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

Car valeting rules and regulations

In any industry it’s imperative that you take time to learn the rules and regulations you’re going to have to abide by – failure to do so could result in fines, or even serious legal proceedings.

The main regulatory issues to contend with when starting a hand car washing or valeting business are focused around your water and chemical usage.

“Just like any business there are always rules and regulations to abide by”, says CK Detailing founder Keir, “however, specifically to valeting there is a law called trade effluent that states you are not allowed to let the water you use when valeting enter the watercourse”.

iValet UK’s Tyler agrees: “The industry is restricted by chemical usage and drainage requirements dependent on chemical content in specific areas”.

Legislation states that any discharge into a public sewer from a commercial or industrial premises is classified as trade effluent.


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It is an offence to make this discharge without the consent of your local water company. This will require you to make an application giving details of the likely flow rate, any chemicals that could be present and details of the entry point to the public sewer.

The consent will contain certain conditions that must be adhered to, though these will vary from provider to provider and depend on the nature and volume of the waste. You will have to estimate how much trade effluent your car washing business is likely to produce and give details of what chemicals you’ll be using, sample data, drainage plans for your site and details of treatment on site.

Southern Water charges an administration fee of £231 to process a trade effluent application and requires at least two months notice, so those wishing to start a car valeting company soon should make this application of primary importance. You can find out more about this legislation and who you should apply to here.

Once you’re familiar with the regulations and have your car valet business plan completed, it’s time to find out how much your car valeting operation is going to cost you…

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