Do you like detailing cars? Are you thinking about starting a mobile detail business because you like it so much? If you started your research you might find it confusing at first, because there are so many products and tools needed to get started.

The reality is, you don’t need a grand in tools, you just need some basic stuff to get started and a car or other vehicle to get you to each location. There are guys who started with just microfiber towels, interior detailer and car shampoo. It’s that easy, if you’re good at cleaning cars and paying attention to detail.

Tools Needed to Start Your Auto Detailing Business

Fortunately for you, auto detailing doesn’t require the most expensive tools. It’s easy to get started, as you can detail a car and do a good job with some basic products and tools. 

For those of you who have already been detailing cars, this should be easy. The wash mitts, shampoo, buckets, microfibers, cleaning chemicals, and protectants. Instead of spending the most money you can on the most expensive products, try to buy bulk dilutable products, such as Meguiar’s All Purpose Cleaner and Hyper Wash. You need to be profitable, so be smart about the products you use. 

The most expensive tools required are basically the dual-action polisher, pressure washer, shop vac and carpet extractor. You can get away with using a shop vac as a carpet extractor and you can also benefit from buying a steam cleaner. For less than $500, you can have all the tools needed to start a mobile detailing business.

An electric pressure washer will save you a ton of space, allowing you to work out of a small car. The water tank and generator set-up is not necessary, so don’t listen to anyone who tells you it’s a requirement to have your own water/power supply. Bring a long hose and extension cord – that’s all you need, and customers do not mind. 

When customers call or message you about detailing their car, make sure to tell them you only need access to water and power to get the job done. They never care, unless they simply don’t have a water line available near their car (apartments) – in that case, you can bring a bucket of water and use a rinseless wash. 

Getting Your First Customers

Depending on where you live and how big your city is, this can be difficult or extremely easy. Are there a lot of nice cars in your area? If so, then it might be easier than you think. If you live in a rural area, be prepared to get creative in your marketing and try to get contracts with local fleets. 

Advertising in the Facebook Marketplace is the easiest way to get started. Hands down. No doubts about it. You don’t have to pay for a website, and you can have a page built within minutes. Advertising is also cheap on Facebook if you want to pay to promote your page. 

This puts you in front of a ton of people, and you don’t have to pay for advertisements to get your first clients. If you live in a rural area, don’t expect to make as much as a guy who does mobile detailing in Chicago. 

However, if you’re not getting enough work at all to grow into a business then you need to consider taking a different route. Even in small towns, there are usually nearby fleets of vehicles. Whether it’s from a rental company, taxi service, or even work trucks. 

Contact places that have a fleet, even if it’s a small fleet, and try to see if you can work out a deal to wash their vehicles on a regular basis. You can also contact local dealerships, and the smaller the dealership the better. 

This will allow you to build a relationship with someone who needs cars cleaned on a regular basis. In a small town, this could be the glue that holds your business together when times are slow.

Getting Maintenance Clients for Better Cash Flow

Ultimately, you want to maintain your customers and keep them satisfied. Offering a special price for weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly maintenance details can keep you booked. The best thing about these clients is that they’re vehicles never get too dirty so you’ll be spending less time cleaning them. This equals way more profit than relying on new customers all the time. 

Real estate agents are often trying to keep their cars looking spectacular at all times, as they need to look presentable when dealing with their clients. Look for people who recently bought a new car, as they will most likely want to cherish it and keep it looking new for as long as possible. 

Sell them a ceramic coating while their car is new and then make a deal to maintain it. Offer winter prep specials and use a rust inhibitor on their vehicles if you live in an area that snows.

As you can see, there are a ton of ways to make money in the mobile detailing world, and there are many ways you can stand out from your competition. If you live in a big city, chances are your competition is booked and there’s enough customers out there for everyone to eat. Regardless, make sure to keep your customers coming back!

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1 COMMENT

  1. It can be done, I started out in a Honda Accord and had everything I needed in there comfortably. Mobile detailing is a great opportunity that requires little to get started. You have to work hard and do a great job day in and day out but other than that it’s a great career and I love it.

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