How To Start A Car Detailing Business From Home (Mobile Car Wash Business)

As society has continued to progress, people are becoming more aware of the benefits of entrepreneurship. Though owning your own business may seem like an unreachable goal, starting a home-based mobile car detailing business can be done by following a set of simplified steps. While creating your own detailing business certainly will not be easy, the process can be streamlined, making it easier for the first-time business owner.

Outlining the Steps to Create a Home-Based Mobile Car Detailing Business

Before diving into the substance of the task at hand, you will first want to verify you understand the depth of the requirements for beginning this kind of business. While it is a lucrative industry with proven growth over the years, it is necessary to understand the fundamentals of owning a home-based mobile car detailing business.

You may be wondering why it is best to establish the business as home-based. The reason is that a home-based business eliminates the need for a costly lease, a wise choice that lowers overhead costs. It also makes opening a car detailing business substantially less of a financial hurdle. Other business opportunities, such as opening a franchise, often require investments from $50,000 to $200,000, more significant than what many individuals may have access to. On the other hand, starting a home-based mobile car detailing business will only require an investment of approximately $750 – $2,000, a much more affordable endeavor.

The second important note to keep in mind is that you will be responsible for coordinating your employees’ or independent contractors’ schedules. This is, of course, unless you plan to hire additional administrative support staff and outsource this task. When just beginning your business, you may be able to avoid this type of expenditure. Still, once growth begins, it would likely be more beneficial for you to outsource some of the necessary tasks. Though you will have these individuals to dispatch to various jobs, it is imperative to remember that you will not have a traditional office for the employees or contractors to work from as a home-based business.

Now that you have established foundational knowledge of the fundamental dynamics of a home-based mobile car detailing business, you can begin the process of starting your business. The first step is to create a business plan. Next, determine what inventory you will need before your business can become active. Remember that you will need to factor such expenditures into your monthly budget. Then, you can review and select the best option for whether you will have a water supply.

Once you have selected an option you do or do not want to possess a water supply, you will review and choose a power supply option. After confirming that all necessary additional parts have been ordered, you can begin completing the documents and filings to be recognized as a business entity.

When you have completed the administrative pieces, you will then need to figure out how to obtain new clients for your mobile car wash business. At the same time, you will need to actively work to establish criteria for your company’s workers. Once verified, use those to create job ads and begin to solicit and review applications for workers. After conducting interviews and selecting your workers, you will need to immediately assign workers to the jobs you’ve obtained through your branding strategies and marketing. Finally, you can track your earnings. Before you know it, you will begin to see the profits increasing steadily and have successfully launched a home-based mobile car detailing business.

Outlining Your Strategy by Creating a Business Plan

Obviously, you cannot begin the journey of creating your business without a solid plan in place. In spite of this, many new business owners fail to follow this crucial step, which is often a contributing factor in why a new business fails. A business plan will provide a clear goal for your business and help you understand costs and maximize revenue. Though the business plan is not expected to contain even the most minuscule of details, it should be in-depth and comprehensive enough to provide an overview of the business goals and projected revenue and expenses.

Creating a business plan for your mobile car detailing business does not have to result in a fifty-page color-coded business plan. Instead, simplifying your procedure will make the creation of your business a smoother and easier process. There are several free templates available online and within the well-known word processors. In addition, you can create your own using elements tailored to your needs.

Should you opt to create your own business plan, there are several sections you will want to be positive to include in it. The first section should contain your selected business name and a summary of the services you plan to provide. Next, create a mission statement to coincide with your business name that can be included moving forward.

The following section will contain research and analysis you can discover from a variety of sources. Researching the market that you are entering can provide insight and tips on your target consumer’s needs, increasing the odds of your mobile car detailing business succeeding. Take note of specifics such as where your consumers are located, what they most need, and where they spend most of their free time. Establishing who you are marketing to can help you to shape your services and better cater to the consumers’ wants and needs.

Finally, you will want to include a financial breakdown of all expenses you expect to incur before opening your business. Once you have completed each of these steps, you can continue on to identify needed inventory.

Selecting Appropriate and Affordable Inventory

When starting your business, you will need to initially purchase all of your actual inventory. The stock that you will need to purchase will depend on the kinds of services you plan to offer. For example, you should take time to research the best products to use for automotive cleaning to ensure you do not cause any damage to your customer’s vehicles. Many people will be angry if damage to their car occurs. So, you must do ample research to correctly choose the right chemicals that you will be using.

In addition to selecting the correct cleaning supplies for your home-based mobile car detailing business, you will need to determine what other items will be necessary to support your business. The best thing to do is to create a list that includes the services you wish to provide. For example, having a specific list of your services will determine what kind of vacuum you need to purchase if that is one of your services. You will also want to determine how big of a vehicle you will need for your business, especially if you possess a large inventory of items that will need to be carried from job to job.

Outlining the necessary supplies will ensure you have an inventory that will allow you to begin operating your business immediately. It would be a shame to accept work but then be unable to complete the job due to missing inventory products. Clients may not be understanding, and you may miss out on long-term opportunities or you may receive negative feedback and reviews. Taking the time to complete this step diligently will assist you in creating a profitable and successful home-based business. You will also be able to have time to compare different costs of products needed so that you ensure you are spending the least amount of money on keeping your inventory stocked.

This step may not be required if you hire contractors instead of employees, as they should already have the proper training and equipment for each job.


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Deciding Whether to Carry Your Own Water Supply

Having a mobile car detailing business means that you will have to make the difficult decision of whether you want to be able to provide your own water supply at each of your jobs. Providing water car washes means that you will need to be able to deliver water on site that can be used. In addition, you will need to check with your state to determine what the state requires in terms of dumping water. Many states do not allow you to simply dump used water into the streets and sewers, so you will need to use a water reclamation system.

A water reclamation system will allow the water that has been used and contaminated from cleaning the car to be converted and returned safely to the water cycle. This is important because it helps preserve the environment and keep unnecessary contaminants from possibly entering water supplies.

Additionally, you will want to possess the capacity to use about 75 to 105 gallons of water. If this does not seem like an option that is feasible for you when just starting out, there is an option to offer waterless car detailing. If you choose to provide waterless detailing, you will not need a water supply tank. Therefore, you will no longer need a water reclamation system to convert the contaminated water.

A waterless system uses high lubricity spray that is pre-mixed to heavily saturate the vehicle’s panels. Then you would wipe any dirt or road grime off of the car until a dry shine occurs. The cons to this type of system are that it is only meant to be used in situations where there is light dirt accumulation. It is more so of a method to clean vehicles between car washes. However, if you cannot fund the water supply initially, starting with a waterless car option is still helpful as long as you eventually transition to owning a water supply to carry to each job.

This step may not be required if you hire contractors instead of employees, as they should already have the proper training and equipment for each job.

Selecting the Appropriate Power Supply

In addition to the water supply and water reclamation system, you will need a portable power supply to be used when you travel from job to job. For example, in the case of a mobile car detailing business, you must purchase a generator to have a mobile power supply option available for each of the jobs you travel to.

As an alternative to purchasing a generator, you may choose to seek customers who allow you to have access to water and power through extension cords and hoses. However, selecting this option will significantly limit your potential customer base depending on the type of area you plan to serve. For example, suppose it is a bustling city with many high rises or condominiums. In that case, those people will likely not have access to use their power or water through an extension cord. As such, investing in a generator is genuinely the best option to increase the likelihood of your business succeeding.

Choosing to invest in a generator will mean that you can power vacuums to offer that service to your clients. This also includes pressure washers if you have your own water supply. Additionally, you may want to purchase floodlights to detail vehicles at night and buffers to use on cars, blowers, and dryers once you have completed the detailing process.

You will also want to choose your generator based on how many different tools you plan to power at one time. For example, if your workers will be teams of two to three people, then you will want to be sure that you purchase a high-capacity generator; otherwise, your workers will run into issues when trying to complete the jobs.

This step may not be required if you hire contractors instead of employees, as they should already have the proper training and equipment for each job.

Filing to be Recognized as an Official Business Entity

Once you have completed the previous steps, then come more administrative pieces. These will get your business off the ground where it has the capability to begin hiring employees so that you may focus on marketing the business and bringing in more customers. Registering to be recognized as a business entity with your state is an integral part of ensuring you comply with state laws regarding taxes and requirements when you have employees. Since you will have employees, there will be different options available in how you choose to register your business.

A limited liability company is one that can allow the business to be structured in a way that it can be treated as a corporation and have an unlimited number of employees. There are several advantages to each option when it comes to employees or independent contractors for your business. With employees, the state may require certain benefits and specific various standards to apply depending on the number of employees. This can cause the process to become more complex, so many opt for independent contractors who are primarily responsible for their own taxes and other specifics, allowing you as the owner the ability to focus more on marketing the business and ensuring the client base is one that is always able to enable you to not only meet payroll but also generate substantial revenue after all expenditures are considered.

Choosing how to file as a business is also crucial for your annual federal taxes and state taxes. Specific set-ups are better for small businesses, such as an LLC, which can result in lower taxes owed at the end of the year, meaning more revenue overall. Choosing how to file is vital for ensuring that your business succeeds. Care should be taken to reach out to a specialist for a consultation to ensure that you are selecting the proper option based on your individual needs. If the incorrect option is selected, it is possible to cost your business a significant amount which may further lead to the failure of your business overall. To be successful, the company’s establishment as a recognized entity must be executed appropriately.

Advertise Your Grand Opening

Because you will be a new business, you will need to get the word spread that your business is opening. Suppose no one in the area is aware that a new business is opening. In that case, it is unlikely that you will have a sufficient number of clients ready on hand to justify hiring independent contractors.

One of the best options available is to send out mailers to your area with items such as a percentage off coupon for first-time customers or an offer for a loyalty card that gets the customer 50% off after a certain number of paid detailing sessions. Using different tactics such as these will help draw customers into your business. Most people cannot resist what they consider to be an outstanding deal, even if it is not with the company they are used to doing business with. As a result, offering steep discounts in the beginning, can help generate the buzz, allowing you to demonstrate what sets your service apart from all the others.

During the time that you are advertising, be sure to be clear about the services you do offer so that there is limited confusion for potential customers. Though there will inevitably be customers with questions, it is helpful to already expect specific queries and attempt to answer them in advance. This will also be helpful because customers will come with reasonable expectations for what your business can and cannot accommodate. You want to set the tone that your mobile car detailing business is transparent and always puts the customer and their needs first.

With this in mind, you will also want to look into advertising on platforms such as Craigslist. Depending on how much time you initially have, you can start with one or two platforms. Then, expand to creating pages on social media platforms such as a Facebook page and a Twitter profile. Each of these options will allow you to reach a diverse group of potential customers and tailor your advertising depending on who you are attempting to achieve with your ads. Generally, you will want to also use these platforms to run specials and provide coupons and essential tips and tricks regarding keeping your vehicle clean between detailing appointments. By providing this information to customers and potential customers, you build a foundation of trust. People who try your tactics and find that they work will want to give your service a try to see how much it can benefit them. Much of what you will do regarding marketing will require you to somehow prove your worthiness above the competitors in your area. Though difficult, using the above tactics can make it possible.

Preparing for Hiring Workers for Your Business

At the same time that you are advertising the grand opening for your business, you will want to draft the necessary requirements for your workers. Go seeking out workers without understanding a detailed outline of what you expect from them. You will get a wide variety of workers who may expect different things and are only willing to do certain kinds of work. If you have already outlined the job’s duties, this will help them determine whether this is the type of job they would like to have.

Mainly if you have chosen to hire workers classified as independent contractors, you are limited in a sense to the restrictions that you can place on the individual workers. Suppose the requirements give you too much control. In that case, it may be decided that you have made those individual workers into employees, and new rules apply to what is acceptable.

In order to prevent any misunderstanding regarding the classification of workers, be sure to review the requirements for being classified as an independent contractor versus an employee. One of the key differences, as previously mentioned, is that an employee has an income tax, social security, and Medicare amount withheld by the employer from any of their wages. In contrast, an independent contractor does not and is responsible for settling those themselves. For this reason, selecting to hire independent contractors will mean much less work on your end as the business owner. Especially if this is your first time, you may not be interested in diving into such a deep tax topic. Choosing to work with independent contractors is a safe way to ensure you do not incorrectly file and end up owing more penalties at the end of the year than expected. If this were to happen, your revenue would decrease, and your business would be less likely to succeed.

Once you have made the determination on whether you will hire independent contractors or employees, you can compare your requirements to the state and government regulations found online to ensure what you have proposed is allowable by law. If you are genuinely uncertain about the requirements, you may choose to meet with a professional for a single consultation. This will help to ensure you have not mistakenly broken any laws by including unlawful requirements. You can also get clarification on what interview questions are allowed and whether there are any limitations to what you can ask those you interview. As someone who is first beginning, it will be helpful to get guidance on these steps. You want to ensure that you will not run into other administrative issues moving forward.

Creating Job Ads and Soliciting Applications for Workers

Now that you have established criteria for your company’s workers, you will want to use those criteria to create job ads and solicit and review applications for workers. Your mobile care detailing business needs rigorous work. In creating your job ads, you will want to ensure that this is conveyed. Convey it in a way that will not scare potential workers away but will make clear that it is a job requiring a certain level of manual labor.

When reviewing applications and looking at previous work experience, jobs requiring the individual to stand for long periods or walk long distances are good indicators that the individual can handle a high physical impact position. Though these are good indicators of potential well-fit employees, this does not mean that you should limit your scope to only those with the previously listed job history. You want to make your judgment regarding the application on the overall presentation, not just one particular category, or you run the risk of missing out on potential workers who may have significantly benefited your company’s growth.

In selecting your applications, try as much as possible to discern if the employee is one who is likely to stay with the company for an extended period or if they seem like the type of worker who will not be interested in taking on jobs more than once or twice. If you have independent contractors, they won’t be on set schedules, so it will be your responsibility to have the schedules created or to hire an independent contractor who specifically completes that task for you on their own time as long as it is by a specific date. Still, you do not detail any particular hours; otherwise, they may be construed as employees.

Additionally, you may want to add the component of phone interviews to your review process. It may be challenging to ascertain specific details just by reading about a candidate on their resume. For example, there may be employment gaps or other questions that you may have to determine whether the individual would be a good fit for your company. In this case, completing a phone interview will allow you to get a limited view of the individual’s personality. Hopefully, the discussion will supply some predictors of whether they would be good candidates for a mobile car detailing business.

For example, taking note of an individual’s phone etiquette can help you determine several things. For one, though they may be slightly nervous, you will likely be able to tell how they will speak to customers in person. You want all of your workers to be polite and respectful to the clients. A phone interview is an excellent way to gauge whether they have that warm personality you are seeking for workers at your company.

Conduct Interviews and Select Workers (Optional)

Following the phone interviews or your simple review of applications, you can invite the finalists to in-person interviews. This will allow you to gauge the person’s personality up close and personal and get to ask for more details than a phone interview would allow. In addition, observing the individual’s body language and how comfortable they are speaking with you will help determine if they will be a good fit for the company.

It is best if you have prepared questions for the interview. This will allow you to maintain control of the interview and take better notes on the person’s responses. If you do not have a planned set of questions, you may later find that you do not have enough information to make a decision. Or you may discover that the information you have only leads you to more questions and is unhelpful in making a final determination.

You will need to wrap up your interviews and make a selection of your first group of independent contractors. For those who were not chosen, you should let them know that you are keeping their information. Advise that you will be reaching out since you will have to rotate the workers depending on independent contractor availability if that is the type of worker you have chosen to utilize for your mobile car detailing business.

Once you have selected the first round of workers, you can assign them to the clients you should have begun receiving calls from through the advertisements you placed. You should only choose the number of independent contractors needed to cover your jobs. This way, you do not run into an issue where you have idle workers and no work for them. Be sure to be diligent in your planning, or hire someone who can do so while you focus on the marketing piece.

Overall, you will need to outline your strategy with a business plan and select and purchase the necessary inventory. You will then decide whether you will have a water supply and choose the appropriate power supply. Next, you have to file to be recognized as an official mobile car detailing business entity, advertise your business, and prepare a description of what is expected from workers. Finally, you will create job ads, select applications, conduct interviews, notify workers of final decisions, and assign workers to jobs. Following these steps will ensure the successful creation of a home-based mobile car detailing business.

We write on topics related to the car wash business industry.

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