Traditional Mobile Detailing Business

 Starting a mobile detailing business can be a scary thought. If you are looking for tips and ideas to put your dream in motion, here are the best ones.

There are two types of mobile business. Traditional and Waterless.

Lets deal with Traditional first

It involves acquiring a vehicle large enough to hold a water supply tank of about one hundred gallons for washing up to two vehicles. A polyethelene tank would be ideal. Light weight, won't rust and relatively cheap. Drawbacks include being fairly easy to puncture and continuous exposure to the suns ultra violet rays will cause the breakdown and eventual failure and splitting of the plastic. Look for a tank with baffles built inside to prevent "sloshing around" of the water while the vehicle is moving. Remember that the tank and water weigh in at approximately 1000 - 1200 pounds or in metric measurement about 450 - 550 kilograms.

Next item on the mobile detailing business list of equipment is a gasoline powered pressure washer. When purchasing this equipment, think in terms of volume of water pumped per minute rather then pressure. A water volume of 2.5 gallons per minute and a water pressure at the nozzle tip of 1000 pounds per square inch is all that is needed. It is the volume of water that does the cleaning not an exorbitant pressure. The last thing we want to do is peel the paint off a customer vehicle from to much pressure.


The last major piece of equipment for a traditional mobile detailing business, would be a gasoline powered generator. This will power all other minor pieces of equipment such as a shop vac for interior cleaning, and power polishers if you are going to provide this service. A generator with a minimum output of 1000 Watts and preferably up to 2500 Watts would be ideal. Newer models with quiet "mode" would be appreciated by your customer and their neighbors.


Minor mobile detailing business equipment would include a shop vac for cleaning a vehicles interior. Consider buying a shop vac that also has an "auto detailing kit" as an option. This kit includes things like a smaller diameter hose with adapter, a crevice tool for those hard to get at places, a triangular shaped tool with soft bristles for the dash or any other spots you don't want to scratch.

Other tools such as a power polisher for polishing out minor scratches and swirls on paint, to a smaller polisher for polishing dull, yellowed and/or scratched headlights and even a heat gun for removing stickers from glass and paint, can all be powered by the generator mounted on your vehicle.


That pretty well covers the equipment needed for a traditional mobile detailing business. It does work, but I feel this system will eventually fade away because of the costs involved in purchasing, maintaining and operating the vehicle and equipment. Some savings may be realized by mounting all the equipment in a tow behind trailer. However, vehicle fuel, licensing and insurance as well as business licensing and insurance will continue to rise over time. Knowing these facts, can we assume that these costs can be passed on to the customer ? Don't forget about regulatory concerns of runoff from the cleaning process into drains and sewers. All levels of government are raising environmental concerns. Will you be able to deal with these concerns? I don't want to discourage anyone's dreams. Perhaps the traditional mobile auto detailing will work in your locale, or maybe you will be willing to look at the second type of mobile detailing, waterless.


Whatever type of mobile detailing you choose, please make sure you have all current and proper licensing to ensure compliance with local, regional and federal laws. Put together a business team made up of a lawyer, accountant, insurance broker and a banker. Your team will help maximize the likelihood of success for yourself and your business.


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