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The Motor Trade – Valeter

Car valeters are responsible for cleaning the inside and outside of motor vehicles to keep them looking in top condition. You could be based inside or outdoors, working in a garage, car showroom or vehicle workshop, or could even be a mobile valeting unit. Either way, the duties and responsibilities are likely to include some, if not all the following:

  • Driving, collecting and returning vehicles 
  • Using high pressure hoses
  • Waxing and polishing paintwork
  • Working carefully on metal surfaces
  • Steam cleaning expensive components like, alloy wheels and engines
  • Cleaning inside vehicles to a very high standard
  • Vacuuming and shampooing upholstery and carpets of vehicle interiors
  • Dressing tyre walls using specialist chemicals
  • Applying polishes to interior and exterior surfaces
  • Being aware of health and safety regulations to maintain a safe working environment
  • Communicating with the public and projecting a polite professional image
  • Working as a member of a team or as an individual

Qualifications and experience

A car valeter needs to hold a full, clean driving licence, no other formal qualifications are necessary. But you must be fit, hardworking and reliable as the job is physically demanding. You will require a good eye for detail, need to be methodical in your approach, and have a good knowledge of manufacturers’ instructions and safety procedures as well as the COSHH regulations for the cleaning products and polishes that you will be required to use. Once in employment, you can work towards the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICS) Car Valeting Certificate Scheme.

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Pay and Conditions

Hours may be full-time or part-time and often include evening and weekend work to meet the requirements of customers. Pay will depend on location and experience, it will also vary from one employer to another but starting salaries for valeters are usually based on the National Minimum Wage, currently £7.83 per hour (May 2018) for workers aged 25 and over. 

Career prospects

As an experienced valeter you may oversee a team and be responsible for training new employees. You also have the option of starting your own business, perhaps specialising in a particular aspect of detail. You do not need much equipment or an expensive vehicle to start, but a specialised motor trade insurance policy tailored to your profession as a valeter is essential; without one, a single accident could leave you having to pay compensation to customers out of your own pocket leaving your business with serious financial problems.