What You Will Have to Pay for RV Detailing

Updated on April 9, 2018
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I am an avid RV enthusiast who understands that my life and my safety depend on the condition of the equipment in my coach.

One of the things that RV buyers often fail to consider is how much it will cost them to detail their travel units.

While some people are able to take care of this task themselves, others have neither the time, energy, equipment or desire to do so.

Therefore they need to find someone who not only is willing to do this job for them, but will do it well.

Learn the real costs of having your recreational vehicle detailed and what you can do to reduce them.
Learn the real costs of having your recreational vehicle detailed and what you can do to reduce them. | Source

Why Detail At All?

Detailing a coach may seem unimportant, but the truth is that if RV owners don’t do this regularly, their coaches can lose their shine, damage their paint jobs and potentially lower the trade in or sales value of their campers, trailers or motor homes.

Additionally, it’s not much fun to travel in a coach that is dull and dirty on the outside and filthy on the inside.

Interior dirt gets into carpets and upholstery and eventually makes the coach start to smell.

This is especially true for those who travel with pets.

A dirty interior can also lead to health problems because it is unsanitary. Who wants to

  • cook on a greasy, stained stovetop,
  • walk barefoot on a dirty carpet or
  • sit in dog or cat hair

when traveling?

Most people would not, but to avoid having these types of issues, they have to decide whether they want to detail their recreational vehicles once or twice each year or pay someone to do so.

For most individuals, paying for this service is the only way to go.

Tips for Finding Good Detailing Services

There are many people who advertise that they will clean your coach inside and out, but not all of them do equally good jobs.

Furthermore, you have to make sure they know what they are doing because if they use the wrong equipment or chemicals or do not know how to walk on your RV’s roof, they could cause a lot of damage.

You also need to understand that price is not always a guarantee of good work.

Some places charge outrageous prices to detail a small motor home, but you need to ask yourself

  • whether they are just trying to price gouge you or is their work worth the price they are asking,
  • are you dealing with just one person who does this type of work, or are you having it done by a well known company or dealership and
  • are you negotiating with someone who is in charge or just with a worker?

The reason you need to consider this last question is that workers do as they are told. Business owners will be more likely to bend on pricing.

For example, the person who details our motor home is a single individual, but he is one who comes with references and has been doing this work for years.

We have negotiated prices with him several times. To cut costs, when my husband was younger and healthier, he made a deal where he washed the RV himself, we jointly cleaned the interior and the detailer only waxed the coach…which is the most labor intensive part of the job.

Doing this saved us more than $100, but took relatively little effort.

People who know us understand that we’ve already done our homework, so will ask us to refer them to a good detailer, which we are happy to do.

You should do the same.

The reason is that you will go into a deal already knowing that you’re getting good quality for a reasonable price because a neighbor, family member or friend has already done the research for you!

What a beautifully detailed RV exterior should look like.
What a beautifully detailed RV exterior should look like. | Source

How Much Will It Cost?

What you end up paying will depend on what you want to have done, how big your coach is, how much work a detailer will have to do, who does the work and the condition of your unit.

Most detailers charge by the foot.

I have seen exterior detailing prices that go from $9 all the way up to $35 per foot. These would be prices for an average RV that may be dirty but does not have any oxidation. If there is oxidation, a detailer will charge more because it’s more work to deal with that issue.

Services are often a la carte, but people who want a total detailing, here is an example of what $39 per square foot will get you with one company.

For a small motor home approximately 35 feet long with no slide rooms, the total cost for the particular package below is $1365!

Exterior

  • Spot Free Wash & Dry
  • Clean Windows
  • Clean Rims & Shine Tires
  • High Quality Cream Wax
  • Oxidation Removal
  • Compound & Buff To Restore Shine

Interior

  • Vacuum Interior
  • Clean Windows
  • Dust
  • Clean Tables
  • Clean Kitchen Counters
  • Clean Bathroom Counters
  • Detail Drivers Cabin
  • Clean Appliances
  • Condition Leather
  • High Intensity Stain Pre-Treatment
  • Shampoo Carpets & Chairs
  • Deep Clean Living Quarters
  • Deep Clean Bathroom
  • Deep Clean Kitchen

Optional Items

  • Roof Wash
  • Awning Cleaning
  • Wheel Polish and Restoration

Note that even at $39 per foot, there still are optional items for which you will have to pay more.

How a well detailed RV interior should look.
How a well detailed RV interior should look. | Source

How to Save Money on RV Detailing

Not everybody can afford to pay such high prices, but the good news is that there are a number of ways to get your travel unit detailed for less.

For example

  • you can request fewer services,
  • negotiate prices,
  • do some of the work yourself or
  • search for companies that are more reasonably priced.

The prices noted above are those for just one company, but there are hundreds of them out there, and all are competing for your dollar!

Thus, it is possible for you to get the specific services you need for far less.

For example, my husband and I pay once a year for a wash and wax. We take care of the rest ourselves. If you want to know the easiest way to do this, The Best Way to Detail Your RV

The total cost to us as of this writing will be $280 and includes washing the roof. If there is oxidation, then the price shoots up to $400. However, if we get the unit detailed at least once each year, oxidation cannot form.

On the other hand, you might be able to find a company that does the same exact job as the one noted above for $12 per linear foot instead of $39. They will charge you $420 but likely will provide fewer services.

As you can see, prices are all over the place, so it is up to you to decide what you want to pay and how many services you need.

RV detailing can be expensive but there are numerous methods you can use to reduce those costs.
RV detailing can be expensive but there are numerous methods you can use to reduce those costs. | Source

Services You Need

The list of services shown above does not necessarily represent those that you will need to have.

Much will depend on how well you care for your coach.

For example, do you really need to pay someone to wipe off your counter tops or vacuum your carpet? These are things you should be doing consistently before and after trips and while you’re on the move.

With a bottle of Windex or a mixture of one part ammonia to 8 parts water, I can wipe down every hard floor, cabinet, counter and table top and also my shower, mirrors, toilet and sink in less than an hour. In another 15 minutes, I can also vacuum the floor.

So why would I want to pay someone to do this when, in another week, it’s going to have to be done again?

RVs have small living areas that clean up quickly if you do this job regularly.

Furthermore, if you can find a car wash with an RV bay, you can pressure clean your engine very quickly for less than $10.

The trick to saving is to let the detailer do the big, hard jobs while you take care of the little ones!

Do Your Homework

As you can see from this overview, there are many variables that go into the costs involved in the detailing recreational vehicles.

You don’t have to bankrupt yourself to keep your coach clean, but you do have to take the time to find out who does this type of work in your area, how much they charge and the services they perform for that price.

Some Final RV Detailing Tips

Here are some important things to remember:

  • You need to be very careful that the person you choose knows how to walk on an RV roof because one wrong step can cause major damage.
  • You also don’t want anybody power washing your RV or using harsh chemicals on it because these things will damage it.
  • Detailing is important to do, and you should do this job regularly.

Finally, if you look around and make it a point to talk with other RV owners, you’ll find someone who will detail your travel unit at a reasonable cost.

Good Luck!

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Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Sondra Rochelle

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    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image
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      Sondra Rochelle 4 days ago from USA

      starteacher: That's great. As I said in the article, if you shop around and get referrals you can still get this work done reasonably depending on where you live.

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      starteacher 4 days ago

      Just had the outside of our RV motor home detailed. Washed & waxed for $8 per square foot. Basically we asked around and got recommendations of others in the park here. We do this each year and the cost has been similar. The work completed has ranged from very good to excellent. The best one used an airplane wax and the shine and durability were great.

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