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Questions to Consider before Starting Up Your Own Auto Detailing Business

  • Questions to Consider before Starting Up Your Own Auto Detailing Business
    December 3, 2012

    Let’s face it – working for someone else can really suck. At least once a week you have fantasized about having our own business? No overbearing boss, a team full of stellar talent, and customers beating down the door. You call the shots and you reap the reward – makes it much easier to get out of bed at 6:00 AM on a Monday morning. Starting your own business can be rewarding, and if the stars align profitable – but it is not something to be undertaken lightly or on the spur of the moment.

    If you love beautifying cars, and you hate someone else being your boss, then you should surely venture into the auto detailing business. You do not have a lot of money to start the business? Well, a mobile auto detailing business does not require a lot of capital investment. Starting a company from the ground up is an all-encompassing endeavour that starts out intimidating and gets more complicated from there. Everyone wants their own business, but few of us can really hack it – give it some serious thought.

    If you are in the stage of starting your own detail business, you will benefit from reviewing every possible angle of your business. To help you get started, consider these questions and your answers will help you avoid some of the pitfalls associated with new business start-ups.

    1. How much does it cost? Will you make a return on your investment, and can you sustain the business financially going forward? A lot of times, people have done all of their homework and research, but they don’t have the money. Would-be entrepreneurs have to consider their financial situation. If they don’t have the capital in their own accounts, can they get a small business loan or do they need to seek funding from friends or family?

      The first number to nail down is expenses, which should be somewhat easy to predict. Rent, utilities, labor and materials costs all should be part of the expense. Secondly, create a sales forecast. Comparing the two will help show how long it will take to ramp to profitability.

    2. How do I put this whole project together? The keys to success of any new venture are fairly straightforward. If you look at why new businesses fail, the two most obvious reasons are lack of capital and execution. A business plan can be a strong guide to when to start a business. Writing the business plan helps a prospective business owner identify weak spots and might help answer questions and solve problems.

      So as you plan your project, there are a number of items that fall in the must-do category:

        • Thorough analysis of resources you will bring to the venture.
        • Development of realistic financial goals and projections.
        • Recruitment of competent staff.
        • Due diligence regarding all aspects, risks and rewards of the car-wash business.

        • How do I finance it? First, it is important to note that start-up businesses, first-time car-washers, are difficult to finance. The risk factor involved is high and, as a result, many customary channels of financing are not available. This does not mean money is not out there. It just means you have to look hard to find an acceptable source. That’s the bad news. The good news is car washes have an excellent track record, and their failure rate is minimal. Existing business owners will be surprised to learn leasing is not an option. Of course, there are always exceptions.

          There are many creative ways to finance your car wash. The first is to look at the resources closest to you: family and friends. Typically, this group produces minimal returns. An offer to pay a better rate than they currently earn on their assets could be attractive.

        • What kind of return can I expect? The financial return on cash or assets for all car washes mentioned is very similar. As you begin preparing your financial projections, you will discover the need for historical information. Fortunately, a number of the industry magazines publish financial statistics for the car-wash industry. Using past industry standards as well as information from equipment vendors, you will be able to develop site-specific projections.

          Typical returns should be in the range of 20 percent or better. It should be noted that return on total investment does vary, as there are a huge number of variables that affect it. Do you have the time to really build the business? Elbow grease is a form of capital. If you’re finishing coursework for a degree, caring for small children or working another job, it will be difficult to put in the time it will take to make it work. You do not have unlimited time during your week. If you do not have that, you will not be successful.

        • Do I have support from my family and friends? Starting a business is exhilarating, exciting, liberating and… hard. There will be many times when you feel overwhelmed and exhausted. You’ll question your decisions and wonder if it’s time to give up. These are the times when you really need support from family and friends. Make sure you have a least a few go-to people that you can call when you’re feeling down.

          Your friends and family also need to realize you won’t have the same amount of time to spend with them once you start your business. Your first several months will probably require 50-60 hours of work every week. This means less time to spend with loved ones. If the people in your life are supportive, they’ll understand and do everything they can to help you instead of complaining. In return, you’ll want to try your best to balance your new business with your important relationships.

      Starting a business might sound perfect, you’ll have the ability to tailor your career to exactly fit your ideal version of who you are and what you want your life to be. That might be the case, but odds are, things are not going to be all roses and rainbows. You need to make sure that you’re ready to take on the challenges of running your own business before you quit your job and invest time and money in your new endeavour. Starting a detail business is a huge task. There is so much to learn and so much to do, and much of what happens to you won’t be known until it happens. But with careful preparation and the right mindset, you can increase your chances of succeeding in the long run.

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