How to Start a Detailing Business – Make $90k a Year Detailing Cars

I spent all my savings and most of my profit starting my detailing business. I am here to help you because I don’t want you to do the same thing. Learn from my mistakes and I can make you profitable within the first month and keep your cost down to a minimum so you can keep your hard-earned money unlike me.

I started building my detailing business the wrong way. I made an extravagant website, created a Facebook and Instagram, got my licenses and insurance, built out a van with all new top quality equipment, found a shop to rent out, interviewed and hired employees etc.

DON’T DO ALL OF THAT JUST YET! If you want to build a PROFITABLE detailing business you don’t need all that. You just need a desire to hustle and make money for yourself and a love for detailing. The rest will fall into place if you follow my lead.

How to start your own detailing business/Where to start?

If you don’t know how detail vehicles it’s time to emerge yourself in it. Start listening to podcasts watching endless amounts of YouTube videos and learn the tricks of the trade.

Much of your experience will be learned so don’t be afraid to start taking on jobs and new clients. Remember to get as much information on new clients as possible and keep the information stored and organized.

Try to use basic cleaning supplies first. If you don’t have any don’t spend more than $300 on supplies until you are making money. You can get a great starter kit for $300. A full detail can be done using around 3 or 4 products if necessary so don’t go overboard.

There is plenty of YouTube videos and podcast to learn the basics of how to detail cars. If you run into something you’re not sure how to do chances are there is a video on it and you can either figure out how to do it on the fly or just tell the client that you haven’t done that before and you won’t be able to solve their problem. People prefer honesty over a ruined car every time.

Take my advice and find clients first. Remember your goal is to make $90k a year or more, so working for cheap won’t cut it. If you have never detailed a vehicle before I suggest doing a few friends and families cars for cheap first, but don’t get a reputation for being the cheapest guy in town. I recommend starting your prices above $300 for a full interior/exterior detail.

The secret to making money is low overhead and high profit margins which is what you need to keep in mind when running your own detailing business.

Keep your clients close / Set them up on a monthly plan

The best and easiest way to make money detailing vehicles is to set up your clients on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly detail plan. The structure is easy. You tell them that they can keep their vehicle looking new all the time with a weekly or monthly plan.

The way I do it is I give them a free hand wax once a month and a free detail every six months. Charge them around $150 per detail to keep their car looking brand new. Since you are seeing the car at least once a month it won’t take you very long to detail it. Set up a recurring payment so you get paid no matter what. Then give them a specific day/time that you will be there every month. Such as the 1st Tuesday of every month at 9am.

How to get more clients for your detailing business

There are many ways to find more new clients for your detailing business. Here is my list of the top ways that work best for me.

  • Local Cars and Coffee- and similar events are great places to network and find people who love their cars and chances are won’t be caught at a local car wash. I don’t recommend being pushy or turn into a huge salesman. Just show up and start conversations about cars.
  • Contests- Doing a contest for a free detail will not only get you exposure but it will get you a list of people who need a detail for their car. Make sure to collect all the leads and send out a coupon for a discounted detail package to everyone who entered. Then turn them into a lifetime client.
  • Google Ads- are the best and easiest way to find new clients. Running a google ad gets people that are searching for a detail and directs them straight to you. You can localize your area to ensure only people near you are getting your ad.
  • Friends and Family- I don’t like doing details for friends and family, I usually do them for free if they ask. But the more people who know you are a detailer the better.
  • Facebook/Instagram- Make sure to post before and after pictures of all the vehicles you do with a hashtag of your local city or areas name.

How to get to $90k a year detailing cars / Find the right clients

Let’s start with some basic math 365 days a year or 52 weeks a year minus 2 days off a week. So let’s say you average working 5 days a week times 52 weeks. That’s 260 days a year. So to make $90k you need to make around $350 per day to hit your goal.

If you have 4 weekly clients ($2400 per month), 4 bi-weekly clients ($1200 per month) and 8 monthly clients ($1200) that should end up being a total of around $4800 per month in regular business. Considering you are working an 8-hour day you should be able to fit in 4 cars a day for your regular clients. That would fill up 2 days a week.

Now all you need to do is sell 2 wash and waxes for $150 each and 1 full interior exterior detail for around $350 each week and you are at your mark.

Once your schedule is full of regular monthly, biweekly and weekly clients you should be able to hit your goal of $90k a year working only 4 days a week and servicing clients you already know.

How long will it take you to obtain 32 full time clients?

Based on what I have discussed you will need around 8 weekly clients, 8 bi-weekly clients and 8 monthly clients to make the $90k a year goal.

All you really need is 32 people willing to pay you for regular weekly, or monthly details to make your goal.

How long do you need to sell 32 people on a detail plan?


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