Mobile Detailing Services

Mobile Detailing Services

When I think back about how I started my own detailing company I can’t imagine not setting up with mobile detailing services first.  If I had to do it over again I would do exactly the same thing.  No fixed facility shop, low overhead, no utilities, no property/building insurance, etc. There are just so many positives that I can’t figure out why people get the idea to start a detail shop and don’t consider the mobile detailing services as an option.  Yes, you do have some drawbacks like being controlled by the weather.  You can fix that with an inflatable mobile workshop or mobile garage much like the one we use.  Initially setting up mobile detailing services costs some money, but using these tools like inflatable mobile garages, you can control those variables better.  These tools give you the ability to work year round in any kind of weather environment which in itself will pay for the cost of the tent many times over.

When you begin offering mobile detailing services, you need the basics of any detailing business:

  • mobile detailing van – best option is a Chevy Express 1500 Cargo Van, we tried several vans and trucks and this worked the best.
  • mobile detailing equipment – pressure washer, generator, portable water buffalo, a Makita variable high speed wheel buffer (0 to 6K) and a Porter Cable variable high speed orbital buffer (0 to 6K)
  • detailing supplies
  • detailing business insurance
  • detailing business forms for your the transactions.  Being organized doesn’t just benefit a business offering mobile detailing services, it’s a great idea with any business.
  • credit card merchant account – most inexpensive way to do this is to setup a free business PayPal account online
  • uniforms, mainly a professionally produced t-shirt with your company logo on it and khaki shorts or clean jeans with no holes.  We like how our friends at MobileDetails Inc., did their setup with their professional created logo.  They put it on everything and it really helped their business take off.

As I asked you in another section of the site, do you have garage keepers liability insurance? See our Detailing Business Insurance page for more information on the type’s of insurance you need for your business. General liability alone won’t cut it, you need garage keepers liability to cover the vehicle while in your care, custody and control. Ask your insurance agent about this.

After insurance, mobile detailing equipment and other miscellaneous detailing supplies, you need to make sure your business has it’s own checking account separate from your personal account. This is to make sure your business funds are separated from your personal money. This will definitely benefit you when it comes to tax time and you give your receipts and bank account statements to your accountant.  When you first start out with a mobile detailing services business, you may think your costs are high but you will quickly see how profitable you become as you begin to see more customers.

The other thing you need to determine with any mobile detailing services business is the legal structure.  Do you start as a sole proprietor or incorporate?  You can also setup a LLC, which is a limited liability company but many tax professionals will tell you there’s not a lot of differences between that and a small business corporation or Sub S Corp.  You need to talk to your CPA and your Attorney about this as they will be able to advise you as to which structure is the most beneficial to you.  Mobile Detailing Services don’t have an enormous amount of liability as long as you are properly insured.  You always want to be protected as much as possible though.

Offering Mobile Detailing Services is a very profitable business but you need to make sure you are organized on the back office side before you can make money on the service side.  You can make a ton of money performing services for people but if you don’t where it’s going, how much detailing supplies are costing you or other expenses like business insurance or equipment purchases you won’t be making much at the end of the year.  I have talked to guys who thought they were doing great and they now say the worst part of it all was that they were basically bankrupting themselves with all their expenses, but they didn’t discover that they were broke until several months after because they were too busy trying to make money.  Don’t let that happen to you.  Mobile Detailing Services are profitable, but it is still hard work and it is still a business.  Run it well and it will reward you well.