Are you in the process of buying a new or used vehicle? Chances are you’ve already invested a good deal of time researching the vehicle of your dreams. That being said, it only makes sense that you are are prepared when you actually make the deal on your vehicle purchase. When purchasing aftermarket appearance and protection services it’s important to understand and question who has your best interests in mind. You may be asking yourself why dealers are so aggressive with their offerings when you purchase a new vehicle. The answer is simple – profit. Car dealerships look for every way imaginable to produce additional profit on every purchase you make from them and they want BIG profits. While negotiating your vehicle purchase you usually end up in the windowless finance office where you are deluged with a variety of add ons, up sells and scare tactics to encourage you to purchase things like additional warranties, accessories and appearance and protection services like window tint, paint protection film, paint sealant and now ceramic paint coatings. It’s important to realize why dealerships are selling these services and what you’re actually getting when you purchase them.
Being so aggressive on profits car dealers have an unbelievably bad reputation with respect to quality when offering appearance up-sells and it’s a reputation that is hard earned over years and years of poor quality results. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are some of the main reasons as to why you should carefully research and hire a professional detailer to take care of these services for you.
The first reason is pricing. Dealerships often times get away with charging a lot more to do a “detail” on a car than most reputable professional detailers would charge you for a vastly superior service. Dealers are able to get away with this by preying on people’s desire for convenience to have all their services like oil changes, tire rotations and yes, detailing done at the same time. Most customers really aren’t that picky and the dealer gets away with performing sub-standard work at inflated prices simply because the customers aren’t really checking the work that closely.
The second reason is workmanship. The level of attention most dealers give to actually performing decent quality work begins and ends up customer apathy towards checking over what they paid for carefully. Dealerships typically hire young, untrained workers to handle their in house detail work or will send out work to the absolute cheapest detailer in the city with no regard for the quality of the work being done. I can’t tell you how many times over the years we’ve been contacted by an exasperated dealership employee complaining that they’ve tried multiple detailers and the work is always terrible. After getting to the subject of what we charge always followed with “well we can’t afford that!!!”. Why not? The answer is simple, dealerships don’t respect the amount of work and skill it takes to properly detail a vehicle and have for decades taken to hammering the costs they are willing to spend on vehicle appearance down. It’s no wonder under those circumstances that dealers have so many issues. The worst part of this is that the problems are often ignored and tolerated unless a customer comes forward and complains.
Here’s a great example of an expensive, brand new vehicle delivered to it’s new owner covered in dealership induced damage. This vehicle was purchased sight unseen over the internet and the customer was assured in writing that it was in “perfect” condition. This is how the vehicle looked upon arrival:
Upon discussing the damage with the dealership the customer was told that the dealership was willing to contribute $150 to “buff” the car because “that’s what they pay”. Well if the results are any indication of what they paid it’s easy to see the disconnect between what the customer deserved to receive and what they actually got. Here’s how the paint looked during us repairing it:
and the end result:
The most upsetting aspect of the whole experience was not that the poorly done job happened. Nobody is perfect. However, what really struck me is the lengths that the dealership went to not take responsibility for the damage that was clearly attributed to their terrible work and not take care of their customer until actually forced to by the manufacturer.
Now I’m not trying to give the impression that every car dealership is going to do terrible work to your vehicle because that’s simply not true. It is however a symptomatic problem within the industry that needs to be addressed. Car dealerships are not in the business of auto appearance and if you truly want the best possible workmanship and quality for your vehicle take some ownership of doing the research on the work you want done and the products and pricing involved. Then do your research regarding who the most competent business is that does that work. Don’t get trapped into the old dealerships high pressure sales tactics like having to sign a “waiver” that you declined their paint protection to instil fear that if you don’t buy it something bad will happen. Furthermore, investigate what you are actually being charged for the services being quoted – not what it adds to your monthly payment. We recently had a customer show up at the shop complaining about an awful tint job he had done at the dealership when he bought a pricy luxury car and didn’t bat an eye at a couple of extra bucks a month on his payment. Once he scrutinized the sales documents he saw that he was charged $600 for cheap, imported tint and a job that was absolutely awful when we could have installed a premium ceramic tint from a reputable manufacturer for several hundred dollars less.
If you’re reading this now, it’s not unlikely that you haven’t experienced some or all of what we’ve talked about here. Quality, service and a commitment to providing customers with the absolute best quality products is the key to being completely satisfied with your auto appearance purchases and having long lasting results you can be proud of. I’ll leave with with this quote that I think perfectly sums up this article:
“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort” – John Ruskin