Mobile Auto Detailing



Estimated Startup Cost : $2000 to $4000 and upwards.
Mode : Home Based / Shop Based / Part-time / Freelance / Full-Time
Franchises  : Available

These days, it’s normal for everyone to own a car. It’s not uncommon for families (or individuals even) to have more than one car. For many folks, their cars are more than just practical modes of transportation, they’re their pride and joy. The problem is that their busy, hectic lives often leave little time to do the mundane chores like washing, waxing and cleaning out precious cars.

An Auto Detailer is someone who loves cars and loves to keep them shiny and beautiful. You love stripping the dirt and grime off cars after weeks of road use and returning them into their almost pristine condition your specialized cleaning skills. You will visit your clients’ homes or offices to wash, wax and clean their car. You will also clean and shampoo carpets, clean upholstery, and give chrome and tires a shiny polish.

pmi_auto_detailingThe great thing about your Mobile Auto Detailing business is that at startup, you can run it part-time, on weekends or flexi – anytime you get a client appointment. You can even run it from home – basically all you need is a telephone and appointment book and you’re set to go. You can keep it flexi while you work your day job, building up a stable pool of clients that gives you sufficient income to leave your job and be your own boss. Your target market will be (and not only limited to) commercial fleets, auto dealerships, private high-end car owners, funeral homes, real estate companies, business executives, car rental agencies and limousine companies.

A Mobile Auto Detailing business can be started on a shoestring budget – with buckets, washes and minimal equipment, but a little bit of investment can mean a nice head start and give your clients the impression that you are a professional. You’ll need to be someone who loves working outdoors in the hot or cold, loves meeting people, working in different settings and not afraid of physical labor as you carry take care of your client’s car. You will need to know the right products and chemicals to use for the right job, from cleaning to buffing to removing stubborn stains and scratches. It’s easy to learn this – just read, learn, visit your local suppliers and best of all, practice on your own car. Pretty soon, you’ll be an expert and know the best products that give the best results.


Screenshot via YouTube channel for Unique Auto Spa of Texas channel

Startup Equipment Needed

Like any other business, you always have the option of starting out with a shoestring budget set-up or go for all the bells and whistles, which might require that you get a business or personal loan. There are nice, fancy auto detailing mini trailers that you can attach to your car, but those can cost a few thousand dollars. Many auto detailers opt for a piecemeal set up, adding to or upgrading their equipment as their business grows.

Your basic auto detailing equipment will include :

  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Pressure cleaner
  • Water supply tank
  • Portable power generator
  • Carpet shampooer
  • Polisher/Buffer
  • Bucket, hose, brushes and rags
  • Cleaning solutions and chemicals

To transport all of these to and from your detailing jobs, your biggest need is a vehicle. A truck or van is preferred, and also makes a better impression on your clients. If you already have a truck or van, then your setup costs are very much lower, because you can get the equipment listed above over the course of time.

Another important thing to consider is liability insurance. You will be dealing with people’s property and accidents DO happen, so make sure you and your customer are protected. Contact your insurance agent for the best solution.

Here’s a short informative video by Al Savery, the owner of A1 mobile detailing in Los Angeles, Ca. He gives a brief run down of the major equipment you need to start up your Mobile Auto Detailing business.

Promoting Your Mobile Auto Detailing Service

Your clients will be busy car owners who have discretionary funds to pay for the services of an auto detailer. That’s a lot of people, but don’t forget that your first few months and first few clients are the most crucial. Once you’ve got a number of satisfied clients and experience under your belt, word will get around and promoting your business will be easier. There are lots of ways to get the word out about your Mobile Auto Detailing business :

  • Print and distribute flyers at malls, supermarkets, office parking lots. Sometimes paying a flyer distribution company is well worth the expense – they can cover a whole lot more area than you can if you do it by yourself.
  • Ask local businesses for permission to place your flyers in their business premise or on their notice boards.
  • Get to know local business owners and human resource staff of large companies. Sometimes, a single job detailing a car for a company executive can lead to a long term stream of business.
  • Make sure you go out on jobs wearing a tshirt that bears your company name. You want to project a professional image – that goes a long way towards encouraging people to make that first phone enquiry to you.
  • Introduce yourself to car dealers and offer them vouchers that they can give to their customers.
  • If you have additional funds, placing classified ads in car magazines or local newpapers can give you more leads.
  • Make your service known online – start a website and set up social network pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Never underestimate the potential viral power of social media.
  • Print business cards and carry them with you all the time. Give them to your friends too. Tell your friends if they recommend a friend who ends up as a client, you’ll buy them a beer!

Resources And Start Up Kits

Startup Kits and Supplies

Skid Mounted Low Pressure Washer: Eco Friendly Car Wash Equipment.
Steve Drennon walks you through one of Rightlook’s newest offerings in eco friendly car wash equipment, the Low Pressure Washer Unit on a skid mount.
Auto Detailing Business Tips: Earn more, work smart!
Darren from Auto Fetish Detail gives loads of business tips and pointers especially on the Auto Detailing business at his YouTube Channel.
Mobile Auto Detailing Setup
Auto Fetish Details’s Darren give you a peek into his auto detailing set up in his van.

Franchise Opprtunities

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