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Making a hobby a legit business


moparman
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Something that I (and Adam) often say -

 

"No one gets rich detailing"

 

Its hard often frustrating work detailing for dollars. I did it for years as a side job and despite the high level of some of the stuff I was working on it rarely was profitable enough to afford me the lifestyle I wanted to lead. Then of course there the lulls to contend with... living in SoCal Im essentially in the mecca for detailers and could work ALMOST year round, but when the rainy season comes thru and you have zero clients its a hard business to be in. Based on your location you'd have far more of that to deal with than I ever would.

 

Not trying to tinkle on your parade... but if you REALLY enjoy detailing, keep it as a hobby so you can continue to enjoy it. Take care of friends and family on the side for a couple $$ here and there.

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I think he is supplementing his day job, but keeping it as a hobby, (let's say keeping any money off the books) versus becoming a legit business and showing profits and (mostly) losses.

There are benefits to both ways. It does become a hassle operating as a business; licenses, income & expense recording, etc, but then you do get certain benefits.

I would talk to your tax professional or CPA and decide.

Bruce

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i was thinking of doing this too. Just for friends/family. I was gonna charge 50 bucs for wash clay polish wax. Well after I did my car, I leanred its hard work. It would have to be at least 100 dollars. My car wasnt even that bad swirl wise since i was new. I can only imagine other cars.

 

I will still do their cars, but for like 100 dollars (including the inside engine bay and everything) lol.

 

People tell me thats a lot of money, but I have to explain that this isnt something that has to be done often. Its detailing, not just car washing....

 

I always get compliments on my paint though. After I did my car, I didn't realize I had so much glitter (or pearl) in my paint lol!

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Just curious...

What is the going rate for a detail job??

What if it is just an exterior detail??

 

Really depends on the detailer, the quality of work, the amount of work, etc.

 

I've done small cars that took multiple days to complete b/c they were so hammered, and I've done large cars in less than 6 hours b/c the correction and cleanup was very minor.

 

Generally its best to establish rates on a p/hour basis... even if thats not how the customer is charged you need to be able to estimate a job based on the number of hours to complete it. The general math I would use in my detail for dollars days was around $20-$30 an hour depending on the intensity of the work, color of the car, condition of the car, etc.

 

I think charging much less than $200 for an average detail is a bit of a waste of your time if you're gonna do it right.

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Something that I (and Adam) often say -

 

"No one gets rich detailing"

 

 

 

Not trying to tinkle on your parade... but if you REALLY enjoy detailing, keep it as a hobby so you can continue to enjoy it. Take care of friends and family on the side for a couple $$ here and there.

 

 

I started doing it as a side job. Dylan is right, it started to become more like a job. So I backed off and help out friends and family only.

 

The biggest pain I ran into is that people would expect miracles. They would not take care of their cars before and after a detail job and wondered why their car did not look like mine. It truly is a "theraputic passion" for me!

 

Good Luck!

 

Steve

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The biggest pain I ran into is that people would expect miracles. They would not take care of their cars before and after a detail job and wondered why their car did not look like mine.

 

Thats a big one... also drives me up a wall when I hear:

 

"$250!?!? I can get it detailed at the car wash for $70" :explode:

 

The detailing "business" has been undermined by any idiot who picks up a bucket, some soap, and a bottle of wax calling himself a 'detailer'. People have come to accept a guy who hoses your car off and slathers on a thick coat of cheap autoparts store wax is the defacto detailer... the only way to counteract this is to actually DEMO a spot on their car and show them what the use of a machine polisher, clay, etc can do compared to the supposed "car wash detail".

 

Its a shame the detailing industry isn't more organized. Mechanics have ASE certification to prove they are competent. Audio & Visual techs have CEDIA certifications to show they know what their doing.

 

The detailing industry really needs something like that, a governing body, that accredits and certifies qualified professionals to do the work... but its likely never gonna happen.

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I think he is supplementing his day job, but keeping it as a hobby, (let's say keeping any money off the books) versus becoming a legit business and showing profits and (mostly) losses.

There are benefits to both ways. It does become a hassle operating as a business; licenses, income & expense recording, etc, but then you do get certain benefits.

I would talk to your tax professional or CPA and decide.

Bruce

 

 

Yes.. i have a normal job with an auto factory here in town. Dont worry not big 3.

 

I just wanted to know the in's and out's, like company check account, etc, versus checks made to me.. all that hoopla. I dont think i can do it for money like every day job.

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Its a shame the detailing industry isn't more organized. Mechanics have ASE certification to prove they are competent. Audio & Visual techs have CEDIA certifications to show they know what their doing.

 

The detailing industry really needs something like that, a governing body, that accredits and certifies qualified professionals to do the work... but its likely never gonna happen.

 

There's no reason that it can't be...just like any other industry, there would be some level of competency testing. That certification would MEAN something and be a nod of confidence to the consumer so they can trust that they aren't just getting some spray and wash swirl maker nonsense.

 

I'd be interested in making that happen.

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I already have a fairly large client base and referrals coming in all the time.. i just wanted to know if there was an advantage to have a legit business for tax purposes, etc.

 

Depends on how much money you make doing it and how well you can hide it LOL.

 

If you can justify the write offs then spend the money, form a corporation, open a business checking account, hire a CPA to do your books (trust me... this is VERY big when tax season comes around) Carry insurance in case something goes horribly wrong.

 

I'd say figure out what your overheads will be first, figure out how much you can stand to 'profit' on it and then weigh whether or not its worth making it legit or if you can continue to work for cash under the table.

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You can set up a small business, keep track of our income and expenses and report them on the schedule c every year. This would be a portion of your regular tax return and be reported on your 1040. You do not have to officially be a registered corporation to run your own business.

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Im doing a couple of cars on the side in april, one of the guys from work has a friend with a 99 bmw 7 series but it looks like crap it beat to heck and there are scratches all over it not to mention it looks like someone put a scrubby pad on the trunk. Oh yeah and its black, the inside is hideous and the motor is dirty too. i told him 250 - 300 for the whole car front to back inside outside clay and machine he about spit hairy bolts when i told him. so i went around the car with him and explained to him what was involved so we will see what he wants to do.

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You can set up a small business, keep track of our income and expenses and report them on the schedule c every year. This would be a portion of your regular tax return and be reported on your 1040. You do not have to officially be a registered corporation to run your own business.

 

Setting up a corp. is just for protection... the fact that you are taking possession temporarily of another persons car that could be valued at 30,40,50,$100k+ its a small fee to get yourself incorporated to protect yourself in case the unimaginable happens. If your cleaning up honda civics all day then yea, maybe a tad overboard, but if you get your hands on a custom car/truck or something remotely valuable theres a lot of risk involved.

 

It'd be a shame to put yourself in personal financial jeopardy over a 'side job'.

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Everybody freaks out when I tell them it's gonna be like 150$ Yo do their car.

 

I have to explain the amount of work and they just don't get it.

 

Thats not that bad...considering the price of products and your time. a full detail may take 8 hours (a full workday)...6 customers a week is only $900 total....before expenses, etc.

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Setting up a corp. is just for protection... the fact that you are taking possession temporarily of another persons car that could be valued at 30,40,50,$100k+ its a small fee to get yourself incorporated to protect yourself in case the unimaginable happens. If your cleaning up honda civics all day then yea, maybe a tad overboard, but if you get your hands on a custom car/truck or something remotely valuable theres a lot of risk involved.

 

It'd be a shame to put yourself in personal financial jeopardy over a 'side job'.

 

I would agree with you. It just depends on your state. Some are very difficult to incorporate in, while others are fairly simple. You will have much more protection if you are incorporated. It just may not be worth it for the OP depending on how many cars he does. If he only does one car a month or every other month he could just go with the schedule c. If the op is just looking to be legit on his revenue recognition and offset that revenue with some expenses he could use the schedule c. :cheers:

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Thats not that bad...considering the price of products and your time. a full detail may take 8 hours (a full workday)...6 customers a week is only $900 total....before expenses, etc.

 

I really want to make it a good income weekend thing but everybody is in a TRASHED pos car that is atleast a 2 day job and wants to pay 50$. I'm at the point now that I get pissed.

 

"the place down the street will detail my car for 50$ why would I pay you 150". Then I try to explain that I'm doing paint correction(with pics from my car and my moms truck) and they still ***** so I just send them on their way.

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I really want to make it a good income weekend thing but everybody is in a TRASHED pos car that is atleast a 2 day job and wants to pay 50$. I'm at the point now that I get pissed.

 

"the place down the street will detail my car for 50$ why would I pay you 150". Then I try to explain that I'm doing paint correction(with pics from my car and my moms truck) and they still ***** so I just send them on their way.

 

im in the same boat as you are...it is really frustrating because your average person doesnt have a clue when it comes to what a lot of us can do to a car...doesnt make it any better my dad is one of te ill do the outside and inside of your car for $80...makes it kinda hard for me to get people :mad:

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