What is a reconditioner doing besides polishing cars?
You make sure that new cars as well as used ones in the showroom are literally as new, as well as the cars which are being delivered to a customer. We clean and polish the cars to make the paint taut, we repair the wheel rim if there is damage after hitting a curb and we also spray parts like mirror caps or parking sensors. Beside the exterior we also take care of the interior. We polish dashboards and repair damage to the leather upholstery. We bring the car cosmetically to a perfect condition.
Is there a training for future reconditioners or do you learn this on the job?
I started as a car cleaner at Hessing through an employment agency. I looked at it as a temporary job while I had other ambitions. Colleagues assured me that I would still be here over 20 years and they were right. I like to clean and make the cars look smart and while doing so I learned to polish and followed courses in mixing colours, working with leather and spraying. It is quite a creative profession.
What does require the most creativity in your work?
Mixing the colours for leather repair is sometimes rather complex. Of course there is a RAL colours range to help, but often the exact colour of an interior is divergent. Colours can change due to UV light or skin touch. Sometimes it takes an hour to mix the right colour. The best thing to do is to put the mixture aside for the next day to look at it again. Often you then know right away: “Add one or two drops and that’s it!” It is tricky but also very pleasant to do.
When I have the right mixture of a colour for a specific car I always save it, so it doesn’t take me much time to mix the right colour the next time. We use the paint for example to spray a chair which has a blue hint of jeans on it. We always spray the colour first and after that we add a protective top layer. The colour paint will always be colourfast.
Do you work on used cars or only on cars from customers?
Also cars which are prepared for delivery come to us. Sometimes we even take care of brand new cars. Of course they have been sanded and polished at the factory but once in a while I see a brush line or not that level of perfection to my taste. A car has to be 100% before leaving us and be delivered to the customer.
Do you take your creativity and your longing for perfection home?
At home there can be a scratch on my leather couch. My hobby is sailing and each boat I buy, I completely refurbish. I clean the cushions and sometimes I spray them. I polish the boat on the outside, so the boat is always looking better when I sell it. I started with a dinghy and now I posess a speedboat with a length of 9 meters. For me it is relaxing to sail or water skiing as well as working on the boat. It is nice to make something beautiful for yourself.
Reconditioner / Employed since 2012 / Age: 42 / What is keeping him busy besides work: to work on and enjoy his boat on the Loosdrechtse Plassen