How to Start a Car Detailing Business from Home

by Chosen Caleb
Photo by Neelabh Raj on Unsplash

Car detailing entails the thorough cleaning, restoring, and protecting of an automobile. It consists of external and internal detailing and involves processes such as deep cleaning, polishing, waxing or sealing, headlight restoration, engine bay cleaning, automobile interior vacuuming, glass cleaning, fabric protection, and so on. Car detailing enhances the look of one’s vehicle, increases its value (resale), and also increases its longevity.

Why Should you Start a Car Detailing Business?

1. Easy to Start

Car detailing is a business that is not complex to start. It is not capital intensive, nor does it require any prior skill or technical “know-how.” Compared to other businesses relating to automobiles, not much equipment is needed to start, and it is something you can start from home (you might not need a workspace).

2. Flexibility

For car detailing businesses, flexibility is guaranteed because you will be able to set your services, appointments, and prices to what you prefer. It also makes it easy to design your business model to fit that of a part-time, side hustle, or full-time business.

3. Lucrative

A car detailing business has the potential to be highly lucrative in the long run. Car ownership has been on the rise, and so has the need for car detailing services. People are willing to pay for professional detailing services in order to preserve the external and interior aesthetics of their vehicles. With a good marketing strategy in place, prioritizing quality services and so on, your car detailing business can grow into a very profitable one.

4. Scalable

A car detailing business is one that you can easily expand. You don’t need to worry about starting small with this kind of business because, as it grows, its flexibility enables you to expand with the customer base. Also, its scalability doesn’t cost as much either!

However, it is important to note that there are certain challenges you will surely encounter when you start a car detailing business.

  1. High competition.
  2. Physically demanding.
  3. Time consuming.
  4. Getting customers, and so on.

How can you start from home?

As mentioned above, the car detailing business is easy to start, which means you can also begin from home. However, it is important to note that starting such a business requires you to carefully plan and factor in the regulations guiding starting such a business at home. Knowing how feasible it is to start such a business at home will enable you to address the challenges you might encounter and ensure the business turns out successful.

1. Create a business plan

The first and most important step to take before starting a car detailing business is to create a business plan. This is important so you can know how to model the business. Remember, it is a business you are starting from home and, as such, requires meticulously crafted guidelines to run it. The business plan will provide you with a clear goal for the business, help you understand costs, and also maximize revenue. Here is how to create your own business plan.

2. Get equipment

The next step is to get the necessary equipment needed for the car detailing business. It is important to note that the equipment you will be getting is highly dependent on the model of your car detailing business. You might decide to focus on just the exterior, the interior alone, or both, and this will determine the kind of equipment to be used. You might also be required to get automated equipment to prevent you from causing damage to the vehicles while cleaning.

3. Get a legal permit

Getting a permit is the third step to take. Some nations might not care about getting a license or permit, but if your region does, it is important to get one. You can decide to register the business as a limited liability, sole proprietorship, corporation, and so on. However, for a small business such as this it is advisable to register your business as a limited liability.

4. Build your brand and clientele

The final step is to build your car detailing business brand. Of course, competition will be there, so it is important to brand your own business to make it stand out from others. Because you are starting the business from home, it is important to advertise the business a lot. Use various advertisement platforms, social media, and even word of mouth to ensure wide reach. Giving discounted prices can also help build your customer base and clientele.

In all of this, do know that it is not bad to start small. As your clientele grows, you can also expand. Ensure to always stay up-to-date, fine-tune your marketing strategy to enable you to remain relevant, try to maintain a professional image despite the fact that you are starting at home, and ensure to make your operations sustainable (don’t waste too much of resources like water). You can also incorporate AI into your service by creating apps that customers can use to schedule for it.

What is the equipment needed?

1. Pressure washer

It is essentially to remove dirt, loose debris, and so on from the exterior parts of the vehicle. It is important to get a pressure washer that doesn’t have too much power so as not to damage the paint of the car. The recommended PSI of power is 1,500.

2. Foam canon

This is used alongside the pressure washer. It is attached to the pressure washer and helps to create a thick sud that covers the exterior part of the vehicle. It is better than most traditional methods of washing because it helps to lift up dirt, grime, loose debris, and so on from cars easily and more effectively.

3. Car wash chemicals

Another important material to consider is the car wash chemicals. It is important to note that sometimes using just any soap can damage the paint of the car. However, with the advent of car wash soap, you can wash without fear of damaging car paint because it is manufactured with mild washing agents. It can be used for both the interior and exterior parts of the vehicle.

4. Microfiber towels

These are essentially for drying the car after washing it without scratching the paint. It can also be used for polishing to a certain extent. You will be required to use different sizes and varieties of microfiber towels for the different parts of the vehicle.

5. Bucket and Grid guard

Another essential piece of equipment is the bucket. It will be needed to hold soapy water to wash the car and normal water to rinse the car. The purpose of the grid guard is to ensure that dirt doesn’t enter the bucket while you are washing, so as to avoid damaging the car paint when scrubbing.

6. Sponge and Brushes

It is important to scrub the vehicle while washing. Ensure to get a soft sponge so that the car paint will not be damaged. The brushes will be used for scrubbing the tough parts of the exterior, like the wheels, engine bay, and so on.

7. Vacuum cleaner

A very important tool for cleaning the interior of vehicles. Often times, dirt is trapped under the seats, beside the doors, and in other hard-to-reach places. A vacuum cleaner helps to remove the dirt with ease.

8. Air compressor

This can also perform the job of a vacuum cleaner. It blows out the dirt found in the interior of the car. However, this is not its main function, as it can also be used to inflate tires.

9. Polisher

It is used alongside wax and sealants to protect the shine of vehicles. It can also help to remove scratches, rust, and even swirls from the body of the vehicle. The machine can also be used for cutting and finishing. It is necessary to get the necessary polishing pad to be used. There is also the rotary polisher and the dual-action polisher. You can choose the one you like (or both).

Other equipment includes:

  • Fragrances,
  • Fabric cleaner (for interior),
  • Generator (to power your equipment), and so on.

Also note that you can decide to focus solely on using only automated machines for your car detailing business or just soap and water. But it all depends on how you have modelled your business.

How profitable is it?

For a professional car detailing business, they can make anywhere from $1,000 per week to $4,000 a month. Although there is no estimated amount as to how much you can make when you start from home, the amount stated above gives an overview of how lucrative the business is. Even as a side hustle or main hustle, you are sure to get high revenue with costs as low as $15–20 to purchase some equipment.


As we come to an end of this article, it is important for you to know that you need to have a passion for this business. As mentioned above, car detailing services can be very time consuming and physically demanding. However, with a love for cars, and passion for the work, you will be able to overcome.

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