Sample Auto Detailing Business Plans

For an Auto Detailing Business or Mobile Detailing Business

Detail King has developed a sample auto detailing business plan that can be used as an outline for your auto detailing shop or mobile auto detailing business. This is only an example of what you may want to include in your business plan. It is critical to develop a business plan even if this document is not needed to obtain a loan from a financial institution. As a new entrepreneur just starting out you must have a business plan. A business plan is like your road map or navigational unit, it will help guide you down the path to success. Without creating a business plan for your car detailing business, you may get lost along the way and never reach your destination (business goals). Once you develop your auto detailing business plan you need to review it periodically and make adjustments as your business changes and matures. Once you are ready to start your auto detailing business you may want to consider one of Detail King’s Auto Detailing Business Start Up Kits.

Mission Statement:

(Determine what you want the company to be within your community)
Develop an Auto Detailing operation that supplies to its customers the best quality product that meets the customer’s needs. Quality will be defined as the right product to meet the customer’s requirements from a car wash to a complete detailing that included paint correction along with all of the services listed the section entitled Services Offered.

The purpose of the company is to provide not only quality service, but a livelihood for the owners and its employees. Along with the ability to provide the community with assistance as needed and that is within the means of the company.

Note: Decide if the business location will be a fixed, mobile or both.


(Determine where the customers are and how you will reach them)

A study has been conducted to determine the feasibility of such a company in the general area of __________________. It has been determined that four such operations exist in the area.

None of these companies offer the menu of services that (company name) will offer.

  1. Joe’s body shop is limited to exterior cleanup only
  2. ABC Auto dealer offers limited service to some customers at the dealership
  3. Car Wash Inc. only offers a “quick wax option” but not full detailing.
  4. Manny’s Mobile Car Wash and Auto Appearance Center appears to offer the most complete service options of all of the reviewed businesses. They should provide the best competition and will be the benchmark for our startup efforts.

The ten mile radius of our proposed location (fixed 0r mobile) shows there are four high end neighborhoods with homes ranging in price from $400,000 to $1,500,000. These four areas contain approximately 250 homes all within 10 miles of our business location.

In addition there are two industrial parks, two hospitals and numerous office building complexes with approximately 8,000 employees. The local private airport and the three marinas are also within that 10 mile radius.

Services Offered:

(What types of service and products will you offer)

  • Exterior Services
    Complete exterior detailing including washing the vehicle, claying the paint, removal of all bugs & tar followed by paint correction (scratch removal) will prepare the vehicle of cleaning and polishing the finish. During this operation all exterior rubber trim and tires will be dressed to like new condition.
  • Interior Services
    The interior of the vehicle will be purged of all loose material carpets, seats miscellaneous upholstery will be spot treated shampooed and deep cleaned with a special heated extractor.
  • Engine Cleaning & Dressing
    Engines will be cleaned using the finest products to remove grease and grim from the surfaces. A special non-silicone dressing will be applied to ensure a bright clean surface for a long time.

Note: List all other services you intend to provide. Also consider using a Service Menu such as the one used and recommended by Detail King in the training classes.


All monies needed to start the business will be provided by the owners using loans in the amount of $XXXXX. The plan is for the money to be paid back in monthly installments starting in the sixth month of business at a rate of $xxx per month to each owner without interest until all seed money has be repaid. In the event that the business owners decide to forgo payment for a period of time; that money will be used  to improve the business or enhance its opportunities by adding locations, employees, equipment (hardware or vehicles for mobile expansion). Any other loans from banks etc. must be paid before the normal payment of the original loans from the owners.

Market Niches in order of importance:

  1. Retail clients in the upscale neighborhoods defined in the demographic section.
  2. Companies that have been identified within the industrial parks in the area.
  3. Hospitals in the area with specific attention to the doctor offices within the area.
  4. Marinas in the area especially in the fall months with boats are coming out of the water.

 Marketing Plan:

The marketing plan will vary from season to season throughout the year. The important issues of the plan include the following items.

  1. Development of the website to ensure a presence on the internet.
  2. Join the local chamber of commerce to gain immediate exposure to the businesses in the area. Create a special pricing for all chamber of commerce members and their families to promote growth.
  3. Development of a plan for exploiting the social media tools on the internet and the smart phones in use.
  4. Create proper signage, logos, and business cards for use by the company and its employees.     (Branding the Business)
  5. Develop a plan for monthly or quarterly flyers and promotions. Including the face to face meeting of each auto related business to foster a relationship with each so that they are aware of your business and how you can help each other. Place service menus and business cards at their locations to create business.
  6. Advertising mediums should be monitored and controlled to determine success in terms of customer and revenue growth.

Cost and Profit Model:

Using the cost and profit model provided by Detail King, project the number of detailing services you expect to complete in the next twelve months. Follow that by your income and expense projections for the next twelve to twenty four months.

Use this tool to project your income, expenses and net income for the next three years.

Understand your fixed and variable costs, your margin and your cost per hour to operate your business.

Equipment and consumable products:

Build and list your equipment needs or purchased equipment. (Include Vendors)

Create a list of consumable products including polishes, cleaners, compounds etc. along with all brushes and cleaning cloths both microfiber and non microfiber.

  1. Car wash equipment
    1. Pressure washer
    2.  low pressure washer
    3.  vapor steamer
    4. Paint correction
      1. Buffers
      2. Polishers
    5. Interior Cleaning
      1. Cleaning and deodorizing equipment
      2. Heated extractor
      3. Tornador air purging equipment
      4. Ozone generator
    6. Tools
      1. Brushes
      2. Towels
      3. Chemical storage
      4. Applicators
    7. Added Value Profit Centers
      1. Paint chip repair
      2. Headlight restoration
      3. Plastic trim restoration
      4. Glass repair
      5. Vinyl and leather repair
      6. Carpet dying
      7. Odor removal
      8. Window tinting

Methods and Procedures:

Consider what methods and procedures you need to start and maintain your business. Start by determining what is important to you and to the success of the business. Use the Methods and Procedures document provided by Detail King as a starting point.

Licenses and Permits:

List all permits and licenses needed to be compliant with the local, state and federal regulations. Review legal requirement with counsel and accounting professional.

EPA and local environmental regulations:

It is important to understand the regulations and the potential equipment needed to comply. Be sure to search them out and list them in your plan so that your lawyer can assist you in understanding and complying with them. These requirements are different in each area and require your attention.

Business Structure:

While starting a business involves a number of practical considerations, structure remains the primary determination to be made at the outset.

Many entrepreneurs do not consider forming a business entity. Instead, the business will default to a sole proprietorship in the case of an individual owner, or a general partnership if there are multiple owners.

Those two types of businesses have significant disadvantages, mainly in the form of unlimited liability: Creditors of the business can recover the owner’s personal assets for business liabilities. The main advantage of those entities, pass-through tax treatment – means that profits are not taxed at the business level- is available with entities that offer liability protection.

S corporations are the most common entities that provide the owner personal protection with pass-through tax treatment. To create any corporation, the owner must file Articles of Incorporation with the Department of State, make an election to be treated as an S Corp., adopt bylaws and hold initial meetings of shareholders and directors – among other organizational tasks.

In comparison with other entities, startup cost and administrative formalities are usually greater for S Corporations. S Corps are limited to 100 shareholders.

Limited Partnerships (LPs) and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) offer a usually less burdensome alternative to S Corps. Both of these entities are formed by filing documents with the Department of State, and are largely governed by internal agreements between the owners. While at least one owner of a limited partnership must serve as general partner and be subject to unlimited liability, all members of an LLC are afforded limited liability. LLCs, however, may be subject to a state’s capital stock tax such is the case in Pennsylvania.

Choosing the right structure, with the assistance of an attorney and an accountant, enables entrepreneurs to protect their personal assets from business creditors, while avoiding corporate taxes. This will prove instrumental to successful startup and smooth growth over time.Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Donald B. Formoso Peacock Keller

Growth Plans:

Try to anticipate your growth relative to volume of customers, employees, equipment and marketing needs. Consider forecasting customer and revenue growth along with retained customers. This will tell you that your overall plan is working.

  1. Forecast customer growth and revenue for 12, 24, 36 and 48 months

©2012 Detail King LP