How to select a boat detailer
Updated: Apr 25
Now is the time of year we start gearing up for the upcoming season. With the Seattle Boat Show right around the corner many boat owners start thinking about the condition of their boats and begin preparing for the upcoming season by searching for boat detailers in the local area.
Here's few tips to help you navigate the murky waters of the boat detailing industry.
HOW DO I CHOOSE THE BEST BOAT DETAILING SERVICE?
Narrowing down who is the best at anything in a specific industry can be challenging with exception of professional sports because they record things like batting averages, assists per game, how many goals made for the season, wins vs loses and then there is the play-offs, conference championship and the super bowl. The winner of the super bowl can proudly boast they are the best in their field and nobody can argue that fact.
On the other hand, boat detailing doesn't offer a championship to see who's the best company and most claims would be subjective; based on one's experience with a particular company and if you've never used that service before then the only reference you can go by is based off another's experience with a particular brand.
Reviews are one way you can narrow down your selection. But even reviews don't necessarily tell you who is the best boat detailing service. Again, you are going by someone else's experience. You can choose your favorite brand that you have been using for years that you just can't go without and I guarantee you there are people that think that product sucks. We all like different things and have different expectations. Another thing about reviews is that there are individuals who will go out their way to leave a bad review and get phenomenal service and product delivery and a free coffee cup but won't leave a good review.
WORD OF MOUTH
You ever had someone rant rave over a restaurant and how good the food was and it turned out that when you ate the food you didn't have that same out of body experience? It's always a good starting place to go with a service of a recommended friend. But then how does your friend measure who the best is?
We stopped using that word on our website as the word affordable is even subjective, because what's affordable to one person isn't affordable to the next person. However, a lot of consumers base their purchases on whether something is affordable or not. Then there are consumers who look for the bargain, but we must be realistic when it comes to the world of luxury recreational vehicles, what is considered a bargain? Years ago, we used to advertise on Craigslist and after collecting a decent amount of data we observed Craigslist attracted distressed boat owners i.e., boat owners who neglected their boats for a number years, severely oxidized, and looking for the cheapest solution to their problem. Generally, those kind of situations result in poor craftsmanship because a individual doesn't have the budget to execute high quality results based on what the consumer deemed to be affordable.
The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something. Therefore quality can be measure against other variables as well. When I walk the docks I compare/measure our work to other detailers. I'm sure there are a lot of good detailers; however most of the best detailers that care about the smallest of things when it comes to paint or gel-coat correction are "car detailers." Check out Swirls, Holograms and Buffer Trail , where I explain gel-coat correction process and the correct procedures to remove heavy oxidation. Also I have covered what buffing pads to use, why they are used and which ones you use to get certain results. Another thing to consider is some boat owners can't see the swirls and holograms, often I'm the one pointing them out to them. The most poorly executed part on your bigger yachts with a fly-bridge is the brow. It's that way for couple reasons:
1. Inexperienced Detailers don't realize the brow is a feature on the boat and when cruising it is quite noticeable. Detailers will rush and not put the time in to make sure it is corrected properly.
2. The brow isn't as forgiving as the hull. The brow is going to get more sunlight and is more prone to get oxidized and because it sits in the sun where everybody can see it the detailers inexperience will also be seen.
3. It goes just goes back to knowing what procedures, products and pads to use when correcting the brow to reduce the chances of leaving swirls.
So then how do you go about selecting a good boat detailer? I would go with the boat detailing service that is most passionate, has a thorough understanding and knowledge of pad and product combinations and ways to reduce swirls, holograms, and buffer trails. The individual who stays on the cutting edge of the latest trends and technology in gel-coat correction and protection. And make sure that the boat detailing service you select offers yearly maintenance plans and monthly/bi-weekly wash routine as that is the surest way to keep your investment in pristine shape all season. Another added benefit of a maintenance plan is, generally, companies will give discounted rates if you sign up for a membership. Keep in mind, when you switch boat detailers the expert is coming in and correcting what the previous detailer did to your gel-coat and when you get on maintenance routine and are using quality products it makes maintaining the boats a lot more efficient.