Auto Detailing Business Plan Outline

Create A Business Plan

Every business needs a business plan. It’s a living document that can be edited and updated as needed. Creating a business plan is one of the first and most critical things to do if you want to start, operate, and grow any small business – more importantly a professional and successful car detailing business. A business plan is comprised of many components which we will outline for you!

Mission Statement:

Determine what you want the company to be within your community. Develop an Auto Detailing operation that provides its customers the best quality product that meets and exceeds the customer’s needs and expectations. Quality will be defined as the right product to meet the customer’s requirements from a basic hand car wash, complete detailing to a ceramic coating that includes paint correction along with all of the services listed in this business plan sample component: 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 location, work from home, or operate mobile.  


Determine where the customers are and how you will reach them. A competitive study should be conducted to determine the feasibility of such a company in the general area of __________________. It may be determined that four such operations exist in the area where you plan to operate your business. 

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

  • Joe’s Body Shop is limited to exterior cleanup only 
  • ABC Auto Dealer offers detailing only to customers who have purchased a vehicle from them. 
  • Car Wash Inc. only offers express detailing and not full service detailing. 
  • Calvin’s Custom Detail Center appears to offer the most complete service options of all of the reviewed detail businesses in the area. They should provide the best competition and will be the benchmark for your startup efforts. 

The ten mile radius of your proposed location (fixed or 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 350 homes all within 10 miles of your business location or mobile territory. In addition, there are two industrial parks, two hospitals and numerous office building complexes with approximately 8,000 employees. The local private airport and a marina are also within that 10 mile radius. 

Services Offered:

List the Services that you will offer, keep in mind the products and equipment you will need to provide these services.  

Exterior Services

  • Deluxe hand car wash 
  • Ceramic coating car wash 
  • Engine compartment cleaning 
  • Paint decontamination 
  • Paint correction 
  • Paint polishing 
  • Chrome polishing 
  • Paint overspray removal 
  • Road paint removal 
  • Wax and sealant services 
  • Ceramic coating services 
  • Maintenance washes and details 
  • Headlight restoration 
  • Paint chip repair 
  • Plastic trim restoration 
  • Wheels off polishing  
  • Clear bra installation 
  • Emblem removal 

Interior Services

  • Carpet and upholstery cleaning 
  • Leather cleaning and conditioning 
  • Full service interior cleaning and detailing 
  • Interior odor removal 
  • Upholstery repair 
  • Leather and vinyl repair 
  • Carpet dying restoration 
  • Cigarette burn hole repair 
  • Window tinting 
  • Offer interior floor liners 

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


Determine how much funding you will need! Every small business has different needs, and no financial solution is one-size-fits-all. Your personal financial situation and vision for your business will shape the financial future of your detailing business. Once you know how much startup funding you will need, determine how you will obtain it. 


Also known as bootstrapping, self-funding lets you leverage your own financial resources to support your business. Self-funding can come in the form of turning to family and friends for capital, using your savings accounts, credit card, or even tapping into your 401(k). 

By self-funding, you retain complete control over your business, but you also take on all the financial risk yourself. Be careful not to spend more than you can afford and be especially cautious if you choose to use retirement accounts early. You could face expensive fees or penalties or hurt your ability to retire on time. Check with your plan’s administrator and a personal financial advisor before you tap into your retirement account. 

Venture Capital From Investors 

Investors can provide you funding to start or grow your detailing business in the form of venture capital investments. Venture capital is normally offered in exchange for a percentage of ownership in the business. 

Venture capital is different from traditional financing in many important ways. Venture capital typically: 

  • Focuses on high-growth companies 
  • Invests capital in return for equity, rather than debt (it’s not a loan) 
  • Takes higher risks in exchange for potential higher returns 
  • Has a longer investment perspective than traditional financing 

Most venture capitalists will, at a minimum, want a seat on the board of directors. So be prepared to give up some portion of both control and ownership of your detailing business in exchange for funding. 

How to get venture capital funding

There is no guaranteed way to get venture capital, but the process generally follows a standard order of basic steps. 

Search for an investor  
Look for individual investors, sometimes called “angel investors” or venture capital firms. Be sure to do enough background research to know if the investor is reputable and has experience working with startups. 

Provide your business plan
The investor will want to take a look at your business plan to make sure it meets their investing criteria. Most angel investors concentrate on the various industries, geographic areas, or stage of business development. 

Due diligence 
The investors will want to look at your company’s management team, market, and services, corporate documents, and financial statements. 

Discuss the terms 
If they want to invest in your detailing business, the next step is to agree on a term document that describes the terms and conditions for the fund to make the investment. 

Get the investment 
Once you agree on the terms, you can get the investment! Once a venture fund has invested, it becomes actively involved in your detailing business. Venture funds normally come in what is known as “rounds.” As your detailing business meets its achievements, further rounds of financing are made available, with adjustments in price as your business executes its plan. 

Use crowdfunding to fund your detailing business 

Crowdfunding raises funds for a business from a large number of people, called Crowd funder. Crowd funder’s aren’t technically investors, because they don’t receive a share of ownership in your detailing business and don’t expect a financial return on their money. 

Instead, crowd funders expect to get a “gift” from your company as thanks for their contribution. Many times, that gift is the product or service you plan to sell.  Offer a free full detail or even a ceramic coating depending on how much the individual crowdfunder invests.   

Crowdfunding is popular because it’s very low risk for business owners. Not only do you get to retain complete control of your detailing business, but if your business fails, you’re typically not under obligation to repay your crowd funders. Every crowdfunding platform is different, so be sure to read the small print and understand your complete financial and legal obligations. 

Obtain a small business loan

If you want to have complete control of your detailing business, but don’t have enough money to start, consider applying for a small business loan. To increase your chances of getting a loan, you should have a solid Business Plan, and financial projections for the next forty eight months. These tools will give you a good idea of how much you will need to ask for and will help the bank know if they are making a good choice by loaning you the funds. 

Once you have your documents prepared, contact banks and credit unions to apply for a loan. You will want to compare offers to get the best possible terms for your small business loan. Use “Lender Match” to find lenders who offer SBA (Small Business Association) guaranteed loans.  

If you have issues getting a traditional small business loan, you should look into SBA guaranteed loans. When your local bank thinks your business may be too risky to loan money to, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can agree to guarantee your loan. That way, the bank has less risk and is more willing to loan you the funds. 

Market Niches in order of importance:

  • Retail clients in the upscale neighborhoods defined in the demographic section. 
  • Companies that have been identified within the industrial parks and office building complexes in the area. 
  • Other automotive businesses  
  • Real estate agencies 
  • Insurance companies and claims departments 
  • Apartment and condominium complexes 
  • Car dealerships 
  • Auto body shops 
  • Car rental agencies 
  • Senior citizens centers 
  • Parking garages 
  • College universities 
  • Automatic tunnel car washes  
  • Boat marinas 

 Marketing Plan:

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

  • Development of a website to ensure a solid presence on the internet. 
  • 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. 
  • Development of a plan for exploiting the social media platforms on the internet and the smart phones in use. 
  • Create proper signage, logos, service menu and business cards for use by the company and its employees.  (Branding the Business) 
  • Develop a plan to send weekly, biweekly, or monthly emails to your prospects and past customers. 
  • Face to face meetings with each auto related business to foster a relationship with so that they are aware of your business and how you can help each other. Place flyers and business cards at their locations to create customer awareness. 
  • Advertising mediums should be monitored and controlled to determine success in terms of customer and revenue growth. 

Cost and Profit Model:

Have a cost and profit model to 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 four years. Understand your fixed and variable costs, your profit margin, and your cost per hour to operate your business profitably. 

Equipment and consumable products:

Build and list your equipment and product needs, include the sources. Create a list of consumable products including polishes, cleaners, dressings, ceramic coatings, along with all detailing accessories you will need to provide the services that you listed in the Services Offered section of the business plan.  

  • Pressure washer 
  • Foam cannon 
  • Rotary Buffers 
  • DA Polishers 
  • Ozone generator 
  • Vapor steamer 
  • Heated soil extractor 
  • Exterior brushes 
  • Interior brushes 
  • Spray and polish bottles 
  • Microfiber towels 
  • Dressing applicators 
  • Tornador interior cleaning tool 
  • Chemical storage 
  • Polishes and compounds 
  • Waxes and sealants 
  • Ceramic coating products 
  • Cleaners, dressings, and conditioners 
  • Detailing tools and accessories 
  • Paint chip repair kit 
  • Headlight restoration kit 
  • Plastic trim restoration materials 
  • Vinyl and leather repair kit  
  • Carpet dyes
  • Window tint and installation accessories 
  • Glass repair kit 
  • Paint protection film 
  • Plotter to cut films 
  • Portable vehicle lift 
  • Car covers 
  • Car dusters 

Methods and Procedures:

Consider what methods and procedures you need to start and maintain your detailing business. Start by determining what is important to you and to the success of your detailing business. Detail King provides a methods and procedures document at all of their live seminars. You can also view all of the components of this document on the Detail King website by searching “Auto Detailing Methods & Procedures Guide.” 

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 mentor or legal counsel can assist you with understanding and complying with them. These requirements are different in each area and will 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. By not incorporating you do not have liability protection. 

Limited Partnerships (LPs) and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) – 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. Your personal assets are protected by incorporating your business. Being a small business, your accountant may advise you not to become a “C” corporation but rather and LLC or an LP.  

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. Your detailing business can incorporate as an LP or LLC and still be an S corporation. Best advice is to meet with a good small business account, review your situation and determine what is best for you and your new business.

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

We hope you are able to take away the key points from this business plan outline. You will need to fill in the blanks and insert your own information but by using this outline, you can make sure that you have all of your bases covered and that you aren’t missing anything! 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.

®Detail King Car Detailing Training