The quality of a detailers work is not defined by the fact that they arrived at your location any more than it is if you were to drop your vehicle of at their location for the work to be carried out. Some people will say that a fixed location is cleaner, this may or may not be true. But if your garage is clean or I clean it and have the door closed then we are both working in the same kind of environment. The end quality of the paint finish is more to do with the products and equipment used and the skill of the detailer who is carrying out the paint correction than the physical location of where the vehicle was detailed.
BMW paint is pretty bad for this, the paint texture resembles that of an orange and is caused by a number of factors typically the result of improper painting technique, quick evaporation of thinner, incorrect spray gun setup (e.g., low air pressure or incorrect nozzle), spraying the paint at an angle other than perpendicular, or applying excessive paint.
The only way to remove this is by wet sanding the paint, some people will tell you it can be removed by polishing with a rotary, this is incorrect as the soft foam pad will conform to the peaks and troughs of the orange peel. Wet sanding is a long expensive process so it may be easier to just live with it.
Swirls are pretty common on paint and can be easily identified, they look like a spider web and radiate out from a central point, they are usually more visible on dark coloured paint and especially in bright sun light or under filling station lights at night. Swirls look terrible, they take away the gloss and usually cover the entire car. But they can be safely removed as they are usually shallow and only in the clear coat. It is simply a matter of polishing them out, however its better to try and avoid getting them in the first place.
Hazing is a patch of dull paint, typically this is caused after compounding to remove other defects. Compounds tend to contain a lot of fillers and if not removed by a good panel wipe will hide defects until it is washed or wears off. Hazing can easily be removed by a finishing polish and is nothing to worry about.
OK great if you’re happy with his work at that price point continue to use him. However take away the cost of insurance (if he has any) products, equipment and training then divide the remainder by the number of hours worked and ask yourself if you think he will care much about your car at that hourly rate.
When I hear mop or buff etc. I immediately think quick and dirty if you have low expectations you won’t be disapointed.
In short a wax is a naturally occurring substance and a sealant is man made, people say wax produces a wet looking shine, this is due to the oils that have been added to it in the manufacturing process.
A sealant will better show off any metallic flakes in the paint and is longer lasting.
Both of these products contain fillers and tend to be used by people to mask poor polishing and paint defects.
They are both quick and easy to apply.
If you imagine it like this, a girl going out for the night puts on makeup and looks great, after she comes home she washes her face and looks the same as she did before putting on makeup. That is a valet, we are in essence applying makeup (products containing fillers) to the paint to hide the scratches and swirls and produce a shine. These will gradually fade/wash off over time usually a couple of months and you will be back to square one.
A detail is like a girl going for cosmetic surgery and getting a chemical peel where the surgeon removes a layer of skin exposing a fresh layer and she looks great for a longer period of time. The detailer machine polishes the paint removing a microscopic layer so the swirls, scratches, oxidization and marring are removed.
This depends on a number of factors, service chosen, size of car, colour of paint and condition of the vehicle. It may not be obvious but if you have dark paint e.g. black and want it detailed you should chose a two stage machine correction, however if it is light coloured paint e.g. silver a single stage correction would be fine. This is because the marring instilled from the compounding stage where we are correcting the swirls and scratches will not be visible on light coloured paint.
The real question here is how long will it take for you to mess it up? Our cars don’t live in a bubble they are for the most part driven on the roads so they get dirty, birds poo on them etc. resulting in possible damage. The paint will have to be washed, your technique products and equipment needs to be good otherwise you will mar the surface. If you are worried about surface marring have a look at ceramic coatings which provide a better shine and protection against UV and acid damage and surface marring.
I would answer this with the question, “how long did it take to complete that detail?” Usually I hear something like “a day.” This is not a detail this is a valet. A detail takes many days to complete where as a valet is a short process taking around a day.