Starting A Car Detailing Business: How Much Money Do You Need?

Starting A Car Detailing Business: How Much Money Do You Need?

Okay so let’s talk about how much money you
actually need to start your car detailing business. So, this is a real big topic to
myself because I made a huge mistake when I first started my business. I spent way to
much money on products and tools and chemicals that I absolute did not that I didn’t use
that I didn’t use, 90% of those were just never used. They just say on a shelf collecting
dust, looking nice. So, let’s talk about what you need to start a business. When you initially
want to start a business, again, if this is your first time, you start Googley searching
what you need, so you just Google, you know, mobile detailing, car detailing business and,
if you want to open up a shop, you open up a shop, and then you just see this list of
what you need, what’s necessary, these recommendations from other detailers who even emailed this
detailers yourself and see what they recommend. So things will come up to you like, you know,
if you’re going to be a mobile detailer, you’re going to get a generator, insurance, business
cards. You’ll need every interior and exterior product and tool under the sun because you
want to really make sure that you’re going to be prepared for every single encounter
that you may possibly get with every customer. So you want to make sure that if one customer
in particular wants this type of detail or this type of scent, or this type of whatever
it maybe, you want to make sure you have that product and tool in stock to fulfill that
customers’ needs. I’ve been there, trust me. You’re going to get t-shirts, water tank if
you’re going to be mobile detailer, pressure washer, you may even look into, can’t really
see down here, but a shop. So again, that’s just busy work, right. It doesn’t correlate
exactly to starting a business and getting customers, right. Just because this is just
kind of noise overall. In the beginning phases. Obviously when you kind of grow your business
and you get more customers and you have more steady flow of customers and cash flow, then
yes, a lot of this is necessary. You do want to grow, you do want to get your business,
kind of in a nice, hockey stick manner of growth. But in reality, if you’re just starting
off, right. If you’re, if you’re you say, Okay I do a lot of detailing for a while,
I have a few products, maybe I can start this as a business. But you don’t really need all
this mess going a long here. With the products that you have in hand, right. With what, let’s
say, uh, your first few products were for headlight restoration. Then that in itself
is already enough to go ahead and start offering headlight restoration services to your friends,
family, and co-workers. So, if you really go down this list and you want to create an
Excel spreadsheet and come up with different price points and see what gets the best deal
and what account can you setup to save money. Then this can easily, for me like, personally,
it ran me, I think I said $2200, $2000, somewhere around there, when I started my business,
but that was all mostly products. It wasn’t, I mean that $2000 could have been used so
much more effectively in growing my business instead of just buying chemicals and tools.
So, with those $2000, I would have spent maybe, let’s say, $400 in actual products and chemicals
and the rest would have gone to marketing and sales. So, you guys that are starting
your business, you guys really want to go into this long list of what’s everything that
I absolutely need to become a business. I want to look official, I want to be presented,
I want to present myself like an actual business, so what do I need to feel like a real business.
But, my take would be with the few tools and products that you have, even if you don’t,
even if you’re barely getting into detailing entirely new, then I would suggest spending
the absolutely minimum money you could possibly spend to get going. So let’s say and this
comes to identifying what you want to offer. So, in the beginning phases, you know, your
mind is like, I’m going to be a great detailer, I’m going to offer all these services so everyone
likes me and that I can really fulfill every customers needs. Wrong approach. When you’re
going to be starting your business, you really want to identify, because you know, you’re
not going to have all the resources you possibly can, right. So, identify what you really just
want to go after in the first few months, right. So, me personally, I for some reason
always liked interior. I always preferred that over exterior work, it just so happens
to be like that way. So, I, starting now, if I would start over, I would only buy interior
products. And, even if I offered my services to someone and they, “Oh, but do you offer,
do you wash cars, do you do this. Do you do headlight restoration? Engine detail?” But
I’m still in the beginning phases and I’m only focusing on interior, I will tell that
person, “No, I do not do exterior. I only do interior work”. You want to stay laser
focused on what you’re going to offer. That way the products and tools that you buy are
exactly correlate to what you’re going to be offering. Because if you go to one customer
and you say, “Okay look, yes I do do interior cleaning” and then the next customer is like,
“Okay, well I kind of don’t want interior cleaning but want an engine cleaning and a
wash” okay let me go buy those products. Okay will this other customer goes and they want
headlight restoration. Okay let me go buy all those products for that. And you’re just
going to keep on bouncing to just fulfill each customers needs. Which isn’t bad by any
means, you know, ideally that’s what you want. You want to be prepared for anything, but
I’m talking about the beginning phases of things when you don’t have all the money that
you can get, you don’t have a steady stream of customers coming in. Really really point
out what’s the one thing you’re going to offer and do that very well. So if it’s just going
to be exterior detailing, only focus on that. Only buy the products that you need for that
and go from there. Don’t say, “Okay I offer exterior. Oh wait, I also want to offer interior,
so let me buy all the tools that I need for there.” That’s what you don’t want to do.
Focus on the thing that you’re really going to offer great and then buy what you need
for that. So, realistically, and again, depending where you live and all that good stuff, the
price ranges are going to differ, but realistically, if it was to buy products and tools right.
If that’s because that’s the main thing that you need for to start a business. In the beginning
phases, if you could literally spend $200 on products. Even I can guarantee you can
spend less than that. Again, focusing on what you’re going to be offering. If you want to
offer every service under the sun which is PDR, headlight restoration, paint correction,
interior cleaning, engine cleaning, wheel coating, paint coating, headlight coating,
and all that jazz. Then yes, you probably sum it up around $10,000, I’m sure. But, if
you’re going to be offering one type of service and you want to be the greatest at that and
you really want to focus on that, then maybe under $200 you can do that. Again, depending
what you’re going to be offering of course. Because if you just want to offer paint correction
services, then yeah, you’re going to need buffers, pads, product, that’s going to run
you a higher price. But again, it’s really knowing what you want to offer in the beginning
phases. You know, as you’re trickling along and you’re getting customers and you see revenue
and customer flow is rising and that’s when and that’s when you can kind of, you know,
venture off and buy a few more products to get you going. But, again, this is all in
the beginning phases of things. You really want to trickle along with what you’re going
to be offering and as you pick up more customers and more money, then yeah, by all means, venture
off and offer more services. Uhm, that’s my biggest, uh, you know that’s my take on it.
But again, on just the products themselves, maybe under $200, $400 bucks. You do not need
to go out there and pull out a credit line or barrow money from friends and family to
get this going. What I would highly recommend is that if you do want to spend a lot more
money, then I would not spend it on chemicals or products but on marketing. So, you know,
that’s the biggest thing and I preach that on every single that I do. That marketing
and sales is the biggest driver for growth. That’s what’s going to get you more customers,
that’s what’s going to get you more customers, that’s going to teach you how to upsell, how
to make more money, how to get a higher hourly rate- so many things. So if let’s say you
had $1000 to spare, right. If you’ve been saving up and you have $1000. I would literally
literally spend 20% on chemicals and products, 80% on marketing and sales. And that can be
whether buying a training course to learn how to market and sale your business, whether
it be hiring a consultant for a specific type of marketing channel. But I would mostly spend
my time on education, on how to grow a business, how to market a business, how to sell in business,
then how to detail or how to become a better detailer. Because the margin between good
to great in relation to having a successful business with growth is very very little,
right. You can take an average detailer and have exceptional marketing and sales and they
will surpass just about every detailer that has great detailing skills but doesn’t market
their business. And I’m not saying you can have low quality, that’s not, I’m not saying
that’s the exception. You have to offer exceptional services, exceptional detailing services,
and exceptional customer service. But what I’m saying is the difference between having
an 80% or 60% paint correction achievement, meaning you remove 60% of the swirls and scratches,
compared to 80% of swirls and scratches is very little. The customer probably won’t even
notice the difference if you show them. So that’s what I’m referring too. Just because
you think that being the best detailer is going to be the growth, is going to drive
growth to your business, is not actually the answer. I would spend most of the funds that
you have, however you, whether you save or you have a credit line or whatever it maybe
it. I’d spend most of that on marketing and sales to grow the business and keep the detailing
aspects of things to a minimum. Because after a certain point, it gets trivial. After a
certain point, the customer hardly notices the difference between you spending an extra
two hours or one hour compared to just the thirty minutes it takes you to complete it
is now going to show up. It’s not the real propeller for growth. So hope this video helps,
I know this wasn’t the exact concrete maybe some of you were looking for because it’s
going to differ in so many ways. But as far as the concept, it’s really focus in on what
you want to focus on, I already repeated myself twice. But focus on what you want to offer,
in the beginning phases, see what what’s more convenient for you, what’s more cost effective,
and then go from there as you build customers, as your getting more money coming in, then
of course you can start and venture off to new products, new chemicals, see what other
services you can offer. So hope this video helps, leave a comment down below and tell
me what you think and I’ll see you on the next video.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Your videos deserve so many views!! You are doing fantastic and your information is extremely valuable. I started my business, and guided it with your tips and tricks. Thank you!

  2. youre like one of few car detail motivational channels i watch and your videos help me alot please keep them coming

  3. hey man love the videos helped me alot already.
    1 question when getting a pressure washer you guys recommend buying like a 100$ one and risk getting it broken soon or spend more on a good one for 500$?

  4. Great advice there. It is so true that you don't need it ALL when you start out. I've been going for over a year now and only just bought a generator, as I had some spare cash. 99% of the time you can hook up to customer's power, but I still wanna be prepared for the 1% 😉 …But yes it is so true that once you get a little client base, THEN you can start having a bit of fun with this, buying new products, offering new services etc. It's the chemical companies that try to make you think you need 1000 different products to detail a car.

  5. Excellent advice. After looking into everything I'm now planning on starting out smaller and smarter. Thanks for the video!

  6. Most definitely Instagram. Post 3 to 4 photos per day, everyday. DO NOT miss one day! Max out the 30 hashtags on each post. Do that for 6 months and you'll get traction

    Anything less than that is pointless

  7. There are several factors in running a cleaning business. One place I discovered which successfully combines these is the Gabs cleaner blueprint (google it if you're interested) definately the most incredible plan i've seen. look at all the extraordinary information.

  8. Nice video..
    I would love to hear from the insurance.. that really drives me crazy since I don't understand the types and how much money to spend on them.

  9. You should try and talk a little bit faster so you can get more information out. Throw some stuttering in there, drag a few words and you got a YouTube sandwich.

  10. I plan on starting this coming up January. Only working on exterior work for now. I've invested a little less than 400. So far I've gotten the buffer, pads, and chemicals (compounds polishes waxes sealants) and then just the normal washing equipment.

  11. like your vids bro. I made the same mistake when I started 7 years ago. bought too many unneeded stuff and wasted money. kinda want to say I was seduced to buying detail stuff but I learned my lesson. blew about $2500. also couldn't agree with you more. I'm using about 40% of my income just for marketing. great vids, you got a follower.

  12. Get video man. Thanks for the info. I'm starting my business and still deciding between electric or gas pressure washer. I'm only offering basic washes outdoor n basic inside cleaning. What do you recommend between gas or electric? Also, is going door to door an option?

  13. Nice one! It helps a lot to me 🙂 I'm planning to have my own car wash business soon and I wanted to know about professional detailing. Thanks!

  14. Do I need an insurance right away? Should I register my business as an LLC or work under the radar until I get enough founds?

  15. Hay man what's your email??? I want to speak with you on the phone about this. I'm starting my business as well I just want to get more information from you.

  16. If you need an effective way of getting customers every month, learn to rank your website on the first page of Google:

  17. Thank you for this great video! I'm in a very beginning phase of research of creating a mobile detail company. You honestly understand what most bigger companies don't. Marketing is key! You are one smart man.

  18. Great video! very informative did you apply for a business license? i want to start a bizz but i want to figure out what i need to do legally to be a ble to be a mobile detailer im planinng on hitting up dr. offices and other bizznezz places and dropping flyers or cards

  19. Hello, I have a passion for cars and cleaning them is a must for me. I have a good amount of supplies for my own car and I got the chemicals needed for several vehicles, but not sure about the water source for washing. Is that where the generator comes in? Im not sure if it is professional if I were to use a person's own water to wash the car (like using their hose spicket). Would I need a portable water container on a trailer? And watching you video, I see some can choose to do interior only cleaning. From your experience, does interior-only turn a lot of customers away, because people want the whole 9 yards? I ask this because I am used to cleaning both interior and exterior and customers may expect the same (I hope you get what I am saying). Thank you very much.

  20. Your videos are very informative!!  I would like to know what type of licensing, permits, for the vehicle is there anything specific and everything else I would need for this business?

  21. Here's what you need to start out:
    5-gallon bucket
    Dish soap
    Glass cleaner

    You can do an excellent detail job with just these items.

  22. I work in a driving job at night and we have a big parking lot . i have a lot of time on my hands since I wait for my load so I had the idea of how convinian it will be to start detailing the interior .. I already have a few products since i started detailing my interior .. Ima start slow thou

  23. Apreciated bro,I need this,I trying to make a leaving right now,I really don’t have much money to invest,so a was very helpful about the beginning stages.I trying to keep it simple exterior and interior nothing else right now,just cleaning the car really good make it look good never did this before but I need to provide for the family.i am so stressed out cause can’t get a job cause I don’t have a GED,but I need to do something.I just need a simple list maybe of the chemicals something to get me going I was going to buy a vacuum,a steamer ,power wash,and generator,and the Chemicals but don’t know wishones right know I only have 33 dollar in my bank account.And no job,rent for this month got it but next month don’t know .I have a credit card with a limited of 12,000 dollars.So I don’t like to get in debt but I am against the walt I want to do something but simple,Bro please reply to me and give me a plan ,I want to believe in my self,just give me a advice,I have a wife and 2 kids.I am trying to make it ,What you think exterior interior carpets done 60 dollars.i am lose here I just need something to get me going,marketing I am a people person I handle that,.

  24. I detail right now at a dealership and make $55k/year in Wisconsin. Plus I detail for cash jobs on the side for another $20k, not bull shitting.. Should I stay doing this or open up my own shop? I’m the best I’ve ever met/seen, I’m an artist and detailing is an art like the tattooing or drywall finishing I also do.

    Should I stay at my dealership job and continue to do my side work for a total of $75k or would detailing on my own be more money? Thanks so much, I’m really stuck but living very well being single w/out children..

  25. Make them pay for the product they want. You can build your pricing structure to support that service.

  26. Remember that people do business with people. Do good work at a fair price and all you will ever have to do is pass out 2 business cards every day. Keep your own car/vehicle clean and make sure you learn to say NO. Passing on a job is ok. When I go to the grocery store I keep 2 cards in my pocket. When I see someone with a nice car that could be a good customer I introduce myself and give them a card. They can load their own groceries 😂

  27. Very informative. FYI wait for a sale event, holiday sale and Black Friday that a perfect time to buy tool and chemical.

  28. This is good advice to open and operate a business on one leg. There is no question you need the right tools and chemicals to operate and run a successful business there is no cutting corners if you’re in it for the long run.

  29. Awesome video man starting up my own detailing business and was making these mistakes off the rip thank you

  30. Wish I had seen this video before I spent $2000 for my PART TIME Biz!!LOL…. thanks for all the great advice and the excellent videos!!

  31. Totally! So important to tell it like it is!! Thank you for these tips. They are relevant to all businesses!! 🙂 Nice work!

  32. Whats up nice vid Im starting my detail business soon have been buffer for about 10 years now also done plenty of interrior and exterior details not sure where to start thoughe should i just offer buffing and wax for now dont have much to invest. Any advise is greatly appreciated. Thanks

  33. Thanks for the video. Thinking about starting business and I'm looking forward to watching more of your videos.

  34. I started out with a $35 walmart vacuum, a bottle of all purpose cleaner and some cheap car wash.. Thought it was going to be horrible, but the person loved it!

    From there, I have continually reinvested (when I can afford it) to what I am now.. Let me tell you, using a proper powerful vacuum when you are doing 2 to 3 cars a day makes a hell of a difference lol

  35. What if you have enough money to buy everything for interior, exterior, warehouse, mobility cars, hire workers, marketing, etc. Can I still grow my company up???

  36. I almost forgot to tnk you for this info..watched a few months ago, I live in the Philippines and spent an estimated $90 to buy a cheap buffing machine, sandpaper, headlight coating and polish. I now have tons of clients and I offer only headlight restoration. Now investing in more machinery

  37. You definitely need to log into your state website. I'm pretty sure you need a state license for a business and don't forget about your city's you go to because you can get fined 150.00 per day if you get caught in a city working without a city and state license. Taxes suck. But everyone has to pay them.

  38. If I just want to clean the inside of the cars, is that still detailing or is it just cleaning? I was thinking about starting a business because im a stay at home mom and want to bring in some money but have my own hours.

  39. Lots of good points. To me the idea situation is setting up a shop, but I haven't ruled out being mobile. Each brings its own set of challenges. A shop IMO, allows you to have everything in one place, including a lift so you can easily detail wheels and under-carriage, as well as setting up all the water/electrical/filtering.

  40. Do you think offering a free detail after 5 recommendation is worth it in the beginning? Or something along those lines

  41. Рассказываю, каким образом можно делать каждые сутки до 70 долларов на свою банковскую карту. Смотрите вuдео у меня кaналe

  42. Hey bro, I agree with you some with your point here. But I believe you need business cards, uniform etc. when you start out. The most important and hardest part is getting the business at first. How you present yourself makes a huge difference. Good stuff though. Hope you're still kicking ass out there 😁👍

  43. Bro I've been a mobile car detailer for over 10years and all I spent each month is 30$ for supplies, Walmart bby lol. Never found the need for a generator or tank plus aside from the fact my SUV is small I detest carrying around alot of crap. It's not rocket science to wash a damn car bro, shit high schoolers can do it any idiot can do it also🤦‍♂️🤣🤣 p.s office depot makes my cards 200 cards for 18$ can't beat that👌 You're welcome

  44. Great advice! I am thinking of starting my own detailing business and I'm glad I came across your video. I will focus on the main focus and then once the business starts growing I'll think of improving marketing. Thank you.

  45. Thank you I’m going to be opening soon I’ve been researching and now it’s time to do it I appreciate the video. Gave me plenty of ideas to get it going

  46. Hey man, love the video. Just wanted to ask you… If you're going into this business on the bare minimum: Wash cloths, bucket, car soap, etc. do people mind if you use their water? That might be a stupid question, but I want to start a mobile detailing LLC soon and just trying to get some info. Thanks in advance.

  47. hi i need your help i was offer to open up a car detailing , this guy wants me to start a car detailing back home . means the place i was originally came from which Philippines so now he wants me to look for a location in the philippines soon !! im scared because i dont anything about this business , the only thing i know detail my owe car .. please i need your help

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