Like many of us, there are mornings when Karen Henderson is disgusted by her own car: dirty exterior and a dull finish; dust, trash, dirt and crumbs on the inside. But Henderson has a secret as she goes about her day at Caritas Family Solutions. She knows that when she gets in her automobile to go home, it will be clean inside and out.
The transformation of Henderson’s car is not magic. It is the work of Lane’s Car Wash and Detailing Services, a Carterville business which offers a variety of mobile car cleaning services.
Victor Lane has been cleaning and detailing cars for years. He’s been the proprietor of his own detailing company for about a decade and over the last few years has modified the way he cleans cars. Rather than having dirty cars come to him, he travels to them.
“I started picking up people’s cars and taking them back to the shop to clean them and then take them back to them, all while they were at work,” Lane recalls. “That was a blessing to people and I quickly found out that there were other people at the same place that wanted their cars cleaned, too.”
Lane inquired of managers at their locations if he could connect to a water supply and electricity at the business. With everything else he needed packed in a truck, the on-location portion of his business was born. Now he says it makes up a significant segment of his detailing business.
Along the way, he even picked up corporate business. Henderson says that Lane cleans a number of Caritas’ vehicles and then tackles employees’ autos. He says he can wash, vacuum and clean the windows of as many as ten cars daily; fewer if he is doing full detailing.
Lane calls his detailing “bumper-to-bumper.”
“That includes the motor, wheelhouses, tires and wheels, bugs off the front, door jambs, wash, vacuum, shampoo, headliners, cleaning the trunk, windows and complete wax,” he explains.
He says that if customers are not happy, he will “get right back in there” and try to make things right., but he says that in his 10 years of local detailing, he has only had a few customers ask for a second look.
“I have had many, many satisfied customers over the years. Many of my first customers keep coming back,” he says.
Lane adds even though he continues to clean and detail cars at his shop on Herrin Road in Carterville, the mobile service is growing.
“I can only see that going up in the future,” he says, adding that he has a number of corporate clients such as Caritas and an ever-growing number of individual customers. He sees a wide variety of cars and messes on a daily basis.
“I don’t mind it at all,” he says. “Sometimes, if a mess has been left in there too long, it can actually damage the interior. For example, if you spill your coffee and it goes into the carpet and you say, ‘Well, I don’t really see that,’ don’t be fooled. It’s there. It’s not going anywhere and overtime it will have an effect.”
Lane suggests having personal cars detailed at least twice each year and keep a similar schedule for waxes.
“You want to have one coming into the spring and one at the end of fall, before winter,” he explains.
For the interior, Lane recommends cleanings every couple of weeks for customers and even more often for his own vehicles. That way, busy individuals like Henderson can make sure they have clean cars.
“I try to use my vehicle as an advertisement, but I’ve been busy and it’s not making a statement right now. It doesn’t look the part right now,” he says with a hearty laugh.