Welcome to the Car Detailing Blog

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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.

Many newbie’s just starting out always ask what they should include in a professional auto detailing service menu. Detail King has outlined below what a potential service menu would possibly include complete with price ranges.

First of all be sure your auto detailing service menu cover displays your logo, business name, phone number, email address, web site and your important social media channels like Facebook, you tube and Instagram. If you accept credit cards you should mention that also and possibly even show the specific credit card logos that you honor.

In addition to displaying your company name and logo you may also want to include a “Tag Line.” A tag line is original and unique like your brand. Your tag line should only be between 3 and 6 words and appeal to your target market. Your tag line should focus on your core services and should be memorable, catchy, or even somewhat surprising. You can trademark your tagline if you choose to do so and which is recommendable especially if you plan to franchise your business someday.

The main components of your service menu should include: Exterior Services, Interior services, Value Packages and have an a la carte section for value added services. Listed below are services that you may want to consider offering. We like to think that a service menu should be crafted with the KISS principle in mind “Keep It Simple Stupid.” Don’t offer too many services at first because it may confuse the customer and slow their decision making process. Shown below are a few different ways to display the content of your services; paragraph form, bullets and a combination of both. Detail King does offer various Auto Detailing Flyer and Service Menu Templates.

Exterior Detailing Services

All exterior detailing services include a hand wash and scrubbing of the vehicles exterior surfaces. Wheel wells, wheels, tires, grill, bumpers, molding and trim are all scrubbed and pre cleaned. We also “clay” the paint to remove invisible environmental pollutants from the surfaces. Every exterior detailing service also receives tire dressing and a complimentary interior vacuuming, dash board dusting and cleaning of windows and mirrors. Price ranges are based on size and condition of vehicle.  We use Detail King professional grade products which are 100% biodegradable and environmentally friendly.

Polymer Sealant – Our Poly Seal is our best paint protection service we offer and excellent for new vehicles. Protection will last up to 12 months. Poly Seal lasts longer than wax or polish because it bonds an invisible layer of protection to the paint with a process called molecular crosslinking. Our Poly Seal will yield a beautiful dazzling shine! Re seals should be done annually and we will contact you 30 days prior to the anniversary date of your initial Poly Seal application. Price Range: $129 – $169 – Annual Re Seals: $69 – $109

Buff ‘N Wax – Our Buff ‘N Wax process includes a 2 step buffing and polishing procedure to remove light scratches and oxidation from the painted surfaces. A generous amount of Cherry Carnauba Wet Wax is then machine applied to protect and provide a wet look finish. Protection will last up to 6 months. If scratches and other paint imperfections are severe but repairable by compounding the painted surfaces prior to the polishing procedure an extra cost could be incurred. Price Range: $89 – $129 – Compounding – $10 – $50

Wash ‘N Wax – This service is ideal for a vehicle that has very little paint imperfections. No buffing or polishing is included with our Wash ‘N Wax. A generous amount of Cherry Carnauba Wet Wax is machine applied to all painted surfaces. This service is recommended for short term protection and is popular to have completed just before winter and as a cosmetic maintenance service in between complete details and poly re seals. Price Range: $49 – $89

Interior Detailing Services

Complete Interior

  • Air purge interior components to loosen debris
  • Vacuum carpets, seating surfaces, rear deck or cargo area
  • Carefully clean headliner
  • Scrub and clean all vinyl and leather components
  • Clean and detail console, steering wheel, dashboard and door panels
  • Special attention to all cracks, crevices, pockets, levers, buttons and bezels
  • Clean carpets and all seating surfaces to remove stains and stale odors
  • Condition all vinyl and leather components
  • Clean windows, mirrors, gauges and chrome
  • Apply interior fragrance (with customer’s permission)

Price Range: $79 – $129 (additional cost for extra dirty interiors)

Interior Spruce Up

  • Air purge interior components to loosen debris
  • Vacuum carpets, seating surfaces, rear deck or cargo area
  • Express clean all vinyl and leather components
  • Clean console, steering wheel, dash board and door panels
  • Condition vinyl and leather components
  • Clean windows, mirrors, gauges and chrome
  • Apply interior fragrance (with customers permission)

Price Range: $39 – $89 (excessively dirty interiors not eligible for this service)

Fabric Protection

  • Ideal for new vehicles!
  • Invisible barrier protects against food and protein spills
  • Odorless and colorless once dried
  • Makes vacuuming quicker and easier
  • Keeps carpets and upholstery cleaner longer
  • Perfect for kid and pet mobiles
  • Leather protection included for leather seating surface

Price Range: $39 – $89 (carpets and upholstery must be cleaned first if not new)

Auto Detailing Value Packages

Platinum Package – Our Platinum package includes our Buff ‘N Wax and Complete Interior service. You save about 10% when purchasing this package. You can upgrade this package and request Poly Seal versus Cherry Wet Wax to increase painted surfaces length of protection.

Price Range: $149 – $219 (compounding and or poly seal extra charge)

New Vehicle Protection Package – Our New Car Protection Package is perfect for vehicles that are still practically brand new and need very little cleaning and detailing. Vehicles that are 60 days old or newer are eligible for this service. Our New Vehicle Protection Package is a fraction of what the new car dealer charges and you receive a much better job from us! Package includes:

  • Complete hand wash and claying of painted surfaces
  • Machine apply Polymer Sealant to all painted and chrome surfaces
  • Apply Fabric Protection to carpets and upholstered seating surfaces
  • Apply leather conditioner to leather trim and seating surfaces
  • Apply vinyl conditioner with UV protection to all vinyl components
  • Clean windows and mirrors

Price Range: $195 – $295 (price depends on size of vehicle)

Sell Your Car Package – If you are considering selling your car on your own you should definitely consider our Sell Your Car Package. Not only will this package help you sell your vehicle quicker but it will also help you get top dollar! We realize you do not want to invest in our best protection services, you just mainly want it clean, shinning and smelling good. Here is what we provide with this package:

  • Hand wash and claying of painted surfaces
  • Wash ‘N Wax service
  • Interior Spruce Up service
  • Carpet cleaning

Price Range: $99 – $159 (engine compartment shampooing and dressing additional)

A La Carte Detailing Services

Leather Seats Cleaning and Conditioning – Clean and condition leather seats with properly pH balanced cleaner. Condition leather to keep surfaces soft and supple and instill a new conditioned look. Dry and dirty leather will eventually crack and the dye will wear off. This service is recommended at least twice per year. Price Range: $29 – $69

The more popular a la carte services that you can add to your service menu are as follows. Keep in mind not only to list the “features” of the services but be sure to show the “benefits” to those services.

Engine ShampooingPaint Chip RepairPlastic Trim RestorationHeadlight Restoration

Ozone Odor RemovalCigarette Burn RepairCarpet DyingVinyl and Leather Repair

If you have questions about this service menu or need some help setting up your own auto detailing service menu give the team at Detail King a call – 1888-314-0847. You can also see additional templates of auto detailing flyers and rack cards.

The Mytee Lite ii carpet extractor got a totally new face lift for 2014. The Mytee 8070 as it is officially known is one of our best-selling portable carpet cleaning machines! Mytee beefed up the performance along with user convenience and safety. If you have been looking for a heated carpet extractor and upholstery cleaning machine that can do the job of a full-size carpet extractor but want a compact design the new Mytee Lite is for you.

The new Mytee 8070 carpet extractor is perfect for the mobile car detailer or small detail shop operation. It is light weight, easy to move around and stow yet a very powerful carpet cleaner unit. This is one of Mytee’s best-selling upholstery machines and the first in the industry to include an on-board heater for maximum cleaning power. At a water capacity of three gallons, it’s perfect for both spotting and smaller car interior cleaning jobs. Typically it takes about 3 gallons to clean the upholstery, carpet and mats of an average size car. So the Mytee 8070 is perfect if you are cleaning a couple interiors per day.

If your detailing operation calls for units that hold more water capacity Detail King also offers a more Mytee units. The Mytee HP100, Mytee HP60 and the Mytee Deluxe Prep Center have larger solution and recovery tanks if you clean several car interiors per day or focus on RV’s, buses, SUV’s and conversion vans. The Mytee Lite ii also can act as a great back up for on eof the larger capacity Mytee extractors in a situation where you could use a second unit. Detail King can also provide Mytee carpet extractor accessories, repair parts and all the car interior extractor chemicals and cleaners that you would need including maintenance products.

 

 

 

Just about anyone can start their own auto detailing business. Some have started just with a bucket and a sponge and call themselves a professional auto detailer. Those types have not helped the reputation of this industry and actually have hurt it in certain instances, especially when they have driven the prices down and have done shoddy work. Typically these folks have no formal detailing training, did not attend an auto detailing school and are just trying to make a few bucks in between job employment. They generally do not have plans to invest in their future because it is a short term cash generator for them. This may of worked for them in the long run but they did not invest in any formal training hence did not realize the opportunity that could have been.

Learning how too properly and professional detail a car is only part of what you need to know if you really plan on starting a mobile car detailing business. Even if your detailing business is a part-time venture due to both family and financial obligations you should still get some education so you do it right! Many individuals start out part-time and invest in obtaining some good training so they can build a nice income stream. This new revenue stream can be a steady supplemental income or if you set your goals to eventually leave your job once your detailing business ramps up you could have an opportunity of a lifetime. Always keep this in mind – Every vehicle on the road is a potential detail job for you, you just need to develop a plan to reach-out to their “drivers” and offer a “best value” service for the various types of prospects. These prospects will vary from the senior citizen on a fixed income who really cares about preserving the vehicle they own to the corporate CEO that wants his or her car “spruced up” every week. See the potential? It’s enormous!

When choosing to enroll in an auto detailing class or attend an auto detailing training seminar be sure it offers both hands-on detailing training and training for the “business side” of operating an auto detailing business. Typically in this industry there are many really great “craftsman” but very few good “businessmen.” Most know how to detail a car and make it look like new but miserably fail when it comes down to operating the business and growing it to its full potential. A top-notch detailing class will teach you what you need to know with regards to; developing a business plan, choosing your business structure (S Corp, LLC, LP), permits and licenses needed, obtaining business insurance, developing a marketing plan, utilizing social media, having a web site and using good SEO practices, branding your auto detailing business, developing a data base and managing it, booking appointments over the phone, determining your overhead and profit margins, estimating and up-selling, how to obtain reoccurring revenues and referral customers, getting and staying organized, hiring and compensating employees, tools to manage inquiries, appointments and phone calls. Plus a whole lot more.

The hands-on curriculum of the detailing class should inform and educate you with the proper methods and procedures to professionally and proficiently detail a vehicle. The methods and procedures are very critical. If you do not learn these your details will either take unreasonably too long to perform or you will not be performing them well and your end product (the finished detail) will not be up to par. Your details not being up to par will lead to earning a bad reputation and a lack of revenues. Choose an auto detailing course that emphasizes proper methods and procedures and can educate you how to provide profitable; exterior detailing services, interior detailing services, engine compartment cleaning, and auto reconditioning services like headlight restoration, paint chip repair, plastic trim restoration, carpet dying, auto interior repair and odor removal. If you cannot afford the training that offers the auto recon services at least get trained how to detail a vehicle inside and out so you can start making some money right away.

 

Exterior detailing training should be comprised of the vehicle wash up and prep, paint correction, paint preservation, dressing and conditioning, finite detailing, window cleaning, final inspection and customer presentation of the finished product. There are many steps that encompass what is mentioned in the sentence above. Having a good reference check list and auto detailers inspection check list will help you remember what to look for and to execute the steps needed. Start out practicing the exterior detailing services on family and friends vehicles after you finish your training. Just after a few practice cars you should have enough confidence built up to actually start making money by acquiring customers.

Interior detailing training should be comprised of complete cleaning and detailing of the vehicles interior cabin including: cleaning of the headliner, sun visors, dash board, console, door panels, pockets, pedals, cracks, crevices, seating surfaces, steering wheel and column, carpets, mats, vinyl trim, leather trim, chrome trim, gauges, mirrors, and windows. Training should not only teach how to clean but how to condition the vinyl, leather and weather stripping. Special attention should be given to sued and microfiber interiors and the differences in the types of leather and seating upholstery. Proper use of a heated carpet extractor, automotive ozone generator and vapor steamer would also be part of the training components.

Learning the proper methods and procedures from the very beginning will save the detailer labor time and supply costs. Please keep in mind labor is the most expensive “cost” of the detail. Not knowing the proper way to professionally detail a vehicle will consume too much time and produce inferior results. Invest in a good training program, it will pay for itself just after a few detail jobs completed. Be sure to check out the student testimonials from graduates of Detail King’s auto detailing training school in Pittsburgh, PA.

The Winter weather season so far has been horrible around the nation. Tons of sand and salt have been tossed around on the roads and it will truly affect the appearance of a vehicles exterior and interior. Not only will the recent weeks of bad winter weather affect the appearance but the salt and sand will strip the shine, create chips in the paint and severely reduce surface protection. Many vehicle owners will wait until Spring to have their vehicles thoroughly cleaned, polished and protected. So prepare for a very busy Spring season. But there are many vehicle owners who will Not Want to wait and are concerned about the wrath of what mother nature has caused. These individuals are “prime targets” to promote your “Vehicle Winter Survival Package” to. So Don’t wait until Spring, promote this package now – send out emails to your customer list, post on your social media channels, send text alerts, etc.

Your Winter Survival Car Care Package for the exterior could possibly consist of; power washing the undercarriage, hand washing the exterior with special attention to wheels, door jams, bezels and trim, claying the painted surfaces to remove invisible pollutants stuck to the surface and applying Aqua Seal for a quick layer of protection and shine. For the interior I would recommend a thorough vacuuming to remove sand and salt, carpet and mat extraction to remove salt and dirt stains and finally a quick spruce up of the vinyl components using the Tornador to clean the vinyl and Pearl Gloss to enhance the appearance.

The Winter Survival Car Care Package should be an easy way to generate revenues for your very best customers who take pride in the appearance of their vehicles. This service should typically take no longer than an hour if you have 2 auto detailing professionals performing the service. For the exterior besides a pressure washer to power wash the  underside you will also need a good wheel degreaser, tire and whitewall cleaner, car wash soap, and an express poly sealant. To clean the interior your arsenal should include a powerful car cleaning soap to clean the carpets, mats and vinyl components. So you will only have about $1 allocated in supplies and 1-2 labor hours, making this a very profitable express type detailing service. For an average sized vehicle like a BMW 3 series a fair price for your Winter Survival Package could be $79.95. For smaller vehicles $69.95 and for larger vehicles $89.85. Of course for over sized SUV’s and conversion vans you may want to include a $20 surcharge.

Detail King now offers a Winter Survival Car Care Kit that includes one quart each of our: Citrus Degreaser, Tire and Whitewall Cleaner, Black Cherry Car wash Soap, Aqua Seal wet surface polymer protectant, Magic Cleaner and Pearl Gloss interior dressing. You can also add the Tornador Classic, Tornador Foam Gun and an economy priced electric Pressure Washer if needed. Offering a Winter Survival cleaning and detailing service to your customers should generate revenues that you may normally of not acquired during these winter months. You must “set the stage” and get the word out to your customers that your detailing business is now offering this New express detailing package. Be sure you mention the benefits along with the features when speaking to your customers.

The benefits certainly greatly outweigh the reasonable cost of this service. Salt deposits left on the carpets can lead to permanent staining of the fibers and will need to be cleaned soon after the salt dries. Salt and sand will splatter up against wheels and the painted surface and left unprotected will begin to leave small rust deposits that will eventually penetrate through the clear coat layers and create rust along with an unsightly appearance. Be sure to educate your customers about these negatives and how you can fix them and keep their vehicle’s protected for the duration of the Winter Season.

Operating as a mobile auto detailer can be very lucrative. People today are just too busy to take their car to someone and leave it there perhaps for the entire day. They may have problems finding someone to drop them off or pick them up or they simply just do not want to sit around for hours in a waiting room. Having a mobile auto detailing business allows you to go right to the customer’s home or work place. The mobile auto detailing business owner is has a lower overhead and start-up costs are usually more affordable.

Mobile detailers usually operate their detailing business out of a van, pick-up truck, trailer or cube truck. If you decide to go with a van it should be used, white, at least a ½ ton model (2500) and not showing a lot of wear on the outside. Never buy new when starting out. You can get a half decent pre owned van with still a lot of life in it for under $5K. Be sure you get commercial insurance for the vehicle, because you will be using it for business purpose. You should be able to fit everything in the van. Be sure you letter it up good or even wrap it, to make it noticeable.

You may also want to consider a good used cube truck, or a reconditioned U Haul truck would be perfect! There is lots of room on the sides and back panels to advertise your business and the services you provide. If you make it look good it will stand out and get noticed. Plus there is a ton of room inside for your detailing equipment and supplies. Keep in mind you will need a pressure washerwater tankcarpet extractor, plus a high speed buffer and orbital polisher. It’s a good idea to purchase about 4 or 5 large plastic bins to keep your detailing chemicalspolishesapplicatorsdetail towelsdetailing brushes and other miscellaneous auto detailing tools stowed and secure. If you are going to operate your mobile detailing business close to a large body of water like a lake, river or ocean you must be sure you are not allowing your wash water to be discharged into any storm drain. Detail King offers eco friendly low pressure washerscar wash water containment mats and water reclaim system so you can operate your business and be compliant with your city’s car washing regulations.

If you already have a pickup truck then considering a mobile detailing trailer or mobile car wash trailer may be a no brainer. Detail King carries 4 different models on enclosed and open bed trailers with various equipment options. The bed of the pickup truck can be used to store your bins, which contain your supplies and detail tools. You may want to consider installing a fiberglass lid or tonneau cover on the bed of your truck to keep the contents protected against the elements and theft. Open bed mobile detailing trailers typically consist of a commercial grade pressure washer, water tank, 50′ of pressurized hose and a generator to operate the power tools and vacuum. A 60 or 90 gallon water tank is all you really need unless you plan on doing commercial fleet washes, then you may want to consider a 200 or 300 gallon tank. You may also want to consider using a vapor steamer to assist with interior and exterior car cleaning. If you plan on using your personal pickup truck for business and also pull a trailer be sure to let your insurance company know you need a quote on a commercial policy. See if your insurance company can also insure the business by offering you an umbrella policy that would cover the vehicle, the trailer and its contents and the vehicles that you are working on.

You can establish weekly accounts at office building and business industrial parks where you are there the same day and time every week. You will find that there are many individuals that want their vehicles washed weekly and even detailed monthly or bi monthly. Work with the property managers of these office buildings to allow you on their property to serve their tenants. Your services may be an added benefit for the property management company to offer their tenants. You must be reliable and do outstanding work on every vehicle, every day! Operating mobile has advantages of running your detailing business out of a shop because you can take your “show on the road” and practically go anywhere to make money. Be sure you acquire the proper permits in the municipalities that you work in. And always get permission from the office building management if a customer requested your services directly from you. You may need $1,000,000.00 worth of general liability insurance to set up on some of these office building properties, so get a quote for that amount when shopping for insurance. General Liability insurance (slip and fall) does not cost that much, but you need it in case a customer get injured by possibly tripping over a cord or hose.

If you live in a climate where the temperatures never really get too cold then you can provide your mobile auto detailing services year-round. If you reside in the northeast for example you may want to rent a bay in a car wash or some other auto type shop (car repair shop, lube business, tint shop, etc.) for the winter months. Some detailers operate out of other states for the winter months like Florida or California and build up a diversified clientele for 4-5 months out of the year. Many smart mobile detailers bank enough money during the good weather so they don’t have to work too hard during the winter. But what they actually do is work on obtaining new business by attending networking events, chamber of commerce meetings, cultivating their territory and setting up accounts with office building and condo complexes.

Every car on the road is a potential car detail for your business! From the little old lady from Pasadena to the high powered corporate CEO. They all need your services, you just need to provide a service that is affordable for that little old lady and a program for the CEO that wants his Mercedes washed weekly and detailed every month. Set up the services, determine the pricing and cultivate the various niches. Before you know it you may have acquired numerous commercial accounts and retail customers that are booking appointments with you on a regular basis. Also as your business grows and your customer base increases with volume you may need to roll out another mobile unit. But let me caution you, do not make that move too early and only have someone operating that second unit that has been working with you for a long time and someone that you can trust with your customers and their automobiles.

If you are serious about starting a mobile detailing or mobile car wash business you should really consider attending a Detail King Training Seminar. We teach you what you need to know about starting, operating and growing an auto detailing business. We have been doing this since 1999 and can be a great business partner to assist you with taking your current detailing business to the next level. Tip #7 will discuss how important it is to be trained properly not on for the hands-on detailing side of your business but also for the business side!