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How to start a window cleaning business

How to start a Window Cleaning business

Put simply, Window cleaning is a numbers game. If you really want to start a profitable window cleaning business, you need to have the numbers. What I mean is, each individual customer will provide such a small amount of income that the only real way to make it work is to have lots of customers close together.

The good thing about that is many people need their windows cleaned and regularly pay a local window cleaner – finding work shouldn’t be too hard but in the beginning make sure you are targeting customers close together. Competition is fierce though and you may not be able to get a condensed round at first.

The more customers you get the better your round will be in terms of travelling between jobs. You don’t want to be travelling miles from house to house but obviously keep in mind that you might not have a choice in the beginning so a simple suggestion would be, DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB!

DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB

Like above, If you starting a window cleaning round, it’s not just going to appear overnight. Starting from scratch will mean you have to take whichever jobs you can and these will more than likely be spread out from each other which means the time it takes you to get around to them all you will not be making alot of money per hour.

I would suggest building it up on a weekend. If you manage to build up a solid 1-2 days on a weekend that will be more than enough to quit your job. But you might decide that you’re absolutely raking it in whilst working, in which keep you job and have 2 incomes.

Finding customers

Like any other business, finding customers will always be the hardest part. Word of mouth in window cleaning is a great way to build your business but in the beginning that may just not be fast enough. Heres a few ideas:

  • Get some flyers/business cards printed and post them yourself around your area – check out vistaprint
  • If your feeling brave, you could knock on doors and introduce yourself and business
  • Create a facebook page and share it with everybody on your facebook
  • Speak with friends and family for a discounted service to get you going
  • Claim your business listing on google using google business
  • If your high end, consider a website
  • Always check ebay, gumtree etc for window cleaning rounds for sale!

How much will it cost?

Honestly, your can start window cleaning for less than a few hundred pounds going the traditional method. Otherwise if you want to go the water fed pole route, you are really going to want to invest a few thousand in a good filtration system.

Below are some examples to suit your budget.

Traditional window cleaning equipment


Cheap water fed pole backpacks if you don’t have the budget for a larger system


Full water fed pole system EXAMPLE equipment list:
  • 1 x 350 Litre Heavy Duty Flat MDPE plastic baffled water tank.
  • 1 x 5 stage 300GPD compact Reverse Osmosis system complete with 3 stage pre-filtration and 10 inch membranes.
  • 1 x Deionisation Filter complete with top grade Tulsion brand Deionisation Resin
  • 1 x Digital Hand Held TDS Meter (more accurate than most inline ones).
  • 1 x 100psi Shurflo Pump with Strainer and Fittings for 1/2″ Hose (Assembled).
  • 1 x Flowmaster Digital Pump Controller.
    Both the Shurflo pump and Flowmaster are pre-mounted on a compact panel and pre-wired together ready to connect to your battery. – All you have to do is mount the panel!
  • 1 x Outside Port Panel with Connector – This will allow you to work from the system with the vehicle fully closed and locked!
  • 1 x Professional Metal Hose-Reel.
  • 1 x 100 metre roll of 8mm ‘Microbore’ Professional Hose.
    Hose and Reel are pre-assembled as shown in picture.
  • 1 x 17ft XTEL professional 17 foot water fed pole with braided hose.
  • 1 x Rectangular Vikan Brush.
  • 1 x Adjustable Brush Angle Adaptor.
    Pole, brush and angle adaptor all come assembled and ready to work with all required fittings.
  • 1 x Tank Outlet Fittings Kit – Includes metal reducer, elbow, valve and fitting to join to 1/2″ hose
  • 1 x 5m roll of 1/2″ hose to connect the parts of your system together.
  • 1 x Comprehensive installation and operation guide.

Check out the links below for some ideas of window cleaning kits for sale

Become your own boss with a profitable window cleaning van

Feel like the time is right to take charge of your career and work life? become your own boss – do not hesitate!

Mobile car valeting equipment

Mobile Car Valeting Equipment List

Below I will go through the mobile valeting equipment and accessories I used and have come across to start a BASIC mobile car valeting business.

You will obviously need a van, its no good trying to work this business out of a car as many do, you WILL need a van. Usually you can get by with a small van such as a vauxhall combo or Citroen Berlingo and these vans come highly recommended because they are cheap and efficient. Once you have found your van start looking for your equipment – you will need:

Pressure washer:


I have learnt from my personal experience and 7 years in the mobile valeting game that electric pressure washers are better for mobile car valeting. They are considerably cheaper to buy – cheaper to run (no petrol if plugged in) – more reliable – easier to manoeuvre around cars and easier to lift in and out of the van. A petrol pressure washer can also be purchased and have some benefits such as power and the ability to work fully mobile. Though the majority of the time an extension would easily do the trick.

Petrol electric generator:


If you decide to get an electric pressure washer, remember that your generator must be powerful enough to power this (the more powerful your pressure washer, the more expensive the generator will be). Most electric pressure washers have an induction motor which takes 6 times the working power to start and a lot of power to run than you may think so make sure you speak to someone who knows their power ratings when it comes to buying one. If you’ve decided to go with the petrol pressure washer then you just need to worry about the generator being powerful enough to power your vacuum and wet vacuum cleaner.

Vacuum cleaners

Dry Vacuums


As far as vacuums come almost any small vac would suffice, I always use a small henry vacuum because they are easy to manoeuvre around the vehicle, small and compact for storage, have a lot of power for their size. Most have the recoil wire for you to just wind back in after a job, saving LOTS of time and most of all frustration!

Wet Vacuum


I would recommend spending the extra money on your wet vac. You preferably could do with the wet vacs which will pump shampoo into the seats with a trigger on the handle. I use a Numatic George which has never let me down and does the job perfectly. If a George is out of your price range then just try a normal wet vac with no extraction unit for now which just requires a little bit more hard work.

Baffled Water tank:


There’s no need to go crazy on this and start looking at the massive IBC 1000ltr water tanks, these are way too big for the standard mobile car valeter. Why people get these for car valeting is beyond me, usually the average you’ll need to clean a car is about 50 litres, at a push you could do 3 cars a day, that’s 150 litres so aim for a tank with about 250L plus and you’ll be fine.

Cleaning Chemicals


Personally, I love Autosmart products. I’ve tried many different brands in the past but I would always recommend Autosmart. Depending on where you are in the UK they will also deliver to you on site! Which not many suppliers do. The pack above provides all the products you need to give them a try. If you are happy, then I would suggest getting in touch with your local sales rep by calling Autosmart direct to purchase the 5l bottles because it works out cheaper.

Car valeting accessories

snow foam lance:


This if used with the right chemical can do wonders for you. Attach it to your pressure washer and spray over your vehicle. You can make your car look as if its been in the Arctic for a week. TIP: Clean the wheels whilst its still on then wash off.

Electric buffing machine:


Use with caution. If you haven’t used one before then try buy the machines with a speed adjustment and use on the lowest speed until you are used to it.

WEBSITE:

*update – we now offer small business web design packages.

It comes as no surprise that nowadays most businesses have a website. If yours does not, you may run the risk of customers thinking your business isn’t very credible. You want to know that your pride and joy is going to be left in capable professional hands.

A combination of a good website, Facebook page and google business page would be the minimum I would suggest to get the more profitable private customers.

We now offer valeting websites for just £19.99/month – cancel anytime. Worth a look:

SMALL BUT ESSENTIAL EXTRAS:





Cleaning chemicals are not on this list due to being supplied by your franchise dealer – whether that be autosmart or whomever you decide to go with. I always used Autosmart and have always been happy with their products.

As for chemicals the car cleaning industry is awash with different manufacturers and suppliers so I will narrow it down a little for you to get you started. Once you know what you like you can test other brands to suit your needs.

Industry leading suppliers seem to be Auto-smart and autogylm. I have always used Autosmart, the products I find are very competitive on price and are one of the best vehicle valeting products I have ever used. My personal second choice would be autoglym. These two brands are more than enough to get you started for car valeting, Car detailing on the other hand would be a whole different kettle of fish and just isn’t covered in this article.

So there you go, that’s what I would class as a good basic vehicle valeting business set-up. Remember it doesn’t cost for a quote so go crazy and make sure you are getting the best deal. Find the best possible quote you can or just find the best quality items you can for the best possible price.

IF YOU THINK SOMETHING SOULD BE ADDED TO THE LIST – LEAVE ME A COMMENT BELOW

How to Start a Pressure Washing Business

How to start a pressure washing business

A pressure washing business can be very profitable and not as hard work as you may think

There is a surprisingly high number of people who require pressure cleaning services and these people are willing to pay considerably for your services.

 

QUICK START EQUIPMENT

If your just looking for some tools to get started quickly, I really can’t recommend Kiam products enough!

Why start a pressure washing business

Pressure cleaning can be hard and dirty work, but if you buy the right equipment you could find that its not that hard or dirty. The dirt is limited with the use of a rotary cleaning head which shields splashbacks, some are even on wheels so its effortless and you don’t even need to bend over so back pain has been eliminated. All you need to do is connect your hoses and attachments, start your pressure washer and WALK!! its that simple…

So if walking for a living and getting paid large amounts of cash sounds like a good business to be in then read on to find out what tools you need and more.

How much can you earn with a pressure cleaning business

Well depending on where you are in the UK, the prices for this service can vary. Also the type of work can have an effect on your rate such as private domestic work and commercial contract work.
Ill just go over private work because the variables with commercial work vary widely.

I’m in the north, the going rate for an average driveway is around £2.50/m2. so for the average semi detached driveway at around 100 metres squared would equate to £250. This type of driveway could be quite easily completed within 2hrs. That’s £125 per hour! This isn’t an exaggeration, you could easily fit 2-3 of these in per day.

What kind of work is out there?

When it comes to starting a pressure cleaning business you would usually decide what market you want to serve, Private/Commercial:

Private

  • DRIVEWAYS
  • PATIOS
  • GRAFFITI REMOVAL
  • WALLS/FENCES etc
  • FOOTPATHS & WALKWAYS

Commercial

  • CARPARKS
  • PUBLIC AREAS
  • GRAFFITI REMOVAL
  • WALLS/FENCES etc
  • CHEWING GUM REMOVAL
  • WORKSITE CEMENT REMOVAL

What tools do you need to start a pressure cleaning business?

Your van

You will obviously need a van. But the type of van you neeed will depend on what type of work you are planning to take on. Commercial work is more likely going to need a very large tank, a large tank will need a large expensive van/pickup. A 1000l water tank once full will weight more than 1 tonne inc tank weight. Domestic work could be done in a smaller van because most domestic customers are perfectly fine with the fact that you need to plug into their water supply, thus not needing a large tank. This should be reflected in your price tho.

High power petrol/diesel pressure washer

Well this may go without saying but you need a high power petrol pressure washer. The reason you need a petrol pressure washer and not an electric one is because you need to be portable. If your customer has a large surface area and no plug point near your going to look pretty silly turning up expecting a mains connection.

So I personally don’t believe you need to go too excessive for the power of your fuel powered pressure washer, but would recommend a bar rating from 225 and a flow rate of 15 Litres per minute. This will be sufficent for your most stubborn of domestic drives and/or carparks etc.

If you are seeking to pick up mainly commercial work and don’t expect to be doing any private driveways then anywhere from a 30 litres per minute would work just fine.

Rotary cleaner

A rotary cleaner is designed to do all the hard work for you, this isnt an optional extra if you are thinking of scrimping, you 100% need this tool. It not only allows you to clean upto 10x faster but it will leave the finish EVEN throughout without striping the surface.

These can be expensive but the better they are, the more time they usually save doing the work making you earn your money faster, which you WILL notice at the end of the week from those extra couple of jobs you managed to fit it.

1000L Water tank

Your water tank is going to be used frequently and will need to be atleast 1000L to be able to do portable work. Remember though, 1000l of water weighs 1 tonne so you need to make sure that your van can carry the weight.

If the 1000l water tank is far too big for your van I would suggest that you only take on private work and connect to their mains connection. For small jobs you could purchase a smaller tank at around 350l which would fit in most small vans fine and wouldnt be too much weight.

High pressure hose

It would be advised to get atleast 40metres of high pressure hose, most jobs will be large surface work and you will need to reach that full are from a static point (your van). If you aren’t likely to be able to connect to mains then make sure you have enough hose.

Accessories

Hard Brush

You will need to brush down driveways, carparks etc before cleaning so dispose of any debris which will just turn to sludge whilst cleaning.

Chemical sprayer

You will need to douse your surface with a cleaning agent before your start to pressure cleanin your surface. This isn’t compulsory for every job because the pressure washer will do the hard work.

Fungicidal wash

This will ensure that your surface is free from algae, weeds etc for the future. Check with the chemical brand first for suitability. Make sure its pet friendly, check it wont deteriorate any garden furniture and check how long it lasts because you can re-do it afterwards.

Extra hose attachments

Always keep plenty of extra hose attachments because you will find that some attachments will break or lose their seal which is really not a good position to be in. Cheack the seals on all your attachments regularly.

You will also want to consider domestic kitchen tap attachments for domestic work, this comes in handy for people who dont have an outside tap.

Tape measure

You will need to quote for work, going out to peoples homes or visiting the work will require your measurements to be exact. Work is usually calculated in metres squared.

Extra fuel cans

Your fuel will not last all day, maybe not even the whole job! make sure you take extra cans with you on every single job just in case.

Advertising

The best way to market this kind of business would be to speak to people. Hire door to door canvassers or do it yourself. Post leaflets. Tell everyone what you are doing, its one of those type of businesses which require you to show people that they really do need your services. Most people can and do go years with a green slippery driveway and never even thought that it can be cleaned to like new condition. Its your job to tell them!

It always a good idea to have a website which is marketed for search engines because the number of people who do realise that their driveway is filthy or that they need your services will look online for a solution, make sure they see you first!

Once you have a website you will need to look into search engine optimisation or hire a proffesional marketing service which will help people find your business in google and other search engines.

Conclusion

If you are serious about starting your own driveway cleaning business or commercial cleaning business then get the tools, get a website, Hire an online marketing service and tell EVERYONE what you are doing online and offline.

** update: we now offer websites for small businesses, view more here or click the link below to purchase:

Advertising your VALETING business

Marketing your VALETING business:

This is a very important part of starting your business, knowing how to market your business is critical. No matter how much research you do on marketing your business, you cannot know exactly which marketing strategy works by reading alone, each business differs completely. For instance if you have a car wash, having a website would be almost irrelevant because the majority of people see a car wash and go to it or use their local car wash, not saying that it wont work but I am saying there are better things to spend you money on if it isn’t going to work for you.

Certain marketing works for certain businesses, that’s why I have decided to write this ebook, I have been there and I have done it, I can give you the exact details of what I have know works after years in the business. The cost of this ebook alone will save you so much money and stress in the long run on wasted advertising. The main tools I use will be listed below:

Marketing tools:
Business cards
Flyers
personalised receipt book service

word of mouth Website
van logo

Business cards:

I think are a must, good quality business cards will be saved rather than thrown away a week later, laminating the cards can make a business card look better quality whilst keeping it intact in someone’s wallet, someone will definitely be less inclined to throw away a laminated business card, especially if they have asked for your card or would need it for future use, some of my customers have kept mine for years. Business cards are ideal to hand out to your customers stapled to their receipt so they can contact you again if they need your services.

Flyers:

My Flyers have a full description of my service, how long the job will take and how much I charge, I feel that the more information on there makes customers more relaxed about giving you a call as they know exactly what the job entails, some customers can feel abit worried about calling up to ask a hundred questions so they just don’t bother calling!! they can be relatively cheap, the more you buy the cheaper it gets but don’t go crazy, handing out 50,000 flyers would be insanity.
Again a quality flyer will be kept, a 2 coloured one sided flyer will slip into the bin just as fast as it slipped through the letter box. Hand your flyers to friends family, post to your neighbourhood houses, car dealerships, taxi ranks, lease companies, office blocks, business parks ect..

Receipt book:

Having a professional receipt looks great, some people will keep a receipt from you for their records so if you have a personalised receipt with your name and number on they can easily find you again.

Service:

In the valeting business, service is EVERYTHING. Showing up on time, doing a great job and being very polite could be the only reasons why your business will succeed. Always remember to tell your customers after you have given them their receipt with your number on that next time if you want your car cleaning I can do it at a discounted rate. This will make them more inclined to call again, the car wont be as dirty (not always the case) and you have a happy customer who is more likely to refer you to a friend

WORD OF MOUTH:

Yes it is not just a cliché, in this particular business word of mouth can definitely be your best form of advertising so milk this as much as you can, this comes under service! Provide your customer with a great service, be as nice as you possibly can then after the valet ask your customer politely to refer you to their friends if they are happy with the job you have done, maybe offer them a discounted rate if you are referred. This will have your business booming in no time!

Website:

A Website is a must for your small business, I have previously used a DIY website software called Mr site which can get you a website up and running in a matter of minutes and host your site for a year or two for around £40, well worth the money. These days more and more people are searching for small businesses on the web and it is luckily for you one of the businesses which will greatly benefit from having somewhere for your customers to not only find you but be able to see other great jobs you have done before by adding photos of previous valets, read details on the services you offer and your prices. Having a website will gain you abit of an edge over some of your competition as I am sure that not all the mobile car valeting business in your area have one.
Advertise it on your flyers and business cards, your van logo ect. Two of the best ways to advertise your valeting website I have found are:

google adwords is a marketing tool brought to you by google. Have you seen the adverts on google search results either down the right hand side of the screen or right up at the top of your search? That’s google ad words advertisements. To get up their you need to firstly register with google adwords, you can do this by basically typing in “register for google adwords” and follow the steps. Once you have completed this set-up you can have your business being viewed by hundreds of people within minutes! Google adwords works by charging you a small amount (like 35p) every time somebody clicks on your advert. This can certainly ad up but it is a great way to receive a lot of attention straight away. When I first used adwords I registered and set-up the adwords account, within 2 minutes I got a call for a full valet and it cost me 45p. This is rare and to be honest, it didn’t happen again but it shows the potential if you have the budget.

SEO:

SEO is a longer process but probably the better option for your long term goals, it basically makes you appear higher in standard search results. SEO is usually carried out by an internet marketing business or by a single individual, for a monthly fee they can work on making your website more visible to potential customers. But it can take sometimes up to 6 months..

 

van logo:

I would always say you should have a nice professional van logo with your business name, number website ect on your van. I always get people coming up to me on the street asking for a flyer because they have seen that I am a mobile car valeter, people see your logo and know what you are and the majority of people who see it enquire about your service, I would say for every 1 out of 4 private jobs which I do I will receive at least 1 enquiry from passers by, neighbours ect.
Not only is it yet another way to get your name out there but it makes your business look so much more professional.

Talk about your business:

Let everybody know your starting a new mobile car valeting business, they will no doubt be intrigued. Tell your friends and family and anybody your have a general conversation with, this should not only be when you start up but whilst you have it too, you will be surprised at the amount of interest it brings and how fast the word will spread. I’m sure there is people within your family and friends who would be willing to have a valet done by you to help you start your business so go around ALL of them and just ask.

Cleaning Business Ideas

Just a few easy to start cleaning business ideas!

Finding cleaning business ideas could be the hardest part of starting a small cleaning business. Starting a cleaning business can be fairly easy to do because lets face it, everything gets dirty and not everybody has the time to clean!

Now here is the hard part – the reason you may have stumbled upon this article is because you have searched for “cleaning business ideas”. So your may not have decided on the cleaning services you are intending on offering and are looking for some inspiration. This is the most crucial part of starting a cleaning business because you must choose something you enjoy doing.

There are so many different variations of cleaning businesses that you can tailor your own personal interests and turn them into a viable business e.g if you are interested in cars, a mobile car valeting business would be a great choice – have an interest in boats? You can start a boat cleaning business! Like i mentioned earlier, everything gets dirty so find your interests and see if you can create a business which can utilise this passion.

 

Base your cleaning business idea on something you already have an interest in

You MUST have passion for what you are doing. I found that when I had a cleaning business, I didn’t enjoy what I was doing. This made me hate my work and resent my customers for asking more of me which eventually lead me to not even wanting to pick up the phone when customers were calling! Not a great position to be in.

So seriously, spend a minute just thinking about your interests and ask yourself if there is an opportunity to create a cleaning business around it. Building the kind of cleaning business which you would like to setup can make or break it in the long term. So take a look at our cleaning business ideas and see if they spark an interest.

Mobile car valeting

Mobile car valeting services have great demand. This is first on our list because we have plenty of articles for starting a mobile car valeting businesshow to market a valeting business and even guide you to learn how to valet a car. Starting a valeting business can be fairly cheap todo depending on how you do it. Like anything you can goto extremes and purchase a brand new van for over £10k or one for £1k – make informed decisions rather than getting carried away.

Mobile car valeting businesses can be built by contacting local small used car dealerships, flyer drops in business areas with plenty of office blocks and social media. The best place to start is with friends and family! You can build your experience and maybe even gain some lifelong customers. A website with basic marketing is another great option alongside some free marketing with google business. You can expect to earn anywhere from £500 – £750 per week!

Oven cleaning

Oven cleaning is a very popular service. It is recommended to undertake some training – just like most of these cleaning business ideas. This is a service which is most likely to gain customers online at first so a website alongside marketing are quite important. Oven cleaning business kits can be bought for around £2k, not including van. Always do your research on pricing and estimated gross profits.

Driveway cleaning

Driveway cleaning can be very profitable. We have a small guide on how to start a pressure cleaning business which will help understand what work is required to get started. A standard house can easily generate £50 per hour – with most being completed within 2-3hrs you can make a substantial amount of money! Prices are easy to quote with pricing structures in square metres. The average price per square metre is £2.50, measure your own garden to get a feel for how much you should be charging in comparison to sizes.

Window cleaning

One of the best things about window cleaning is that you can build a solid revenue stream by building up your window cleaning round. Ever heard the saying “cash is king” or “cash flow is the most important part of any business”? if you haven’t I certainly have. If you can build up a large window cleaning round you can pretty much guarantee your income. The average window cleaner has in excess of 250 customers. If tragedy struck and your business lost 50 customers in 1 month (which lets face it, just wouldn’t happen to an existing window cleaning round) then you will still have an income, you will still be able to pay your bills – you will still have CASH FLOW!

Gutter cleaning

Gutter vacs can be purchased for around £700 – would will need a van also to fit the larger vacs and poles in. Gutter cleaning is popular with contract work such as offices and schools. The majority of gutter cleaning work will be one off so creating an online presence is important. The main problem I see with gutter cleaning is that it is seasonal. Although there are so many thriving gutter cleaning businesses out there that this may not actually effect them. By creating an add on to your existing business you could make up for any seasonal low points.

Conservatory/Upvc cleaning

Conservatory and Upvc cleaning businesses aren’t seen very much and i’m not very sure why. Every conservatory will grow green algae each year when the season hits. Green algae makes your conservatory roof look hideous, if you get enough clients you can do this work once a year as a sole business or have this as an add-on to an already established service business. To clean Upvc you will use a solvent cleaner which will provide astonishing results, these upvc solvent cleaners can be purchased for around £2.50 per litre and would quite easily clean a couple of conservatories or 100 window frames.

Drain cleaning

One of the most profitable cleaning business ideas we have. Ever heard of a company called Dyno-rod? Well they are huge. The potential income from a service like this is quite untapped but be prepared to work hard for your money. Drain cleaning requires drainage knowledge and quite possibly a solid team of marketers to bring in work but once that work is coming in you could see each job to be running into the thousands.

Roof cleaning

Roof cleaning is fairly new in the UK, its hasn’t really been adopted very well by us Brits. In the USA and Australia however roof cleaning is as common as mowing your lawn (well maybe not that common). You will need to be up on your safety knowledge and not be afraid of heights. This business could see your cleaning business idea earning over £1000 a day!

Office cleaning

When your saw 11 small cleaning business ideas you thought office cleaning right? Well no cleaning business ideas list would be complete without it. contracts like this can provide your business startup with security and cash flow. You will need to make sure your business is professional and have all business insurances in place alongside any risk assessment forms required of you. You could quite easily start an office cleaning business for under £1000.

House cleaning

The least expensive small cleaning business idea goes to house cleaning. A handful of chemicals, mops, buckets and a vacuum could see you start your very own business. This could cost less than £100. In-fact some home cleaning businesses use their customers cleaning equipment! What could be cheaper than free tools!

Boat cleaning

Not everybody has a boat but this niche cleaning business idea could be enough to make you a market leader. If you have an interest in Boats you could see yourself with a business you love in no time. You will need similar tools to a driveway/pressure cleaning business e.g petrol pressure washer and water tank.

Carpet cleaning

Carpet cleaning is another very popular service. Most people would rather repair than replace older furniture. Carpet cleaning can quickly rejuvenate tired and smelly carpets. Carpet cleaners are expensive to buy – often running into thousands of pounds but if you are just starting out you could consider hiring a carpet cleaner until you have saved enough to buy your own. Doing so will leave your startup costs below £300 or even less!

If you would like to speak to us regarding an article you have read please get in touch.

How to start a mobile car valeting business

 

How to start a mobile car valeting business

Hi, my name is Keith. I have owned and run a mobile car valeting business for many years. Mobile car valeting is a cheap and easy business to setup but not many people realise that their is still a huge learning curve. Rather than go through the pain of learning yourself i’ve put together a basic guide to hopefully make your life easier.

Why start your own mobile valeting business?

There are millions of cars on the road in the UK today. The majority of car owners have 2 options available to them when their vehicle is dirty – they will clean it themselves or hire somebody to clean it for them. Not many businesses have an income potential which is completely uncapped like this is. There are so many Cars, Vans, Lorries and even Boats out there which need cleaning, the real power lies in getting the work and keeping it. If you can crack that, your earning potential is limitless. 1 van can quickly lead to 2, then 2 to 3.

Mobile car valeting is an easy business to get into and fairly easy to start once you have spoken to the people you know – friends, family etc. I am not however saying that a mobile car valeting business is easy to run and make a living from but there are hundreds of people out there who do make a very good living from it.

Who wouldn’t want to start their own business, be your own boss, choose when you want to work. If you can get regular work, there is no reason why you can’t do it too!

Your income is only limited by you

You may have already started your valeting business and just checking your on the right track, or want to earn a little more money. Stick to doing a good job valeting and the business will retain customers and those customers will recommend you.

Do you do a better job than everyone else? Then you may be able to charge extra for your services – its as simple and a fair as that. However you need a solid foundation of work and customers before you decide to hike your prices up more than your competitors. Make a name for yourself first and make sure you are busy at least 4-5 days per week before increasing prices.

If you can clean a car better than anyone else then your business will no doubt take off with the correct marketing in place but without a proper marketing strategy you may only be scraping by to make ends meet. Word of mouth is your best form of advertising but there is a limit to the amount in which your customers talk about your services, certainly not enough to create a full weeks work regularly when starting out.

So if you have recently been made redundant, lost your job, cannot find a job or looking for something part time/full-time to start then mobile car valeting may just be for you. Starting a mobile car valeting business can be lucrative and easy to start if you know which valeting equipment to buy and how to do the job.

Starting your mobile car valeting business

Start locally

When you have you van, valeting equipment and know what your doing – your simplest route to finding work is speaking to friends and family. This can include setting up a business page on facebook and asking them to share it or maybe they just need to mention it to their friends at work.

Build a brand

By building a brand you will look more professional and more people will remember you. To build a brand that people will remember; make sure the business name either stands out or is short. Abbreviations such as KTPL valeting may be too hard to remember or read when you speed past in your van.

Up sell Services

You may be able to charge that little bit extra by offering different services e.g a coat of carnauba wax or machine polish. You could also offer detailing services which may cater to a different sector of the car cleaning market – opening up the potential for sales even more, not to mention cleaning Ferraris and Lamborghinis. People will pay that little bit extra for quality.

Offer vouchers and incentives

If you offer your customers the chance to receive a free mini valet for referring your services to a friend you may not be surprised at the amount of customers who would be willing. This is a great way to utilise your very best form of marketing which is word of mouth.

Plan for your mobile car valeting business

Planning before you start your mobile car valeting business is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you should do. Doing your research is your first step towards setting up your car valeting business and it is CRUCIAL. So I would imagine your not sure exactly what to do for your research?

Wherever you are in the UK you will need to check your competition. If the competition is too high this could make things twice as hard for you to set-up your business and you may have to pay for marketing to get off to a good start before you are established – without knowing this beforehand you could start your business, find it too hard to get work and quit.

By no means does having too much competition make it impossible but traditional means of getting your name out there may not work. People who already get their car cleaned on a regular basis may already have somebody to do it for them but like i mentioned earlier, there are millions of cars on the road.

So firstly I would advise you to use google to search for competitors. If your based in Sheffield then type “mobile car valeting in Sheffield”, or any other variations. Google business (the name for listings on google with the maps next to them) is usually the first thing you will see. Google business shows local businesses and is free to advertise.

You will see a small map, pinpointing where businesses are in your town/city so make a mental note of the first 10 and then try a couple of other sites, search facebook etc. If the same names keep coming up and they have reviews then you’ll know that more than likely these businesses will be your competition because they will be the ones getting all the work.

You will find that the majority of new business will come from google. By new business – i mean business which isn’t related to you via friends and family – people who have no ties and obligations to use your services. This is by far the biggest search engine and it seems to always bring in new work for businesses with a good website and amazing marketing in place.

Quick Tip: Setup your own google my business account by typing it into google. You will have to fill out a number of forms and will receive a letter in the post with a passcode. Return to google business and enter this code to activate your account.

Once you have activated your account you may find lots of other services which can help you improve your website. Top tools include googles keyword planner and Adwords.

Customer Research

Now that you have checked who your competitors will be, you will want to work out who you will aim your services towards. Some mobile valeting businesses only clean Trade/car dealership vehicles, some only private domestic customers, some Clean HGV vehicles. So find out what you would prefer then start looking up people who might want your services, ill list examples below and pro’s and cons of each:

Private customers:
PROs:

  • More profitable per hour
  • You get to travel more
  • Rarely work in the same place more than once
  • Meet new people everyday
  • Higher likelihood of tips to increase profits

CONs:

  • The work is not guaranteed
  • Constant marketing costs to keep new clients coming in
  • More time consuming travelling from job to job
  • More chance you will be caught in the rain

Examples of private customers

  • People in apartments who don’t have access to outside water
  • Car owners who just don’t have the tools or cleaning chemicals
  • The elderly most of the time cannot physically clean their vehicle
  • Taxi firms need their cars clean for their customers
  • General people who work and don’t have the time – cleaning at their work place is a big market

Trade Customers:
PROs:

  • Trade/Dealership work is a great way to achieve a guaranteed income
  • Generally you will know how many vehicles will need cleaning per week/month.
  • Frequently the work is indoors with shelter so you can work in all conditions.
  • Getting to know dealers can help with your own motoring needs e.g cheap servicing, MOT and discounts

CON:

  • You will need to lower your prices in return for frequent work.
  • Payment is at dealer discretion, either weekly, bi-weekly etc

Examples of Trade contracts

  • Used car dealerships
  • Vehicle rental companies
  • Ex lease vehicle companies
  • Businesses with company vehicles
  • Haulage company’s will need their wagons cleaning in and out.

Combining both markets

I would suggest you combine both private and trade work. You may find on the weeks which private work is hard to come by the trade contract work will provide cash flow which is essential if you want to run a successful business. Splitting your work up can keep your business healthy. 2-3 Days visiting your contract cleaning work and the remaining days can be used to book in private work.

Budgeting for your Car valeting business Startup

Grab a pen and paper or do this with your computer because you will need to make yourself a budget. You will need to work out how much money you have to spend on this. Remember to include any tools, chemicals, van insurance, business insurance, marketing etc. I will go through a few things you should consider and budget for the further you read.

Research suppliers and get quotes:

You should research suppliers and get quotes for cleaning chemicals. You need to know if they deliver direct to you or do you pickup. How would you get them if you find one day you had run out of something and you have to go to work? ALWAYS KEEP A BACKUP OF CHEMICALS!

Will you use flyers and business cards to get your name out there? You need to know how much these will cost you so call local printing services or use online services such as vistaprint who provide cheap flyers and business cards.

Will your van have a logo and number on the side? If so then you need to factor in this cost. Google van signage companies and get some quotes.

Get quotes and prices for everything you will use every day. I cover the Equipment needed further in the article to help with your budgeting.

Car valeting equipment required

Now you have researched your competition, chosen your market and received each quote your need you can start acquiring your new car valeting equipment.

Check out our full list of car valeting equipment which will tell you the main tools for a professional mobile car valeter.

Car valeting startup tools

Below I will go through the car valeting equipment I used.

First off you will obviously need a van, its no good trying to work this business out of a car as many do, you WILL need a van. Usually you can get by with a small van such as a vauxhall combo or Citroen Berlingo and these vans come highly recommended because they are cheap and efficient. Once you have found your van start looking for your equipment, you will need:

Pressure washer:


I have learnt from my personal experience and 7 years in the mobile valeting game that electric pressure washers are better for mobile car valeting. They are considerably cheaper to buy – cheaper to run (no petrol if plugged in) – more reliable – easier to manoeuvre around cars and easier to lift in and out of the van. A petrol pressure washer can also be purchased and have some benefits such as power and the ability to work fully mobile. Though the majority of the time an extension would easily do the trick.

Petrol electric generator:


If you decide to get an electric pressure washer, remember that your generator must be powerful enough to power this (the more powerful your pressure washer, the more expensive the generator will be). Most electric pressure washers have an induction motor which takes 6 times the working power to start and a lot of power to run than you may think so make sure you speak to someone who knows their power ratings when it comes to buying one. If you’ve decided to go with the petrol pressure washer then you just need to worry about the generator being powerful enough to power your vacuum and wet vacuum cleaner.

Vacuum cleaners

Dry Vacuums


As far as vacuums come almost any small vac would suffice, I always use a small henry vacuum because they are easy to manoeuvre around the vehicle, small and compact for storage, have a lot of power for their size. Most have the recoil wire for you to just wind back in after a job, saving LOTS of time and most of all frustration!

Wet Vacuum


I would recommend spending the extra money on your wet vac. You preferably could do with the wet vacs which will pump shampoo into the seats with a trigger on the handle. I use a Numatic George which has never let me down and does the job perfectly. If a George is out of your price range then just try a normal wet vac with no extraction unit for now which just requires a little bit more hard work.

Baffled Water tank:


There’s no need to go crazy on this and start looking at the massive IBC 1000ltr water tanks, these are way too big for the standard mobile car valeter. Why people get these for car valeting is beyond me, usually the average you’ll need to clean a car is about 50 litres, at a push you could do 3 cars a day, that’s 150 litres so aim for a tank with about 250L plus and you’ll be fine.

Cleaning Chemicals


Personally, I love Autosmart products. I’ve tried many different brands in the past but I would always recommend Autosmart. Depending on where you are in the UK they will also deliver to you on site! Which not many suppliers do. The pack above provides all the products you need to give them a try. If you are happy, then I would suggest getting in touch with your local sales rep by calling Autosmart direct to purchase the 5l bottles because it works out cheaper.

Car valeting accessories

snow foam lance:


This if used with the right chemical can do wonders for you. Attach it to your pressure washer and spray over your vehicle. You can make your car look as if its been in the Arctic for a week. TIP: Clean the wheels whilst its still on then wash off.

Electric buffing machine:


Use with caution. If you haven’t used one before then try buy the machines with a speed adjustment and use on the lowest speed until you are used to it.

WEBSITE:

It comes as no surprise that nowadays most businesses have a website. If yours does not, you may run the risk of customers thinking your business isn’t very credible. You want to know that your pride and joy is going to be left in capable professional hands.

A combination of a good website, Facebook page and google business page would be the minimum I would suggest to get the more profitable private customers.

We now offer valeting websites for just £19.99/month – cancel anytime. Worth a look:

SMALL BUT ESSENTIAL EXTRAS:





Cleaning chemicals are not on this list due to being supplied by your franchise dealer – whether that be autosmart or whomever you decide to go with. I always used Autosmart and have always been happy with their products.
As for chemicals the car cleaning industry is awash with different manufacturers and suppliers so I will narrow it down a little for you to get you started. Once you know what you like you can test other brands to suit your needs. Industry leading suppliers seem to be Auto-smart and autogylm. I have always used Autosmart, the products I find are very competitive on price and are one of the best vehicle valeting products I have ever used. My personal second choice would be autoglym. These two brands are more than enough to get you started for car valeting, Car detailing on the other hand would be a whole different kettle of fish and just isn’t covered in this article.

So there you go, that’s what I would class as a good basic vehicle valeting business set-up. Remember it doesn’t cost for a quote so go crazy and make sure you are getting the best deal. Find the best possible quote you can or just find the best quality items you can for the best possible price.

Starting your business step by step
1. Research your business by reading the “planning your business” section on this ebook, this will save you so much time in the Future by doing your planning now.
2. Prepare your business plan
3. Get all the quotes you can for absolutely everything which you will need.
4. Raise the money which you will need to start your business.
5.Buy yourself a van and buy the equipment which you have decided would be best for your business.
6. Get yourself a land-line or use your mobile number for customers and get your logo and number ect put on your van
7. Contact your nearest valeting supplier and get the products you’ll need.
8. Open a business account
9. Get a website
10. Either find an accountant who will be willing to work for you or get a filling Cabinet to do your own tax returns.
11. Buy public liability insurance
12. Get your fliers and business cards printed
13. Start telling everyone what you are doing, friends and family ect
14. Post your flyers and hand out your business cards
15. You’ll more than likely get a few jobs from friends and family so just do this to gain abit of experience of how you would valet a car mobile.
16. Start advertising in local news papers, on your website ect
17. Within 3 Months remember to inform HMRC
18. Keep a record of your accounts

That’s your basic mobile car valeting business set-up, ready to make money!

No more working for other people and watching them reek the rewards for your hard work, you are in control of your own life! And remember the more

hard work you put in, the more only you will benefit!
Thanks again, I really hope you have found my advice useful and I wish you the best of luck.

*Please note: I take no responsibility for any failed business attempts or any liability for advice given in this guide. I’m just sharing my knowledge in hope that you can take as much or as little info as you need from it.

 

How to valet a car

Learn how to valet a car in stages

If you want to learn how to valet a car this guide will aid in helping you understand the stages involved. If you are planning on starting your own valeting business you may want to take a look at our guide called how to start a mobile car valeting business. Its a mammoth article at over 5000 words!

Otherwise if you are planning on just valeting your own car at home this article will still help – although you may not have all of the chemicals listed, you may be able to substitute these in most cases.

The Valet described is just a basic Full Valet and each stage has been used by myself for over 7 years of owning a mobile car valeting business.

Heres some good starter cleaning kits if you aren’t a pro just yet




Cleaning Chemicals for the pro’s


Personally, I love Autosmart products. I’ve tried many different brands in the past but I would always recommend Autosmart. Depending on where you are in the UK they will also deliver to you on site! Which not many suppliers do. The pack above provides all the products you need to give them a try. If you are happy, then I would suggest getting in touch with your local sales rep by calling Autosmart direct to purchase the 5l bottles because it works out cheaper.

A full equipment list can be found HERE

How to valet a car – the Full Valet

how to valet a car exterior:

Firstly set-up your pressure washer and spend a couple of minutes power washing off heavy deposits of dirt and traffic film, this is just a quick wash to prepare for the next stage.

Spray TFR (traffic film remover) from a pressurised chemical sprayer on to the bottom of the car – no higher than the car door window. Make sure you don’t spray on to rubber because the TFR will leave spot marks which are usually permanent. Leave the TFR on for a couple of minutes whilst you spray your wheels with wheel acid/cleaner.

If the wheels are particularly dirty then you should use a higher concentrate of wheel cleaner and aggravate the dirt on the wheels with a alloy wheel brush. Do not use wheel acid on chrome alloy wheels and be particularly careful on alloy wheels with minor damage. Use a lower concentrate to start with and increase as required.

Wash off the whole car starting from the top, paying more attention to the seals, gaps in doors, wheel arches, petrol filler cap and flies on the front bumper and wing mirrors. Some valeters never seem to get this bit right but it’s really important.

Towel dry, paying particular attention to the gaps in the bodywork where water can dwell, I.e. wing mirrors and lights. Now Go over the car with original t-cut – looking for fine scratches around the handles, sills and bodywork. Just rub on with a polish cloth to be polished over later.

*Tip: Taking a couple of minutes removing scratches around the handles could be the reason customers refer you to their friends or call again. People assume that removing scratches is an expensive task but it takes just minutes to do. Other valeting companies wouldn’t usually do this for a full valet so why not impress.

Spray tar and glue remover onto door sills and around the wheel arches to remove tar (small black specks of tar) on bodywork. Wipe off with a microfibre.

Polishing your car

Apply small amount of polish to your polishing sponge/cloth and apply in a circular motion, make sure you apply evenly and reach the entire paint surface as missed areas can look dull in comparison.

*Tip: Keep the polish on to avoid oily spray back from the tyre shine going on to the bodywork.

Leave the polish on whilst you hand clean the alloy wheels with a cloth. It’s usually a good idea to get most of the dirt off with a dirty cloth then go over each wheel with a clean cloth to avoid streaking.

Treat all the outside plastics/rubbers, even window wipers with bumper shine.

Spray the tyres and arches with tyre shine and use a dirty cloth to go around the arches and wipe the excess tyre slick away to leave a clean matt wheel arch.

To finish off the outside – remove the polish with a clean microfibre cloth. If the drying hasn’t quite gone to plan you may have a damp microfibre cloth, this will leave streaks so leave that to dry off and get another one.

How to valet a car Interior:

Firstly use the interior brushes to get into nicks and crannies to remove dirt or dust in air vents and between buttons in the centre console.

Remove the car foot mats and fully vacuum the car including the boot. Use the vac now to remove any leaves stuck at the top of the boot sill.

Use a multi-purpose cleaner (I have used AUTOSMARTS G101) to clean the interior plastics including door pockets, centre consoles and the fabric on door cards, also clean foot well carpets at this time.

You should start at the passengers side and work your way round counterclockwise – this is because the drivers side is usually the dirtiest so your cloths are too dirty afterwards to clean the rest of the car.

To clean the plastics just spray on the multi-purpose cleaner all over the area you intend on cleaning (section by section is easiest, I find starting from the top and working my way down works best).

Scrub with a hard bristled INTERIOR valeting brush and wipe away with a clean microfibre cloth. For cleaning interior carpets spray with interior cleaner or carpet shampoo if preferred. Now scrub with an brush carpet/interior brush. Once you have done that whole area, you can then move to the next area I.e. rear seats and so on, making your way around the whole car.

Tip: Use a different brush for the interior plastics and carpets, this is because your carpet brush will no doubt be filthy. You don’t want to try and clean your interior plastics with a filthy brush.

Another Tip: always clean your microfibre cloth with water each time you clean a section of the interior, this will make for a cleaner interior. Use your pressure washer to clean your interior cloth. Put the cloth onto a hard surface first. Clean your brushes at the same time. I usually clean mine 4-5 times every time a clean any interior.

Remember to pull your front seats backwards when cleaning the front, and forwards when cleaning the back.

Cleaning the Seats

Then use your wet-vac machine to clean the seats. Spray the material with a fabric shampoo, scrub with a brush all over the seats then use your wet vac to suck up all the dirt left in the seats. Use the extraction whenever necessary. Leather can be cleaned with leather cleaner – simply apply as required and wipe away.

Clean the door shuts, these should be sprayed with multi purpose cleaner and wiped down. They may haze over but don’t worry as we will fix later.

Vac the entire car again. Ensure the interior in vacuumed thoroughly without leaving any bits of grit or dirt. Make sure to vac in the cracks of the centre console, in-between buttons etc and down the sides of each seat. Lift up rear seats if possible to fully remove all dirt.

Applying plastic dressing

Apply a matt plastic dressing – spray on and wipe into the interior plastics ensuring no over spray is left. Wipe over the door shuts which will leave a very nice shine making a huge difference to the interior appearance.

Finishing touches

Then using a clean microfibre cloth, wipe over and dry your centre console, steering wheel including indicators, door handles and anywhere else which looks streaky. This will leave the car interior looking clean and non greasy.

I will now use a silicone dash spray around the door shuts, centre console, gear knobs etc.

Always leave the windows as the very last thing to be cleaned, this is because the chemicals and sprays which you use will come into contact with the windows and leave them smeared.

Cleaning the windows

Now go around the car with window cleaner – cleaning each window. I usually start at the passenger side and work my way around. Just one spray will do, do not over apply as this can also leave the windows with streaks. Wipe on with one cloth and buff up the windows with a clean microfibre cloth.

Apply paper floor mats and protective seat covers if required. Check the car exterior and buff up as required around the outside of the car and your are finished.

Follow this step by step and you too can provide a brilliant service time after time.