Get the newsletter everyone is talking about

Drop your email to get weekly small business advice

Are You Looking to Start a Mobile Auto Detailing Business in 2023? Read This.

The auto-detailing industry offers a lot of opportunities and business potential. Knowing the right tips and tricks can give you a headstart. Read on for more.

GoSite Team
10 min read
featured_image

The outlook for the United States mobile auto detailing industry is positive. According to Future Marketing Insights (FMI), the mobile auto detailing industry will grow at a rate of 8.9% between 2022-2032.

Are You Looking to Start a Mobile Auto Detailing Business in 2023 Read This.
Source: FMI

But what does that mean for people looking to start a detailing business? Is it consistent in every area, or are there ideal places for your business startup?

This guide will answer your questions about mobile auto detailing demand, popular areas for mobile detailing, popular auto detailing services, technology and tools, and more.

Jump to:

A Deeper Look at the Mobile Auto Detailing Industry Outlook

Statista found that the U.S. population owned and operated over 284 million vehicles in the second quarter of 2022. Vehicles face different types of wear and tear throughout the country, from long hours in traffic to dust, pollen, snow, rain, or heat.

After housing, cars are the second biggest expense for many people. It’s a serious investment, given the rising price of vehicles and the cost of maintenance. As a result, owners are becoming more aware of the benefits of professional auto detailing.

Mobile auto detailing can be even better for car owners. They:

  • Have a convenient service that comes right to their home
  • Increase their car’s lifespan
  • Don’t have to worry about water restrictions
  • Preserve their car’s cosmetic appeal
  • Minimize exposure to allergens and toxins in their vehicle
  • Increase driving safety
  • Protect resale value

Most Popular States and Cities for Mobile Auto Detailing Businesses

IBISWorld lists Texas, Florida, and California as having the heaviest concentrations of auto detailers in the nation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),  the top five metropolitan areas with the highest employment level for vehicle cleaners are:

  • New York, Newark, Jersey City
  • Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim
  • Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington
  • Chicago, Naperville, Elgin
  • Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land

In general, auto detailing businesses are likely to do better in areas with dense populations such as the Tri-state, Southern California, and greater DC areas.

Most Popular States and Cities for Mobile Auto Detailing Businesses

Best States for Mobile Auto Detailing Businesses

Zippia created a 2022 list of the best states for car detailers. They were based on income, state laws benefiting entrepreneurs, car care demand, and growth potential. The top five states on the list included:

  • Wisconsin
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Oregon
  • Washington

While guidance is helpful, it doesn’t mean that these are the only good places to start a mobile auto detailing business. As long as you provide the right services, a strong customer experience, and research into areas you’re interested in starting a business, you’ll have the potential to succeed and grow your business.

Best States for Mobile Auto Detailing Businesses

What to Research When Looking for an Area to Set Up Shop

A little research goes a long way in finding a fruitful service area.

Start With Reviews

Start your research using Google and Yelp. Try search terms like, “mobile auto detailing in Seattle,” or “Marin County auto detailers.” Look at potential competitors, what they offer, and what their service area is. Read the reviews and find out what people are looking for. If you can find a common need or want, you may be able to fill a niche. If the area lacks detailers with strong reviews, aim to become the local 5-star mobile detailing business.

Consider doing an analysis like our team did for LA detailers here.

Consider Population

An area’s population should be able to give you enough potential work throughout the year. Are there enough people to build a business? Are there a lot of drivers? Consider metropolitans. That way, you have a larger area to draw customers from. Look at high-growth areas as well. US News and top real estate websites often have lists of the fastest-growing cities and suburbs. These places often have an increasing demand for home services.

Investigate Competitor Pricing and the Area’s Economy

Research competitor pricing and the area’s average income. Does it give you the potential to make enough money to live? Do people struggle, or is the area economically sound? For example, in challenging economic times, there are still cities where businesses continue to thrive. And while business may dip, work is still available.

What to Research When Looking for an Area to Set Up Shop - Investigate Competitor Pricing and the Area’s Economy
Source: Charm City Circulator

Look For Businesses to Do Business With

Businesses with any kind of fleet need auto detailers. While some of the bigger rental companies may have in-house detailers, other smaller businesses may contract that work out. Use creativity to find customers. For example, become a mobile detailing expert that contracts with local used car dealerships. Your goal should be to find consistent work through a variety of avenues.

Mobile Auto Detailing Services

Many mobile detailing companies have both a single service list as well as packages. Detailers typically offer add-ons to their packages as well. Some of the most commonly seen services are:

Full Detail Packages

Full detail packages clean both the interior and exterior. Detailers…

  • Wash
  • Hand dry
  • Vacuum
  • Condition
  • Trim leather
  • Steam clean
  • Clean the glass and plastic
  • Disinfect and purify
  • Add a coat (e.g., ceramic or wax)
  • Clean and dress the wheels
  • Remove stains

The goal is to clean and polish everything to look its best. To create your package, look at what competitors offer, and give it a twist of your own. For example, if you are in a rainy area, add something like a windshield wiper check and replacement to the list. Other options for customers: Exterior or interior detail only.

Paint Correction

Paint correction services often involve iron decontamination, wash and clay bar, taping, cutting/polishing, and waxing.

Paint Protection Film (PPF)

Adding a polyurethane film that helps protect car paint. It prevents small scratches, UV light, acid rain and mineral deposit damage, rock chips, and more.

Window Tint

Placing a film on the windows that protects the interior of the car from sun damage.

Common Add-Ons

Add-ons are a great way to give the customer more value and for a business to earn more money. Some commonly seen add-ons include:

  • Excess pet hair removal
  • Moss and mold removal
  • Interior deodorization
  • Excess trash and junk removal
  • Engine bay cleaning
  • Deep stain removal
  • Water spot removal
  • Headlight restoration

Mobile Auto Detailing Trends

One of the top trends in the car wash industry is being mobile. Beyond that, mobile auto detailers are:

Building Strong Customer Relationships

Customers want to feel like they do when they walk into their favorite restaurant or shop. Owners and employees know them. Learn what your customers like and how they feel about their cars. Track their patterns so you can reach out first and ask them if they’re ready to schedule their next appointment. Keep them informed about your business without overwhelming them with messaging. And above all, stay authentic, and transparent, and offer easy ways to communicate with you, pay their bill, and receive exceptional customer service.

Mobile Auto Detailing Trends - Building Strong Customer Relationships

Becoming More Eco-friendly and Sustainable

People like using fewer resources, products that are safe for the environment, and techniques that are sustainable (like a water runoff mat). If you can adopt a more eco-friendly approach, you’ll likely draw more customers—especially in areas that have seen resource shortages firsthand.

Offering Special Services

Customers have a variety of challenges, and they appreciate it when you have a solution that fits. Make sure to offer special services that target your demographic and customers. For example, if you live in an area with a lot of families, you may want a deep stain removal service. Or in a high-pollution area, more types of protective coatings.

Using Technology and Automation

The world is fast-paced for both business owners and customers, so convenience is key. Technology plays a crucial role in streamlining your business. Smart mobile auto detailers are using platforms and software that lets them:

  • Book appointments
  • Schedule services
  • Send service notifications
  • Track reviews
  • Respond to communications
  • Take payments
  • Automate responses
  • Automate review requests
  • Oversee marketing efforts
  • Centralize important business data

It’s extremely beneficial if you can find technology that does most of your business tasks in one place. That way, you don’t waste time toggling between accounts.

Using Technology and Automation

Source: GoSite Booking

Start Your Mobile Auto Detailing Business Today

Begin by getting all the proper licenses for your state. Your next steps are:

Step 1:  Research and choose your service area: Look for well-populated or fast-growing areas or places that lack mobile auto detailing services.

Step 2: Decide what services you’ll offer: Check your competitors and what they offer. How can you make your service unique? Determine where you excel, and look for what will fill a common customer need.

Step 3: Learn new skills, techniques, and experiment with the latest tools: If you aren’t able to do everything needed, think about hiring employees that can. However, it's also helpful to take the time to learn new skills. Find someone who will teach you, or work for another detailing company before starting your own.

Step 4: Invest in supplies: If you don’t have the cash to invest in supplies, consider a small business loan. You’ll want tools that allow you to serve your customers. Most mobile detailers have:

  • A vehicle
  • Vacuum
  • Sponges and mitts
  • Brushes
  • Detailing towels
  • Polishing pads
  • Bucket and guard
  • Spray bottles and containers
  • Products like conditioners, wax, cleaners, etc.
  • Hoses
  • Generator
  • Pressure washer

Make sure to look into every supply you need to perform each service.

Step 5: Invest in tech and automation tools: Rather than using multiple platforms, invest in the ones that are designed to support small businesses and perform multiple functions. It’s helpful to have all your information in one place. Onboarding should be easy. Look for platforms with strong customer service. The faster you can use every feature, the faster you can grow your business.

Invest in tech and automation tools
Source: GoSite Reviews

Step 6: Determine pricing: Research what others are charging and why. Balance it with the cost of labor, supplies, gas mileage, and any ongoing costs for business tools. Price in a way that matches others, but doesn’t undersell your value.

Step 7: Build an online presence, market, and spread the word: Use every method to get your business out there—and get creative while doing it. Post standout social media. Hang flyers locally. Cold call potential business clients (like that used car dealer). Have your network spread the word.

Step 8: Provide outstanding service: The better your service, the more you encourage reviews, positive word of mouth, and repeat customers.

The mobile auto detailing industry is growing, and it's a home service that’s increasingly in demand. Understanding the outlook gives you the insights you need to build a thriving business.

In Conclusion

The mobile auto detailing industry outlook is positive. With the right skills, service area, tools, and technology, you have the ability to build a thriving business. Not only will you have a job that you can be proud of, but a home service that helps people protect and maintain an essential investment.

Blog CTA Banner 3x

GoSite-2-1
The easiest way to connect your business with more customers.
Group 12 (2) (1) (1)

Keep Reading

Illustration of a sitting woman working on a laptop and communicating with someone.

9 Tips To Help Streamline Customer Communications

Customer expectations are higher than ever. The rise of instantaneous communications technology like social media and ...
Jan 26, 2023 10 min read
Image of a girl holding a laptop and , a big screen behind her.

5 Processes You Should Automate Within Your Small Business

When you run your own company, there’s never enough time to complete everything you need. Days bleed together in an ...
Jan 24, 2023 10 min read
Illustration of a man doing landscaping.

2023 Is the Perfect Time to Start a Landscaping Business ...

Gardening and yard projects boomed during the pandemic. Statista said it was the most popular home improvement project ...
Jan 19, 2023 10 min read