Mobile Car Detailing Vs. In-Shop Detailing: Pros and Cons

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Mobile car detailing vs in-shop detailing pros and cons

Auto detailing services offer more than just a simple “car wash.” Detailing helps recondition your vehicle from top to bottom, inside and out. Instead of simply removing dirt, professional detailers take extra measures to preserve your car’s appearance for years to come.

Most experts recommend that drivers get their cars detailed at least once or twice a month to preserve their value. However, it’s up to the vehicle owners to determine how they want to go about the detailing process. 

This brings us to a popular new trend: mobile car detailing. Instead of visiting a car detailing center, many drivers are choosing to have detailers come to them. 

How is this different from in-shop detailing, and do the benefits really outweigh the complications? Let’s take a look. 

What Is Mobile Car Detailing? 

How to choose the best car detailing service

On the surface level, mobile car detailing is exactly what you probably think it is. Professionals come to the vehicle’s location rather than the other way around. Once onsite, they perform cleaning and restoration tasks for a next-level clean. 

Mobile car detailing services have become increasingly popular in the last few years, thanks to a variety of factors – public health concerns, high gas prices, and new online booking technologies, to name a few. 

Drivers love the convenience of having detailing professionals work around their schedules and locations rather than waiting in line at detailing shops. 

Most Mobile Car Detailing Services Include…

✓ Paint Treatment

How does a clay bar treatment work
Clay bar treatment

The average mobile car detailing service starts by focusing on the paint. At Big’s Mobile, our team cleans the entire exterior with our eco-friendly steam cleaning techniques, combined with plush microfiber towels and a waterless wash solution. This ensures that we never scratch the paint, while also having 0 water runoff. 

From there, we focus on the remaining aspects of your paint by performing the following: 

  • Removal of tar, bugs, and road grime from your paint
  • Clay bar treatment to remove microscopic contaminants from the paint
  • Hand waxing the paint to strengthen the clear coat
  • Hand polishing the paint to fill in any minor scratches and make the paint shine
  • Reviving all exterior plastics back to their out-of-factory condition

✓ Interior Detailing

Car interior cleaning
Interior cleaning

High-quality mobile car detailing services don’t just stop at the exterior. Many also include a complete interior cleaning. This is important because the dirt, dust, and grime that builds up inside your car can cause significant wear and tear over time. 

At Big’s Mobile, we start the interior detailing process by removing all trash and debris. We then vacuum the entire vehicle, paying special attention to tight spaces and crevices where dirt tends to hide. Once that’s complete, we deep clean all the interior leathers and plastics in the vehicle, such as the dash, console, and door panels.

Lastly, our mobile detailing services also tackle stubborn car seat stains. We vacuum, steam clean, and condition vehicle seats to ensure they are odor and stain-free before we leave. From leather seats to fabric cushions, we’ll make sure everything looks great. 

✓ Odor Removal

Most rudimentary car washes don’t do anything to remove odors from your vehicle. This is one area where our deep mobile car detailing services really shine.

We use an ozone machine for odor removal, which is a safer and more effective way to remove bad smells than harsh chemicals. Ozone molecules attach to odor-causing particles and break them down, leaving your car smelling fresh and clean.

We also set off “odor bombs,” – which run odor-fighting chemicals through the vehicle’s ventilation system. This helps to remove any lingering smells that might still be present.

✓ Wheel & Tire Cleaning

Mobile car detailing vs. In-shop detailing: pros and cons 1

Your wheels & tires likely suffer a lot of abuse on the road, from snowy streets during the winter to dust and debris during the summer. That’s why Big’s Mobile offers intensive wheel & tire cleaning services through our mobile car detailing services. 

Our team starts by steam cleaning the wheels & tires to remove any caked-on grime. Then, we apply a special cleaner to the wheels & tires to break down any remaining dirt and debris. During this process, we use non-abrasive tools and plush microfibers to avoid scratching the rims.

After we clean your tires, we’ll apply a dressing that helps prevent the tires from fading, cracking, and hardening over time. This can extend your tire’s lifespan and appearance for years to come. 

✓ Window Cleaning

Wipe down car window

Typical mobile car detailing services include comprehensive window cleaning. We’re not talking about a quick rinse – our team takes the time to steam clean your windows inside and outside. This ensures a  streak-free finish 100% of the time.

We also provide waxing services for the glass, which helps to repel water and makes it easier to clean your windows in the future. This can be a great way to improve your visibility while driving, especially in inclement weather. 

How Mobile Car Detailing Differs From In-Shop Detailing

Mobile car detailing

Now that we’ve gone over what’s included in mobile car detailing, let’s discuss how it differs from in-shop detailing. 

The biggest difference is convenience. When you opt for mobile car detailing services, we come to you. This not only saves you time but also allows you to build a relationship with your detailer.

On the other hand, in-shop detailing requires you to bring your car to the shop and leave it there for several hours – or even overnight in some cases. This can be a major inconvenience, especially if you rely on your vehicle for work or other commitments. 

The Pros and Cons of Mobile Car Detailing 

Saves Car Owners TimeLimited Services
Often More AffordableYou Need Adequate Space
Flexible Appointment Times & Personal Relationships

Of course, there are still pros and cons to both kinds of auto detailing. Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest factors that might influence your choice between the two. 

Pro: Saves Car Owners Time 

Arguably the biggest benefit of using mobile car detailing services is the saved time. Mobile car detailing typically takes anywhere from 1 to 8 hours, depending on the company and its business model. In contrast, a shop can take anywhere from 1 to 48 hours – which can be a significant inconvenience if you drive often. 

Con: Limited Services 

While most mobile car detailers provide a wide range of services, they can’t do everything. For example, auto body repairs or paintless dent removal are typically only available at in-shop locations. You’ll have to visit a shop if you need any more intensive services. 

Pro: Often More Affordable 

Another big selling point for mobile car detailing is the price. A small mobile detailing company that is owner-operated can offer services at a fraction of the cost of a large auto shop. 

At Big’s Mobile, all of our mobile auto detailing appointments start at $279. Although this might seem steep, it’s a fraction of the cost of most in-shop detailers.

Pro: Flexible Appointment Times & Personal Relationships

Another benefit of mobile car detailing is the ability to customize your appointment time. This can be a major convenience if you have a busy schedule or need to get your vehicle detailed at an odd hour. Yet, in-shop detailers typically have set business hours that may not be convenient for everyone. 

At Big’s Mobile, we’ll arrive right when and where you need us.  There also won’t be other cars in line behind you, allowing us to focus on your vehicle for as long as we need to, and ensuring the best possible results. 

Additionally, in-shop detailers are usually less personal and may not get to know their customers on a first-name basis. Conversely, mobile car detailers like ours build personal relationships with their clients. This is especially helpful if you have questions or want advice on maintaining your vehicle’s appearance between details.

Con: You Need Adequate Space 

A potential drawback for some vehicle owners is their lack of space for detailing services. 

However – you’d be surprised by the small spaces we’ve been able to work in before. As long as there’s access to water and enough room for our team to move around, we can work with your environment. 

Learn More About Mobile Car Detailing in WA

Big's automobile team celebrating
Big’s Mobile Detailing Team

It doesn’t matter if you choose a mobile car detailing service or go somewhere in-shop, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you’re proactively caring for and cleaning your vehicle as needed. Detailing goes a long way toward extending your vehicle’s lifespan and maintaining its appearance. 

Interested in scheduling your first mobile detailing appointment? Talk to our team. We’ll help you book your appointment in less than five minutes. Then, we’ll show up at your house, apartment, office, or wherever you need us. 
If you’re ready to take the next step, you can even schedule your mobile detailing appointment online right now. We look forward to giving your vehicle the attention and care it deserves. 

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These blogs are meant purely for education and demonstration purposes. It contains only general information and may not account for specific issues related to your particular vehicle or situation. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. Read full disclaimer.

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