Forum: Start your own auto detailing business - Learn what it takes to make your detailing business a success! This section covers all aspects of what you should know to start your own detailing business.
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  1. #1 What % of people get their cars detailed? 

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    I'm having a difficult time trying to convince some of the people close to me that I can make money detailing. They know I have great business skills and do great work, but they don't see anyone paying $125+ "to have their car cleaned". Some of these people get the wash at the local places for $15 and think that's ok and some even just settle for the $5 gas station wash. How can I convince these people that others do pay to get their cars detailed. And what percent of people do you think get their cars detailed?
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  2. #2 Re: What % of people get their cars detailed? 
    Hail the power of Quattro audiboy's Avatar
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    Detail your vehicle and tell them to take theirs to a local carwash and compare in the direct sunlight. If you are doing things correctly, that result should speak for itself.
    If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a soldier.
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  3. #3 Re: What % of people get their cars detailed? 
    Founder Poorboy's World Poorboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxima Lover
    I'm having a difficult time trying to convince some of the people close to me that I can make money detailing. They know I have great business skills and do great work, but they don't see anyone paying $125+ "to have their car cleaned". Some of these people get the wash at the local places for $15 and think that's ok and some even just settle for the $5 gas station wash. How can I convince these people that others do pay to get their cars detailed. And what percent of people do you think get their cars detailed?
    Unfortunately a very small percentage. In today's disposable world, cars are traded in regularly, clearcoats even with minimal maintenence look pretty good for many years with swirl-o-matic care and then half the country is leasing cars and could care less since they will be giving it back in 2-3 years. There is a market and sometimes it's hard to find it, but with diligence and hard work you can succeed
    life is short ..do it while you can

    e-mail .. poorboy@poorboysworld.com
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  4. #4 Re: What % of people get their cars detailed? 

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    I know how you feel. A lot of folks just feel that driving through the automated washes suit there needs and its really a personal choice but I would not spend time trying to convince people that detailing is a valuble service either they take pride in their cars are they don't. use time on folks who understand the value that detaling brings and market to these folks I think you will be much more satisfied in the end.
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  5. #5 Re: What % of people get their cars detailed? 
    Pinnacle Detailing Owner GregCavi's Avatar
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    I would say about 1% of people care about how there car "really looks." But of course there is no way of measuring that. I have cleints that just notice every little detail that I perform and I love that. I know that they appreciate every little step and they really enjoy the perfection of a detail.

    NOt many people know about swirls but those that do really love it and really are happy to have you do there car, and if you find them, they are the best customers to have. I think that if you can convice someone that is ok with the quicky wash to get a full detail done, they will really appreciate the way there car looks.

    Greg
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  6. #6 Re: What % of people get their cars detailed? 
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    Its funny when people see me detailing my car and they make the coment "oh when your done with your car I can bring mine over next" well I told a lady last week "I tell you what I will do for you how many cars do you have she said 2 a honda and a land rover I told her I would detail her 2 cars for $300 including a engine detail " well her eyes got as big as the moon and said " oh I wouldn't pay that much to WASH MY CARS! the point is some people don't know what we do or how much work is involved but everyone wants a perfect car but they don't want to pay for it ....
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  7. #7 Re: What % of people get their cars detailed? 
    Formerly TexasTB Tex Star Detail's Avatar
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    This is a good thread, and I am glad it was brought up. It is giving me some ideas for marketing. Now if I can only get them from my head onto some paper.
    "In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield."
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  8. #8 Re: What % of people get their cars detailed? 
    The Rainmaker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxima Lover
    How can I convince these people that others do pay to get their cars detailed. And what percent of people do you think get their cars detailed?
    You might not want to show my post to anyone you are trying to convince that people having their cars detailed.
    First, I have been around a looong time and know a lot of people.
    I don't know of one person that ever paid to have their personal car detailed.
    In fact, the only professional detailing I personally had experience with was the company I worked for and then it was only just prior to selling the vehicle.
    I have friends in the used car business and one does his own clean-up which I don't consider detailing. Another has it done by whoever he can get the cheapest price from. Not the cheapest price for a good job, just the cheapest price, period.
    While I love taking care of my own vehicles, it does seem like a tough way to make a good living.
    Evidently several have been able to do it, though.
    Sorry I couldn't be more encouraging, but I think it would be a good idea to try it on a part-time basis before I quit a full time job with benefits. Talk to someone in the business about the associated costs that are often overlooked. Even if you are mobil, when you take all your expenses into account, your health insurance, your business insurance, your self employment tax, book-keeping fees, vehicle depreciation, equipment repair/replacement, the extra cost is probably about $25,000 a year. It may sound like a lot, but list it all out and see what you come up with.

    Charles
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  9. #9 Re: What % of people get their cars detailed? 

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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesW
    You might not want to show my post to anyone you are trying to convince that people having their cars detailed.
    First, I have been around a looong time and know a lot of people.
    I don't know of one person that ever paid to have their personal car detailed.
    In fact, the only professional detailing I personally had experience with was the company I worked for and then it was only just prior to selling the vehicle.
    I have friends in the used car business and one does his own clean-up which I don't consider detailing. Another has it done by whoever he can get the cheapest price from. Not the cheapest price for a good job, just the cheapest price, period.
    While I love taking care of my own vehicles, it does seem like a tough way to make a good living.
    Evidently several have been able to do it, though.
    Sorry I couldn't be more encouraging, but I think it would be a good idea to try it on a part-time basis before I quit a full time job with benefits. Talk to someone in the business about the associated costs that are often overlooked. Even if you are mobil, when you take all your expenses into account, your health insurance, your business insurance, your self employment tax, book-keeping fees, vehicle depreciation, equipment repair/replacement, the extra cost is probably about $25,000 a year. It may sound like a lot, but list it all out and see what you come up with.

    Charles

    Wow, this thread is making me sad . I'm about to be 19, and in college, so it isn't like I'm going to starve if this doesn't work out. I have been making pretty good money painting houses the last few summers, so if I'm not going to be able to turn a large enough profit, I'll probably go back to that instead of detailing. I have most of the stuff I need to get it going though. I've picked up about $500 in some other stuff I needed that can still be returned if I back out.

    What I still need to get/buy:
    -Water tank
    -Business insurance
    -$200 in chemicals
    -Business License ($75 now, and another $150 June 1st)
    -Register fictitious business name (not very much)
    -About $150 in other misc. stuff
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  10. #10 Re: What % of people get their cars detailed? 

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    Quote Originally Posted by harry444
    Its funny when people see me detailing my car and they make the coment "oh when your done with your car I can bring mine over next" well I told a lady last week "I tell you what I will do for you how many cars do you have she said 2 a honda and a land rover I told her I would detail her 2 cars for $300 including a engine detail " well her eyes got as big as the moon and said " oh I wouldn't pay that much to WASH MY CARS! the point is some people don't know what we do or how much work is involved but everyone wants a perfect car but they don't want to pay for it ....
    HAHA, I've heard that line before from neighbors. I don't even bother with them or tell them a price because they'll probably just laugh and think I'm kidding.
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  11. #11 Re: What % of people get their cars detailed? 

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregCavi
    NOt many people know about swirls but those that do really love it and really are happy to have you do there car, and if you find them, they are the best customers to have. I think that if you can convice someone that is ok with the quicky wash to get a full detail done, they will really appreciate the way there car looks.
    I know what you mean. I changed a few family members' minds about detailing after I did their cars for birthdays and such. They couldn't believe the change, but most still couldn't see paying triple digits even if it did make there car look incredible. These are people with a decent amount of money too.
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  12. #12 Re: What % of people get their cars detailed? 
    aka PEI Detail Brenton's Avatar
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    Hey Maxima, like Charles, I'm a bit of a doubter. But you've started well. Unless you have big $$$ and lots of contacts, build a p/t practice. You don't have to prove anything to anyone, it's your time and money. By the time you graduate, you'll know whether you can launch f/t, stay p/t, or sell your customer list for a few dollars and kiss the sky.
    Brenton Dickieson
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  13. #13 Re: What % of people get their cars detailed? 
    The Rainmaker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxima Lover
    Wow, this thread is making me sad .
    Yeah, after I read it, I thought it was pretty negative, but while I'm a hopeless optimist, I'm still a realist.
    You may very well be quite successful, but like many other business, "It ain't alway easy". Part of the rewards can be doing something you enjoy and being your own boss. (Kinda your own boss. Customers sometimes don't let that happen.)
    If you can build a customer base on a part time basis, you will have a much better idea of what to expect if you go full time.
    It isn't at all based on fact, but I'd bet more mobil detailers are in the $20,000 to $30,000 range annually than in the $50,000+ range. A lot depends on what you want.
    "Money isn't everything", is a phrase most often used by those that have money. While it doesn't buy happiness, it sure makes the bad times easier to get through.

    Charles
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  14. #14 Re: What % of people get their cars detailed? 
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    This is an interesting thread,How many of us look at cars in parking lots or while stopped at the light just to eye them up and realize your looking at this car and telling yourself how you can make it look better.Thats the answer other then a wash i see very few cars that are detailed. people want a clean car and if their cars happens to have a nice shine then this is all they want.If i was to do this part time i would target highend cars because that is who has the cash to throw at a detail think about it the average person gripes about putting gas in their car and their gonna pay $150.00 to $300.00 for a detail. if im wrong please tell me.
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  15. #15 Re: What % of people get their cars detailed? 
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    Hey folks,

    Thought I would weigh in here with a few thoughts. First in answer to your question Maxima Lover, I don't know the percentage of people who detail their cars, but it is a very low percentage. You can look at this negatively or you can look at it like there is a big untapped market out there. Educating your (potential) customers is the key. The automobile is usualy our second biggest purchase after a house. So it makes sense to spend some money keeping it looking it's best. One of the things you have to do is sell the benefits of detailing vs the features. We all like cars so it's easy to talk about waxes, paint protection, dressings and so forth. What matters to the avg (potential) customer is the benefits of regular detailing, such as:
    protection from the elements, acid rain, etc.
    clean appearence inside and out (women customers more than men appreciate a clean interior
    better resell or lease return value

    You can come up with more if you think about it. Another way to educate your (potential) customers is to buy a 30x magnifier from a jewelry or detail suplier. Show them the difference between your car which is detailed (clayed, polished, etc.) and their car which has only been thru a carwash. Everyone should get one of these they are not too expensive. A small picture album of your work will also go along way in demonstrating the difference in your work vs a carwash and vacuum. Be sure to include before as well as after pictures. Anyone can show pictures of a nice clean car, it's the dramatic difference that sells the service.

    Second you need to market to the right people. There are plenty of threads about this but the main thing is you have to target your efforts to people who have A.) disposable income and B.) are busy and protective of there limited free time. These are usually highly paid professionals who work long hours and therefore do not want to spend their free time taking care of their cars, they want to enjoy it doing other things.

    Third you need to have a range of services so that you offer more than just a $100-200 detail. Most recommed 3-5 service offerings. The lowest being a wash and vacuum and the highest being an ultimate detail with all the trimmings. As you expand you need to add on specialty services. These potentionally have the greatest profit margins. I'm talking about things like:
    paint touchup
    scratch removal
    odor elimination
    stain removal
    carpet dyeing
    windshield repair

    Most detailing isa "want to have" service. If you can offer stain or odor removal etc., you will have a "need to have" service. That's a lot easier to sell for obvious reasons.

    Hope this helps,
    Frank
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