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  1. #1
    Newbie Member MountainBound's Avatar
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    Feb 2020
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    Wanting to detail full time - Looking for advice

    Hello AG, Im wanting to go into full time detail but am lost on how to handle the whole mobile vs fixed location issue.

    Mobile definitely has its cost savings advantage but I live in Colorado and not sure how to go about dealing with our weather here around the year. For example today it never got out of the 30's and was snowing on and off. The other issue is how low our humidity is and how intense the sun is here. I wash my vehicles before the sun comes up or goes down or in our garage because of this as water spots are guaranteed if I try to wash in any sort of sunlight. Water basically evaporates before it hits the ground. I thought the best option would to try and do a little mobile and detail some cars at home but it's not technically allowed per city ordinance.

    Other option would be fixed location but I just don't feel like it's a good financial decision considering I do not have any true clientele. This would allow me to detail all year long plus allow me to offer better results.

    How have you handled this delima in starting your detailing business? For the guys doing mobile in colder climates how do you work year round? Looking for any suggestions or advice on any of this. Thanks for your time

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  3. #2
    Regular Member crg001's Avatar
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    Oct 2020
    Redlands CA
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    Re: Wanting to detail full time - Looking for advice

    That's a tough call to make that full time transition. I'm thinking that mobile is really the only way to start out unless you have some significant savings (or loans) to support starting a shop-based business. Mobile has significantly lower risk for those reasons, and is probably the best way to start earning repeat and new clients, as well as a reputation that you can eventually carry into a shop based business.

    I still work my full time job but do detail on the weekends here and there. It started with just friends and family and has grown from there fairly steadily. I do mobile half the time out of my SUV but if I can help it, I do it out of my home garage. I'm in SoCal so the weather conditions are different (absolutely brutally hot in summer) but there are similar restrictions.

    One thing I will say that has helped me tremendously is the usage of rinseless washes instead of traditional car shampoos. In the summer here, it's virtually impossible to keep a car wet and spot free. That's not to say I still don't use a hose and pressure washer, though. I will still pretreat with a degreasing soap and iron remover/acid and rinse those away. Also I will use the hose to clean the wheels. But when it comes to washing, I will spray the vehicle down with rinseless wash diluted in a gallon pump sprayer of DI water after the prerinse to suspend the water spotting minerals. That can safely dry on the paint even in 110+ degree desert sun. Then I will go around the vehicle and do a rinseless wash from a bucket (or two). It's been a life saver for me. Water spots are a thing of the past. You will also save some water this way, and depend less on water quality. I do not have a water tank and have depended on using the customer's water supply. However that has never been an issue.

    With mobile detailing I feel you have to streamline your processes and materials very carefully. But over time you learn what is effective and important to have, and what isn't. My garage is absolutely full of detailing stuff that will likely never get fully used up. But when packing up for mobile detailing, I have some janitorial spray bottle holders that hold my essential products that are easy to keep organized. Along with those I have a tub with my washing tools and products, a folding table, a small plastic drawer bin full of towels and brushes and applicators, a toolbag with a polisher and drill, a bin for pads and drill brushes, and of course my vacuum/steamer and various extension cords. Also a hose and pressure washer.

    In this case I would start slow and work your way up to full time. It's a learning process and it's definitely a test of physical endurance and organizational skills. Best of luck to you.
    Colin Lang
    @DimensionalShine <- My Detailing IG Page

  4. #3
    Super Member UncleDavy's Avatar
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    Aug 2017
    Taunton, MA
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    Re: Wanting to detail full time - Looking for advice

    It sounds like the mobile routine is the best way to start. Your startup costs will be a lot less but you can still form an S corporation and feel like a real business owner. After you build your reputation and start collecting steady customers, you may want to look at a permanent shop if you want to offer high level coatings. The issue is the higher fixed costs that are associated with an actual building. Affordable commercial properties are not always located in the best parts of town.
    I believe in treating everybody with respect, and clean cars. That’s what I believe in.

  5. #4
    Newbie Member
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    Jan 2018
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    Re: Wanting to detail full time - Looking for advice

    Mobile does have lower business related costs, but does anyone have any suggestions on how to work in a mobile environment in cold weather (below freezing) related to paint correction and ceramic coatings?

    Washing a car in freezing temps is doable, but what are the options for doing paint correction and ceramic coatings in freezing temps?

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