Start a car detailing business

What do you need to start a car detailing business?

Auto or car detailing can be a profitable business and can lead you to success if you do it correctly. Car detailing is something that doesn’t require too much training or upfront investment. However, a strategy or expert guidance always helps.

And this is where you’ll get the necessary guidance. In this article, you’ll find what car detailing is and what you need to start a car detailing business. If you’re curious and want to be successful, let’s begin right now!

What is Car Detailing?

You can think of car detailing as the exterior and interior makeover of a vehicle. It’s like finishing or restoring a car to a condition as good as new. Exterior detailing deals with restoration tires, windows, wheels, etc. And interior detailing deals with deep cleaning like polishing, cabin cleaning, vacuuming, or stain removal.

10 Things you need for a successful car detailing business

1. Get the right training

You probably won’t need a 4-year degree to get on with car detailing, but you’ll need some useful knowledge. You should know how this business works and have some basic training. There are good training institutes like the UK Detailing Academy where you can get training from.

Think of a surgeon. He needs extensive training before he performs surgery on a human. Similarly, if you want to deal with a $100,000 car, you should know who to detail it correctly. Otherwise, you won’t get any business. Or you could even mess up instead of improving someone’s expensive car.

So, keep in mind you have basic training in car detailing. It’ll help you effectively start your business and get customers.  

Training car detailing

2. Work on some projects and gain hands-on experience 

Thinking of getting experience before starting a business may seem absurd. However, it would help if you dealt with some simple projects before you go live. You cannot just finish the training and start a business the following day. It would be best if you mastered those detailing and cleaning methods and processes. 

Before beginning, you can also join some detailing workshops. They can give deep insights and the experience you need.

3. Start Whenever you feel right

You need not overthink starting this business. You can start this business with whatever investment you have. You can also start this business part-time. Let’s say you’re not too sure about this business. In such a case, you can start this business with your day job.

In case you’re low on investment, try mobile car detailing. Once you do it for a while and build a reliable customer base, you can shift full time. You can also start your own workhouse or shop. And you can rent your mobile car detailing to someone else.

4. Get a license for your business

You’ll most probably need licenses and permits for your car detailing business. Usually, such documents are easy to obtain, but the cost may vary with the location. You need to form an LLC (a Limited Liability Company). 

When you do this, you limit your personal liability for business debt. It means if your business doesn’t do well, your home, personal assets, and bank account will be protected. However, there won’t be any protection if you don’t establish your business as LLC.

5. Make early investments carefully

When you’re just starting out, invest your money in what you need. If you have a truck for mobile car detailing, you need to buy the essential equipment. Examples of equipment can be: 

  • Pressure washer
  • Buffer
  • Towels
  • Buckets
  • Sponges
  • Brushes
  • Steam Cleaners
  • Hot water extractor
  • Polishes
  • etc.

It’ll cost you between $3,500-10,000. However, this is just an average. If you have a better investment or a better location, you can spend more. But the point here is you must first invest in the items your business relies upon. Once you have those tools or items, you can purchase other things.

6. Put your selling skills to use

Once you’re finally into the business, use the art of selling. You’ll need to learn how to sell if you want to succeed. It’s because car detailing is a service-based business. You provide your customers with a service, and they pay you in exchange. 

So, use your upselling and cross-selling skills here. When your customer asks for one service, add few extra services stating their benefits. It’ll definitely help you increase your profit margin.

Skills needed in car detailing

7. Formulate a marketing plan

Selling alone may not be enough. It will help if you put forward an effective marketing plan to attract customers. Also, you must create a website. A website can amplify your reach to customers across the country. You should post content regularly and engage with potential customers.

You can use online ads to attract the first few customers. Online ads are quite useful in boosting a reasonably new business. However, you first need to find your target audience. 

But do you know what the best thing about this business is? Every car that hits the road is your prospective customer. So, you have quite a broad audience. And forming a marketing plan won’t be hard.

8. Engage with your customers 

Now, when you have those first customers, stay in touch with them. You can either make them subscribe to your email list or can call them for regular updates in your services. These updates or emails will help your customers or would-be customers know more about your services. And eventually, you’ll get a more extensive customer base.

9. Increase the investment & Grow when you feel like it

You’ll know when you’re growing, right? So, when you do, make sure to put in more investments. Apart from your profits, you need to grow your business size and reach. If you were mobile all this time, you could finally find a location for your new workshop.

This is where you hire a team of professionals to work with you. However, try to keep the mobile business running. It’s because sometimes customers don’t reach you, you’ve to find them and get them.

10. Stay Updated with new methods

Wait up … That’s not just it. You need to learn about that new method or processes in this car detailing business. You’ll have to opt for further training sessions for you and your team. You’ll also need to add some exciting new services for your customers.

New methods used in car detailing

Is the car Detailing business worth the effort?

Not all businesses are meant for everyone. The same is the case with car detailing. To answer the above question, you need to assess a lot of things like:

  • Your Location

It largely depends on where you live. If there’s not much daily traffic, you’ll have to invest a lot in marketing your services. And if you live in an active region where vehicles pass all day long, it’ll be helpful.

However, if you go mobile, you can turn this limitation to your advantage.

  • Competitors

If there are already too many car-detailing workshops in your area, you might have difficulty opening a new business. It’s because those experienced businesses never let a new company emerge. 

  • The effort you’re planning to put in

If you’re not sure enough of the action you’re going to put in, you might fail. You should train yourself, buy those essentials and then start the business with full force. This way, you can succeed.

Not all the money is Profit

Overall, the car detailing business is quite profitable. If you consider, an average car detailing business has the following expenses: 

  • Fuel Expenses 
  • Restocking the supplies 
  • Regular upkeep on vehicle & Equipment 
  • Insurance – $60 to $120 per month 
  • Marketing – $30 to $150 monthly
  • Taxes and … other taxes

The profit is just the difference between all your earnings and your costs. These expenses are nothing if you have a decent customer base.

Also, the car detailing business could offer the right margin for you and you decide the price. Although you have to keep in mind the cost of services in the market, you can still charge quite well.

Now you know what you need to start and all in all, the car detailing business is profitable & worth the effort.