How to start a Car Detailing Business in UK USA (Business Plan)

Car Detailing and Washing

Do you have these questions in your mind?

  • How to start a Car Detailing Business?
  • How much does it cost to start a Car Detailing business?
  • How can you make from a Car Detailing Business? 
  • How to find the best location to open your Car Detailing Business?

In this article, you will find answers to all your questions. So please grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get started.

Table of Contents

What is the Car Detailing Business?

With a global market value of around $14.3 billion and an annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.7%, the Car Detailing industry is one of the biggest industries in the world right now.


Car detailing is an extensive cleaning process that enhances the car’s appearance inside and outside. It is done by trained professionals using specialized equipment and products to achieve high cleanliness and shine.

This process includes cleaning, polishing, and waxing the car’s exterior surfaces and cleaning and conditioning the interior surfaces. Car detailing businesses offer various services, from essential to advanced packages, and can take several hours to complete. 

This service is popular among car enthusiasts, collectors, and anyone looking to maintain the appearance and value of their vehicle.


By the end of this article, we will teach you everything you need to know when starting your Car Detailing Business. 

Market Insight: The UK Car Detailing market size is around £1.1 billion and is expected to grow more over the years, while in the US, they have the biggest market size in the world with $11.4 Billion.

Car Detailing and Washing

Types of Car Detailing Business Models

There are different types of car detailing business models, each with its own advantages and challenges. Here are some of the most common types:


1. Mobile Detailing Business:
A mobile detailing business operates out of a van or truck and provides services at the customer’s location. This model is convenient for customers who don’t have the time to go to a detailing shop, and it can be cost-effective for the business owner who doesn’t need to pay for a physical location.


2. Detailing Shop:
A detailing shop has a physical location where customers can drop off their vehicles for detailing services. This model allows for a more comprehensive range of services and provides a more professional setting for the business.


3. Franchise Business:
A franchise business is a model in which the business owner purchases the right to use a brand’s name and operating system. Franchise businesses offer the advantage of a proven business model, established branding, and ongoing support from the franchisor.


4. Detailing as an Add-On:
This model involves offering detailing services as an add-on to an existing business, such as a car dealership or mechanic shop. This model can be profitable because the business already has a customer base and infrastructure in place.


5. Mobile App-Based Business:
This model is becoming increasingly popular and involves providing car detailing services through a mobile app. Customers can book appointments, track the progress of their service, and pay through the app. This model offers convenience for customers and flexibility for the business owner.

Car Detailing and Washing

Pros and Cons of a Car Detailing Business 

Pros of a Car Detailing Business include:

  • High-profit potential
  • Flexible schedule
  • Can operate from home or a mobile unit
  • High demand for services
  • Opportunity to work with cars
Cons of a Car Detailing Business include:
  • Capital investment required
  • Physically demanding work
  • Seasonal demand
  • Requires specialized knowledge and equipment
  • Intense competition

Remember, as a startup, your goal should be to keep your costs low and depend on your skills. If you push the process and try to go full-service from the very beginning, there is a good possibility that you’ll be overburdened and may get lost in the process.

Investment required for a Car Detailing Business

Starting your Car Detailing Business is an excellent idea.


In the US, you can start this business from $50K -$100K, while in the UK, the figure may vary, and you can start this business with an investment between £40K – £100K, depending on the quality of cars you purchase to rent out.


In the beginning, you can manage to do with less staff. It will save the cost of wages. Gradually, once your business grows, you can hire staff accordingly.


List of some of the common operating expenses:


  • Equipments 
  • Gas
  • Salaries
  • Vehicles
  • Rent
  • Internet
  • Insurance (if any)
  • Electricity
  • Telephone
  • Office Supplies
  • Repairs
  • Licenses (if any)
  • Property taxes
  • Loans if any
  • Advertisement costs
  • Office & Administration
  • Miscellaneous expenses
Car Detailing and Washing

How much will you earn as a Car Detailing business?

It is easier to estimate the earnings of a Car Detailing business with more information about the specific company, such as location, target market, and competition. 

In addition, factors such as overhead costs, sales volume, and pricing will all play a role in determining your earnings.

The average US Car Detailing business revenue is around $50K – $200K annually, while in the UK, it’s about £25K – £75K per year, with a profit margin of about 5% – 25%. 

Busiest time for your Car Detailing business:

The busiest time for a Car Detailing Business varies depending on the location and climate, but generally, the busiest time is in the spring and summer months when more people are traveling and spending time outdoors.

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Car Detailing and Washing

Types of Equipments needed for your Car Detailing Business

The types of equipments needed when starting a Car Detailing Business will depend on the target market, location, and business model. 

Here are types of equipment commonly used in a Car Detailing business:

  • Pressure Washer
  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Carpet Extractor
  • Polisher
  • Buffer
  • Steamer
  • Air Compressor
  • Paint Thickness Gauge
  • Foam Cannon
  • Microfiber Towels
  • Clay Bar
  • Polishing Pads
  • Wet/Dry Vacuum
  • Detailing Brushes
  • Tire Shine Applicator
  • Detailing Spray Bottles
  • UV Light
  • Detailing Cart
  • Paint Correction Compound
  • Quick Detailer Spray
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Interior Dressing
  • Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
  • Tire and Wheel Cleaner
  • Degreaser
Car Detailing and Washing

Car Detailing Service List

The list of services you can provide as a car detailing business depends on various factors, including your target audience, location, cuisine preference, and available resources.


Here is a list of common car detailing services that a Car Detailing business might offer:


  • Exterior Wash
  • Hand Wash
  • Waxing
  • Paint Correction
  • Ceramic Coating
  • Paint Protection Film Installation
  • Clay Bar Treatment
  • Paint Polishing
  • Headlight Restoration
  • Wheel Cleaning and Polishing
  • Tire Dressing
  • Undercarriage Cleaning
  • Engine Detailing
  • Interior Detailing
  • Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning
  • Leather Conditioning
  • Dashboard Cleaning and Dressing
  • Air Vent Cleaning
  • Window Cleaning
  • Odor Removal
  • Pet Hair Removal
  • Mobile Detailing Services
  • Fleet Detailing Services
  • Boat Detailing Services
  • RV Detailing Services


Note: The specific services offered by a car detailing business may vary depending on the business’s specialization, location, and equipment.

Car Detailing and Washing

Employees needed for your Car Detailing Business

Below is the list of the basic items required for the Car Detailing business, few could be optional for you:


  • Detailers
  • Service Manager
  • Sales and Marketing Manager
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Quality Control Specialist
  • Inventory Manager
  • Bookkeeper
  • Purchasing Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Office Administrator
  • Sales Representative
  • Social Media Manager
  • Web Developer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Detailing Trainer
  • Operations Manager
  • Automotive Technician
  • Paint Correction Specialist
  • Ceramic Coating Specialist
  • Window Tinting Specialist
  • Upholstery Repair Specialist
  • Mobile Detailing Technician
  • Apprentice Detailer
  • Equipment Maintenance Technician
  • Environmental Compliance Specialist
Note: As a startup, if you don’t have required funds to acquire all the above mentioned people, THAT’S OKAY! Start with the staff you can afford at that moment and just go with it!
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Car Detailing and Washing

Licence needed for a Car Detailing Business 

While essential licenses such as Business Licence, Health and Safety regulations, and Sales Tax Permits apply to almost all businesses (To read more about the licenses, ‘Click Here to read our Mini Guide’).


Some specific licenses and permits might be needed to open a Car Detailing Business in the UK and the US. Those licenses are as follows:




1. Waste Management License:
A license that ensures the business follows environmental regulations when handling and disposing of waste products and chemicals.


2. Water Discharge Permit:
A permit that ensures the business meets regulations when disposing of wastewater.


3. Zoning and Planning Permission:
A permit that ensures the business is operating in an area zoned for commercial use and meets local planning regulations.




1. Fire Department Permit:
A permit that ensures the business meets fire safety standards and regulations.


2. Water Discharge Permit:
A permit that ensures the business meets regulations when disposing of wastewater.


3. OSHA Compliance:
Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations that ensure a safe working environment for employees.

Car Detailing and Washing

Useful tips for growing your Car Detailing business

Here are some useful tips for growing your car detailing business:


1. Offer exceptional customer service:
Customer service is crucial and the car detailing industry is no exception. A high level of service to your customers by being friendly, professional, and being responsive to their needs, makes sure that they come back with you from time & time again. 


2. Build a strong online presence:
In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is essential. Create a website for your business and make sure it is optimized for search engines. You can also leverage social media platforms to showcase your work and attract new customers.


3. Offer specialized services:
While offering general car detailing services is important, consider adding specialized services that can set your business apart from the competition. This could include services such as ceramic coating, paint correction, or interior detailing.


4. Build relationships with local businesses:
Establish partnerships with local businesses such as car dealerships, mechanics, and auto body shops. This can lead to referrals and increased business.


5. Offer mobile detailing services:
Offering mobile detailing services can provide convenience to customers who don’t have the time to bring their car to your location. This can also expand your customer base to those who live further away.


6. Attend trade shows and events:
Attend industry trade shows and events to stay up to date on the latest trends and technologies. This can also provide opportunities to network with other professionals and potentially gain new business.


7. Invest in quality equipment and products:
Invest in high-quality equipment and detailing products to ensure the best results for your customers. This can lead to positive reviews and referrals, which can help grow your business.

Trends & Challenges in the Car Detailing Business

Trends in a Car Detailing Business

1. Increased demand for eco-friendly detailing products.
2. Growing popularity of ceramic coatings for paint protection.
3. Rising demand for mobile detailing services.
4. Greater use of technology
5. Increasing interest in specialized services, such as paint correction and interior detail

Challenges in a Car Detailing Business

1. Highly competitive market.
2. Seasonal fluctuations in demand.
3. Need for specialized equipment and products.
4. High start-up costs.
5. Difficulty in finding and retaining skilled employees.


In conclusion, starting a Car Detailing Business can be rewarding and profitable.

However, conducting thorough market research, creating a solid business plan, and securing the necessary funding are crucial.

In addition, it is essential to find the right location, choose the right equipment and suppliers, and create a unique and inviting atmosphere for customers.


Following these steps, you can set your Car Detailing Business up for success and build a business that customers will love for years.

Want to Save Time in your Business Launch?

  • How to Create a Business Plan
  • What is Market Research, USP, Niche & Positioning
  • How to find a suitable name for your business
  • How to create your brand image (Logo + Branding)
  • How to Register Your Business
  • How to Register for Taxes
  • How to get Licenses / Permits
  • How to Open a Business Bank Account
  • How to Get Business Insurance
  • Which Payment Processing Terminal (POS) to buy
  • How to get Funds for your Business
  • How to do Sales & Marketing – Offline & Online
  • Why have a Website / Blog / Social Media
  • How to build & train your Dream Team
  • How to provide Excellent Customer Service
  • Buying an Old Business Vs Franchisee Vs Own Brand from Scratch

Handpicked inspirational Youtube videos for you

Don’t Waste Your Money Starting a Car Cleaning Business in 2023 – See Why Here – YT Channel ‘Epic Automotive Detailing’

How to Start a Car Detailing Business (and Make $29K/Month) Pt. 1 – YT Channel ‘Upflip’

A. The start-up costs can vary depending on the type and size of the business, but can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

A. It depends on the state or country you operate in, but some regions may require specific certifications or licenses to operate a car detailing business.

A. You can advertise through social media, local ads, flyers, or partner with local car dealerships or auto shops.

A. You should offer a variety of services, such as interior detailing, exterior detailing, waxing, and polishing, based on your customers’ needs.

A. Your pricing should be competitive with other businesses in your area and based on the level of service you provide.

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