Preparing your vehicle or your customer’s vehicle for winter is not only a crucial service for the vehicle itself, but also a crucial service for a detailing business as well. Vehicles need to be protected all-year-round from many different environmental elements, but for vehicles that must make it through harsh winters in areas with lots of snow, protection is an absolute must if you want to avoid deterioration and protect your investment.
Keeping up with a vehicle’s protection might not be at the top of everyone’s to-do list when the season changes from fall to winter, but it needs to be addressed! If a vehicle goes through the winter season without protection, it is susceptible to irreversible damage from rock salt, sodium chloride-based products, anti-icers, de-icers, sand, etc. not only on the exterior surfaces of the vehicle, but on the interior as well!
For vehicle owners, it is important to not go through the winter without protecting your investment and for detailing businesses, it is important not to go into the winter season without offering and promoting winterization packages! Every car on the road will need to have protection on it throughout the winter months. Some vehicle owners will perform the work themselves, but many people won’t, and these are perfect candidates for detailers to promote winterization packages to.
For the exterior of the vehicle, there are a few different types of surfaces that should be protected. All exterior painted surfaces need to be protected, but don’t forget about the exterior plastic, vinyl, glass, and rubber as well. There are several options when it comes to paint protection including spray wax, carnauba wax, polymer sealant, ceramic coatings, etc. Plastic and rubber should also be protected against fading, dehydration, and discoloration from things like the sun, salt, harsh detergents, etc. Some of these protection products can be easily applied by individual car owners, but others are best left to the professionals, especially since thorough cleaning and surface preparation is necessary prior to application (which is not always a task that everyone wants to or has the necessary products to perform).
When it comes to the interior of the vehicle, there are several surfaces that will also need protected including carpet, upholstery, leather, plastic, rubber, etc. Carpets and upholstery should be protected with a fabric protection against salt and sludge, plastic and vinyl should be protected from fading and deterioration from the sun’s UV Rays, and Leather should be protected against staining and against the same UV damage as the plastic/vinyl. Many of these can be done by individual car owners with little to no equipment, however just like the exterior of the vehicle, thorough cleaning and surface preparation is also recommended which is not necessarily a task that everyone wants to or has the appropriate products to perform.
Detailing businesses in areas with all four seasons can experience some slower times when the weather isn’t ideal, and winter can be a time for slowdowns if the business owner doesn’t prepare and take proactive steps to keep cars coming in. Detailers who are proactive and properly prepare for times like this will be able to stay busy enough to get through slow periods, or even find that they don’t slow down much at all!
Many detailers have had success with starting to promote their “winterization packages” in the middle of fall, which usually carries through to about the middle of winter. These “winterization packages” first include an exterior wash/surface prep and interior cleaning (extent of work done on interior and exterior is based on the existing condition) and then protection applied to the exterior paint, glass, trim, tires, wheels, etc. along with fabric protection on the interior carpets/upholstery, and a UV protectant applied to the plastic/leather/vinyl.
Not every customer will come in the door right away in the middle of fall for their winterization package so make sure you continue to promote the winterization packages throughout the early to mid-winter months. Towards the end of winter, start promoting “Spring Clean-Up” packages to keep business rolling in and get vehicles cleaned up after the harsh winter months. Spring Clean-Up packages usually include a thorough wash, deep cleaning of carpets and floor mats, protection re-applied where necessary, etc.
Whether you are a detailer or car enthusiast, preparing vehicles for winter weather is not something to push off or let slip by. Make sure your car and/or your business is ready to go when winter rolls around!