A Quick Overview of The Auto Detailing Business
Auto detailing consists of providing “A New Car Look” to vehicles of all types. There’s nothing like driving your car after it is detailed. It’s like your old car is new again!
Happy customers are returning customers. Returning customers are what keeps a business alive and thriving.
- Polishing and buffing.
- Carpet cleaning.
- Window cleaning.
- Odor removal.
- Stain removal.
- Scratch removal.
- Plastic restoration.
- Chrome polishing.
- Excellent eye for detail.
- Common Business Skills
- Auto Detailers
- Common staff positions needed to run some businesses
Hours of Operation:
Regular 9-5 business hours are necessary if you are running as a full-time business. You may want to run Saturday’s as well because a lot of people don’t have time during the 9-5 workday.
- Heavy Duty Towels
- Lint Free Window Towels
- Microfiber Interior Cleaning Towels
- Plastic Bags
- Detailing Brushes
- Leather Seat Brush
- Mat and Carpet Brushes
- Upholstery Scrub Brush
- Dash and AC Vent Brush
- Toothbrush Style Nylon Detail Brush
- Professional Vacuum
- Power Polisher
- Pressure Washer
- Mobile Trailer
Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs:
In addition to our list of common business expenses, your auto detailing business will require a budget for the ongoing cost of acquiring cleaning and restoration supplies & products.
- You can offer a pickup and delivery service option. Some people don’t have a ride and don’t want to ask friends for one.
- You can open on weekends because people may not have time during the week to drop off their cars.
- You can offer different packages, e.g. Wax and polish, interior restoration package, paint chip repair, etc., and offer discounts on multiple packages. You could also offer a “buy three packages get the fourth free.”
- Offer a monthly or quarterly subscription where they get a discounted price on full detailing and a monthly cleaning and quarterly wax and maintenance. Once you detail the vehicle the first time, the upkeep takes a fraction of the time.
- Make a deal with a repair shop and body shop for repairs that you notice while detailing the vehicle, and if you have to drive the vehicle. You’ll be able to tell if brakes are bad, tires need replacing, the exhaust system in need of repair, or electrical problems. This will give the garage or body shop some extra business, give you a percentage of the repair cost, and offer convenience to the customer. Be careful — your main concern should be a good deal for your customers. You don’t want to just do this for the money, or you will lose customers.
- Make a deal with body shops and garages and give them a percentage for each customer they refer to your business.
- You can offer accessories for resale, air fresheners, cell phone charging cords and chargers, license plate holders, and other car accessories your customers may be interested in.
- You can offer a drop off key box, for people dropping off their vehicle after hours.
- If you talk to local car dealers and give them an irresistible deal and excellent service, you could end up with a lot of work and profit.
- Offer before and after photos, especially for the difference in the shine of the paint.
- Offer scents that your customers can choose from and spray the interior for a long-lasting scent.
- Have a comfortable waiting area for customers who choose a quick wash. Include a TV displaying products and services you offer and the benefits, for example, detailing once every three months protects your paint, plastic, and interior, and keeps your car looking like new.
- Offer free Wi-Fi, free coffee, or soft drinks, also ensure there is comfortable seating with lots of room.
Pros and Cons:
- Detailing can have a low start-up cost.
- Low operating costs if you do the work yourself.
- The result can be rewarding if you’re an auto enthusiast.
- Because of the low overhead, it can be profitable.
- The business is expandable.
- Limited to the number of cars you can process in a day, especially if you do all the work yourself.
- Business may slow down in the winter due to people not cleaning their car, only to get it dirty again because of weather conditions
Type of Customers:
- Car owners
- Car dealers
- Car rental businesses
- Collision repair centers
- Professional drivers, e.g. utility trucks, courier van drivers, taxi drivers
- Car enthusiasts
Profitability and Revenue:
As an auto detailing business owner, your profitability and revenue depend on some of the following issues:
- The number of vehicles you detail each day.
- If you do the work yourself or if you need to hire employees.
- How much it costs you to gain a new customer.
Start-up Cost Considerations:
Start-up costs vary just like in any business. You could start this type of business for under a thousand dollars if you have the equipment, get some business cards made up, register a business, and start from your garage.
Start-up costs can be as high as a few hundred thousand dollars if you purchase, top-of-the-line equipment, and buy a building in a high traffic area.
Accurate start-up costs can’t be determined unless you figure out how you are going to start with the bare minimum, mid-size business, or starting off with a maximum investment.
Full-Time or Part-Time Business:
An auto detailing business can be run part-time or full-time.
Auto detailing can be run from your home (if local bylaws allow it), but keep in mind you do need protection from the sun. For example, you can’t polish a vehicle in the sun.
A Sample Automobile Detailing Business Plan Template | ProfitableVenture.com
A Day In The Life:
A Day in the Life of an Auto Detailer | Auto training Centre.com
A Day in the Life of a Detailer | Drbeasleys.com
Car Wash & Auto Detailing in the US | Industry Market Research Report
How to Start a Home-based Car Detailing Business | Detail XPerts Blog
How to Start an Auto Detailing Business 1-2-3 by Sue Barrett
How to Make a Great Living Detailing Cars for the Rich and Famous | Appliedcolors.com
Car Wash & Auto Detailing Articles | Washos Blog
Auto Detailing Training & Tips:
10 Tips for Car Detailing – Car Wash Like a Pro | Popularmechanics.com
Auto Detailing Tips from the Car Detailing Expert | Best-auto-detailing-tips.com
21 Detailing Tips from the Pros! | Hemmings Motor News
10 Tips for Cleaning Your Car Like a Pro | Cheatsheet.com
Interior detailing tips and tricks | Carwash.com
Money Making Idea #3- Detailing Cars | Cfinancialfreedom.com
Guide to Detailing | The Car Wax Guide for Car Geeks!
Auto Detailing Training Classes | Detail King
Auto Detailing Supplies & Equipment | Rightlook.com
Auto Detailing Supplies | Auto Detailing Equipment
Things to Consider when Purchasing Professional | Car Detailing Equipment
Top Auto Detailing Equipment | Textbrite
3D Professional Detailing Products | 3dproducts.com
Auto Detailing Supplies | Detail King
AutoGeek Car Wax & SealantsCar Wax | AutoGeek
Auto Detailing Supplies – Huge Selection | Autoanything.com
Meguiars Bulk Car Wash Chemicals: Wholesale Detailing Supplies | Detailing.com
Auto Detailing Supplies Store | Professional or DIY Detailing
Detailing Tools & Equipment | Detailing.com
Commercial Car Wash Chemical Manufacturer | CleanTouch
Established Auto Detailing Businesses
Auto Detailing Supplies Research Guide Glossary Terms | Auto Anything.com
Automotive Detailing Glossary | Cartique Carwash
Commercial Insurance For Hand Wash Centers, Business Insurance | Business Insurance Usa.com
Auto Detailing Insurance for Shops and Mobile Businesses | Divinsurance.com
Car Detailing Franchise Opportunities | Franchise Direct.com
Ideal Franchisee for DetailXPerts | DetailXPerts
Car Detailing Business Opportunities | Tint World Franchise
Auto Detailing Start-Up Kits | Detail King
Businesses For Sale:
Car Detailing Businesses for Sale | Globalbx.com