Equipment Needed For A Car Detailing Business

Are you keen to start your own business, but you only have a small amount of upfront cash available? With low start-up costs as well as low overheads, you might want to look into professional auto detailing.

Just remember that paying customers will expect you to give their pride and joy a real showroom finish. It takes a lot more than just a sponge, an old rag, and a bucket with some liquid soap to detail and polish cars to perfection.

After all, any job that’s worth doing is always worth doing well, right? So to give your mobile auto detailing businesses the best chance of success, below is a list of all the equipment and tools required for professional auto detailing.

Auto detailing common equipment

When you’re starting out, you’re going to need a range of different equipment needed for a car detailing business including cleaning products and a car detailing kit. You also need to know the best car detailing equipment for your specific business idea. Here are some important questions to consider:

  • Do you plan on offering a mobile car service?
  • Or are you planning on working from a physical location?
  • Will that be your driveway or backyard, or do you want to open your own shop front?

When you decide which way you want to go, it’s essential the car washing equipment you buy suits your business type. Here are some of the most common types of car detailing equipment that you need to know.

Air compressor

Air compressors can do so much more than just run pneumatic tools, but even that comes in handy in the future. You may need one for your buffer or compressor-type washing system.

Plus, think about all of the times that you will need to use air compressors, such as blowing water off, blowing food scraps out of hard-to-reach places, and even blowing all the excess dirt from inside the vents.

There really are so many mobile detailing tasks that an air compressor can be used for. That being said, you can survive without buying a compressor while you’re starting out simply by using a decent quality wet-dry vacuum cleaner that has a blow function.

Brushes and sponges

Every professional auto detailer needs a wide variety of brushes and sponges to clean, scrub, wash, dry, and polish the interior as well as the exterior of vehicles.

You’ll need to have a variety of different types of each at your disposal so you can reach any area you need to and clean any way you like. That means a variety of different grades and types of wash mitts, wash mats, and wash sponges, as well as the bristles of your brushes in fine, medium, and hard.

Detailing towels

Purchase a range of high-quality detailing-grade towels for cleaning, drying and polishing. Professional detailers are also fond of 100% cotton terry cloth and other mid-grade towels. Microfiber towels are one of the most popular towels on the market due to their versatility, but chamois are not far behind, thanks to their extreme water absorbance.

Chamois are often more expensive than other types of towels, but they’re almost a necessity because they are perfect for drying vehicles of all sizes.

Washing and cleaning buckets

You’re going to need at least two decent quality buckets. That allows you to use one for water with a cleaning product and the other one for clean rinsing water.

You can get some wash business buckets with screens that trap excess dirt on the bottom, preventing anything sticking to sponges and scratching car paint. Others come with tray attachments for your detailing tools.

Auto detailing equipment cart

This is one of those relatively cheap but extremely handy tools that you’ll use all the time because it always keeps your detailing tools and cleaners where you can reach them. An equipment cart is essential to keep all of your cleaning and detailing products organized.

Just make sure it's large enough to fit everything you want it to hold, from bottles and sprays, to cleaning products and polishes, as well as cloths and brushes.

Auto detailing interior equipment

Detailing the interior car will usually involve removing any rubbish, wiping surface dust from the dash, and giving the carpet a thorough vacuuming and steam clean, before treating the leather trim and finally cleaning the windows.

Many detailers also offer a wide variety of other services too in order to ensure interiors are restored back to almost showroom condition. Here is some of the most common equipment and supplies you’ll need for detailing auto interiors.

 

 

Detailing wet and dry vacuum cleaner

One of the most important tools you’ll need in professional car detailing is a powerful wet and dry vacuum cleaner. Auto detailers need their vacuum to have plenty of power for strong suction, so don’t just try to use the one you have at home.

It needs to be a commercial-grade appliance that’s strong yet quiet, and preferably built especially for cleaning cars. You also need one that comes with a selection of different attachments for those hard-to-reach corners, as well as settings for sucking, blowing, and drying.

Steam cleaner

Purchasing a professional detailing steam cleaner is the most effective method of cleaning any carpet or upholstery so well it will almost look brand new. Plus, the heat and steam combo cleans, sanitizes, and freshens up the car's interior all at the same time without using any toxic chemicals.

So while this is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment you need, it should pay for itself pretty fast as detailing interiors takes much longer without one.

Auto detailing brushes

If you only use a vacuum cleaner on most automotive carpet, it’s never as clean as you think. That’s because it really holds onto stains, dirt, germs, and much thanks to the way it’s made.
If you can’t afford the big investment price of steam cleaner just yet, you’ll need to get yourself some auto detailing supply brushes. You can simply use stiff detailing brushes on the carpet with one hand while using your other hand to vacuum any dirt it flicks up.

Auto detailing exterior equipment

In many ways, the exterior is the most important part of the whole detailing process. That’s because this is the first thing your customer will see from a distance when they come to collect their pride and joy from you.

Detailing the exterior means everything from washing the dirt and removing stains to cleaning the wheels and windows, as well as giving the coat a cut, polish, and a buff. This is why it is crucial to invest in high-quality detailing equipment to protect the exterior from the elements and driving environments.

 

 

Detailing water hoses

As an auto detailer starting out in the detailing business, you’re going to need some reliable professional-grade and lightweight hose. While there are a wide variety of hoses available, the most efficient hoses come with aluminum quick-lock connectors.

This allows fast switching between connectors like a nice foam gun. It’s also a good idea to buy a decent set of hose reels to help ensure they stay organized and undamaged.

Power washer

Take your auto detailing to a brand new level with a powerful and effective heavy-duty pressure washer. The pressure from this amazing cleaning machine destroys even the toughest build-up of dirt, muck, and filth on any vehicle.
While a power washer is most likely one of the optional pieces of equipment on this list, it still is a smart buy because it will cut down how long and how hard you need to work to clean a vehicle.

Dual-action polisher and buffer

You definitely need some decent quality dual-action random orbital polishers or rotary buffers for your detailing as they oscillate at low speeds so there’s no chance of damage. Polishing and buffing the paintwork with polishing pads really does produce amazing results with an even shine using much less elbow grease.

Simply use it to efficiently apply some car polisher or wax to the exterior car for much more shine than you’d ever get by hand. This is one piece of auto detailing equipment which can really help add some ‘wow factor’ with a little showroom shine.

Auto detailing training

You also really need to know what you’re doing too. Simply by completing an auto detailing training course, you can learn everything you need to know about detailing. From old classic models to the latest electric cars, as well as boats, caravans, bikes, and even planes.

Courses for Success has a comprehensive auto detailer training course available online with specific detailing training modules that will teach you how to run your own auto detailing business. Once you’ve got your certification, you’ll know what you’re doing, so you can always do the job right for your clients.

Auto detailing cleaning chemicals

There’s a wide variety of cleaning chemicals, agents, waxes and the like you’ll need to ensure every car you work on scrubs up great and sparkles in the sun.

Just remember that working with detailing chemicals as a professional detailer may sometimes require the right PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as gloves, a mask, ear plugs, or protective eyewear. Make sure to keep a fully stocked first aid kit close by.

Here are a few of the most important auto detailing chemicals for both the interior detailing and exterior of vehicles.

Mobile car wash soap

Whether you are professionally detailing or just washing your own car at home, you should never be using regular cleaning products from around the house.

Car cleaning products have been created specifically for cleaning automotive paintwork and protecting it as well. So, make sure to use high-quality car wash soap that has been specifically designed for mobile car washes.

Auto wax

There’s a wide range of different types of car waxes available, from pastes, to liquids, and sprays which give cars a polished finish while also helping as a sealant for the paintwork.

While the older style of paste wax usually looks good on older cars — especially antique automobiles — they don’t provide the visually wet-looking appeal of the more modern synthetic types of wax. Just make sure that you have options for your customers so they can choose what suits them best.

Enroll in a car detailing course today

Launching any business starts out with taking plenty of hard work, perseverance, and dedication, but it will also need an upfront investment of money, time, and learning. So once you’ve purchased all the necessary equipment for doing your job, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful mobile auto detailers business.

The right course will teach you how to complete all aspects of an interior design project, from detailing the interiors, engine bay and wheels to business management and marketing. The Courses for Success Auto Detailing Online Certification Course is a great introduction into car detailing, and will help you to kickstart your car detailing career, right from the comfort of your own home. Check out the course units of study and enroll today.

The CFS Team
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