Mobile detailing is when you make money by driving around and cleaning people’s cars. Lots of people are learning how to make money mobile detailing and you can easily get started yourself.
Learn how to make money car detailing by joining an industry that is earning more and more each year. Mobile detailing has grown into a billion-dollar industry because of its simplicity, high demand, and low overhead costs.
Table of Contents
Why Mobile Detailing as a Side Hustle?
Mobile car washes are popular in places where people don’t have time to take their car for a professional car wash or there isn’t anywhere close by to take their car. Mobile Detailing is also very popular with old folks who find it difficult to get out of their house.
Most people do regular maintenance and keep up with the wear and tear to ensure their vehicle lasts as long as possible. But many don’t take care of their cars because they feel like they can’t afford it or don’t know-how.
Others might be too busy to worry about it, or simply lack the time due to other commitments such as work or family life that consume most hours in the day. Whatever the reason, these drivers often end up with cars that need more than just a wash and vacuum:
They need detailing services which will make them look like new again! Mobile detailing is an option for those who want this type of service but don’t have the time, funds, or know-how to do it themselves.
Mobile Detailing Business
Starting a car detailing business is an ideal option for those wishing to make money without giving up their current lifestyle or daily obligations; it can provide many excellent benefits.
Doing so makes getting it detailed simple, quick, and affordable. Moreover, potential customers are always on-the-go and easier to find than stationary ones, meaning they’ll likely be more eager to receive your detailing services.
The amount of time you spend on each job varies depending on the size and condition of the car you are working on.
Additionally, for this type of business, like with most money-making ideas that don’t require too much effort, it’s very easy to go to a well-known location and an easily accessible place for your potential customers.
So you want to start your own car detailing business? That’s great! It’s a great way to make money without giving up your current lifestyle or daily obligations. However, there are a few things you need to know to get started
Benefits of Starting a Mobile Detailing Business
What are the top reasons to start a car detailing business? The benefits of a car detailing business are endless. Here are the top reasons to start your own
Mobile Detailing is an ever-growing industry and you can get in at the ground level. The customer demand for this type of service is constantly increasing and there will always be someone who needs their car detailed.
You are Your Own Boss
Working as an employee has its limits but having your own business allows you to set your schedule and price points, therefore, making more money than working for someone else. (Other jobs where you can be your own boss include dog walking, freelance writing, or even doing mystery shopping.)
Meet New People
The ability to meet new people through different jobs (and potential repeat customers) is another obvious benefit of opening your mobile detailing services. You never know, maybe one of those customers could turn into a great networking contact or even up doors to expand your business outside of the mobile realm.
Your Business Can Grow Easily
There’s a lot of demand for this type of service which means you can easily grow your business to fit the need. Once you have established yourself as an expert in the field, it will be easier to start getting referrals from different people and expand outside of your current circle.
You Can Start as a Side Hustle
Most importantly, you don’t have to give up your day job to do it. While you should always use caution when starting a new business, having one that can work alongside your other schedule is helpful so long as you have the time and resources to dedicate yourself fully during those hours.
Remember that no matter how easy it may seem at first, being a small business owner comes with both opportunities and obstacles. That means if things ever get tough or just aren’t worth it anymore then you can put your efforts towards something else without too much trouble.
Car Detailing Business – Getting Started
Getting started with a mobile detailing business is pretty simple.
All you need to do is research, purchase the equipment you need, and start looking for customers.
Since prices can vary depending on location, type of car or service needed, etc., it’s important to do your homework beforehand.
Easy to Find Customers
One of the best things about creating a car detailing business is that it’s very easy to find clients.
First, go to a well-known location and an easily accessible place to find your potential customers. You can also work on cars pretty much anywhere, so long as there’s access to water and electricity.
When thinking about starting a car detailing business it’s important to know what the job is of a mobile detailer. Mobile detailing entails the cleaning of any type of vehicle.
This can include cars, vans, motorcycles, trucks, RVs, boats, and more! The degree to which they are cleaned depends on their condition. If they are dirty or very messy then a full detail is needed to get them looking brand new again.
However for vehicles that just need small touchups then just an exterior wash may do the trick.
Low or No Startup Cost
This kind of business has a low overhead cost.
You don’t have to worry about owning your building or paying rent since you will bring everything you need with you to complete each job. This means all you have to pay for is gas for your car and wear-and-tear on the equipment itself.
Ability to Work Anywhere
Your business is mobile so you will have to be prepared to work outside. If this doesn’t bother you then that’s great. However, if the weather conditions ever get too rough or aren’t very beneficial for your business, you can offer services such as interior detailing and car polishing. That way, those who need their cars detailed but don’t want it done outside can still receive your services
All of these factors make it a very flexible and easy type of business opportunity: You simply pick up and go whenever you need to do a job. And should other opportunities come along while you’re working on one vehicle, there should always be time to take them on since each appointment isn’t set in stone. That means you can pack up and leave for another job if necessary.
Auto Detailing Business – Making a Business Plan
When starting a business, one of the most important things you can do is create a business plan. This document will outline your goals, strategies, and how you plan on achieving them. It’s also a great way to keep track of your progress and make sure you’re on track.
There are a few key things to include in your mobile detailing business plan:
Your Target Market
Who are you targeting with your services? What will be your marketing plan? and Who is the potential customer your business will try and sell to? This could be anyone from individual customers to large and small businesses.
An example of this could be individual car owners or businesses like Uhaul that might need your mobile detailing service to clean their different vehicles.
What type of detailing services do you offer? Will you only wash cars, or do you offer full detailing? Will you offer any special services, like paint correction?
It is important to determine what aspects of auto detailing your car detailing business will cover. This will give you a competitive advantage over the local competition because of the specification your business will have.
How much will you charge for your services? Be sure to include how pricing works for various services.
Your pricing and the pricing structure will help to strengthen the customer base of your detailing business. You should figure out how you will accept payments.
The pricing can also increase the chance that you repeat business with the same customers multiple times. You can also get tips from the most professional detailers in your area to figure out the best prices.
Methods of Marketing
What are your marketing strategies? This could be anything from social media, to getting advice from others in the business on marketing strategies that have worked for them.
Once you have a business name, you should create social media accounts to make people aware of your business.
You can also create a website using search engine optimization for people to find it easier.
Setting up an email or phone number for your business can be good as clients can reach out to you increasing business.
They can also leave negative reviews or positive reviews which will then attract more attention from more potential clients.
How will you make money with your business? Think about where funds will come from and how they will be allocated.
To have a successful business you need to generate annual revenues that are greater than your business expenses.
A successful car or auto detailing service will generate a good amount of revenue.
After generating your revenue you should make sure to create a budget once your business grows to save money to not go under as most businesses do after the first few years.
Make Money Mobile Detailing – Creating a Budget
Once you’ve outlined your business plan, it’s time to create a budget. This is where you’ll outline how you plan on making money with your business and allocate funds accordingly.
Be sure to include all costs from the beginning of launching your business until its closure. Here are some things to include:
The cost of your car detailing equipment and any other supplies you may need – this includes cleaning solutions, brushes, etc.
Once your detailing business grows you will make more money which you can then use to hire employees and increase the size of mobile business from once your business started.
Also at the start of your auto detailer business, you will be only working with a basic wash/car wash and a basic inside detailing of the car. Later once, your business has made some growth you might invest your money in a water reclamation system or an air compressor.
This advancement in supplies like an air compressor will help you on your way to becoming a detail king.
With the increase of business size, you will also need to purchase more vehicles and a larger amount of recreational vehicles to become a professional detailer.
Rent or Mortgage
Your rent or mortgage payments if you own a building for your business. If not, don’t include this as you won’t have to pay for it.
When starting your business you won’t need to worry about the rent or mortgage of a building due to the fact you won’t need that space at the start, however, when your detailing business grows and you need more space you should factor in rent or mortgage into your budget.
Food and Insurance Expenses
Your expenses such as food, clothes, and insurance – these don’t need to be included if you plan on paying for them out of pocket or with your business funds. However, if they will be deducted from your account like a home/auto payment then include those here!
Because you will be using cars and vehicles in this business and working with other people’s vehicles it would be good to have general liability insurance and other types of liability insurance.
This liability insurance will help you if you ever have any accidents during your mobile detail operation.
The cost of legal and professional fees – this could include anything from a business license to hiring lawyers or an accountant for advice/paperwork.
When creating a successful car detailing business you will need to ensure you have a business license to ensure your business is completely legal and to help you in case of potential legal disputes.
If you have all the proper paperwork and licenses you can ensure the security of your auto detailing business.
Design and print costs should be included here as well as other promotional materials such as business cards, flyers, etc.
When starting a mobile car detailing business it is always good to market your business to increase customer traffic and to potentially find regular customers that request your car detailing services.
You can create a page on Google so that customers can leave google reviews to help increase the traffic of car owners that want interior detailing and car washing. Google reviews and social media are great ways to spread the news.
What are the most important costs to keep your business running? Things such as website hosting, office supplies, and car parts should be included here.
With a mobile car detailing business, you want to make sure you budget to be able to afford everything you need to do your car detailing to the best of your capabilities.
Other Start-Up Costs
Anything that you think is necessary to start your business but isn’t included above. This could include web developer’s fees or any other fee that might pop up along the way!
With a car detailing or auto detailing service, you can expand your car wash service which might lead to new expenses you will need to cover.
The cost of your business license – this is a one-time fee that varies from place to place. It’s a good idea to research it before starting a business just so you’re aware of what it will cost!
Most and all businesses including car detailing businesses have business licenses to ensure their customers that they are a true and real licensed business.
Insurance for your car detailing business – every type of insurance should be included here. This could include general liability, property, and auto insurance.
When offering a professional detailing service you need to make sure that you have all the insurance you need in case of potential accidents with both your equipment and with potential customers. Insurance will make sure your mobile car wash I secured during any of these potential incidents.
Anything that doesn’t fit into any of the categories above. What about your business car? Do you want to deduct mileage from it each month like an expense? Include it here!
With your professional detailing business, you might end up having miscellaneous expenses you will need to pay. By budgeting this into your expenses, you will be able to afford these expenses when necessary.
Supplies to Get Started
When getting started here is a list of detailing supplies you will need:
- Bucket w/ Soap
- Microfiber Cloths (2-4)
- Rags (12-20)
- Garbage Bags (10+)
- Shop Vac(s) (1-3)
- Vehicle Polisher
- Car (vehicle for transportation)
- Pressure Washer
- Any other things needed for a car wash business
When starting a mobile detailing business, you will need to get the necessary supplies as mentioned above. You will also need a good vehicle to do the work in.
Choosing a Vehicle
You can either buy or lease a van or SUV with plenty of room for a workstation.
Consider a van, which maximizes floor space and has drawers along the back wall to store supplies, but if you do choose an SUV, try using plywood to divide the middle of the cargo area so it’s easier for two people to work.
If money is a bit tight at first, consider sharing the cost of a van or SUV with your initial business partners, so everyone can invest in their supplies. Or you could rent a van or SUV.
Eventually, if you make enough you can start hiring your employees and leasing or purchasing more vans or SUVs for your business. Eventually turning your small business into a larger operation.
The most important thing to remember about starting a mobile detailing business is that you need to charge enough money for your services.
There are many variables to consider when pricing your services, but try to consider these factors:
- The size of the vehicle being detailed
- Labor costs (from equipment rentals, mileage fees, etc.),
- Environmental conditions (hot or cold weather),
- Parking lot or garage fees if necessary,
- Potential damage & wear-and-tear caused during service (dents/scratches),
- Hours needed to complete the job.
- Overall expenses
When considering the overall business expenses, there are many things to consider.
Overall, you need to remember that your car detailing service needs to have a good profit margin so you can make reasonable money. You also don’t want to price yourself too high or too low for fear of not making enough profit or scaring away customers!
A great way to start is by researching where other mobile detailers in your area are pricing their services at. This will help give you an idea about what others are charging for their services and allow you to adjust accordingly if necessary.
You should also make sure that your supplies aren’t costing you more than they should be each month. Also, try looking into marketing campaigns such as Groupon Coupons or something similar
Once you have chosen a location, assess demand in your area by going out on weekends or after work until you understand how busy a spot will be during any given time of day.
It’s best to start with a well-known place that has high visibility, such as a shopping mall or other busy retail center.
If not, look for garages or parking lots that receive constant foot traffic from mostly local customers (people who live nearby) who may need their car detailed more frequently than those who only visit occasionally.
A good way to get paid is to ask for prepayment via check at first; this will ensure your clients pay receiving service and avoid those who may not follow through because they don’t have enough money on them.
If the client likes your work, then you can trust them to pay you at the end of the job.
Also to keep track of your different customers you could record their names and give them your phone number for you to keep track of every time you wash their car and also so they can reach out to you if they want it done again.
Offering discounts for prepayment is also a way to get more business in a short amount of time. It could be worth it to offer one free car detail for every ten paid jobs.
This gives customers an incentive to try out your service, rather than risk paying upfront and possibly receiving poor quality or even no service at all.
After you gain some experience, then consider dropping that ratio or starting a rewards program where customers earn points toward future services with each paid job completed.
Although you can find clients by going to places with high activity, you can also spread information about your business online. If you do not already have a website it is worth setting one up.
With mobile devices becoming more and more popular, having your site can bring in more clients even while away from the business’s location.
If your current location has Internet access, consider running ads on Craigslist to get people interested in what you offer.
You can also find customers by calling up local dealerships or car washes and asking them to refer people to you.
In addition, don’t forget the power of social media. If you have a strong presence online with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., then use that as a hub for new clients to reach out and get in touch with you.
It’s also a good idea to post photos of your work, especially after completing the job to show how well it turned out for each customer. You can use social media as a platform to post these pictures to show people the great work that you are doing.
Growing your Business
Mobile detailing can be a profitable and enjoyable business to start, through a mobile detailing business you will be able to provide the service individuals need while using your equipment and being your boss.
It is easy to get started by researching the necessary steps for starting up a mobile detailing business and it’s a great way to make money on the side.
Once your mobile detailing business is off the ground, you may want to consider expanding it to increase your profits.
One way to do this is by hiring employees who can detail cars for you, which will allow you to take on more clients and complete more jobs in a shorter amount of time.
You can also lease or purchase more vans or SUVs that are specifically designed for detailing, which will give you the ability to service larger vehicles such as trucks or SUVs, and to include exterior protection in your services.
Mobile detailing is a simple way to make money that does not require much investment or training.
Once you have the equipment and vehicle required, it is easy to get started with mobile detailing by advertising via flyers, word of mouth, or other marketing techniques.
By keeping track of the hours you worked and your invoice prices per job, you can easily see the growth of your auto detailing business and you can eventually grow it into a mobile car wash and car detailing empire.
FAQ – Starting a Mobile Detailing Business
How much would be a good hourly rate for mobile detailing?
A good rate when just starting would be around $25-$35 per hour. This way you can start to make a profit instead of losing money on the job. As your business gets more experience and bigger clients, you can raise your rates as long as you don’t lose those first-time clients that brought you into the business.
You could also charge more for the different services you offer, such as your interior and exterior wash services.
How much investment does it take to get started with mobile detailing?
Mobile detailing businesses require a good amount of up-front investment depending on the type of business you want to start, such as if you want to go full time or just do it as a side job.
If you are looking for cheaper costs you can try to find a partner who has an extra van you can use as your mobile car detailing business, or if you have enough money, invest in a van that is specifically designed with the right tools and equipment for your mobile detailing service.
What kind of products and services do I need to offer?
You will need at least one of each type of product or service to start your mobile detailing business. These include the exterior wash concept where you will wash, wax, and dry your customer’s cars in their driveway or at their place of business
You should also consider adding an interior detail where you clean the inside of the car when you are washing it on the outside. For this, people usually use a carpet cleaner or steam cleaner to get all of the dirt and germs out from the upholstery.
You should also have a product that protects your customer’s cars, whether it is wax, some type of paint sealant, or some other type of protectant.
How do I make my mobile detailing business cards?
You can make your business cards or have a company do them for you. There are many companies out there that specialize in this area and offer different options for your business cards.