Although self-serve car washes are often conveniently located and open 24 hours, most car owners agree that nothing can compare to the quality of washing and detailing provided by a car wash done by hand. Full-service car washing usually provides a full range of services including simple exterior washing to full-scale detailing that includes engine steam cleaning and conditioning of interior leather upholstery. A car washer at these establishments performs one or all of these jobs in the course of a workday.
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Good driving skills are required for this job as customers turn over their vehicles to a car washer at the beginning of the cleaning process, and he has control of it until the cleaning is complete. He must have a good eye for detail to ensure all areas of the car’s interior and exterior are immaculate when the job is done. His knowledge of interior and exterior materials and finishes is needed to make sure he uses appropriate cleaning solutions. Customer service skills are required to build and maintain strong relationships that generate repeat business. Good math skills are needed if the car washer has to tally up the charges for the services provided to each customer.
A car washer normally hoses down a car first to remove loose dirt from the exterior. She then uses a solution of soap and water to remove tough stains and built-up dirt from the car’s body, windows and tires. After she dries the car, if requested, a coat of wax is applied and the car is buffed to a shine. If the customer contracts for the interior cleaning of the car, the car washer removes trash from the car, vacuums it and cleans the surfaces and seats. When the service is complete, she gives the customer a receipt.
Car washers need to be physically fit and flexible to reach all the areas of a car’s interior and exterior. They are expected to work in all types of weather. Work shifts are typically eight hours long and may include evenings and weekends. Most work is done by teams. Uniforms may be provided by the company, or car washers may be required to wear their own clothes that are appropriate for the working conditions.
There are no firm educational requirements for this job although many employers prefer applicants to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Knowledge gained from previous jobs in customer service or vehicle cleaning or maintenance is preferred. Entry-level car washers are normally trained on the job by more experienced workers.
Salary and Advancement Opportunities
A car washer can be promoted to a position as a cashier, assistant manager or manager if he shows initiative and takes pride in quality workmanship. Since the turnover in this industry is fairly high, advancement opportunities are frequently available. Based on information provided at simplyhired.com, the average annual salary in June 2010 in the United States for a car washer was £9,750.
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