My Top 5 Tips For Opening a New Detailing Business

Hey guys, I'm back again with another blog for you on my top 5 tips for opening a new detailing or car wash business. So here we go!

Tip #01: Make sure you pick a good business name that is:

1) Not Taken by Another Company. Two reasons for this: you want to avoid confusing potential clients on Google/Search Engines or Social Media Channels. Also, you can run into trademark lawsuits with having too similar of a name as another company (Example: ABC Car Wash vs ABC Car Washing).

With opening a business, there comes many legal responsibilities.

Make sure you also incorporate your business. If you don't know what this is, Google it. This will help protect you from personal liability.

I suggest brainstorming company names and before settling on one, check that all of the social media usernames are available and are consistent with each other on every social channel. Ex. how we have @SudzBox on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc. I wouldn't want to have "SudzBoxCarCare" on a separate social media channel. Make sure it is the same consistent username.

You should also build a website for your business. There are many services like Wix where you can easily create a website by dragging and dropping. This is another must and you can post your content to your site as well.

2) Unique and Easy To Remember. This again will help you appear higher in SEO (Search Engine Optimization, Google, Yahoo). Too many names that are similar in a Google Search can make you appear lower in the search results. This is not ideal because customers will not be able to find you when searching for your business.

Tip #02: Simplify Your Pricing:

Packages:

Choosing a package offering will simplify things for you tremendously. Some examples of basic packages are:

- Silver, Gold, Platinum
- Package A, Package B, Package C
- Package 1, Package 2, Package, 3

If you are a beginner, I highly suggest sticking to three basic car detailing services:

Interior Detail
Exterior Detail
Interior/Exterior Combo Detail

If you want to have a couple added packages like leather cleaning or headlight restoration then do that as well.

*Beginners, you should avoid paint correction packages until you are fully confident you can take them on.

Pricing:

Find out How Much Your Detail Will Cost You - This is ultimately going to be something that you need to figure out. You have to remember this isn't just cleaning cars anymore, this is now a business and the objective is to make a profit.

Expenses are going to factor in how much you sell your services for. Think of it this way, if you are using a product like a ceramic coating and the bottle costs $100.00 and you used the whole bottle on the client's car and you only charged $50.00 for the coating, you would be losing $50.00.

I know that is an extreme example, but you should also figure out how much your products are going to cost you each detail on average.

You can do this by dividing the dollar amount that you paid for the product by how many ounces it has.

If you bought a 16 oz. bottle for $9.00 and use 2 oz. of it every detail, this product would cost you $1.12

Here's Why:

$9.00 (Price of product) divided by 16 (16 oz of product) - $0.56 cents per oz.

Multiply this by two - $0.56 (Cost per ounce) x 2 (because we are using 2 oz. for the detail job)

A total of: $1.12

You then need to find out all of the products/tools you use in your detail and develop a spreadsheet so you can find out the total expense of products you use. An example of a basic list can be:

Car Wash Soap
All Purpose Cleaner (tires, carpets, leather, engine bay, etc)
Tire Dressing
Wheel Cleaner
Wax/Sealant/Coating
Clay Lubricant
Clay Bar
Spray Detailer
Etc.

You're also going to have other possible expenses like other utilities, insurance, phone bill, rent, etc so make sure you factor those in as well. If you want to calculate how much a day it costs you: divide the dollar amount of the bill by 30 (30 days in a month).

Adding all of these numbers out can help you figure out your total monthly expenses/overhead and can guide you in pricing your services.

I highly recommend opening a separate business checking/savings account. You can keep your expenses organized and track business spending. 

How To Price Your Services - Pricing is going to also depend on the competition in your market. Try and stay competitive with the market. Google other detailing businesses in the area and see what they're charging for their services to get an idea what pricing is like in your area.

You can do this simply by Googling "detailing near me" or "car wash near me."

Be sure to also know your pricing when customers contact you for your services. Nothing is worse than when you ask somebody for a price and they can't give you one. So know your prices and be confident in them.

If you want to charge a higher premium price, I suggest building value by regularly posting on social media channels with videos, tips, and other content that helps build your brand.

This is ultimately your decision on how much you price to your detail job and it needs to make sense for you.

*Figure out how much you want to make an hour.

Example: If you don't want to work for less than $30.00 an hour and it takes you 2 hours to complete an exterior detail, you need to charge at least $60.00 or you won't make your goal hourly pay.

This method can help you determine your package pricing. Multiply the amount you want to make an hour by how long the job will take you. This will tell you how to price your packages.

Note: The size of the car and the condition of the car can add additional time it takes to complete the detail. You may need to charge more upon arrival if it is going to take extra time (high volume pet hair, excessive filth, etc).

Tip #03: Only Accept Cash for First Time Customers - this is because customers can do chargebacks. - A chargeback is a charge that is returned to a payment card after a customer successfully disputes an item on their account.

This isn't an often occurrence, but it's best to stay safe.

For repeat customers, you can start to take debit/credit cards, but make sure that the transaction requires a signature.

Tip #04: Make Sure The Customer Is Satisfied - You can achieve this in a very simple way.

You can ask questions like:

"If you could show me one or two areas of your vehicle that you want me to pay extra attention to, what would they be?"

"What do you look for the most in a car detail?"

These questions will help you understand what the customer wants. Some customers will say nothing and some customers will tell you.

Tip #05: Post Content Everyday - this will be your key to success for building a big detailing or car wash business. Posting daily will help build your brand loyalty and brand awareness.

Make sure to post content like videos, tips, before/after photos, podcasts, blogs, etc. Over time you will begin to build an audience who engages with your content. When I started SudzBox, I used a phone with a really, really bad camera but still made sure I posted every day.

You'll graduate to better equipment as time goes on. In my opinion, 20 pieces of lower quality videos will always beat 1 full production, 10 hour edited video.

Your goal should be to become the celebrity in your space/industry. Use hashtags like: "detailingworld" "detailing" "detailersofig" "detailingworldofficial" "carwash" "carsofig"

Also tag your location in your Instagram posts. People around your area will be able to find you if they search the tagged location you put on your post.

Doing these simple steps will help potential users/clients find your page and maybe even follow you. Have conversations over social with other detailers and comment/introduce yourself.

I highly recommend using TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram for your social media channels the most. At first, you won't have followers, but if you keep creating content while using hashtags, people will find out about you. 

There are many ways you can utilize social media to help build your company.

I hope these tips helped you out. If you have any questions, drop them below in our comments section and I'll answer them in our future blogs. As always, good luck with your business and I wish you success!

- Jesse Aquino (Founder/CEO of SudzBox) 


6 comments


  • Brian Engcabo

    Do you have ,automatic updates .How can I, be connected to more of your posts.


  • Oscar Garcia

    This is some great advice!!
    Answered most of the questions we had when we were starting.
    And a few things to add to our arsenal of auto detailing marketing for sure.
    Legit!


  • Eddie George

    How can I order Glass Cleaner


  • James

    Very informative


  • Lewis

    Hi, I am currently starting up my own detailing business, but I am self taught, would you recommend going on a training course?
    I have no experience in ceramics, would that also be another course to look into? Or could it be possible to learn an experiment myself?

    Thanks, Lewis


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