How to Start a Mobile Detailing Business in 8 Steps

Auto detailing is an in-demand service, making it a lucrative small business opportunity. 

But instead of following traditional routes and establishing a single, static location, you can grow your reputation and expand your opportunities by offering convenient, on-demand, mobile detailing. 

To help you develop a business plan and get your business idea off the ground, here’s everything you need to know about starting a mobile auto detailing business. 

What is a Mobile Car Detailing Business?

A mobile car detailing business is exactly what it sounds like: it is a detailing service that is ‘mobile,’ meaning it can come to the vehicle instead of the vehicle having to come to your fixed address. 

This option is only growing in popularity as vehicle owners are more than willing to pay a little more for a convenient solution to their detailing needs. 

Benefits of a Mobile Detailing Business

Owning and operating a mobile detailing business has a number of advantages. 

The benefits include:

  • Smaller initial investment: A mobile detailing service has lower startup costs as there is no need to lease a commercial space. This not only means fewer funds required to get up and running, it means more money is available to invest in initial marketing and purchasing high-quality cleaning products.
  • Greater service area: If you are operating a traditional car detailing business, you are locked into a specific location which may limit the number of vehicles you can service. While people will travel to your location for detailing services, there are others that will not travel across town or may choose a location closer to their home or work. With a mobile detailing service, you can increase your potential customer base by coming to them—at their convenience. 
  • Flexibility for the business owner: Mobile detailing gives you options. As a professional detailer, your service offerings or business model may change over time. The business goals you had when you first started may change based on demand and experience. Beginning with a mobile car wash business lets you decide where to go next. Maybe it is a brick-and-mortar location, maybe it is offering both mobile services and services from a permanent location. A mobile operation allows you the space to figure it all out for yourself. 

8 Steps for Setting Up a Mobile Detailing Business

Now that we’ve talked about why you should consider a mobile detailing business, it is time to look at how to set up a mobile detailing business. 

Here are some steps to consider before jumping in:

1) Get The Proper Training

First things first, if you have no previous experience in the auto detailing industry, it is worth taking some time to learn proper detailing techniques. 

While the job may seem straightforward enough, there are some intricacies that you will need to understand before getting started.

Fortunately, there are many online forms and video tutorials that can help you grow your skills. If you can get some hands-on training, it could make a big difference. 

2) Choose A Name And Get A Business License

You need to make sure that your business is established properly and legally. 

This means choosing a business name and securing a business license. This means reaching out to the proper municipal and state authorities to ensure that you have followed all registration and compliance requirements. 

At this stage, you should also explore business insurance or liability insurance. The last thing you need is to get up and running only to have an experience that could have been mitigated with insurance, destroying your plans. It is always better to be safe than sorry. 

This is also the time to consider your business structure. Will you be operating as a sole proprietorship? If there is more than one person taking ownership of the business, it might be a good idea to establish a limited liability company (LLC). 

If you are unsure of what any of this means, it might be helpful to speak with a lawyer or CPA before going any further. These professionals can help you determine what is required by law and what will keep your investment safe down the road. 

3) Create a Budget

Before you kick things into action, it is a good idea to establish a budget. 

A budget can prevent you from blowing through your startup capital. 

First, consider your start-up budget. This will include initial expenditures on licensing, vehicle purchase, supplies, and marketing. 

Once you have established that, think about your monthly budget. Here you will want to include wages and salaries, vehicle maintenance, supplies, marketing, taxes, and other possible expenses. 

4) Establish What Makes You Different

Understanding your value proposition will help you determine what makes you different from other car detailing businesses. 

This difference should be used in your marketing materials. If potential customers are able to get something from you that they can’t get anywhere else, it will draw them to you and keep you top of mind when they are looking for auto detailing services. 

5) Determine What You Will Offer

Before you start investing in business supplies, think about the services you will offer. This will help you develop the budget by establishing revenue streams and limited spending to necessary items only. 

Your auto detailing service may include: 

  • Exterior detailing
  • Interior detailing
  • Protective services

6) Invest in Supplies

Once you have obtained the proper licensing, established a budget, and determined what you will offer, you can invest in auto detailing supplies. 

What this step entails will depend on what you have to begin with. If you don’t have a vehicle to travel between jobs, for example, you will want to purchase one. 

Beyond that, you will need cleaning supplies, towels, buffers, and more. 

7) Create a Marketing Plan

Even the most perfect businesses can fail without a proper marketing plan. 

And the best part is, you don’t have to be a professional marketer to do this successfully. 

Start by setting up a Google My Business account. This will help you appear in local searches and help potential customers find you. 

From there, you can create a simple website using a number of different providers like GoDaddy or Squarespace. You can populate this site with service and package details, occasional blog posts, customer reviews, and more. 

It is also a good idea to set up a social media presence. You do not have to post every day but be active so people know that you are legitimate and still in operation. 

Traditional advertising methods will work here as well. Consider mail flyers, flyers for car windows, newspaper ads, or advertising in auto industry publications. 

Have some business cards made so you can hand them out to people and pass them on to satisfied customers so that they can find you easily in the future AND pass your name on to their friends and family. 

8) Find a Way To Stay In Touch With Customers

Generally speaking, retaining previous customers is more cost-effective than trying to gain new ones. This means it is important that you find a way to keep in contact with your previous customers. 

Using your website or a registration form, you can obtain email addresses. With this information, you can occasionally send updates and special deals to your loyal customers. 

Consider establishing referral discounts as a way to grow your base. 

If people sign up for your mailing list but have not made a purchase, consider segmenting your emails so you are delivering a different message to each audience. The people that have yet to use your detailing services may just need a tiny nudge and speaking to them in a direct and personal way may be all it takes. 

Start Your Mobile Car Detailing Business with No-H20

When wondering how to start a mobile detailing business, No-H2O could be the perfect answer!

No-H2O has revolutionized the auto detailing industry by offering waterless cleaning and dealing solutions AND providing incredible on-demand franchise opportunities

With No-H2O’s quality products and innovative on-demand app, you will have everything you need to step into your mobile detailing business and give customers the convenience, service, and environmental accountability they desire!

Reach out today to learn more!

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