Transitioning from Commercial Dealership Detailing into Private Sector
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  1. #1
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    Transitioning from Commercial Dealership Detailing into Private Sector

    This is a semi complicated situation, so please bare with me as I give a little history to this. I started out detailing on my personal vehicle ('13 Mustang) in May 2013 after its purchase. I learned a lot through watching videos/reading articles plus slowly gaining experience, but never got into paint correction. Skip to August 2015, I started as a manager for a Commercial Dealership Detailing Outfit (they provide detailing services for many different dealerships across the area). Over the next 6 months I learned a good bit including interior cleaning, getting more comfortable with paint correction (DA Primarily), etc. Now that I am getting comfortable with more intensive detailing I am starting to focus on my end goal, which is business ownership (Private sector).

    Right now I am looking at the product end of it, primarily the paint correction side. My resources at the dealership are kind of limited to what they allow me to order, and I am not quite ready to go at it with a rotary.... so it leaves me looking to making the best use of the DA. Current list of paint correction supplies for the DA (doesn't include the Dewalt Rotary): 2k grit sand paper, Meguiar's Diamond Cut 2.0 Compound (even though it's not DA approved), FPF True Touch Compound, Meguair's 66 Quick Detailer, Malco Swirl Remover, Ardex Seal-B Dark Car Polish, Meguiar's Red Soft Buff Pad, Buff N' Shine Microfiber Cutting Pad, Lake Country Orange Medium Cut Foam Pad, and Meguiar's Yellow Soft Buff Pads. To make this even more interesting all the pads we have are old/worn, and even after cleaning still makes any heavy imperfection correction an interesting adventure. This also makes it hard for me to judge if it's the product that isn't cutting well enough, or if it's just the pad (and I can't order new pads until next months chemical order). Granted I know it's a DA and not a Rotary, but I keep reading/hearing in my research, that with products like M105/M205 and the right pads you can get close to rotary results.

    So what are some go to pads (foam, microfiber, wool/blend) and products for the DA that will get me on the right track/started? I can't buy an entire wide assortment of pads and products right now to make a complete collection, just looking to get the basics covered. A bonus would be pads/products that are versatile enough that I could also use them while at work for when my limited resources aren't cutting it. One day I will be able to afford a random orbital, but until then I have to work with what I have. Beyond that any insights/suggestions appreciated in the 101 of moving into private sector detailing.

  2. #2
    Registered Member Top Gear's Avatar
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    Re: Transitioning from Commercial Dealership Detailing into Private Sector

    Welcome, and thanks for sharing your story

    I agree that with the right pads and liquids, a DA is generally all you will ever need for correction purposes, along with sanding and touch-up tricks. In fact, rotaries are more often going to create holograms you catch in the right light later that have to be carefully corrected by a DA or sanding. Perhaps the place of the rotary is in the re-painting industry, not driveway or show car detailing.

    For me, the DAMF system is the way to go, or more generally, the MF pads vs any of the foam varieties. You can use the Ultimate/Mirror Glaze liquids on MF, which as I've often noted, leave a silvery bright gloss that might be perfect for one car, or too much for another. The Detailer liquids (D300, D302, D301) have a blueish wet gloss by comparison. The first time I saw this I knew I was home, because it's so beautiful. I'd think M105 will probably cut better than D300 on an MF cutting pad (even UC does), but M105 and D300 can create a lot of dust. After much reading, I went with M101 for even more cut than M105, but it has great workability, very low dust, and a waxable finish. It has essentially replaced D300 for me, which I use as more of a color corrector to push the finish off that silvery gloss. These four liquids, M101, D300, D302, and D301 are all I need, unless I want to go with the bright silvery look instead. In that case, I'd follow M101 with UP/M205 as needed, and then something like ULW/M20/M21 or GCLW/M26.

    So, it depends on what YOU like and what your eye sees - there is no universal standard on the finish, really. With my setup I can tackle everything from deep cutting super-hard paint to gently polishing and waxing, and the resulting finish is amazing. I can't rave enough about the MF pads. Someone else will post about how perfect foam can be for them. It all really comes down to reading forums, trying different things, and settling on various solutions from the tricks you learn.
    Non-Garaged Daily Driver, DAMF System + M101, Carnauba Finish Enthusiast
    4-Step | Zen Detailing | Undercarriage | DAMF Upgrade |
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    Re: Transitioning from Commercial Dealership Detailing into Private Sector

    Thanks or taking the time to read my post and reply with some helpful information. I have been leaning towards MF Pads, so this just confirms what I was all ready thinking. I did a partial paint correction (swirls & one fairly deep scratch) on a a '15 Deep Impact Blue Ecoboost Mustang yesterday, and ended up transitioning from the MG Red Soft Buff Foam Pad to the Buff N' Shine MF Cutting because the foam just wasn't cutting it. We don't have a MF finishing pad at the shop so I had to use a foam one; but the MF pad proved itself in that job. It's interesting that you mention M101, because I watched the MG Youtube Video on M100, M101, & M105 recently. Heard a lot of goods things about M101, that even though it was designed for the Euro Market that it has gained a good following State side. Sounds like I need to invest in some Meguiars MF Pads, and start trying some of the Detailer's and Mirror Glaze lines to see what works best in different situations. Hopefully I can find a good Commercial Sales connection in the Charlotte area so I don't break the bank buying bulk product & pads, heh.

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    Registered Member Top Gear's Avatar
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    Re: Transitioning from Commercial Dealership Detailing into Private Sector

    The pads I'm using are the Detailer DA Microfiber pads (hence "DAMF"). I don't know the ones you mention, although the MG foam is what I started on. I highly recommend the DAMF discs. They're high quality products, similar in leverage to the thin foam, but with an MF fabric. I've noticed some minor separation on the cutting discs, but I was careless one day when pulling them off the velcro. Compared to compounding with foam, well, there's just no comparison for me - it's the difference between completely wasting hours of my time/energy or actually getting the job done.

    With the compounds, I read a lot on this forum to break it down. I'd started in Meguiar's Land with UC, then D300 when I switched to DAMF. I'd put in many, many hours with each trying to cut (and not just polish) the diamond-hard black on my car. I got as aggressive as anyone could get with UC/Xtra-Cut (UC seemed to cut slightly better than D300 without as much dust), but all to no avail. All I was doing was powered claying, really M105 has an almost cult following, but is said to be very dusty. I couldn't see how M105 would be any real improvement on Ultimate Compound in my case, and since I already had plenty of dusting problems with D300, and UC as well, that left M100 and M101. Reading threads, both of them looked much more aggressive than M105 (despite protests by the M105 faithful), and so I then decided, even with the extra cost, M101 was just the one, the maximum, the pinnacle, the end of the line, etc. Nothing Meguiar's makes seemed like it was going to cut better, and yet it seemed to finish incredibly well, too.

    If I'd gone with M100, it might be cheaper, but I'd always wonder if I was getting all I could out of the DA. On the other hand, if M101 still didn't cut well enough, I could just use it to replace UC for general compounding and stick to sanding (or perhaps move to rotary/wool) for the tough stuff like buffer trails and holograms. However, the M101 on the MF Cutting and Xtra-Cut MF discs turned out to be just what I needed, and seems to get the job done with one or two passes. Rub some M101 with your fingers and you can feel the grit, but D300 and UC will feel completely smooth.
    Non-Garaged Daily Driver, DAMF System + M101, Carnauba Finish Enthusiast
    4-Step | Zen Detailing | Undercarriage | DAMF Upgrade |
    First Correction | Gallery

  5. #5
    Sr. Global Product & Training Spec Michael Stoops's Avatar
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    Re: Transitioning from Commercial Dealership Detailing into Private Sector

    Wow, it's no wonder many dealer shops struggle with getting a decent finish on cars - that product mix is just a crazy hodge podge of stuff. How in the world is an operator supposed to learn anything, or get used to any process, when just bits and pieces of different process are being used?

    Enough of that, though. A good DA with a skilled user behind it can do some pretty impressive stuff. As Top Gear noted, the DAMF Correction System is a great place to start for heavier cutting. It can yield even more cut when paired with a more aggressive compound - M100, M101 or M105 - but you'll sacrifice some of the characteristics of D300 Microfiber Correction Compound in the process. Namely, the easier wipe off and almost total lack of dust with D300.

    On paints that either are not as badly marred, or are softer and more prone to DA hazing, our thin foam discs are a great alternative to microfiber. Use the same mix of compounds with these.

    Lastly, you're likely to find M205 to be one of the most versatile liquids you'll ever encounter. It's a great finishing polish, of course, but coupled with a microfiber finishing disc it can be a killer combo in it's own right, removing defects and getting you ready to wax/seal/coat in one go.
    Michael Stoops
    Senior Global Product & Training Specialist | Meguiar's Inc.

    Remember, this hobby is supposed to be your therapy, not the reason you need therapy.

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    Re: Transitioning from Commercial Dealership Detailing into Private Sector

    @Top Gear. I walked into this dealership in December to find an assortment of Rotary and DA pads and had to try and figure out what is what. After some online searching the 3 MF Cutting pads we have look closest to the "Buff N' Shine" pads, I have no plans on buying them personally but that is what I have available until I purchase my own MG MF pads. To be honest on my monthly chemical/supply order list there aren't any MF Cutting pads to select from (so in reality I have no clue where the 3 Buff N' Shine ones came from), so I have no choice but to buy my own. You have convinced me to give M101 a shot, I plan on purchasing both M105 and M101 to get started and see what kind of results I get.

    @Michael Stoops. It's a hodge podge mix at best. The main issue is this company really sees the Rotary as the only tool for paint correction, and the DA for applying wax/polish but not actual in-depth paint correction. If the DA removes any very light scratches with the MF Red Pad and polish while applying it great, but not the primary goal in their eyes. So they don't provide us with a diverse set of pads/products for the DA. You have to adapt things meant to be used with the Rotary to the DA, which usually ends up with less than stellar results (add used/worn pads to the mix and it gets worse). I actually used Diamond Cut 2.0 with a wool pad on the Rotary (in addition to wet sanding with 2000 grit) and had good results (especially with my limited Rotary experience) doing a full paint correction on an black E-350 yesterday. But I still want to use a DA for my primary paint correction, especially when the risk of using a Rotary isn't warranted.

    I am looking forward to doing some paint correction with fresh MG MF pads and M101/M105/M205 to see the difference that having the right tools for the job makes.

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