If you’re looking for the latest information about starting or growing an auto detailing business, you’ve come to the right place. CarDetailingBlog.com is the Internet’s leading source for news, insight, commentary and how-to information focused on running an auto detailing business. Updated weekly by the team at Detail King, you can count on us to keep you up-to-date and informed.
An untapped, but extremely well accepted market niche would be targeting individuals and businesses that are selling their vehicles and offer them your “Sell Your Car Detailing Package.” Prospect by seeking vehicles that are for sale on craigslist and other on-line vehicle for sale web sites that you would want to detail and offer them a skinny version of a complete detail. If you are looking to increase revenues and fill in some gaps in your weekly schedule this is a way to do it!
We at Detail King actually mention this to our students that attend our auto detailing training seminars in Pittsburgh. We get very positive feedback from our students once they have had a chance to go back and execute this type of prospecting. To see how one of our top Authorized Licensees displays this service on his web site visit Bling Bling Detail King. Shown below is a template you can use when emailing these prospects:
I see that you have listed your (make & model) for sale on Craigslist. We provide professional mobile auto detailing services and actually offer a reasonably priced detailing package that should help you sell your vehicle quicker and get closer to your asking price!
Our Sell Your Car Package includes:
• Hand wash & chamois dry
• Engine cleaning & dressing
• Machine polish exterior
• Condition tires & trim
• Vacuum interior & shampoo carpets & mats
• Wet dust dash, door panels and console
• Condition interior vinyl trim
• Clean all windows & mirrors
• Apply new car scent
• Address any special requests
We understand that you probably do not need our very best detailing services because you are selling your vehicle so we developed our Sell Your Car Package to give your vehicle the grooming that it needs to make it stand out and be more marketable.
The cost of our Sell Your Car Package is based on the size and condition of your vehicle. Prices range from (publish your price range here) and is normally about half of what we would charge for a complete detailing service if you plan to keep your vehicle.
We also offer New Car Protection Packages if you are planning on purchasing a new vehicle after your current vehicle is sold. Please don’t forget to ask us about this package.
To schedule your appointment or ask any questions please reply back to this email or call us at (phone number). Remember, a shiny and clean car sells faster than a dull and dirty one, that is why car dealers detail their cars for their front line. Car dealers actually increase the trade-in value up to $1200 for a vehicle that looks and smells good!
(name of your business)
Note: Link your web site pages that host your Sell Car Package and your New Car Protection Package to your email.
If you own and operate your own auto detailing or mobile auto detailing business chances are you do not know what it costs to operate your business on a daily basis. You are providing a service which is very labor intense; you actually need to know what your hourly operating cost is. Once you know what it takes to operate your detailing business per hour you will be able to price your detailing jobs better and provide more accurate estimates for over sized vehicles.
Knowing what your hourly break-even cost is will enable you to determine what you want your profit margin to be per job. Detail King has prepared a simple but effective cost/profit model that will enable just about any auto detailing business owner determine what their hourly break-even costs are. You need to know if you are making or losing money on each job especially the super-sized vehicles like super stretch limousines, boats, big rigs, box trucks, etc.
Your expenses can be broken down by what’s known as fixed costs and variable costs.
Fixed costs are costs that you have to pay every month and usually are the same “fixed” amount every month. Some examples could be rent on your building or your truck or van payment. Other examples of fixed costs could be a monthly loan payment for your start-up costs or your insurance premium for your business or company owned vehicle.
Variable costs are expenses that usually will fluctuate every month. Some typical variable costs would be utilities, auto detailing supplies, office supplies, advertising, marketing, fuel costs, labor, educational expenses, equipment maintenance and repairs, uniforms, trash pick-up, gray water disposal fees, and travel expense. The list will vary depending on the size of the business and the goals of its leader.
The formula to quickly compute your hourly operating cost is really quite easy. If you use an accounting software package like quick books for small businesses then you can easily total both fixed and variable costs. If you do not have use of accounting software you can still figure your over-head out easily.
First, list all of your monthly fixed cost for a typical month and total them up. Next, list all your variable costs and take a 4 month average of those expenses. The 4 months to include for your tabulation should include 2 of your busiest months, 1 slow month and 1 medium busy month. Add all of the 4 month totals together and then divide by 4, this will give you your average monthly variable cost total.
Now add both totals together. Let’s say your fixed costs to operate your business every month total $2150 and your average monthly variable costs total $1075. Your total monthly overhead is $3225.
Now take the amount of days you work per month, let’s say 26 days per month. Divide $3225 by 26 and your average per day cost is: $124.03. Now take the average amount of hours you work per day, let’s say its 8 hours – then divide $124.03 by 8. Your hourly break-even cost is $15.50.
Now you need to determine what your hourly rate should be. Deciding what you actually want to make per hour will help you develop what you should charge for your standard detailing services and how much to estimate for over-sized vehicles. You should at least triple the value of your hourly break-even cost. So if your hourly break-even is $15.50 your “hourly service rate” would be $46.50. So you will me “making” $31.00 per hour! That beats flipping burgers for $7.75 per hour doesn’t it?
When developing a service menu and listing your services and their price ranges the prices should be based on the amount of time you think it will take you for each service times your hourly rate. So let’s say you provide a wash, clay, buff and wax service for regular size vehicles and you determine that it should take you about 2.5 – 3.0 hours. Your advertised price range for that vehicle would be $116.50. For rounding purposes you could advertise that service at $109.00 – $129.00 depending on condition of the vehicle (and or size). You would use this same formula for determining what to charge for all of your services.
If you get a phone call whereas the customer is asking “how much to detail my RV” after you get all of the particulars including the length, color, surface type, etc. you would then determine how many hours this will take you. Let’s say it is 8 hours, and you know your hourly rate is $46.50 then you would quote your customer $372. For rounding and price range purposes; your quoted over the phone price range may be $375-$425. You cannot firm that up until you actually see the vehicle. But now you know how to price these over-sized vehicles while being fair with the customer and making $31 per hour or at least a $248 profit for a day’s work. Not bad!
Keep in mind if you have to bring along a helper your hourly rate goes up so you must factor his or her hourly wage plus at least 25% for employee taxes. But you should also be able to get the job done quicker; so you can be more productive and get more detail jobs completed per day.
It is critical to understand that if your overhead is too high and you use the formula for your cost and profit model stated earlier you may price yourself out of the market. Keep your over-head manageable. A good example would be if just starting out as a mobile auto detailer and you need to buy a mobile rig, don’t purchase a Cadillac Escalade as your mobile rig, your monthly bank note payment will be outrageous! A better decision would be to consider purchasing a reliable pre owned work van for $2500 versus paying $50,000 for a pre- owned expensive luxury SUV.
If you work smart, and work hard, you will be able to buy a Caddy Escalade someday as your personal vehicle or whatever motivates you. Keep your over-head down, do great work and keep taking your business to the next level and you will Thrive!
Be sure you are collecting your customer’s email addresses when you are creating the auto detailing work-order or invoice. You will want to follow up with your customer the very next day, not only for thanking them for the opportunity to detail their vehicle but also to provide them the opportunity to give you some critical feedback. We at Detail King prefer to make a follow-up phone call the day after the customer’s detailing appointment. You may not always be able to get a hold of your customer via a phone call, and they may not be as candid over the phone as they would be by completing a short email feedback survey.
The email feedback survey should first thank them for their business and then ask them to complete a short survey about the services your auto detailing business performed the previous day. The survey should also ask for feedback of the overall experience they had doing business with you. If you are confident that your auto detailing business exceeded your customer’s expectations then you may want to ask for referrals and reward them for each new customer that they send to you.
Shown below is a template that you may want to consider using once you have had a chance to personalize it and even make some changes that better suits your detailing business. You can also customize this by editing it and changing some of the words and sentences if you need to email it to a commercial account with a fleet of vehicles that you are trying to procure after the initial appointment. The next auto detailing business tip will discuss how to get an online testimonial from your customer and will include a template for your consideration.
Dear (customer’s first name),
I would like to thank you for choosing (your business name) to provide our professional auto detailing services for your (make and model). We really appreciate the opportunity! So we can better serve you next time could you please complete the short survey below?
Please rate the following, just type your rating next to each statement: (3- Strongly Agree 2– Somewhat Agree ~ 1 – Do Not Agree)
• The amount of time it took to complete the auto detailing service was reasonable- ( )
• The auto detailing service provided met my expectations – ( )
• The “attention to detail” met my expectations – ( )
• The individual that provided the auto detailing service was courteous and knowledgeable – ( )
• I plan to use (your business name) again in the future for my vehicle’s auto detailing needs – ( )
• I will refer my friends and relatives to use (your business name) in the future – ( )
Comments or suggestions:
Thank you very much for taking the time to complete this survey!
If you know of anyone else that you think may also appreciate having (your business name) provide our professional auto detailing services I would appreciate you tell them about us.
For each customer that you refer to (your business name) and chooses any of our full service auto detailing services, we will provide you with a complimentary hand car wash! Be sure you advise the person that you are referring to us to mention your name so we can reward you for the referral.
(your business name)
(your phone number)
(your web site)
(your Facebook fan page)