This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Vehicle groomers/cleaners wash, vacuum, clean and polish the outside and inside of vehicles.
Vehicle groomers/cleaners usually earn
$14-$16 per hour
Current job prospects
How many people are doing this job?
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.
Pay for vehicle groomers/cleaners varies, but they usually earn between the minimum wage and $16 an hour.
What you will do
Vehicle groomers/cleaners may do some or all of the following:
- vacuum the inside of vehicles and shampoo seats, carpet and roof lining
- clean door jambs, rubber seals, and plastic work inside the vehicle
- clean the vehicle's exterior, including wheels, mudflaps and bumpers
- steam-clean the engine, boot, door sills and outside of the vehicle
- remove surface scratches on bodywork, if possible.
Skills and knowledge
Vehicle groomers/cleaners need to have:
- good cleaning skills, including knowledge of cleaning equipment and substances, and how to use them safely
- knowledge of paint technology (how paints are made, and their properties)
- knowledge of skills and techniques required for cleaning and polishing different paint types
- customer service skills.
Business management skills may also be useful for vehicle groomers/cleaners who run their own business.
- usually work regular business hours but may do some weekend or evening work
- work indoors and outdoors in workshops and showrooms
- work in conditions that can be noisy, with strong smells of solvents and chemicals (although there is usually equipment to remove fumes).
What's the job really like?
Dianne Palmer - Vehicle Groomer/Cleaner
Dog hair on car seats is a vehicle groomer’s worst enemy, according to Dianne Palmer. “It’s one of the hardest things to get out because of the different fabrics used on car upholstery. It can take me hours and hours to try and vacuum it out, but I have some trade secrets that allow me to get it out a little easier.”
Teamwork key to a successful business
Dianne has owned and operated her own vehicle grooming business for nearly seven years and still finds every day different. “I get to meet my clients, organise and train my staff, and get out there doing the hard work of cleaning vehicles.”
Dianne puts her success down to a great team who put their heart into the work they do. “My team are great, they have a good eye for detail, they are motivated and full of energy on every car they work on. We aim for quality and that keeps our clients coming back.
“I love standing back admiring a finished product and going ‘wow’ we did that. It’s those moments that keep me motivated in this job.
To become a vehicle groomer/cleaner you need to have a full driver's licence.
A National Certificate in Vehicle Grooming (Level 2), available through MITO, may be useful.
Vehicle groomers/cleaners need to be:
- accurate, with an eye for detail
- reliable and honest.
Useful experience for vehicle groomers/cleaners includes:
- work as a cleaner
- work with cars, particularly paint or panel work.
Vehicle groomers/cleaners need to be reasonably fit and healthy and agile enough to easily move around the interior of a vehicle.
Find out more about training
- 0800 882121 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.mito.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates show that the number of vehicle groomers/cleaners grew 1% between 2010 and 2012.
Because of growth in the industry and people often staying in the job for a short time, vacancies arise reasonably regularly. Employers sometimes struggle to find and keep staff because vehicle grooming and cleaning is not thought of as a long-term career by some job seekers.
Job chances better in spring and summer
Demand for vehicle groomers/cleaners rises during spring and summer, when both rental car hires and car sales tend to increase.
Types of employers varied
Employers of vehicle groomers/cleaners include:
- specialist car grooming businesses
- new and used car dealers
- car and van rental companies
- owners of large fleets of vehicles, such as the police.
Some vehicle groomers/cleaners own their own businesses and are self-employed.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, ‘2003-2012 Occupation Data’ (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.
Progression and specialisations
Vehicle groomers/cleaners may progress to set up their own business.
Last updated 27 October 2016