My First Valet - Help me decide - Stevieboy
So I'm thinking about getting my car valet.

Before I had kids - I could spend all weekend on it and make it look great, two kids of two and under, and a full time job - I just don't have the time or inclination.

I have a 2002 Ford Focus in black - 23k original miles - and I've had it since new.

It's starting to get a little marked, luckily mostly on the clear-coat, with a few scuff marks from the neighbour's kids football, sticky fingerprints from my kids, my wife's inability to grasp the door handle without scratching the car - and a few more scratches that fortunately don't got too deep.

Plus - at one time I must have got lazy with my polishing in years gone by - as I have managed to lock in some water-marks under what seems to be a few layers of wax.

What I am not looking for is someone to hose my car down with shampoo and a wash-mitt, this I can do myself and it only takes 40 mins or so.

Never had a car valet before - and I want to get it done so in the summer I can feel proud of driving around in a nicely polished car.

Would a normal valet fix all these little niggles - or would I be best to pay a extra?

I don't know what the going rate is for a valet - and what would be covered by a standard wash.
My First Valet - Help me decide - bell boy
its £60 up here for a full valet and i mean full but they earn every penny
its called a showroom valet as when its done its ready for retail
anything less is a wash and brush up if you have young kids
My First Valet - Help me decide - colinh
I forecast rain!
My First Valet - Help me decide - Rumfitt
A normal valet is just a good clean, with some dressing applied to give it a fresh appearance.

What you need is covered by the next level up (and then some) and is widely known as detailing. These folk measure paint thickness and buff away any scratches in the clear coat and then apply special waxes to protect the paint.

Have a look at the Detailing World forum for a real insight into some amazing obsessive types!

The costs vary from a few hundred to much, much more...
My First Valet - Help me decide - CGNorwich
Cars are for going places not wasting time and money polishing. Don't worry too much what about a bit of few minor scratches and scuffs. Don't spend money on a valet - Give the car a quick wash and take the wife kids out somewhere with what you save.
My First Valet - Help me decide - Alanovich
I agree, CGN. Perhaps whip it in your local handwash {part of this sentence removed - DD}. It'll only cost you a few quid, far cheaper than a full valet. I'm in the same boat as the OP, not got the time, energy or inclination to do it myself with small children around. And I'd far rather spend the difference in price between the two options on something nice for the family, day out or whatever.

It seems the OP only does a bit over 3000 miles a year, so he's not out and about in it being admired all that often.

Edited by Dynamic Dave on 22/06/2009 at 20:36

My First Valet - Help me decide - oldgit
First mistake here is the fact that you bought a black car. A person with a lazy/too busy attitiude should not consider a black in the first place! A nonsense in our climate as the car only looks good for a few moments after it has been valeted.

My neigbour has two large black cars which are valeted regularly by a mobile valeter and they look good when finished. However copious water never seems to come into the equation where car valeting is concerned. All this of course presupposes that you have ample money to pay for regular valeting.

My First Valet - Help me decide - mr.freezer
Don't let them spray the dash board with the shiny spray. It makes the car look like a mini cab
My First Valet - Help me decide - Alby Back
Paying someone else to wash my car would be genetically impossible for me. Even if I had decided that I could afford it. Generations of Scots calvinist conditioning would prevent it ever happening. Couldn'y utter the words...

My First Valet - Help me decide - ifithelps

You will be the type who took 'bob' literally and only paid a shilling to have your lawn mown, when the going rate was 50p or £1.

Yaa-boo, sucks - chuck a divot at him!

My First Valet - Help me decide - Alby Back
Pay someone to mow the lawn !!?? Away an bile yer heid....

My First Valet - Help me decide - stunorthants26
It really depends what you want to get out of it.

Certainly as far as interiors go I always advise my customers to buy seatcovers and durable rubber matting rather than have a car cleaned every week ( Im terrible at business ) - this protects cars from children rather than clean up after them, such is their talent for making a mess of a car.

What you have done on the exterior is a case of how long is a piece of string - there is no big jump between valeting and detailing as valeting covers a wide range of finishes and job specs, dependant for me atleast, entirely on what the customer asks for - some just want a quickwax, some want something with more cut without resorting to using compound and others want carnuba wax which is time consuming but ultimately gives a great finish, especially it has to be said, on black paint.

I wouldnt listen to the detracters in here - its individual choice whether you take care of your belongings or not and ive always found that people spend money on having their car valeted at home so that they can spend their time with family etc rather than spending their precious free time cleaning their car, which if you want a clean car but dont have the time, its the perfect solution.
My First Valet - Help me decide - a900ss
I don't want to hijack this thread but I've recently bought a car thats 9 years old and has the relevent 9 year old scrathes and slightly dull paint that goes with it. I'm planning to give it a T-Cut and wax this week to bring the paintwork up a bit. Anything wrong with T-Cut or should I be using a different cutting compond (or not even use a cutting compound at all?)

My First Valet - Help me decide - madux
I had my first valet beheaded - he let my chain-mail go rusty.
My First Valet - Help me decide - Stevieboy
Thanks folks - even the detractors from your thoughts :)

I've wanted a valet for the last 5 years - and I have learnt the hard way with this and other skilled jobs that certain things are difficult for me to do - and would consume a whole day of my time, whilst getting 'help' from my children rubbing dirty grit laden sponges across the bit I've just cleaned.

I'm happy to get my hands dirty on many jobs - but this is one I can't do in a reasonable amount of time.

Cash for the job is not a problem - we have a car-fund and even my wife agree's that the exterior is getting wrecked compared to what it was like prior to children. The shine was so great at one point that we could use it as a mirror ...

Also, a mucky, scratched car appears to attract more scratches and abuse, as we are going to keep it until the wheels drop off I want the paintwork well protected.

My goal is to get someone in to take off all crud/stuff that on there, stick a nice wax on that'll make future cleaning easier. I'm probably painting a much worse picture than it actually is - it could just do with some TLC.

Any to the poster that said I should have not got black as it takes a lot of time. I was fine till the kids came along - they are the one's hoovering up the rest of my time :)

Stu - thank you for your post. The interior comes up easily, most of the work is on making the outside look good. Would you be able to help advise me on what I should ask for, the procedure etc and any lingo that'd help get the point across on what I was looking for in a job? Roughly, do what needs to be done to remove any old wax, polish out the blemishes, and put a good long lasting wax on? How much more work would this be compared to a 'normal' job? I know these are all very open questions but any indications from a man-in-the-know would be much appreciated. Thank you.
My First Valet - Help me decide - stunorthants26
Stevieboy, unless your going to be trying to win prizes at a car show, I wouldnt get too bogged down in removing every surface imperfection, it is afterall a 7ish year old car.

When booking I would simply make sure that they remove all the tar from the lower half of the bodywork and if it was my car, id want a good coat of Carnuba wax as it does a fantastic job on black paint. If the car is shiny, it actually takes your eye away from alot of minor blemishes.

If you ask for scratches to be worked on by machine polisher, do make sure that after they cut the paint back, they dont just fling some wax over the top - you need to first treat the swirl marks that this naturally creates, something I do with a 3M handglaze ( as recommended by the painter at a Rolls Royce approved bodyshop so I take his word for it! ), but there are many good products out there.
I say this because a customer of mine with a black Corolla had their main dealer polish some scratches out - they did get them out but the areas that they worked on now have oval shaped dull patches - oops, amatuer mistake that one!

Im actually cleaning a black RX-8 on wednesday which they want polished ( very soft paint on these, maddeningly so ) and for essentially a thorough wash and application of carnuba wax, Im charging them £25 although you could easily pay twice that and still not be paying much over the odds - add removing scratches and your possibly looking at atleast 30+% extra as it can be time consuming.

Last note, if you have alloys on your car, its well worth getting these polished with the wax too as it does help create a barrier between the wheel surface and the brakedust, meaning less work for you each time you clean the wheels and less need for harsh chemicals.

Ask each valeter to describe the process they will go through and compare the responses - if you feel like your getting fobbed off, that may well be the kind of valet you get too!

Good luck, hope you get the right result.
My First Valet - Help me decide - Stevieboy
Thanks Stu! Will refer back to you post when I phone around locally.

Was looking to spend ~£100 on getting it looking good, so hopefully I can get it done for this price. If you are ever in Hampshire ... :)

Dippy council have just tried to solve the melting road by bunging some dust/chippys on the road - and each car is subsequently followed by a substantial cloud of dust. Will wait a bit for the mess to subside otherwise the valet won't be able to keep up with the passing traffic.
My First Valet - Help me decide - Stevieboy
Had it done today - £60 - had clean / autoglym lifetime shine & wax / clean of screen & tyres dressed.

Took the car to a valet place in a small village - seemed to have a good trade going.

Quite happy - with the results - scratches are gone - and it's clean - and shines.

Felt it was best to drive up, ask for his opinion on what needed to be done / and he could see how much work he'd need to do and gave me a price.

I could have spent a lot more elsewhere or for going for more options - I think it was a good compromise reached - it's a car and going to get wear.

Will use them again - as it would have taken me a day or two to get it looking that good.

Thanks all for advice.
My First Valet - Help me decide - Stevieboy
And funnily enough got a freebie voucher through the post from my insurer with an air-freshener and the offer for a free Car Wash worth £6.50 from arc-carwash - whoever they are.

To update - car is still shiny - and have berated my wife several times for touching the paintwork rather than using the handle to close the door ...... grrr
My First Valet - Help me decide - Halmer
I spent 3 hours washing, vaccing and Autoglyming the wife's Punto on Friday afternoon.

Better than sex.
My First Valet - Help me decide - Pugugly
Oh ???
My First Valet - Help me decide - CGNorwich

have berated my wife several times for touching the paintwork rather than using the handle to close the door ...... grrr

I spent 3 hours washing, vaccing and Autoglyming the wife's Punto on Friday afternoon.

Better than sex.

Its just a car chaps! Its for driving not polishing.
My First Valet - Help me decide - stunorthants26
I clean cars all day so maybe thats why the wife looks somewhat more inviting than my bottle of polish...
My First Valet - Help me decide - Mr.Tee43

On second thoughts I won't bother.

Edited by Mr.Tee43 on 18/08/2009 at 00:51

My First Valet - Help me decide - mike hannon
Of course, we
On second thoughts I won't bother either.
My First Valet - Help me decide - Stevieboy

As we are trying for a new baby :) then not removing scratches has allowed energies to go elsewhere!

Anyway, it's more than a car, it's something that we are not positioned to replace due to other financial pressures and the intention is to keep it until the wheels drop off.

Will get a wash/polish top-up in the winter months, and will revisit for a full scratch removal in a year or two.

If I get a spare day during my leave, I may wash the car, and put some Autoglym wax + extra gloss protection stuff on top of what they have done.
My First Valet - Help me decide - Stevieboy
Not a happy bunny as next door's garden sprinker has given me some hard-water marks that are not coming off despite washing it twice with Autoglym Car Shampoo.

Did speak to them and in the future they'll moderate their water pressure ... oh well not the end of the world.

A car is for driving, right?
My First Valet - Help me decide - J1mbo
So much for the LifeShine then....
My First Valet - Help me decide - Stevieboy
Lifeshine certainly didn't help when my wife clipped a fence earlier in the week.


Got a smart-repairer coming out next Monday.
My First Valet - Help me decide - oilrag
I tried car shampoo a while back (as opposed to fairy liquid for 40yrs) left the hands a little sticky I thought.. And nowhere near as good at cleaning white van paint
(posted by phone at a microscopic text level)

Edited by oilrag on 05/11/2009 at 17:04