How to Start a Car Detailing Business: Everything You Need to Know
When wondering how to start a car detailing business, the first step is understanding the industry and how to succeed. 3 min read
What Is an Auto Detailing Business?
When wondering how to start a car detailing business, the first step is understanding the industry and how to succeed. Before starting your business, you will need a proper place to work, the necessary chemicals and equipment, and a close attention to the details. The investment required to start an auto detailing business is more moderate than other businesses.
It's easier to start an auto detailing business with a smaller investment, although the exact amount depends on the type of services offered and the business scope. Before starting a business, it's important to plan out the operations of the company, develop a marketing and advertising plan, and focus on providing quality services. Anyone who wants to run a car detailing business must have a good level of physical fitness, stamina, and the ability to work with hand tools, chemicals, and machines.
With a car detailing business, you can earn money by washing cars at your home or the customer's home. This operation doesn't necessarily require an ideal location to draw business. Most businesses that turn a profit focus on providing detailing services for sports cars and high-value and luxury models.
Detailing a car means you are performing an extremely thorough cleaning, both inside and out, and applying a coat of wax to the exterior. You can charge more to detail specialty vehicles, making it a great option for car enthusiasts to make money. The difference between washing and detailing is the careful attention to detail when cleaning, as well as the additional services, such as polishing and waxing.
The car wash industry within the United States is very large, with an annual revenue across the industry of around $10 billion. Over 60,000 car wash companies offer services across the country, and the growth rate in the industry is about 3 percent annually. Developing a car detailing business can take a lot of time as you work to build credibility and trust, but destroying the business can take only one mistake.
The process of an exterior vehicle wash usually involves using soap and water to clean the car, using a synthetic material to remove contaminants from the exterior of the car, and eliminating any tar or bugs. A car wash can also include special attention to the tires and rims. With an interior wash, the process includes vacuuming the upholstery and floors, removing any trash, and cleaning the insides of the windows. A detailing service will also include wiping down the leather in a car that has this type of upholstery.
A car detailing business can offer additional services, such as:
· Exterior wax
· Carpet shampooing
· Seat shampooing
· Pet hair removal
· Scratch removal
· Mold removal
· Treatment from the clay bar
· Engine cleaning
· Leather conditioning
· Headlight cleaning and restoration
Car Detailing Business: Getting Started
As you start the process of opening a car detailing business, you will need to obtain a permit from the local county or town clerk. The state in which you plan to operate will also give you a tax registration certificate. If you plan to operate your business as an LLC or corporation, make sure to file necessary forms with the Secretary of State. Any company that will have employees must also obtain an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS.
If you will run the business from a single location, look for a facility to rent or buy that has sufficient ventilation, drainage, and water supply. Some local governments regulate the development of new businesses by requiring business planning, zoning, licenses and/or environmental clearance, so check with the government in your area to find out what is required before you purchase or rent any property.
Customers will need a way to contact your company, so you'll need a phone for the business. Business insurance is very important as it provides protection if you or one of your employees causes any damage to a vehicle being detailed. Get the word out about your detailing business by buying marketing supplies and printed materials, such as business cards, flyers, brochures, work orders, invoices, and signs, from a professional printer.
If you need help with how to start a car detailing business, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.