Mobile Detailing Business License Requirements

Beginning a mobile car detailing business can be simple. Still, there are some requirements and licenses that you will be required to obtain to do a mobile car wash business. When beginning a new business, it is essential to understand that licensing is a critical element to the success of your business. Much of the tasks are tied to the tax rate, impacting how you are taxed on the bottom line. As a result, you want to be very careful when establishing your business. Ensure all licenses have been received before providing services to prevent any tickets or fines for violations.

Obtaining a Business License

The first step in becoming recognized as a mobile car wash business is to obtain a business license. Getting a business license can be achieved through many methods. One original way to obtain a business license is to visit your local county government office. Additionally, several states have the option to file for your business license online through a state-sponsored web portal. This is usually a quick, simple, and efficient option to register your business. This is more true if you have a relatively noncomplicated business, such as a mobile car wash business.

If you do not obtain a business license, you will not be legally allowed to offer your services. You must be a registered and legitimate business as a mobile car wash business. Although initially, no one may realize that you are not, there will be a time when someone will come across your information or intentionally look it up. Therefore, you always want to ensure that all your administrative moving parts are correct.

An important thing to note is that you will need to have all the information regarding establishing your business available when you register for a business license. This means that you will need to have a name decided for your business entity and an identifier such as a logo or similar marking.

Having all of this paperwork drafted before a business plan is the best method to prepare for obtaining your business license. If you file online, you may be able to make it entirely through all of the forms. Still, you may later receive a letter stating that your application was rejected due to errors. They will require you to go back into the system, correct the mistakes, and resubmit. Therefore, it is best to get the process correct on the initial try to not have to worry about resubmissions. For example, some states require that you provide a physical address for your business location, so you would be unable to use a Post Office box. The application would be rejected and need to be updated. Taking note of these small details from the beginning can help you save a lot of heartache at the end of your business creation process.

Selecting an Insurance Option

As a mobile car detailer, you will be coming into contact with vehicles of a wide range of costs. As a result, the wise option would be to establish your business with insurance, regardless of whether it is a stipulation required by your local government or not. For individuals who are beginning a mobile car detailing business, this is likely your first time purchasing insurance outside of individual auto insurance or life insurance.

Having insurance for your business is helpful because accidents can occur despite taking the utmost care. As a result, it is better to be prepared to respond if an accident occurs than to face a financial crisis once an accident happens, but you have no coverage.

For an individually owned business starting as a mobile car wash, the excellent option for insurance is General Liability Insurance. Selecting General Liability Insurance provides coverage for the mobile detailer and its business for any incident related to the company. Additionally, it covers any incident which causes bodily injury or even if it causes property damage; that is also an element that is covered. So, for example, if a tool were to accidentally dent a car, that would be covered.


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Another thing to point out regarding insurance is that it provides an extra level of peace of mind for customers if they know that your business is insured. Having a separate insurance policy shows your customers that you are responsible and take pride in your work. Being proactive speaks volumes about your work ethic. In addition, it is more likely to draw in additional customers interested in learning more about the mobile car’s services.

Adding Commercial Auto Insurance

As a mobile car wash business owner, you will likely one day decide to get your own dedicated vehicle for the company. This may be a van, a truck, or another large vehicle explicitly used for your mobile car wash business. When you have a vehicle dedicated solely to your business, there is separate insurance for these vehicles.

When you are not using a vehicle for what is considered “personal use,” you are typically insured under a commercial auto insurance policy. This kind of policy protects a company’s assets from damage claims. Within commercial auto insurance are several options similar to what you would see on a personal auto insurance policy.

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage is offered to pay whenever a death results from an accident you are at fault for and may sometimes include payment for legal defense fees according to policy procedures.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage is also offered under commercial auto insurance. It pays medical expenses and property damage expenses due to hit-and-run or uninsured motorists in rare cases. Whenever an individual has insurance, but it is not enough to cover all the damage they caused, they are considered an underinsured motorist. These kinds of drivers are sometimes also included under this umbrella. Carrying this type of coverage is beneficial in the event of damage by someone who has no insurance or insurance that does not cover the entire cost.

Property Damage Liability Coverage is another option available to your mobile car washing business under commercial auto insurance. This coverage will cover damage you accidentally cause to another person’s property or automobile and can sometimes include legal defense expenses.

Collision Coverage provides specific coverage for trailers and vehicles damaged when another car collides into them or when there is a single-vehicle accident.

Comprehensive physical damage involves trailer damage caused to them other than a car accident such as fire, flood, theft, or vandalism.

Finally, Medical Payments, No-Fault, or Personal Injury Coverage is an option to pay medical expenses that result if you have an employee or passenger traveling in your commercial vehicle, no matter who is at fault.

Each of the coverages provides unique protection and you have the option to elect or decline them, just as with most auto policies. When you are just beginning to get your business off the ground, it is best not to attempt to cut financial corners in areas such as insurance since those are the areas that provide relief in unexpected situations, the kinds of situations that can completely tank a brand new business who does not have the capital to stay afloat. You do not want to be one of the individuals who is a “hindsight is 20/20” kind of individual.

For a business, the policies sometimes have more stringent requirements than auto policies, so you will need to verify the specific requirements in your state. Some states do not allow certain portions to be declined, no matter what, so be sure to do your research so that you can get an accurate estimate of what it would cost you monthly. This kind of projection can help you to shop around for different policies and determine who is offering the best rate for the pieces of the package that are most important to the success of your business.

Overall, getting your mobile car washing business off the ground is a fairly simple process if you take it step by step. To get your business started, you will need specific licenses to get started. Specifically, you will need to register for a business license with your local entity. Without a business license, you are not lawfully permitted to offer services as a mobile car detailing business, so be sure to have all of your paperwork and information ready prior to beginning the online process if that is the route you elect.

Additionally, you will want to have General Liability Insurance for incidents related to the business that causes bodily injury. While we, of course, hope that there will never be a need to use such insurance, it is better to always have active insurance so that you never find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place if you allow your insurance to lapse, and then an incident occurs and you are unable to recoup lost funds.

Finally, a commercial auto insurance policy will be required once you upgrade to your own commercial vehicle that is dedicated only to being used for your business. If you have a separate automobile used solely for business purposes, it is insured under commercial insurance. Commercial insurance has multiple subsets similar to an auto insurance policy. Just like with your auto insurance policy, it is best that you choose at least a mid-range option for coverage to protect yourself in the event of a worst-case scenario event.

By obtaining your business license, General Liability Insurance, and Commercial Insurance, you provide an additional layer of security for yourself as well as for your customers. By your willingness to invest in coverage, they know that you mean to protect their vehicles like they were your own.

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

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