For those of us that are professional detailing technicians, the slight size of a motorcycle sometimes can fog the actual work and time that is required to detail one of these masterpieces. One of my greatest warnings is this, picture within your mind your pickiest customer and then multiple that by ten! That is how demanding motorcycle customers can be and for good reason, some of these bikes are very expensive!
The average cost of many of these bikes can be much greater than the average car and in many cases can reach well into the six figures for the very exotic. We have a client that we maintain his entire fleet of vehicles that includes several high-end autos, his multi-million dollar corporate jet and his four bikes. Of all the vehicles, he only inspects the bikes! This customer obviously has millions invested into his jet and cars yet his bikes are where his passion is found. Take that one illustration very serious, custom bike customers will be your best critic or your worst depending on the quality you offer.
Motorcycles come in a wide range of makes, models and sizes from varied countries. Some are custom ordered from the factories while others are hand built for a specific customer. No matter their brand or cost, your average bike customer will simply demand pure quality.
Types of Bikes
Factory Harley-Davidson Domestic Bikes:
Of the bikes we do within our operations, this is by far the most common name brand and type. With that said, this picture represents just one of several models within the Harley lineup. The sizes and complexity are very diversified but the Harley owner is a proud owner and very dedicated to the correct maintenance of their bikes.
Custom Built Bikes
These bikes are for the very serious owner. The average price for these bikes can range from $50,000 to as high as $250,000.00! You better know what you are doing with these bikes!
High-End Import Bikes
Another very specialized bike with a very serious group of owners! These bikes can cost more than I recently paid for a new Suburban!
High-End Duel Sport Bikes
While many of these bikes see the road, many also see the dirt roads and can be a challenge to detail! While a hearty bike, their owners will still expect perfection when they have their bike detailed.
Years ago, Honda was about the only manufacturer of these big bikes. Currently many manufactures build and offer touring bikes and some of the high-end importers are now offering some serious bikes that have a very loyal following.
Outside of bike dealerships we perform very little of these due in part that many are owned by young riders that do the detail themselves.
Not all that common but when you do get one to detail you need to be careful!
We do a great number of used dirt bikes for bike shops that have these bikes within their showrooms. The required skills of dirt bike detailing are different from street bikes due in part to the amount of plastic you are dealing with.
THE CHALLENGES OF DETAILING MOTORCYLES AND CUSTOM BIKES
Bikes have one difficult challenge that many detail technicians overlook, bikes have a wide range of surfaces to deal with.
- Painted surfaces- Factory and custom paint schemes.
- Chrome - A bike is covered in chrome and knowing how to get it to shine correctly is a true task.
- Highly Polished Aluminum - While aluminum polishing seems basic to truly master bike detailing you better know the art and workings of aluminum polishing.
- Machined Aluminum - Machined finishes will require a specialized polishing method that differs greatly from finishes that are shine finished.
- Stainless Steel - Rub out stainless too much and you may destroy the stainless steel finish.
- Braded Metal Lines - Very time consuming
- Leather - Bikes have leather and that leather is fully exposed to the elements and you need to be confident within your leather skills and knowledge.
- Plastic - Treating any plastic on a bike with the wrong type of dressing could cause issues and cost you a customer!
- Rubber - Now, when you dress a bike you have very key things you do want to do and several you do not want to do and much like plastic dressing you better know the correct products to use.
POSSIBLE SERVICES TO OFFER FOR MOTORCYCLE CUSTOMERS
The service we offer our bike clients are simply easy to sell.
- Motorcycle Deluxe Wash - This is our entry-level bike service. Includes a full wash, a hand drying, basic metal cleaning and dress plastic and rubber. This service for a bike is more costly than our same service for a car! It takes longer and requires more experience.
- Motorcycle Express Detail- This is what we call our basic detail where we do the same services as the above deluxe wash with paint protection added. We also treat the leather/vinyl areas.
- Motorcycle Detail - Again all the same services as the two above services but with paint polishing and also basic metal polishing. This level of service also includes advance wheel cleaning and advance degreasing of all surfaces.
- Specialty Motorcycle Detail Services - When a client desires each and every surface to be detailed to the highest level, this is the service! We polish all surfaces and every inch of the bike is detailed. This is a very serious task and with that is not a cheap process.
Product selection is much more important with motorcycles than one would think. While everyday detail product will work, your results may also be everyday. While your paint products may remain the same with custom bikes, specialty areas such as chrome, polished aluminum, machined metals and stainless steel surfaces will require the best of the best in products. In recent years we have compared common products on the outlined areas of motorcycles vs. the more specialized products and the differences if very apparent. Remember, motorcycle detailing is normally a step above auto detailing in the minds of the average bike customer and what is acceptable within your auto detailing services may not be acceptable with your motorcycle customers so make your product selections wisely.
Watch for our next motorcycle-detailing article that will cover the pricing of services and provide more in-depth knowledge into the marketing of your motorcycle detailing services.
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