2008 Trends in Auto Detailing


2008 has brought about more than just incremental changes in the Auto Detailing sub-sector. For instance automotive waxes and detailing product costs have increased about 15 to 20% in the last year and a half. Specialty products cost more to ship too due to increased fuel costs for shippers; often detailing companies must special order some products.

Perhaps one of the biggest issue and challenge in some areas is that of water and droughts. In some markets this is causing difficulty getting business licenses for auto detailing operations. There have been some auto detailing shops that have been forced to close until the Level III droughts are over and the local water reservoirs are filled once more.

Used car detailing at the wholesale level has tapered off due to more car dealerships sending SUVs to the auto auctions rather than attempting to resell them on their lots. And we are seeing an increase in smaller cars, which means lower total average price on the ticket charges. This is cutting into profits.

For some auto detailers the recent crackdown on illegal alien labor has hurt and made it difficult to get good labor. Although now, unemployment is on the rise thankfully giving a little bit of a break in the shortage of labor supply, still training is a constant battle and without adequate training quality slips and that is unacceptable in this industry.

The consumers are cutting their budgets and it is cutting into the profits for auto detailers in almost every region of the country. Luckily, folks are keeping their cars longer, which means more retail details, but since they are buying fewer new cars it is also cutting into the volume and when averaged out, it is still less business than before. Indeed, 2009 is almost here and things will change as soon as the business cycle changes.

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