How To Start A Car Detailing Business

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Do you want to turn your passion for car detailing into a successful business? Car detailing is a profitable business model. Car detailers can make six figures per year! But how do you get started? We’ve got you covered.

Here’s everything you need to know about starting a car detailing business. 

How do I start a car detailing business?

It takes time and effort to get a car detailing business off the ground. But it’s worth it! We broke down the steps for you to start and grow a successful car detailing business. 

#1 Complete a car detailing course

Before you can get your care detailing business on the road, you need to have some skills and training. A lot of car detailers are self-taught. You’ve probably practiced in your own car or with friends or family members. Still, it’s good to have some formal training so you can give your clients the best service possible. 

There are training programs and certifications available online and in person. Some brands host training seminars to teach you how to use their specialty products on your client’s car. On top of car detailing skills, training programs can also teach you how to win new clients and run a business. So, don’t skip this step!

#2 Get a business license (if it’s required)

Some states require detailers to earn a business license before they can start a business. There are a few states where you can operate a mobile car detailing business without a license. If your state does require one, you may have to pay a fee to earn your business license. Also, some states may require the acquisition of commercial insurance or surety bonds. Do your research to make sure you’re complying with state regulations. It’ll save you a headache later on.

#3 Invest in tools and equipment

A car detailing business requires a lot of manual labor for you or your team. So, it’s essential to have the right equipment to save you time and money! Here are a few essentials: 

  • A van: If you’re starting a mobile car detailing business, you’ll need a van. Mobile businesses are a great option because they have generally low overhead costs, and you can meet clients where they are. Some companies sell mobile detailing vans with the complete set of tools you’ll need to run the business. An excellent mobile detailing setup makes running your business ten times easier.
  • Pressure washer: Pressure washers are the ultimate tool for a mobile detailing setup because they make it easy to get rid of dirt and grime on a vehicle’s exterior, wheels, and tires, plus hard-to-reach areas like an engine bay and undercarriage. They’re a standard tool and take the strain off you and your team.
  • Detailing brushes: You need specialty detailing rushes to get into those hard-to-reach, tight spaces of a vehicle that your pressure washer can’t manage. They come in an array of shapes and sizes and are designed to prevent scratches and damage to delicate surfaces.
  •  Microfiber Towels: Microfiber towels are soft, absorbent, and gentle on surfaces. These towels trap dirt and debris without leaving behind scratches or streaks on a car. Plus, they’re an eco-friendly and inexpensive option for your mobile detailing business.

You may also want to get your hands on specialty products like clay bar treatments. Read our complete guide to building a mobile detailing setup .  

#4 Price Yourself Fairly

Now that you have the tools you need to do the work, it’s time to think about building your service list and decide on your rates. Do your research on car detailing rates in your area. And resist the temptation to charge below your market value. Clients are willing to pay more for a job well done, especially if you’re handling an expensive car. 

Here’s a tip: use factor-based pricing to make more money for your car detailing business. Cars with pet stains and old paint are more challenging to clean than others. So, it’s okay to charge a bit more. This way, you earn the total value of your services. 

#5 Craft your brand message

Car detailing is a fast-growing industry. So, you won’t be the only detailing service in your area. Make sure your business stands out with a unique brand and specific message. Branding is the story of your business. Find out what sets you apart from your competitors and lean into it. Maybe you only use sustainable products or specialize in vintage cars. 

Branding helps you reach and connect with your target audience. If you’re not sure who your target market is, take a survey of your current customers. Figure out their ages, interests, and even income. Use this data to create a profile of your ideal customer. And talk to that customer in your marketing materials. You’re sure to see higher conversion rates with a strong brand message!

#6 Automate business management tasks

Automation makes it easy for you to run your business and connect with clients. You can have clients book you online, schedule invoices, and accept payment from clients, all within a few clicks. You can even automate your client communications to keep them engaged and happy. For example, you can schedule texts to let clients know when they’re due for a cleaning or send email reminders with discounts and other special offers.

Automation makes it so much easier to run and grow your car detailing business. All you need is the right software. To get your business rolling, try a dedicated CRM like PocketSuite. PocketSuite allows you to automate every aspect of your car detailing business, so gives you more time to do what you love.

#7 Build an online presence

Your mobile car detailing business needs an online presence. It’s good to have a dedicated, professional website. But your social media pages can fill in. 

Social platforms give clients an easy point of contact and act as a portfolio of your work. Clients might be put off if they can’t find a social media presence when they look you up. You can start by creating a Facebook or Instagram page and listing your business on Google. 

A Google business page is essential for car detailers. Most potential clients will check your Google review wall before booking you for a service. PocketSuite makes it easy to grow your business using your Google Business page. The app automatically solicits reviews from clients after completing a service. Plus, our integration allows you to add a book now button on the page to bring in new leads. 

Let’s Get Started!

You have to put in a lot of time and effort to start a car detailing business. But it’s worth it! With tools, training, and a solid online presence, you can grow a six-figure detailing business. 

PocketSuite will help you hold on to those clients. We have all the tools you need to run your business, including booking, payments, and contracts!