I clay, compound, polish, and apply sealant once a year.
Clay, polish, and apply sealant twice a year.
Apply wax after a wash every 3 months.
Before compounding or polishing, ALWAYS Claybar. It clears the surface and allows the polish/compound to adhere to the surface. It also keeps a clean surface to work on. Think about painting, you need to sand the surface before painting it to remove all the crud, same deal with clay baring.
Claybar will remove the majority of wax that was applied before, as well as the contaminants, so make sure to always apply polish or wax after to protect the surface.
Other notes about claybaring -
1. I wash with dawn soap first, then a nice gloss soap like Meguairs
Gold Class - then when the vehicle is wet i then clay bar and keep spraying it with the hose to keep the surface clean. Some pros dont like this because they say it leaves water spots, I still have yet to have any appear. But, if you do, dry the vehicle then use the clay along with the detailer mist they provide with the kit (Meguairs Showtime for example). Make sure to keep the surface wet as you use it, if not, it will mar the @#$@ out of your paint and will only add more to your buffing/compounding stage.
2. Different claybars are tougher in nature.
I have found Blue Magic is pretty tough, Meguairs is in the middle, and Griots is pretty soft. It may help to get the right toughness depending on your situation, e.g. how much dirt contaminants, light surface rust, tar, etc.
3. Knead like crazy; keep rolling the clay to keep the cleanest side among the surface of the vehicle.
I really dont understand why this stuff is so expensive, it really used to piss me off on how much I would spend on it.
Good luck with your endeavours.