Are You Tipping Too Much? This is How Much You Should Tip a Car Detailer

Car detailing and polishing concept. Hands of professional car service male worker, with orbital polisher, polishing white luxury car hood in auto repair shop
SofikoS /

Car detailers are professionals who service vehicles to help improve their appearance. This might involve washing, polishing, and waxing the external parts of the car, as well as cleaning the tires, touching up the paint, tidying up the interior, and even fixing dents and scratches. The entire process can require up to five hours (sometimes more) of work.

Leaving a tip for your car dealer is a nice gesture many people don’t consider, but it’s certainly not on our list of things you should never tip on. If you’re wondering whether you’re tipping enough or too much, this article will detail how much you should tip a car detailer.

Should You Tip a Car Detailer?

Car detailing - the man holds the microfiber in hand and polishes the car. Selective focus.
Many individuals choose to tip their car detailers to express their satisfaction with the service.

Yes, most experts agree it is courteous to tip a car detailer. These services can help repair or refresh your car, especially in terms of aesthetics. Professional car detailers are skilled individuals who invest their time and energy into making your car look the best it can be. Just as you would tip your hairdresser or restaurant waiter for their services, you should also tip your car detailer. How much you tip — of course — is ultimately up to you and your budget.

How Much Should You Tip a Car Detailer?

Car detailing and polishing concept. Hands of professional car service male worker, with orbital polisher, polishing white luxury car hood in auto repair shop
Source: SofikoS /
Tipping a car detailer around 15% is considered average.

Most individuals will recommend tipping a car detailer anywhere between 10-15% of the total cost. For example, if the car detailer charges you $200 for the job, you should consider tipping between $20-$30. 

Additionally, consider how well the job was done. Were you especially impressed by your vehicle’s final look? Make sure your tip reflects that. It’s never a bad idea to leave an extra dollar or two to express your satisfaction and appreciation. 

How Much Does a Car Detailer Make Per Year?

close-up shot of a hand wiping a car's windshield with yellow microfiber cloth, mechanic's hand polishing car hood with soft cloth
Source: R Photography Background /
Car detailers typically don’t earn a “living wage.”

According to ZipRecruiter, “As of Mar 4, 2024, the average hourly pay for a Car Detailer in the United States is $16.17 an hour.” Yearly, a car detailer earns around an average of $33,639. This — among many other jobs and wages, unfortunately — is not considered a “living wage” in the U.S.

That being said, tipping your car detailer can go a long way. Many of these workers earn a chunk of their income off of tips. To thank them for their hard work, consider tipping them any amount of money you’re comfortable with — especially if you’re satisfied with their job.

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