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Auto Business

Start Your Own Car Wash, Valeting Or Detailing Business Successfully (Part 1)

Starting in business for yourself can be a very daunting proposition and in today’s credit crunch climate, every new car cleaning operation needs all the free help and advice they can take, to keep their business growing profitably during the first three to six crucial months.

You can pre-determine the success and profitability of your new car wash, valeting, detailing or specialist detailing business by working through our simple guides and making professional and not emotional decisions when deciding how, where and when to get started.

This article looks at how you can evaluate the opportunity.

Remember – Always Do Your Research Thoroughly – Before You Start!

Whether you have even taken the brave decision to leave your current employment, follow your dream and go it alone or interested in the car care industry because of redundancy or lack of other work opportunities, the key to any successful start up car wash operation is to do your research first.

 

Make sure that there is a demand for the type of car cleaning business you hope to operate in your area you want to work in, before you start creating long drawn out business plans, buying chemicals and equipment or having leaflets printed.

One of the most important aspects is to determine if you are entering a specific market segment that has room to grow, or is already over-supplied within your area.

To understand the status of each specific market segment, you need to determine who your main competitors are, estimate their current volume of business, and establish the percentage of market that is already taken (and why).

Only then will you arrive at what the market potential is for your new business that exists today.

The role of continued market growth has to be seriously considered as well – as it’s very easy to have too many suppliers and too few customers.

First take a trip to a number of local automated, jet wash or hand car wash and valeting centres to see how their operation works and determine each businesses benefits and customer base.

Spend some time at each operation and take make notes on the volume and type of cars that are cleaned and the services they are offered. Even if you are thinking of opening a mobile car valeting business, this gives a good indication of how people treat their cars (often through lack of choice) and how you can improve on the service they are currently receiving.

During your assessment you might discover that most of the businesses have no redeemable benefits and no value added proposition, but rather they are “just another car cleaning business.” This gives you an opportunity to do it bigger and better, with more care and customer service!

By using an online service such as a mobile car cleaning company your compiled information and search, within a 5-mile radius of where you’d like to focus your business, to see who else is competing in your car cleaning sector.

At the click of a button you can find out details of all car wash openings and other news results and information for any given area in the country. Although these are not specific and exact figures, they still can be very helpful in making rough estimates of the opportunity in your area and how these businesses have faired since opening (i.e. are they still trading – if not why not?).

You can check at any given time whether other car wash operators have applied for planning permission to open a site within the area. If they have already deemed the area has “significant market potential” this means that you can piggyback on their research and take advantage of their belief in operating a profitable business there.

By using all the data available, you can estimate the percentage of the market that is being served by the existing car washes and specifically for the type of car wash business you are considering. When you’ve arrived at that number, you will then know what portion of the market is truly non-competitive.

If that number alone gives you the volume you’re projecting for your business, then your analysis is finished. However, if that number does not give you the volume you want, to make the returns that you need, there is more research work to be done and decisions to be made on the realistic potential of the business.

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Auto Business

Should Mobile Car Washes And On-Site Auto Detailing Companies Give Senior Citizen Discounts?

The other day, I was talking to a mobile detailing entrepreneur in the state of Florida. He been doing business an awful long time, but he also noted that unemployment in the state just hit 8.8%. It wasn’t like this in the past where he could go to any office building, and all the workers were flush with cash and paid him for an executive $20 wash, and a $125.00 detail every other month. Today, he is busy trying to find any customer he can, and he asked me a very interesting question.

He told me that many of the customers in the retirement resort gated communities were asking him for a senior citizen discount. I told him that would be rather tough because almost everyone in those facilities, living between the fairways and the golf courses was a senior citizen. You might as well just lower the price and give it to everyone, or raise the price and let everyone get the discount, either way the concept of a senior citizen discount in Florida is rather silly.

Further, retired folks like to talk a lot, and they have nothing better to do but sit there and watch you detail the car, this could actually slow you down, and then they want to tell you all about their grandchildren, like you have time, you need to get to the next car to make some more money so you can afford to put gas in your mobile detailing rig because even that is up to four dollars a gallon now. Of course, the seniors do like to get a discount or least feel they are getting a discount, so maybe it is time that you rearranged the prices on your menu flyer, perhaps raising them 10 or 15%, and then giving the senior citizens a 20% discount.

Another issue that you may not have considered is that the baby boomers are retiring in record numbers, and they’re all hitting age 55 or 60. It might even be possible now to tell people that if they are only 65; “hell you are still young, you could probably wash and detail your own car, so I can’t give you the discount, I only give the senior citizen discounts to people 90 years old or older.” They might get a laugh about that, but maybe you can set your senior discount age at 70 or 75. If you are in the state of Florida like my acquaintance, you’ll still have plenty of customers take you up on the offer.

Well that’s all for now, if you have other questions or concerns you may shoot an e-mail. Until then I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

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Auto Business

Auto Dealerships: Is Your Auto Detail Company a Vendor Or a Strategic Partner?

If you think that detail companies just wash the cars, you may be missing an opportunity to increase sales and generate higher profits.

Enhanced Internet Ads. Make ready services for pre-owned purchases are critical to enhancing the appeal of the car in internet photos.

Enhanced appearance on lot & in the showroom. Invest the money up front to insure the cars have a luxurious finish and all the details have been addressed. Your detail company should be monitoring the condition of the showroom cars – daily – to insure the best presentation possible.

Partnership on Service Department Sales. Sell more details to your current customers-keep them coming to you for all their car needs. This is a clear win-win for the auto dealership and the detail company.

Focus on what you do well. Auto Dealerships are talented at selling and servicing cars. Detail companies are focused and talented at cleaning and reconditioning cars.

 

Invest in a Partnership. To maximize the benefits of outsourcing, you must select a business partner – not just a car wash company.

This means the corporate culture and values should be an important part of the evaluation and selection process. The business acumen of the outsource organization- their ability to understand dealership problems and help in finding solutions – should be critical to you.

For example, the number one reason customers are dissatisfied with the delivery of their car (either upon purchase or service) is that it is not clean. A Partnership allows the dealership and the detailing firm to work together to improve CSI scores.

Great CSI scores mean bonus’ and incentives to the Dealership. Develop a partnership with your Detail Company in order to align goals and work together to maximize each others’ profits. Overall, by outsourcing the auto detail function at a dealership and selecting the right strategic partner, an auto dealership should be able to:

• Enhance auto appearance;

• Add services to expand customer offerings and profit dollars; and

• Focus on Dealership core competencies (Sales & Service).

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Auto Business

Starting Auto Detailing Business – How to Make Sure That You Are on the Right Track?

Starting auto detailing business or any other business for that matter, there is a satisfaction factor of being your own boss. Working hard and getting the major share of profit is everyone’s dream and this is exactly what you can achieve by starting your own auto detailing business. However, there are few things that you should take care to make sure that you are on the right track, especially if you do not have any prior experience in this field.

Detailing cars is a very good business to make profit and stay healthy which will provide you both physical and mental satisfaction. There are very few jobs that can offer a sort of fulfillment as auto detailing business do. This is mainly because of the hard work and craftsmanship involved in this industry that will help you to develop a good reputation in this field. There will be a lot of auto detailing shops but not all of them will have the same recognition for quality. When you achieve superior quality in your job, you are not only making a lot of money but will feel very satisfied because you will become healthier with increased workload.

Compared to any office jobs that demands prolonged sitting hours, this is a great advantage if you do not want to spend all your hard earned money for medical bills. If you used to do occasional car detailing jobs for your friends and neighbors, you will quickly notice that the equipment you used will need to be upgraded when starting a professional auto detailing business. This is why it is crucial to have the right professional equipment so that you can deliver a consistent quality service every time. Here are two tips that will help you to have a smooth beginning starting your auto detailing business which you can read below.

• Start Mobile – Starting an auto detailing business in your pick-up truck, van or even car has a lot of advantages apart from saving some money. The main advantage is that you can visit each and every customer and do the job so that even reluctant customers who want to head to a newly opened shop will provide you a chance to do business with them because they will be attracted by the mobility factor. A powerful first impression will attract customers, so maintain a stunning look for your pick-up, van or car. The customers will naturally assume that you can make their vehicle look like a brand new one.

• Use Environmentally-Safe Products – Rather than using harmful chemicals which are bad for the environment, use biodegradable products – besides their more effective. Biodegradable products not only help you to avoid headaches associated with chemical exposure but also will help you to build trust and loyalty from environmentally conscience customers. You can even tell them that you only use biodegradable products and provide your website link to customers to schedule their next appointment.

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Auto Business Auto Modification

Cars with Interior Ultimate in the World

Since its creation crew, every car is always equipped with luxury features and advanced technology. Not only to win the hearts of consumers, automakers also hopes its product can be an amazing tool of transportation all the time.

As currently practiced, the car manufacturers are competing to create a car with a luxurious interior design like an office. They deliberately presenting interior equipped with internet connection devices and other digital entertainment systems.

Obviously this is easier for owners who are always busy with work. Indirectly the producers deliberately conjure car interior into a luxurious office space and magnificent.

Not long ago, automotive websites, automotto, released 10 car that has a luxurious interior in the world. Here’s the full list:

1. Brabus iBusiness 2.0

Home modifications Mercedes-Benz S-Class Mercedes conjure into iBusiness 2.0. Premium sedan is equipped Mac Min, planted in the trunk and connected with 15.2-inch TFT display.

There are also iPad-dock is connected to Wi-Fi, which is mounted on the back of the front seat backrest. Moreover, the COMAND infotainment system (car COMAND infotainment system).

Not only that, there is also the iPod Touch in the rear center console that allows passengers to enjoy streaming music with a pair of headphones or to a car audio system.

2. RIDES Hyundai Genesis

Hyundai cars and creations exhibited in the arena RIDES Magazine SEMA a few years ago. This luxury sedan carries the theme ‘Mobile Executive Suite’.

The car is designed for executives, 8.4-inch LCD screen, which is mounted on both the front seat headrests.
Surely this can pamper passengers in the rear.

Not only that, in the back of the front seat backrest MacMini also comes complete with keyboard and mouse. Another addition is the 20-inch Apple Cinema.

3. DeceDeca Daihatsu Concept

The car, dubbed the small office was designed with a flat floor. And there are two rear seats can be folded and rotated with 36 inch flat screen monitor.

There is also a tabletop unit that can be folded down. Of course, this car is very possible to be a meeting by the passengers.

4. SUV LimousinesWorld

LimousinesWorld a mobile office platform specialized in SUVs like the Ford Expedition, Cadillac Escalade and other large vehicles.

Each car is equipped design results captain chairs, leg braces the bottom, a fridge. Passengers are pampered with two 7-inch flat screen, stereo system AM / FM / XM, VGA connection to the computer, a PC connection, and hands-free intercom.

5. Mercedes-Benz Viano Avantgarde

This German car is a vehicle that big and comfortable. There are four VIP leather seats in the back, complete with extra padding. The chair can be shifted up to 25 mm.

For ease of communication, the passenger and the driver supplied handsfree bluetooth, CD / DVD drive, voice command for the CD player, radio, and navigation systems

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Auto Business

Car Dealership Washing Business

If you own a auto detailing business, pressure washing company or mobile car wash you may wish to look into periodic cleaning of car dealership lots. This can be very lucrative as it is a high-volume periodic business. Most car dealerships rinse off their cars on their lots twice a week. Some three times a week and at minimum they know they must clean these cars at least once per week. Dirty cars do not sell and car dealerships know this.

Our company is in the business of washing fleets of vehicles. We have been in the washing business for over twenty years. Our dealership division specializes lot washing and in new and pre-owned car detailing. If you can secure the lot washing contract there is a good chance that you can eventually bundle detailing services into the loop. What should you charge for lot washing? Well, 20% less than that of the competition, you will make your money by securing the entire dealership row through economies of scale. In some markets where weather is an issue, you will want to charge upwards of $1.50 per car and $1.90 for each SUV per wash at large dealerships and small used car lots up to $2.50.

Once you secure the detailing contract you may wish to charge:

Used Car Detailing $79.00 each car (Engine, Interior, Exterior)

New Car Preparation $25.00 each car (To Your Specs.)

 

Customer Car Washing $ 9.00 each car (Complete Wash)

Lot Washing twice a week $ .85 each car (If Requested)

You must also alert your Auto Dealership customers that:

* You can wash on the day and time of their choice.

* Every vehicle will be completely dried off so there will be no water spots!

* They will have convenient monthly invoicing itemized by vehicle number

* That you are professional and friendly clean cut crews

* That your crews are first class outfit with new equipment

* That your company is fully insured! ($1 Million total liability)

* You supply our own water!

You must make sure your customer knows that matching your service to their dealership’s needs and saving them time and money is what you specialize in! Think on this.

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Auto Business

Promotional Ideas For Your Small Auto Detailing Business

There are various marketing tactics that a business can utilize in order to achieve success. For your auto detailing business, you have to take advantage of these strategies. You need to maximize on each, especially those that will not need you to lay all your marketing budget on the table. Proper understanding of each marketing strategy available is important so you can develop your plans around them. Print advertisements, business collaboration, cross-promotion and online promotion are just few of the methods that you can use for your auto detailing business. These are discussed below:

Ideas on How to Promote an Auto Detailing Business

o Distribute print advertisements. Print materials are among the most effective means of conveying advertising message across to customers. But you can deviate from the norms of distributing prints like flyers, brochures and business cards. For your flyers, for example, you can skip the old technique of putting copies on windshields. Instead, create a list of people who own vehicles and might need detailing soon. Send out your prints to these people through mail or by hand carrying them to their mailboxes. Just be sure to design your copies in a way that people will be compelled to read and keep them.

o Take advantage of holidays. Delight your customers by letting them know that your business is a friend to them. Surprise them with auto detailing postcards during holidays. Hand-written the message, if possible, to make your prints more personal. Also, you can remind them when it’s time for them to have their cars checked.

o Collaborate with other businesses. Car dealerships and auto repair shops are businesses which are related but not in direct competition to your business. These businesses can help you get new clients through referrals. Some car dealerships might even hire you to detail their vehicles. This is common with used car dealerships.

 

o Look for cross-promotion opportunities. Aside from referrals, business related to you can give you cross-promotion opportunities. For example, you can ask a mechanic to hand out your print advertisements to their customers, especially those who need detailing. In exchange for this, you can also promote their business to your clients. You can also ask the store where you get your supplies for cross-promotion. You can ask to leave stacks of your flyers or brochures on their counters in exchange for displaying theirs in your shop.

o Join car shows and exhibits. Events like these are good place to promote your auto detailing business. You can set up a booth and perform auto detailing demos. You can also hung copies of posters and banners showing before and after photos of your past detailing projects. There are also plenty of opportunity for you to distribute brochures, business cards and flyers during these events.

o Sponsor contests. You can also sponsor local and simple car wash or car detailing contests. This is a good way to warm your business to clients because you are doing something good for the community.

o Have a web presence. Don’t be left out and do some online promotion. You can set up a blog or website or join social networking sites. Joining forums and online community for auto enthusiasts is also good.

These are some ideas you can use to promote your auto detailing business. You can start executing these within your locality and expand your reach once you are ready. Just do not forget to do follow up and assessments on each strategy you execute.

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Auto Business

How to Select the Best Auto Detailing Equipment

Quality is the most important consideration when purchasing auto detailing equipment like pressure washers. Auto detailing machines should be durable and powerful, yet they should not damage the vehicle. Commercial auto detailing products are more suitable for the car wash industry because of their excellent quality and productivity-enhancing features.

Some indications that an auto detailing machine is of good quality are listed below:

  1. Powerful Motor: The motor should be robust, with a minimum strength of 0.75 HP. NEMA certification should indicate that the motor has been tested for quality and energy efficiency.
  2. Power Methods: A good quality, global pressure washer supplier offers more than just one option for power; such as 110v-120v, 220-240v, or 440v; single-phase, three-phase; and 50 Hz or 60 Hz.
  3. Heavy Duty Construction: Exteriors should be comprised of corrosion resistant, chip proof, durable powder coated steel. Heating coils should be comprised of rugged stainless steel or schedule 80 heating coils. Ordinary pressure washer parts are made of aluminum, which is a good conductor of heat and electricity but is less stable under prolonged conditions of high temperature and pressure.
  4. Hose: Don’t ignore the hose quality. Hoses used in car wash machines are more than simple rubber tubing. They should be strong enough to withstand high pressure and temperature. The hose, usually made of rubber, should be strengthened with wire. Rubber is stronger and more flexible than synthetics; opt for a rubber hose to use with your car wash machines. Dual layered hoses are best to provide the greatest longevity.

 

Features to Enhance Productivity

Apart from sound construction, the car pressure washer should be designed to increase productivity.

  1. Portability: If you service a large customer base or have a mobile car wash business, it would be a good idea to invest in a portable car pressure washer designed for a mobile car wash. This type of car washing machine is lightweight, compact, and can be rapidly mounted on a trailer. If you work at a fixed location, you may prefer a stationary pressure washer.
  2. High Temperature: Some commercial pressure washers may reach temperatures of 330°F. Others have maximum temperatures of 210°F. Hot water removes grease and petrochemical derivatives and their deposits. For heavy layers of grease, utilizing the steam setting is essential. For this reason, wet steam is the preferred output for auto detailing. Tri-mode pressure cleaners are also available to enable use of hot water, cold water, or wet steam as needed for varying applications.
  3. Low Flow Rate: Working on client location with restrictions on water use would be very difficult if low flow car wash machines are not available. These mobile car wash equipment have flow rates of around 0.5 GPM (compared to the usual 3-5 GPM) and save hundreds of gallons per car during the wash cycle.
  4. Nozzle Spray: The size of a nozzle spray depends on the nozzle construction. This is important because the spray pattern determines the effectiveness of cleaning. A highly pressurized, narrow spray produced by a zero degree nozzle would not be sufficient for cleaning the entire car exterior surface, for example, but it could be used for cleaning tire grooves. Other sizes include 15, 25, and 40 degrees.

Remember that the pressure level should at no point exceed 1500 psi or you risk inflicting damage on the car. Proper selection of the right car detailing machine goes a long way in ensuring a trouble-free work load.

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Auto Business

Marketing Your Detailing Business to Travelers

The auto detailing market has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. While many businesses find themselves struggling as consumers tighten their belts, auto detailing offers an economical service which extends the value of a vehicle for their customers. This places them in a prime location for not only keeping current customers but expanding to other customers who perhaps hadn’t considered detailing as a viable option. One of the biggest untapped markets for this is the business traveler.

People who often travel for business park at long term parking lots located near airports. The average stay in one of these long term lots is five days. This gives you ample time to go in and detail the car while the owner is away. You can advertise your services through trip planning sites, direct mailshots to companies with a traveling workforce such as sales and insurance companies and also through flyers which can be handed out by the lot attendant. The best way to play up your service to traveling business people is by listing your available service packages with included services bullet-pointed for quick reading. Keep in mind that these potential customers will be pressed for time so ensure your formatting is able to be speed read by them while still covering all the major points of interest. Include your number, website address and any other contact information in bold at the top and bottom of each flyer and include your years of experience as well as any guarantee you offer.

If your business has a shop front in addition to a mobile service, also consider offering long term parking solutions if your location and available space allows it. If your shop is located within 15 miles of the airport you can easily offer a drop off service which will put you ahead of the competition. If this isn’t an option for you, develop and foster relationships with nearby park and ride lots which may offer you a discount for advertising with them. As always, networking relationships with local businesses can yield customers who otherwise wouldn’t be aware of your services.

Since many professionals who travel worth within sales you can also advertise your services at conventions and industry shows which may be hosted in your own city. These professionals often spend their entire day at these conventions and your services can easily be completed during their time there. The speed and convenience of auto detailing means that your services can be offered “on the fly” which makes them more appealing to those who want their cars to be showroom perfect but who simply don’t have the time to drop their vehicles off and wait for them to be detailed.

Marketing to business travelers means playing up the speed and convenience of your services. Keep this demographic in mind when developing flyers or brochures and remember that these potential customers will have less than a minute to evaluate your services and consider your pricing before making their decision. If you offer multiple tier pricing list them from the least expensive to the highest so that they can easily choose the car detailing package that fits both their needs and their budget.

Categories
Auto Business

Fixed Site Auto Detailing Company Strategies and Marketing For 2010

The recession has been very difficult on many companies in the auto sector. Not long ago, I was discussing this with someone who owned a detail shop, that is to say he ran an auto detailing company. He noted that his wholesale business was down by 75% due to the fact that the car dealerships weren’t selling any cars and they didn’t need any new car preps, and they didn’t have any customers requesting detailing as part of their purchase.

Likewise, he indicated to me that no one was trading in their old cars to buy new cars, so there was no used car detailing to be spoken for at the wholesale level. When I asked him about the “Clunkers for Cash” program, he told me when people traded in those Clunkers they went straight to the salvage yard to be crushed, not put back on the lot like other used car trade-ins. Had they been put back on the lot for sale, he might’ve had a chance to get the car dealership to pay him to do some wholesale detailing on each one.

“How about the retail detail business?”

Well, he told me that people were saving their money, and “in fear of a pandemic economic depression or something,” thus, they were not spending money, and he had to let several of his independent contractor detailers go. He said he hated to make the recession locally any worse, by laying-off his workers, but he had no choice because he didn’t have enough business.

He said he was lucky because he could rent out two of his bays out and sublet them to a couple of young kids that were building street car racer aftermarket kits, and if he hadn’t been able to do that he probably would’ve had to close his shop because he wasn’t making any money at all.

 

Now, however he sees light at the end of the tunnel and understands that the economy is now out of recession, and he and I were strategizing on how to market his business to bring the customers back. We determined that it was important to canvass the wealthier areas within a 10 mile radius of his location, and also to target single people between the ages of 25 and 40.

We also determined that it was important to give quick service, or mini-details to get people in and trying his business out. Both of these strategies have worked for my company in the past; The Detail Guys. Indeed, that is what I would recommend to you, if you are trying to figure out ways to market your fixed site auto detailing company in 2010 please consider this.