How to start a car valeting business

If you’re passionate about cars, have strong attention to detail and excellent customer service skills, a car valet business could be for you…

Useful links

What is a car valeting business and who is it suited to?
Creating a car valeting business plan
Car valeting rules and regulations
How much does it cost to start a car valeting business?
How much can you earn running a car valeting business?
Tips and useful contacts

Creating a car valeting business plan

Without a solid business plan, your car valet company will be running on empty. Taking time to craft a thorough and detailed plan is the best way to prepare yourself for the trials and tribulations of setting up a car wash business.

If you’re unfamiliar with how to write a business plan you can download our free business plan template here.

According to CK Detailing’s Keir “a car valeting business plan should include not only the services you offer and prices, but a year forecast of your earnings, expenses and profit”. He adds that “it’s important not to forget to include all the machinery you will need and, if you are mobile, the cost of running a van”.

Deciding whether to operate a mobile business or operate from a location will be one of the first, and most important decisions, before setting up your car valet business. Going mobile gives you the freedom to reach a wider catchment area offers customers greater convenience, although you will have to fork out for a van and petrol or even a fleet.

Operating from premises can make your business seem more credible and means you can offer a greater variety of services. However, it will also increase your start-up costs considerably as you will need to lease premises.

Action point:
See if you can get a Start Up Loan to help you start a business idea
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If you’re going to invest in a van, our vans for business section offers a wealth of advice and information on the best van to suit your business needs.

iValet UK’s Tyler says that a car valet business plan should include “start-up costs, target market, unique selling point, margins and which type of services you’re going to offer to your customers”.

It’s important to be as thorough as possible with your start-up costs to avoid any surprises and make sure you can properly budget – if anything it’s better to overestimate.

Tyler explains that if you decide to open a static drive through wash, you should “pick an area in the countryside with no other car wash for 10 miles or more. Country roads get very dirty in winter!”

You’ll also need to detail how you’re going to approach the market and secure customers. Keir says a simple way to stand out is to “offer better value for money. It’s important to find something unique that your local competitors aren’t doing. If there’s a service that they aren’t carrying out you might be able to fill that void”

“Do your research”, he asserts, “Are your potential clients within your area? What are your competition doing and what can you do that will make you stand out?”

The car valet market is a fairly crowded one – and while there are many premium, high-quality operations, there are also many offering shoddy, second-rate services, so it’s important to differentiate yourself from the competition.

The CK Detailing founder also urges you not to overlook insurance in your business plan: “All it takes is one small mistake on an expensive car such as a Bugatti Veyron and you could be paying that back for the rest of your life!”

So you’ve written a thorough and detailed business plan about how you’re going to set up your car wash business? Next, you need to consider the rules and regulations…


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