Archived Blog Posts for Auto Detailing Pricing

Once considered the lazy shopper’s present, gift certificates now make up more than 15% of holiday budgets. Today’s busy and finicky consumer’s not only enjoys these great gifts, but prefers them over conventional gifts and presents during the holiday season. Great as they are for customers, gift certificates are even better for your auto detailing business.

Once someone has had their car detailed by a reliable detailing business they are now hooked. So giving someone an auto detailing gift certificate not only generates cash flow, but you gain a new customer with repeat business and referrals. A real No Brainer!


Offering Gift Certificate Benefits Include:

Extra purchases by customers who might otherwise hesitate to buy for another person.
New customers, as gift recipients arrive to redeem their certificates – and keep coming back for additional auto detailing services.
Immediate cash without providing an immediate good or service, effectively serving as an interest-free loan until redemption.

Blank gift certificates are available everywhere, including office-supply stores. But what does a generic certificate say about your business – or the person giving it? Your auto detailing service certificate must be an attractive gift people are proud to hand to their friends or loved ones. So it’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of expert personalization, quality materials and a design that fits your company image.

Detail King has developed a simple yet effective template for you to customize as you see fit. You can customize the Detail King Gift Certificate Template not only for holidays like Christmas but for other special occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Grand Parent’s day. Take a look at our Customizable Template by Clicking Here.

When you fill up your gas tank, have you noticed that it leaves your wallet a little less empty these days? Gasoline prices have been falling for the last few months, and they should continue their decline through most of 2015.The national average is expected to drop over 20% in 2015 to about $2.58 per gallon, according to the Federal Energy Information Administration. If that projection holds up, then it would mean an average savings of about .80 per gallon through 2015.

That is a lot more than just extra change in your customer’s pockets! According to a Bankrate analysis of government petroleum stats, each American driver stands to save about $452 on gasoline this year. These lower prices could pump more than $100 billion into the American economy over the course of this year. Wouldn’t your business want some of that excess $$$? The lower gas prices will also decrease variable costs for mobile detailing business, which is a welcome benefit.


What does this all mean for your auto detailing business? How could lower gas prices impact your bottom line? Well the “average Joe or Jane” that always wanted to have his or her car detailed but couldn’t afford that extra couple hundred dollars may now be able to swing it. Gear your marketing to reach out to the prospects that you may not have been able to acquire in the past. Your advertisements should focus on the money they are saving with lower gas prices and why it would benefit them to spend it with you to “protect their investment.”

The average “buy cycle” for automobiles is now 9 years, meaning people are holding onto their new car for 9 years before replacing it with a another one. You can bet they want them to look good and be worth something when they trade it in or sell it. Once they get their car professionally detailed they get “hooked.” Be sure you offer “after care” detailing services to keep their vehicles looking great year round. In business today you must think out of the box not only to thrive, but to survive!


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 KingShown 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!

Thank you,

(your name)
(name of your business)
(tag line)
(phone number)
(web site)

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!

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 Restoration –  Headlight 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.