have a thin protective coating of wax.. Most fruit trees and vegetables plants have wax on the fruit and vegetables they produce that we eat. Waxes are also produced by animals, even man makes wax for his ears. Other wax components are found in minerals and petroleum. And the are Polymer or synthetic, manufactured by man waxes. We get waxes from a variety of sources really.
Carnuba wax is on the leaves of the carnuba palm trees. The best Carnuba wax comes from in my opinion the Palm Tress of Brazil. You can tell a good carnuba wax by the water beads. Candelilla wax comes from a plant that grows in parts of Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala and sometimes in the southwestern United States. It is a brown wax and not only have people used it on cars it is used in phonograph records, floor dressings, and candles. Although it is the major component of candle wax, it is mixed in with other waxes normally in the candles we use in our homes.
Polymer wax includes the very popular Teflon, yes a polymer brand Name used by DuPont. Polymer wax is a chain of compounds made of petroleum sources and now a days from Corn products. Polymers which are strung together are generally applied in specific thick nesses to clear coats on cars and depending on the mixture can be quite incredible indeed. So good in fact that they are often called sealants and some last as long as a year when applied in the right mixtures and thick nesses. The word Polymer is a very vague in this regard since polymers are used to make plastics, coatings and many other products. Generally short chains of ethlenic polymers are the type that are used by professional automotive detailers and auto detailers a like. Many in the aviation industry use it when doing specialized aircraft cleaning. We estimate that 80% of all automotive detailing and aviation aircraft cleaning commercial wax is petroleum based wax. Petroleum wax is chemically inactive in a sense and probably why it is so widely preferred. It is also cheaper to make than to harvest and has tons of uses. You cannot smell it unless cleaners are added which is often the case, but still it will not react to cause odor.
Petroleum wax can also be made hard and then we get a new type of wax. Paraffin; used in paper products, graffiti, petroleum jelly. All Synthetic waxes are compounds of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and/or chlorine. Chemists will forever be trying to make the perfect wax for cars, boats, aircraft to protect us from the harsh climates on the surface of this little blue planet. And these chemists are driven by desire and need and the possibilities are endless as new compounds are adding to existing ones to bring up whole new blending ideas, some will revolutionize our industry but most will simply be duds. Some will be hyped even though they do not really solve a problem or fix a need. Never the less, the race goes on to find the best and we should be thinking about what is in that product before we put it on a customers car, boat, aircraft or prize possession. This is what the professional detailer does, this is why we are experts in car care and call our selves auto detailers, rejuvenation specialists and professional auto detailers.
There are so many types of waxes that we know of really. From the organic waxes discussed containing carbon materials, which melt at fairly low temperatures. The chemical and biological make-up of waxes is so diverse and complex as well as consideration for grades, properties, surface uses and life spans that to really understand waxes in depth as they apply to the automotive detailing industry, also to aircraft cleaning, that this short essay may need to be supplemented by proper training.
Remember Knowledge is power. Where can you get training? Check around the Internet to find Auto Detailing Training Centers and companies who sell videos and manuals, this is a good place to start. Most likely you have some practical knowledge, enhance this by learning and knowing your products; what they are and how they work. Think on this.