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  1. #1
    Metallman56's Avatar
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    Need Some Help Deciding IF I Want To Start A Business

    basically what i`m looking for is some pros and cons of starting my own business/business on the side. but first a little about myself.

    i`m 28, married, and have my first child on the way due in January. I have a full time job that pays the bills, but that`s about it. once my wife goes on leave from her job, were going to be stretching every buck until she goes back to work. so I`ve been looking for a part time job. not much out there after 5 pm (besides fast food) so I have not had a lot of luck down that avenue.

    I`ve been detailing on and off for about 7 years now. the only polisher I have is a PC7424 (old school not xp), and have very limited product experience outside of the Megs lineup. with that being said this summer I got a "test hood" I`ve been trying new things on. like wet sanding, and trying out some new stuff I`ve bought like 3m compound and M105. right now I`ve very comfortable with the PC, its never let me down, and i`m yet to find something in the clear I cant correct with it.

    also I have started my own business before. a buddy and I started our own Verizon wireless franchise back in the spring of 08. things were going better then expected the first few months, but then the economy went to hell and that was it. I learned a LOT from that experience and it was almost worth all the debt I went into for it.

    so that brings me to today. i`m really thinking about just listing a post on craigslist about a detailing service. just keeping it simple.

    Cars $100,Suv/Truck $150 wash, clay, wax, wheels/tire

    Cars $200 SUV/Truck $250 wash, clay, compound, polish, wax wheels/tires

    keeping it simple, just to see what happens. really not taking on more then 2 in a week.

    so whats keeping me from doing this? well a few things.

    1. law suit. yeah that`s the top of my list. I know there are people out there that want nothing more then a free lunch. the last thing in the world I need right now is some jackwagon suing me over some type of damage he claims I did. I know I can help protect myself a lot by taking a ton of pics, but when it comes down to it I simply don`t have the money to repaint someones car. sure I could open up a LLC but then a lot of my time goes to taxes, and paper work, which also really sucks.

    2. winter. I have a small heated garage at my house, so polishing is no big deal. the part that I don`t have is a drain. which means I cant really wash the car. which is clearly the most important part. no wash, no anything else. plus I doubt too many people would have their car detailing right after a snow storm.

    those 2 things are really my 2 big concerns right now. I know they say if you open a business don`t expect to get paid before 2 years. that`s really not an option right now, so I have to set it up with the least amount of overhead as possible. so renting a building with a drain is out. also keep in mind that its just going to be me. no help, at least not at first.

    i`m hoping to tap into some of the knowledge and the lessons some of you have learned through the years. and any advice with what I should do going forward.

    thanks to all in advance

    p.s I should mention that detailing is one of my more favorite hobbies. I love to test new things when I can afford them. also through the years I`ve probably compound corrected somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-10 cars other then mine. so i`m not a total newb, but I wouldn`t call myself a pro by any means either.

    again thanks guys

  2. #2
    Wax Waster Ronkh's Avatar
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    Re: Need Some Help Deciding IF I Want To Start A Business

    Quote Originally Posted by Metallman56 View Post
    basically what i`m looking for is some pros and cons of starting my own business/business on the side. but first a little about myself.

    i`m 28, married, and have my first child on the way due in January. I have a full time job that pays the bills, but that`s about it. once my wife goes on leave from her job, were going to be stretching every buck until she goes back to work. so I`ve been looking for a part time job. not much out there after 5 pm (besides fast food) so I have not had a lot of luck down that avenue.

    I`ve been detailing on and off for about 7 years now. the only polisher I have is a PC7424 (old school not xp), and have very limited product experience outside of the Megs lineup. with that being said this summer I got a "test hood" I`ve been trying new things on. like wet sanding, and trying out some new stuff I`ve bought like 3m compound and M105. right now I`ve very comfortable with the PC, its never let me down, and i`m yet to find something in the clear I cant correct with it.

    also I have started my own business before. a buddy and I started our own Verizon wireless franchise back in the spring of 08. things were going better then expected the first few months, but then the economy went to hell and that was it. I learned a LOT from that experience and it was almost worth all the debt I went into for it.

    so that brings me to today. i`m really thinking about just listing a post on craigslist about a detailing service. just keeping it simple.

    Cars $100,Suv/Truck $150 wash, clay, wax, wheels/tire

    Cars $200 SUV/Truck $250 wash, clay, compound, polish, wax wheels/tires

    keeping it simple, just to see what happens. really not taking on more then 2 in a week.

    so whats keeping me from doing this? well a few things.

    1. law suit. yeah that`s the top of my list. I know there are people out there that want nothing more then a free lunch. the last thing in the world I need right now is some jackwagon suing me over some type of damage he claims I did. I know I can help protect myself a lot by taking a ton of pics, but when it comes down to it I simply don`t have the money to repaint someones car. sure I could open up a LLC but then a lot of my time goes to taxes, and paper work, which also really sucks.

    2. winter. I have a small heated garage at my house, so polishing is no big deal. the part that I don`t have is a drain. which means I cant really wash the car. which is clearly the most important part. no wash, no anything else. plus I doubt too many people would have their car detailing right after a snow storm.

    those 2 things are really my 2 big concerns right now. I know they say if you open a business don`t expect to get paid before 2 years. that`s really not an option right now, so I have to set it up with the least amount of overhead as possible. so renting a building with a drain is out. also keep in mind that its just going to be me. no help, at least not at first.

    i`m hoping to tap into some of the knowledge and the lessons some of you have learned through the years. and any advice with what I should do going forward.

    thanks to all in advance

    p.s I should mention that detailing is one of my more favorite hobbies. I love to test new things when I can afford them. also through the years I`ve probably compound corrected somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-10 cars other then mine. so i`m not a total newb, but I wouldn`t call myself a pro by any means either.

    again thanks guys
    Sorry to say it, but if ya gotta ask that way

    NO (ya sound like ya want someone to talk you into it or out of it)

    The things you need are:

    Passion
    Drive to succeed
    Caring
    Decent experience
    Common sense
    STONES
    Formerly the "Best Detailer", now just Super Wax Waster Man. Not necessarily tactful, but normally right. It`s good to be da King !!!

  3. #3
    Wax Waster Ronkh's Avatar
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    Re: Need Some Help Deciding IF I Want To Start A Business

    Now seriously, you`ve had a business before and you say you learned...

    If you think you have the experience to do it then go for it.....

    Start slow, don`t get in over your head.

    AND HAVE FUN with it, or all it is is a job.
    Formerly the "Best Detailer", now just Super Wax Waster Man. Not necessarily tactful, but normally right. It`s good to be da King !!!

  4. #4
    Wax Waster Ronkh's Avatar
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    Re: Need Some Help Deciding IF I Want To Start A Business

    here is some great advice from a long time member here

    well worth the read

    How To Leverage Craigslist « OCDetails
    Formerly the "Best Detailer", now just Super Wax Waster Man. Not necessarily tactful, but normally right. It`s good to be da King !!!

  5. #5

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    Re: Need Some Help Deciding IF I Want To Start A Business

    If I were you I would just go on gov`t assistance and forget about all this hard work





  6. #6
    dansautodetailing.com
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    Re: Need Some Help Deciding IF I Want To Start A Business

    Metallman56 -
    Welcome to an awesome place !

    Thanks for the detailed background regarding your inquiries into the Detailing World for $$$

    Help us out with some more info if possible --

    Where are you located ? Snow there in the winter ?

    What is the median income average in the area you want to get your work ?

    What is the average prices for Detailing in that area/s ??

    Have you found as many Detailing shops as possible around, and shopped their pricing?

    What about your current Inventory of all the chemicals, pads, towels, equipment, etc., needed to do this work on a daily/weekly/etc., basis ? Are you already set up?

    The expense to get seriously started can get up there if you are starting out from bare bones to fully stocked..

    You mentioned Meguiars - what products are you most familiar with ? Tell us the names, we know them all...

    I have never had the luxury of an indoor drain, and have been known to wash cars outside while it was cold enough for the water to freeze on the panels, unless I kept the water running on them.. Of course, it goes without saying that at freezing and snowing, etc., conditions, you just cant work outside too..
    But there are products like Optimum ONR and others that allow washing inside too..

    Yes, Liability Insurance is important to have, but it is expensive and not everyone buys it.. Sometimes, you just have to decide you are going to work with the level of Clients that have really nice cars to begin with, and are probably less apt to go lawsuit crazy on you if something happens.. Besides, you are going to take care of any damage you do anyway, so this should not be an issue...

    Getting a Business License may be a requirement especially if you have one of those
    NHOA`s (Nazi Home-Owners Assn.) where you live.. They may not even approve you working there at all anyway, if they are of the SGHOA (Super Gestapo Home Owners Assn) variety... Then, there is the idea of exactly how their rules can in reality be enforced...

    If you get a Business License, then they are going to want you to report the Taxes you collect Quarterly, and make said Tax payments to the State, if your State has taxes..

    Is your garage set up to run up to 20amp powered equipment, and have really great lighting??

    Is your garage insulated, wired for extra electrical, and drywalled and painted white, to better help light reflection?

    If this is going to be your future home workplace, it might be good to have it set up to allow you to work all hours, because that is what a Detailer who is busy and works alone does, and it needs to be able to be comfortable enough to work in and not freeze your chemicals, etc...

    What have you learned from your experiences with paint correction using your Porter Cable ? What size backing plates and pads do you have?

    What is you experience level Detailing Interiors, and specifically, how much experience do you have with plastics, leathers, cloth, carpets, headliners, door jambs, and glass?

    What are your short term and long term goals, and how much time are you allocating to each ?

    It is a lot of really hard work to do this line of work every day, and while it may sound like fun and exciting, that can all wear off quickly, if you are not financially, mentally, and physically prepared for it..

    If you can tell us where you live, perhaps we may know some one here or on another Detailing Forum, that you can maybe talk with and get more hands on information, advice, etc...

    We can talk much further and into more detail if you want to about this - Good Luck !!!
    Dan F

  7. #7
    Metallman56's Avatar
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    Re: Need Some Help Deciding IF I Want To Start A Business

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronkh View Post
    Now seriously, you`ve had a business before and you say you learned...

    If you think you have the experience to do it then go for it.....

    Start slow, don`t get in over your head.

    AND HAVE FUN with it, or all it is is a job.
    thanks for all the replies. this is kind of what I`ve been thinking. just start small, maybe by word of mouth first. and detailing is fun to me. I really love starting with something that looks normal to most people, and making it look 100x better in just a few short hours. the difference in the paint after a good detail is night and day, and I take pride knowing I did that.

    i`m yet to read the CL post you linked to, but I will a little later tonight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stokdgs View Post
    Metallman56 -
    Welcome to an awesome place !

    Thanks for the detailed background regarding your inquiries into the Detailing World for $$$

    Help us out with some more info if possible --

    Where are you located ? Snow there in the winter ?

    What is the median income average in the area you want to get your work ?

    What is the average prices for Detailing in that area/s ??

    Have you found as many Detailing shops as possible around, and shopped their pricing?

    What about your current Inventory of all the chemicals, pads, towels, equipment, etc., needed to do this work on a daily/weekly/etc., basis ? Are you already set up?

    The expense to get seriously started can get up there if you are starting out from bare bones to fully stocked..

    You mentioned Meguiars - what products are you most familiar with ? Tell us the names, we know them all...

    I have never had the luxury of an indoor drain, and have been known to wash cars outside while it was cold enough for the water to freeze on the panels, unless I kept the water running on them.. Of course, it goes without saying that at freezing and snowing, etc., conditions, you just cant work outside too..
    But there are products like Optimum ONR and others that allow washing inside too..

    Yes, Liability Insurance is important to have, but it is expensive and not everyone buys it.. Sometimes, you just have to decide you are going to work with the level of Clients that have really nice cars to begin with, and are probably less apt to go lawsuit crazy on you if something happens.. Besides, you are going to take care of any damage you do anyway, so this should not be an issue...

    Getting a Business License may be a requirement especially if you have one of those
    NHOA`s (Nazi Home-Owners Assn.) where you live.. They may not even approve you working there at all anyway, if they are of the SGHOA (Super Gestapo Home Owners Assn) variety... Then, there is the idea of exactly how their rules can in reality be enforced...

    If you get a Business License, then they are going to want you to report the Taxes you collect Quarterly, and make said Tax payments to the State, if your State has taxes..

    Is your garage set up to run up to 20amp powered equipment, and have really great lighting??

    Is your garage insulated, wired for extra electrical, and drywalled and painted white, to better help light reflection?

    If this is going to be your future home workplace, it might be good to have it set up to allow you to work all hours, because that is what a Detailer who is busy and works alone does, and it needs to be able to be comfortable enough to work in and not freeze your chemicals, etc...

    What have you learned from your experiences with paint correction using your Porter Cable ? What size backing plates and pads do you have?

    What is you experience level Detailing Interiors, and specifically, how much experience do you have with plastics, leathers, cloth, carpets, headliners, door jambs, and glass?

    What are your short term and long term goals, and how much time are you allocating to each ?

    It is a lot of really hard work to do this line of work every day, and while it may sound like fun and exciting, that can all wear off quickly, if you are not financially, mentally, and physically prepared for it..

    If you can tell us where you live, perhaps we may know some one here or on another Detailing Forum, that you can maybe talk with and get more hands on information, advice, etc...

    We can talk much further and into more detail if you want to about this - Good Luck !!!
    Dan F
    thanks for the welcome Dan! i`ll to my best to answer all your questions. and also thanks for taking the time to basically go down the list and help me.

    i`m in Mishawaka, Indiana. AKA south bend, Indiana, AKA Notre Dame Indiana.

    yes we have snow every winter. some winters are worse then others but that should go without saying. were a 4 season climate.

    as far as income anything extra would help right now. but my first goal would be an extra $500 a month. that`s after taxes, and overhead. $500 a month would really help us out a lot. if I made double that, well she wouldn`t have to go back to work.

    honestly I don`t know what the average detailing prices around here are. I`ve never had any work done, so I don`t even know if there are detailing shops around me. i`m sure there are I`ve just never priced them. I should probably do that before I really jump off the deep end.

    the products I have are basically this.

    Megs nxt car wash
    2 bucket method
    Megs m105, #80 #82 #83 NXT 2.0 wax
    3m rubbing compound, polish, and wax
    Klasse AOI and Sealant
    2 Mothers Clay Bar kits
    Zymbol Dual Action Swirl Remover
    S100

    2 foam cutting pads
    1 med cut foam pad
    2 polishing pads
    1 wax pad

    I also I have 10" cheap buffer I use for applying wax only. not real correction going on there 2 terry cloth pads for that.

    and as stated above my PC7424

    I do have a lot of misc products all over the counter that I use on and off, or to test things. but what I listed is basically what I have the most experience with and what I would consider my "go to" products.

    also I have about 20ish various different microfiber towels. all over the counter nothing very expensive

    I don`t think I`m missing anything. if I am sorry i`ll correct myself if need be.

    as far as start up costs I think i`m good to go. the only thing i`d like to add is a little more lighting in my garage especially on the sides of a vehicle. but other then that I think i`m good to go.

    yeah I`ve washed my car ONCE when it was cold enough to freeze the water and soap almost immediately. not fun, hands were the coldest they`ve ever been. I`ve never used a waterless system before. to be honest I just don`t trust them. not to say they cant or wont work, just saying I`ve never tired it. that also doesn`t mean i`m not willing to try it, just that i`m yet to.

    I`ve been thinking about the lawsuit thing as well. it seems like if I protect myself with what clients I take on and which ones I don`t that could also save me time as well. also I`ve watched enough judge judy to realize that if I take a ton of before and after pics I should be okay if anyone tries to come back with some b.s lawsuit. there are still crazy people out there though.

    I LOVED how you termed home owners associations, very well put. no I just live in a neighborhood, not a subdivision with Nazi`s. all of my neighbors are cool and I know most of the pretty well. lived here for over 3 years now with 0 issues with anyone around me.

    yeah the business license. in Indiana you have to pay and report both sales and payroll taxes every month, not quarterly. I cant remember if we had to do federal as well other than payroll, I don`t think we did. at first at least I know I wont be taking this route. in order for me to go full time at this and quit my job, that has awesome health insurance, i`m going to need to be making at least 40k a year. I don`t see that happening any time soon, but I guess you never know.

    yes my garage is set up to run 20 amp. though I don`t know why your asking this, i`m guessing for the polisher and lights at the same time? lighting is a little questionable like I said before. though I think I can fix that issue for around $50.

    yes garage is insulated, not wired very good if i`m honest, no drywall its cinderblock painted white though. I also have a wood burning stove in it to dictate just how warm I want/need it in there. got it up to 80 in there last winter though my target temp would be about 75. also I have plenty of wood for it. broke 2 toes cutting down a tree to make sure I had enough wood this winter.

    I think I`ve learned a lot from when I first started working with the pc. I understand the amount of work time I`ve have with m105, and just how big of a panel I can realistically correct at once. also how much pressure to apply, basically the general fell of it. on my test hood I`ve wet sanded scratches out with 2000 grit, then 2500, then m105, then megs 80 to basically a flawless finish. i`d like to think I can correct almost anything a flex can, though it might take me a little more time to do so.

    I have 3 pads that are 5.5`` and 3 pads that are 6.5``. my backing plate is the "stock" one that came with the PC, 6`` if I recall correctly

    interiors is my down fall no doubt. i`m yet to try anything other then over the counter stuff. I can wipe down a dash and stuff just fine, but I don`t consider myself someone who can restore an interior. clean it yes. restore no. I don`t think i`d even offer the service, at least not at first.

    short term goal is to supplement my wifes income. long term would be to quit my job and actually have a real business.

    most cars solo take me anywhere from 4-5 hours. that`s what i`m hoping to average. actually 4 hours a car would be my goal. but its usually closer to 5 hours right now. that with fixing "trouble spots" like nail marks around a door handle for example.

    I know how much work it can be. and I`ve heard its terrible on the knee`s. there is no doubt the day after I do a long detail i`m sore. this would be one of the advantages to starting slow and working my way up. and i`m sure after a while the thrill will be gone, but I hope that`s where my passion for making things better kicks in.

    well I think I`ve answered everything. sorry for the book I just wrote I hope everything is clear and easy to understand. I think i`m leaning towards more of a hobby that makes me money then a actual business right now. maybe one day it will grow into a business but for right now, just a money making hobby. thanks again for the help, and all of your questions are opening my eyes to a few things I`ve over looked, like the lack of lighting in my garage. its stuff like that I was looking for in here, because lets face it no matter how well you prepare its easy to overlook something, no matter how big or small it is. that`s again for all the help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trouble View Post
    If I were you I would just go on gov`t assistance and forget about all this hard work




    i`d rather be shot in the head and let my life insurance pay for my family.

    good advice though lol

  8. #8
    Nth Degree's Avatar
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    Re: Need Some Help Deciding IF I Want To Start A Business

    As someone who has a 5 week old at home right now I can relate to what you will be going through.

    That said, I think your timing right now is just not right. It takes time to build in this industry so I don`t think you will see the return you are looking for before the baby comes along. You will also likely find, as I have, the first month or so with a new baby will leave you with no time for anything that is not absolutely critical to your survival.

    If you need the cash just focus on doing basic details (wash/clay/seal) and develop a system that makes you efficient. Don`t bother with doing any paint correction for now, except maybe for friends and family. If things go well with that and you have a handle on your schedule with the new baby, maybe revisit the idea for the spring.

    A wise person once told me "Never turn your hobby into a business. It stops being enjoyable." I learned just how true that statement was when I worked as a ski instructor. Friends would come and visit to go skiing and the last thing I wanted to do was hit the slopes. It is important to enjoy what you do, but doing this as a business day in and day out is far different than doing it as a hobby. Make sure you enjoy it before committing.

    Congrats and good luck with the new baby.

 

 

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