Fleet News

Companies should view valeting as investment not cost

A good valeting service should be viewed as an investment, but generally it is only viewed as a cost. Grahame Rummery, CEO of Autoclenz, wishes he could change that perception.

It was many years ago, when I began my career in the valeting trade, that I first heard the adage that “You can always polish a oner into a car” – in other words, you can add £100 to the value of a used car simply by preparing it professionally.

Three decades later that saying still rings true, except now that potential £100 profit has become £500 or £1,000 profit per unit. Yet for whatever reason some within the motor industry continue to undervalue the importance of valeting companies, seeing valeting as an unavoidable expense.

For there is no doubt that a professional valeting service can increase the resale value of a vehicle and reduce the time a car stands on the forecourt. Depending on who you ask, a good valet can add up to 6% to the value of the used car – a fantastic return on investment given the low level of the initial outlay.

The contract valeting industry is huge: it’s worth £250 million a year for valeting alone, and £400 million if you include simply washing cars. Yet it’s perceived by some in the motor trade as a necessary evil rather than a benefit.

Years ago a valeting company could expect to charge between £28 and £30 for each used car prepared, but such is the pressure within the industry and the low esteem in which valeting is held that nowadays those same firms would be lucky to be paid in the low £20s to valet a used car.

Vehicle valeting companies don’t exist simply to clean cars; our job is to improve business for our customers. At Autoclenz we are prepared to back our words with actions.

Somehow we’ve to get the message across about valeting: it’s not what it costs, it’s what value it adds. Autoclenz and many of our competitors are professionally run businesses that want to work with their customers to help them improve their return on their vehicles.

Grahame Rummery is CEO of Autoclenz, the UK’s market-leading valeting company based in Derbyshire.

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