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Sij
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Im brand new to this, and dont know what im getting into. I was looking into getting a trailer with power steamer and degreaser sprayer to do anything from a car to a semi tractor trailer. I know what products im going to get, im thinking now the steamer may be overkill as ill be doing more cars and trucks than actual semi tractor trailers. What i need info on is a good pressure sprayer that will be good for what i need it for.... plus any tips or advice to help me get started

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Where to begin?  Are you brand new to business?  Or brand new to detailing?

 

Your answer will shape mine significantly. So I’ll hold off answering until you reply.

 

I’d also encourage you to look at my post history. I’ve been rather candid about my business and it’s growth as it’s gone. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, shane@detailedreflections said:

Where to begin?  Are you brand new to business?  Or brand new to detailing?

 

Your answer will shape mine significantly. So I’ll hold off answering until you reply.

 

I’d also encourage you to look at my post history. I’ve been rather candid about my business and it’s growth as it’s gone. 

 

 

In new to both i will look up your post

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Alright, let’s get into it a bit. Before I start, please don’t take this as a way to discourage you, but to inform you. I had a feeling that was going to be your answer.

 

If you’re new to detailing, you shouldn’t be taking money from someone to perform a service. You don’t know what you don’t know. The moment you take money from a client in exchange for a service, the expectation changes. You’re expected to know how, why and when to do something. More than that, you’re expected to know how to and have the means to fix your screw ups. And don’t think screw ups won’t happen, they will. I promise.

 

Without experience, how do you know what products you’ll need or want to get?  Do you know what tools you need too?  We still try different products all the time. 

 

Starting a business will cost you far more than you anticipate. Both in terms of time, and money. On the surface, detailing seems simple enough and like a low cost business. The reality is you’ll burn through product faster than you think, you’ll sacrifice product for time (we clean our pads with a tool, it shortens life but also shortens time we spend cleaning). 

 

Pricing...you need to work backwards. Your operating expenses, salary and money on the table for the business to grow. There’s a ton of math to be done. Don’t train your clients to pay lower prices, they’ll expect it and you’ll never break the habit. Value your work. 

 

If you think as a professional detailer you don’t need a steamer, I’d rethink that. We use a steamer on every job we do. Every. Single. One. 

 

The difference between a professional and hobbyist is often the tools and knowledge of the process. We have a lift, blowers, extractor, six different polishers, a bunch of polishes/compounds/pads. We have a lighting bay with 100,000+ lumens of light in it. 

 

Don’t forget insurance expenses, gas, generator, etc. How will you obtain clients?  

 

The list goes on. Ask some more specific questions, and I’m happy to answer. With little knowledge of the process, I’d say you’ll find yourself in over your head quickly. Practice on your cars, friends and family. Get junk panels from the junkyard and experiment. Make lists of equipment. As an example, one thing we use that helps us justify our premium pricing is that we have a large selection of tools for any task that the “other guys” don’t have. We also are IDA certified, and we are accredited by certain manufacturers to be authorized installers. 

 

Define your goal. Make a plan to get there. But go in with open eyes. You’ll be surprised it’s not as simple as it seems. 

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I dont know what happened to the message that said im going to start with basic washes the steamer you're talking about is not the steamer im talking about. The steamer i mentioned was a hot water power wash, for the type of semi tractor trailers that are in my area which are working in the oil fields here in Texas. Im not making this into something im going to live off of its just a side job i already have work lined up (basic washes) to pay for all my equipment. Ive looked into insurance and cost of the equipment i need. Im not jumping right into doing paint correction, i feel like a mobile wash is exactly what is needed in this small town i live in.

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12 hours ago, Sij said:

I dont know what happened to the message that said im going to start with basic washes the steamer you're talking about is not the steamer im talking about. The steamer i mentioned was a hot water power wash, for the type of semi tractor trailers that are in my area which are working in the oil fields here in Texas. Im not making this into something im going to live off of its just a side job i already have work lined up (basic washes) to pay for all my equipment. Ive looked into insurance and cost of the equipment i need. Im not jumping right into doing paint correction, i feel like a mobile wash is exactly what is needed in this small town i live in.

 

Sounds like you’re good to go. Your business model is more of a car wash than a detail business. The two are vastly different. My experience lies within the realm of detailing. We do very few car washes as they simply aren’t that profitable for us to do once you price it properly with setup and breakdown. 

 

One suggestion is to keep detailing out of your business name to avoid client confusion. Managing client expectations is one of the hardest part of running a business. 

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