Updated: Mar 17
Paying for a professional detailing service is not only easier and faster than washing your car yourself, but also more effective. Because many detailing services provide services ranging from a simple exterior wash to a full interior and exterior detailing package, you can choose to pay for exactly what you want. Mobile detailing takes the ease and convenience of having your car detailed to the next level, offering a professional clean for your vehicle any time, anywhere. Like in many other service industries, the car washing and mobile detailing industries encourage tipping. In this article, we’ll cover proper tipping etiquette for automotive detailing and car wash services. While we don’t discuss the intricacies of what makes tipping appropriate here, we will explore the appropriate amounts to tip your auto detailer for various services, if you choose to do so.
How Much Should You Tip Your Auto Detailer?
There are many variables to consider when deciding how much to tip your auto detailer, including the size of your car, the extent of the services performed, and, importantly, the quality of the job performed.
Below, we’ll go over the standard tip amounts for car detailers, mobile car detailers, and full-service car washes. Each amount given assumes that the service rendered was done well and that the amount of dirt and grime on the car isn’t excessive. If you find the job done unsatisfactory in any way, you can of course tip less than the given amounts. If, on the other hand, your auto detailer does an exemplary job (or your vehicle was particularly dirty to start with) you may find it appropriate to pay a slightly higher tip. As with other tipped services, there are general guidelines, but the actual amount you will tip depends on the quality of the service rendered.
The 15% Rule: Tipping 15% of the total cost of service is the standard tip amount for full-service detailing, and for any situation in which you aren’t sure how much you should tip your auto detailer. For example, if your mobile detailing cost a total of $100, a $15 tip for the auto detailer would be appropriate. The 15% rule also makes it easy to adjust the tip amount to match the quality for the work performed. If you feel that the work done is only “okay,” you can choose to tip 10%. If the work the auto detailer does is particularly good, you can instead raise the tip to 20%.
As we’ve mentioned, the final tip you give is based on the quality of the work your auto detailer does and the value you feel you’ve gotten for your money. Tipping isn’t mandatory, but as with tipping waiters and waitresses, it is encouraged and appreciated. Providing a tip for your auto detailer shows your appreciation for the service, especially when the quality of the job done is exceptional.
Additionally, providing a tip is beneficial to you if you plan to be a return customer. Your auto detailer will likely remember your previous tip, and give your car extra attention, going above and beyond to show their appreciation for your generosity. It’s also common for auto detailers to throw in free extras from time to time to further show their appreciation to their best customers.