There is a lot of confusion between detailing and valeting. Some people think there is a certain difference, other people think they are the same. The difference between these 2 has always been a big part of discussion. The American word is “Detailing” and the English variation is “Valeting”. Both words mean the same thing, although people have been giving it their own description.
The dictionaries point of view on valeting
The Cambridge Online Dictionary says:
a valet service for cleaning cars
The free dictionary says:
1. A man’s male servant, who takes care of his clothes and performs other personal services.
2. An employee, as in a hotel or on a ship, who performs personal services for guests or passengers.
3. A person who parks and retrieves cars for patrons of restaurants, theaters, and other business establishments.
The main thing is that the word “detailing” is an American word. Just like the difference between “elevator” and “lift”, “valeting” is the English version of “detailing”. So to be perfectly correct, there isn’t any difference between them (even though “valeting” has a very incomplete description). People are making their own difference between them. The word “detailing” is very popular because the word implies you are working at a very detailed-level. The detailing scene has also been growing in America much earlier and harder then in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. American brands such as “Meguiars” and “Chemical Guys” have been helping to bring the word to Europe by mentioning the word “detailing” on their products.
The most common (incorrect) interpretation
The process of cleaning a vehicle very thoroughly with specialized products with less aim at the best price and more aim at the best result. This includes restoring paint, removing oxidation and going through several processes to correct any wear and tear that might be visible. Doing what they can to bring a vehicle back to “new” state. A detailer spent more time on a vehicle, goes through more steps and aims for perfection.
The process of giving the vehicle a quick clean look. This can either be a quick wash and wax, or a treatment with special products that adds gloss for a short period of time. It is not aimed at quality, durability or perfection, but aims at the best ratio between time and result. Trying to get the best look in the shortest time, without considering how long that look will last. A valeter will go for cheap products and works fast. Trying to do as many cars in a day as possible.
Does it matter
It is often bad for the average customer if a field of service is to difficult to understand. The curve to understand what somebody actually does is to big, which confuses customers that might become paying customers. They won’t understand what the difference is between these 2 terms and might not know who to call. Also, some detailers/valeters will give a different explanation about this subject, which might increase the confusion.
It would be best if there where clear and strict differences between the 2 descriptions. That way people can choose what they are, and how they should refer to themselves.
The factual difference
There is no difference. Just like there is no difference between a “lift” and an “elevator”. People have been giving their own interpretation to the 2 words, which might one day become an official description, but at the moment the official recognized dictionaries describe a “detailer” and a “valeter” the same way.
- Bird poo can be a big problem with paintwork and needs to be removed as soon as possible. Bird droppings have several aggressive chemicals in them that can severely damage paintwork. Not removing these can cause paint defects that might not be removable. In some cases a respray is needed to repair the surface....
- Bufffiber is a Dutch car detailing accessories brand. The company was launched in 2017, after a year of internal product development the first products were launched to the general public in the fourth quarter of 2018. At this moment Bufffiber specializes exclusively on high-end Korean microfiber car detailing products, with an intention to expand its product selection in 2019/2020....
- A medium polish is a polishing product with a certain level of cutting. It will not removeor severe surface imperfections, but it will will remove swirls, oxidation and several others. It is the most common step after cutting/compounding and if followed up by a finishing polish....
- A vacuum cleaner is a device that uses underpressure to suck in air via an attachment (hose). The sucked in air will pull debris and dirt with the in going air, which often ends up in a removable bag. The vacuum cleaner makes it possible to transport material without mechanical cleaning or the use of cleaning liquids....
- Griot's Garage is an American family-run manufacturer of detailing products that has been active since 1990. The company has a few different brands under its name and offers detailing product, courses and demonstrations....
- Krauss Tools is a German manufacturer of several detailing and bodyshop related tools and machines. The company creates, sells and develops several different product under their own label and for other manufacturers....