Mobile Detailing Operation vs. Auto Detail Shop (Fixed Location)
Before you even buy the first hogs-hair brush, orbital polisher or bottle of shampoo for your new vocation as an auto detailing professional, you’ve got an important decision to make. Are you going to run a mobile detailing operation — essentially taking your business to the customer — or are you going to establish a fixed location to do your detailing chores?
What we offer here are the positives — and negatives — associated with each option. What it will probably come down to is personal preference. You either prefer the stability of a brick-and-mortar auto detailing shop, or you like the idea of hitting the road each day, opening up shop in a new location.
Nonetheless, a decision must be made, so consider the following scenarios carefully. First, let’s start out with the pros and cons of a mobile auto detailing operation:
Advantages of a mobile detailing operation:
- As a mobile detailer, you can pick up and go anywhere to do business, taking your detailing equipment on the road
- Start-up costs are less and overhead is minimalYour mobile detail unit provides a rolling advertising everywhere you go
- There’s plenty of room for expansion — just put another mobile detailing unit out on the road
Disadvantages of a mobile detailing operation:
- You can only detail one vehicle at a time
- The weather can be a big factor for outdoor detailing
- Regulations such as water containment and location restrictions can hamper your operation
- No guarantee of an ideal spot to set up for detailing
- Limitations on the amount of detailing services that you can offer
Advantages of a fixed auto detailing location:
- You can simultaneously detail as many vehicles as you have room for
- You’re in a controlled environment where climate is not a factor
- You can display additional auto detailing products and services
- More visibility from drive-by traffic
Disadvantages of a fixed auto detailing location:
- Start-up costs and overhead costs are considerably higher
- Maintenance is ongoing for both buildings and grounds
- You can’t just pick up and go anywhere —your customers must come to you
- Your advertising must persuade customers to come to you
- Your budget will require room for utilities and other costs associated with a fixed structure
Of course, the ideal situation would have you operating both a fixed and a mobile detailing business. That’s where the term “the best of both worlds” comes from. But it’s not always feasible from a monetary standpoint to have both a fixed detailing location and a mobile detailing operation right from the start. However, as your detailing business grows and it becomes time to expand, it’s often advantageous to acquire the other option whether that is a fixed location or a mobile detailing unit.
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