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Mobile Detailer Startup


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Hey Guys - I'm in the process of starting up a Mobile Detailing business and I'm modeling it around using Adam's exclusively.  While it may be a pricier way to do business, vs buying meguires or something in bulk.  

 

Just curious to know if there are any other mobile detailers out there using only adams?

 

Also, I have been working on doing drills on my families various cars and I cannot get my basic wash, exterior only down to an hour.  Maybe I am a perfectionist, but by the time I do rims and foam and rinse and two bucket and final rinse and drying I am at an hour and a half usually before I even get to the interior.

 

Anyone who has speedy tips for car cleaning in general would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks!

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A few things come to mind for small business ownership.  A couple of which I still struggle to do myself.  These don't necessarily apply to the process of detailing, but business related.  So my apologies for the sidetrack.

 

1. Don't include services the client didn't pay for.  Your pricing is based on a model of how long it will take you to complete the work and priced accordingly.  If you start to add services they didn't pay for two things happen.  First, your profit gets sucked away.  Second, you train your customer that they don't have to pay for all of the services.

 

2. While I'm a huge fan of Adam's, there are a couple of other suppliers that I utilize for various things.  I owe it to myself and my business to make smart purchasing decisions.  If I can use a similar product for less money, it allows me to make more money without having to impact the client (either in price or quality).  That being said, I enjoy my relationship with Adam's and tend to look there first.  I tend to price things out by volume when making buying decisions.  For example, an 8 ounce bottle of polish versus a 32 ounce (or even gallon) elsewhere.  If the savings is significant and it doesn't affect quality, guess which one I choose?

 

3. Know that some jobs you just aren't going to make all the money you planned on.  You'll estimate a three hour job and it'll take four.  You can't go back to the client and upcharge at that point.  You simply absorb the difference and move on.  There's going to be a job that comes along that you will plan four hours for and get done in three.  That will balance it out.

 

4. Consider getting a partner/employee.  I have one guy I work with who does amazing work.  He's far better at interiors than I'll ever be and the two of us can work quickly and efficiently together.  At the same time, his availability helps to make our scheduling easier.  He's capable of tackling a vehicle by himself.  Some jobs you'll get simply due to availability. 

 

5. Constantly evaluate how your business is doing.  Are you charging enough?  Can you make smarter purchasing decisions?  Can you become more efficient?  We will travel, but primarily work out of my garage.  I invested in a mid rise lift to make it more comfortable for us to work and to make "wheels off" jobs more efficient.  It was a decent investment that I plan to recover over time through business and personal use.  The biggest thing we've noticed is we find more spots that are easier for us to give attention to and we aren't so bent over so our backs don't hurt.  Big up front cost, but will pay off in multiples over time.

 

6. Know that there's going to be a curve to getting the work coming in.  My business is relatively new as well, but it's picking up slowly.  The more work we do, the more referrals we get inquiries from.  Not all inquiries will turn into business.  In fact, most won't.

 

7. Value your own work.  Don't cave into the "X will do it for this much" argument.  That customer is just that...a customer and not a client.  Explain why your work is valued where it is and let them decide.  If price is their driving factor, they may not be the customer you want.  If you don't value your own work, why should the customer?

 

8. Know that there's going to be a learning curve for you.  Not just in terms of the processes you use, but the business end of things.  You'll spend time calling or emailing hoping to obtain better pricing from vendors.  Don't underestimate this process.  You need to do it in order to maximize margins.  Write everything down.  Quotes.  Agreements with vendors.  Everything.  It's great having notes to refer back to. 

 

9. Most of all, enjoy the experience.  Small business ownership isn't the source of my household income.  It does provide a unique challenge though that I've enjoyed along the way.  Understand you'll make mistakes.  Learn from them without dwelling on them and look ahead. 

 

Best of luck!

Edited by medic001918
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A great money saving tip is to use APC for the wheels, tires, and wheel wells, you won't need wheel cleaner and tire and rubber cleaner on most cars.

 

You will save money by diluting rinselsss 16:1 to make waterless wash, this way, you can presoak the dead bugs, which saves time from scrubbing them off.

 

Another tip, use a machine when using a wax or sealant, it will save you time and you will be able to make a thinner layer, using less product.

 

Not sure if you use a pressure washer, but that saves a lot of time, just spraying off the crud and grime, and especially when doing wheel wheels, because you won't have to scrub as much, the pressure does a lot of the work.

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A great money saving tip is to use APC for the wheels, tires, and wheel wells, you won't need wheel cleaner and tire and rubber cleaner on most cars.

 

You will save money by diluting rinselsss 16:1 to make waterless wash, this way, you can presoak the dead bugs, which saves time from scrubbing them off.

 

Another tip, use a machine when using a wax or sealant, it will save you time and you will be able to make a thinner layer, using less product.

 

Not sure if you use a pressure washer, but that saves a lot of time, just spraying off the crud and grime, and especially when doing wheel wheels, because you won't have to scrub as much, the pressure does a lot of the work.

I read that APC was even safe on leather.  That seems a bit scary to me, but I'll try this on my tires next wash.  

 

I do use a greenworks pressure washer and Adam's foam cannon.  I love those two.  Currently I do a quick spray down with water, treat and clean the rims, then foam cannon and let that drip for about 4-5 minutes, rinse and then two bucket wash then final rinse and dry.

 

A few things come to mind for small business ownership.  A couple of which I still struggle to do myself.  These don't necessarily apply to the process of detailing, but business related.  So my apologies for the sidetrack.

 

1. Don't include services the client didn't pay for.  Your pricing is based on a model of how long it will take you to complete the work and priced accordingly.  If you start to add services they didn't pay for two things happen.  First, your profit gets sucked away.  Second, you train your customer that they don't have to pay for all of the services.

 

2. While I'm a huge fan of Adam's, there are a couple of other suppliers that I utilize for various things.  I owe it to myself and my business to make smart purchasing decisions.  If I can use a similar product for less money, it allows me to make more money without having to impact the client (either in price or quality).  That being said, I enjoy my relationship with Adam's and tend to look there first.  I tend to price things out by volume when making buying decisions.  For example, an 8 ounce bottle of polish versus a 32 ounce (or even gallon) elsewhere.  If the savings is significant and it doesn't affect quality, guess which one I choose?

 

3. Know that some jobs you just aren't going to make all the money you planned on.  You'll estimate a three hour job and it'll take four.  You can't go back to the client and upcharge at that point.  You simply absorb the difference and move on.  There's going to be a job that comes along that you will plan four hours for and get done in three.  That will balance it out.

 

4. Consider getting a partner/employee.  I have one guy I work with who does amazing work.  He's far better at interiors than I'll ever be and the two of us can work quickly and efficiently together.  At the same time, his availability helps to make our scheduling easier.  He's capable of tackling a vehicle by himself.  Some jobs you'll get simply due to availability. 

 

5. Constantly evaluate how your business is doing.  Are you charging enough?  Can you make smarter purchasing decisions?  Can you become more efficient?  We will travel, but primarily work out of my garage.  I invested in a mid rise lift to make it more comfortable for us to work and to make "wheels off" jobs more efficient.  It was a decent investment that I plan to recover over time through business and personal use.  The biggest thing we've noticed is we find more spots that are easier for us to give attention to and we aren't so bent over so our backs don't hurt.  Big up front cost, but will pay off in multiples over time.

 

6. Know that there's going to be a curve to getting the work coming in.  My business is relatively new as well, but it's picking up slowly.  The more work we do, the more referrals we get inquiries from.  Not all inquiries will turn into business.  In fact, most won't.

 

7. Value your own work.  Don't cave into the "X will do it for this much" argument.  That customer is just that...a customer and not a client.  Explain why your work is valued where it is and let them decide.  If price is their driving factor, they may not be the customer you want.  If you don't value your own work, why should the customer?

 

8. Know that there's going to be a learning curve for you.  Not just in terms of the processes you use, but the business end of things.  You'll spend time calling or emailing hoping to obtain better pricing from vendors.  Don't underestimate this process.  You need to do it in order to maximize margins.  Write everything down.  Quotes.  Agreements with vendors.  Everything.  It's great having notes to refer back to. 

 

9. Most of all, enjoy the experience.  Small business ownership isn't the source of my household income.  It does provide a unique challenge though that I've enjoyed along the way.  Understand you'll make mistakes.  Learn from them without dwelling on them and look ahead. 

 

Best of luck!

THANK YOU!!!  For this incredible detailed response.  I am really dedicated to this new startup, it while I'm going to be starting part time my end goal is to transition out of my day job to be a full time owner / operator.  My plan once I'm able to go out on my own would be to hire another person.

 

Your 7th bullet has been something i've been readying myself for.  My prices will be on the higher side of the market, but any cheaper and it wouldn't work.  I know that my work is better than any 20 dollar wash out there, I'm not even sure how some mobile guys can offer a price that low.  

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I would change your order for washing, by doing the wheels first, then spraying the car, then foaming, then 2 bucket washing and final rinse. I understand why you let the foam soak, but how come you don't reform the car after rinsing it?

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Hey Nick,

 

Shane took the words right out of my mouth. The only thing that I'm able to add is the cost of doing washes versus detailing. When I first started detailing autos, I took on a lot of washes as time went on I did less washes and more details. My minimum car wash is $40.00 and up my customers also know that if the car has been on a trip and is in need of extra work, there will be a upcharge for the time it takes me to complete said job. Everyday is a learning day no two days are the same. I also don't let my customers dictate pricing and will not even hear that someone will do it for less because I will show them the door and on the way out I mention if the other detailer does horrible work and you come back, there will be a upcharge.

 

There are two Kinds of auto detailers, one that knows how to wash and wax cars and one that knows about the true art of automotive detailing. You pick what you want to become and do, becuse there are millions of cars to work on and lots of money to be made.

 

Good Luck

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Hey Guys - I'm in the process of starting up a Mobile Detailing business and I'm modeling it around using Adam's exclusively.  While it may be a pricier way to do business, vs buying meguires or something in bulk.  

 

Just curious to know if there are any other mobile detailers out there using only adams?

 

Also, I have been working on doing drills on my families various cars and I cannot get my basic wash, exterior only down to an hour.  Maybe I am a perfectionist, but by the time I do rims and foam and rinse and two bucket and final rinse and drying I am at an hour and a half usually before I even get to the interior.

 

Anyone who has speedy tips for car cleaning in general would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks!

what was said below by MEDIC:   saved me lots of time as well, and worth paying my "apprentice" some extra cash:

 

"4. Consider getting a partner/employee.  I have one guy I work with who does amazing work.  He's far better at interiors than I'll ever be and the two of us can work quickly and efficiently together.  At the same time, his availability helps to make our scheduling easier.  He's capable of tackling a vehicle by himself..."

 

:) 

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