Should Auto Upholstery Shops Charge a Dirt Tax?

Published by Nadeem Muaddi on May 15th, 2013

The Hog Ring - Auto Upholstery Community - Dirty Car Interior

According to the UK’s Daily Mail, a recent study has found that men, more than women, don’t ever bother cleaning their cars’ interiors.

Certainly, auto trimmers – who spend days on end sitting in customers’ cars – already know this. But it does leave me wondering: Should we be charging male customers a dirt tax?

I’m (half) joking, of course. But with evidence like this in hand, it’s hard not to seriously consider it:

The results reveal a distinct divide between the sexes – with show-off men being far more concerned with their car’s outward appearance and women getting down deep to tackle the ingrained dirt on the inside.

Men put far more effort into ensuring their vehicle’s bodywork is gleaming and pristine, with more than a quarter (26 per cent) washing their cars on the outside once a fortnight.

But fewer than one in four of that group (6 per cent of the total) clean the inside as often.

The new research by Halfords shows that nearly seven out of ten men (67 per cent) vacuum inside their car only twice a year.

And one in six (17 per cent) confess to never having cleaned the inside of their vehicle at all.

By contrast, women strive for a fresh and welcoming interior with nearly six out of ten (57 per cent) vacuuming the inside of their vehicle at least four times a year.

But only one in six (16 per cent) washing the outside as frequently and just over 1 in 10 (11 per cent) neglecting the exterior altogether. [more]

So that explains why ladies’ cars smell like vanilla, while guys’ cars smell like… well… let’s just say it’s not vanilla.

Thankfully, most of our customers don’t treat their cars like garbage cans. But every now and then, one does make it to the shop. While we’ve never imposed a dirt tax per se, a “WTF” surcharge has been known to pop up from time to time.

With an older study claiming that car interiors are laden with more bacteria than public bathrooms, can you blame us?

What do you think? Do you treat customers with filthy cars any differently than those with clean ones? If so, how?




3 Responses

  1. Jim says:

    Boy ain’t that the truth. I love pulling the end caps of the seat rails to get at the bolts and my fingers come back with a sticky, brownish goo from all the spilled soda.

  2. Geoff Geoff says:

    Perhaps a ‘cleaning & detailing’line item prorated by how long it took?

    • I don’t know how many upholstery shops have the time to clean cars as well. Ours doesn’t. However, we used to have a detail shop right next door that we could refer customers to.

      “See him, comeback when he’s finished…”


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