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Washing And Detailing Cars

Projected Income Around $500-$1,200/month
Costs to Start $100-$300
Time to Start 1 week
Category Miscellaneous Tasks

Our Side Hustles Breakdown

We recommend washing and detailing cars for those who enjoy hands-on work and have a good eye for detail. This side hustle offers the satisfaction of transforming a vehicle from dirty to dazzling. A key concern is the need for specialized equipment and cleaning supplies, which can add up.

cons-icon Cons

  • Initial Costs: Buying quality cleaning products and equipment can be costly.
  • Time Intensive: High-quality work requires a significant time investment.
  • Weather Dependent: Your ability to work may be affected by weather conditions.

pros-icon Pros

  • Satisfying Results: There’s an immediate, visible difference in the cars you clean.
  • High Earning Potential: Particularly for specialized detailing work, rates can be quite high.
  • Customer Interaction: This is an excellent opportunity for those who enjoy interacting with clients.

Are you a car fanatic with a deep appreciation of automotive beauty? Are you meticulous and detail-oriented when it comes to enhancing the appearance of your car and others?

If you answered yes, you might be looking at a ludicrous money-making opportunity by washing and detailing cars.

Whether you relish in the process of cleaning, polishing, or waxing, the world of automotive detailing has a spot for you.

An Overview of Washing and Detailing Cars: A Primer

Car detailing is a service that restores and enhances a vehicle’s appearance. Because of the increased demand for car wash and detailing, now’s a good time for any to enter the industry.

According to a report by Research and Markets, the global car wash and detailing industry is expected to generate $55 billion by the end of 2029, a 6% year-after-year increase from 2024. Factors contributing to this growth include:

  • Urbanization
  • Growing awareness of vehicle maintenance
  • Increasing vehicle ownership

It involves top-to-bottom deep cleaning, such as vacuuming car interiors, washing and polishing exteriors, shining wheels, and light cosmetic paint restoration.

Most of these services are done by hand using tools (vacuums and polishers), and specialty tools (sealers, degreasers, and waxes), and microfiber clothes.

How Much Can Washing and Detailing Cars Earn You?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time car detailers are classified as hard laborers. They make over $30,000 a year, or $15 to $25 per hour.

But independent contractors can make well over $350 per job.

Basic wash and wax services start from $70, interior detail from $120, and polish and wax from $150. This means that if you detail two cars a day, you’re looking at an estimated daily revenue of $700 or a weekly revenue of $3,500.

With this figure, you can potentially earn upwards of $10,000 in a month as long as you have a steady stream of customers willing to pay for your work.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Side Hustle Washing and Detailing Cars?

Starting a detailing business requires a capital of at least $500. This cost covers small-scale operations like washing, waxing, and basic interior cleaning.

Basic equipment like sponges, brushes, towels, and wash mitts can cost anywhere between $20 to $100, depending on the quality and quantity of the products you purchase.

Cleaning products, such as car wash detergents, interior cleaners, glass cleaners, tire cleaners, and polishes, cost much the same.

The highest cost goes to cleaning equipment like vacuum cleaners, pressure washers, buffers, and polishers. These items can cost you from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.

For specialized services like ceramic coating and paint correction, you’re looking at an additional $100 to $500 equipment fee.

You also need a vehicle to drive from one place to another. If you don’t have a vehicle, you may want to rent one from peer-to-peer car company hosts. This can cost you another $50 to $100 a day.

Where Can You Find Gigs Washing and Detailing Cars?

With a high demand for car detailing services, finding gigs in this niche can be relatively straightforward. Here’s where to get started:

Where to Independently Find Gigs Washing and Detailing Cars

As an independent contractor, the best place to find car washing and detailing gigs is through online marketplaces.

Websites such as TaskRabbit and Airtasker allow you to create profiles to showcase your car detailing expertise to potential clients.

You can also use social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, but you need to have a decently-sized following to gain traction. You likely have to pay for targeted local ads to increase your visibility.

Apart from online marketplaces, you can score car detailing gigs by advertising your services within your local community.

Distribute eye-catching flyers and business cards in residential neighborhoods, supermarkets, local businesses, and community centers.

You can likewise attend local car shows and auto events to find potential prospects.

People who attend these shows have a passion for cars and are more willing to hear about the car services you have to offer.

Gig Economy Companies That Offer Gigs for Washing and Detailing Cars

There aren’t a lot of gig economy companies that offer freelance opportunities for car detailers, so your options are fairly limited.

The best platform that offers freelance work for detailing is Washos, an on-demand service that connects car owners with professional mobile car detailers.

You can sign up to become a certified Washos technician by creating a profile on the company website. Upon signing up, a member of the Washos team will get back to you within 24 hours. You can get work in less than a week once verified.

MobileWash is another platform that offers on-demand mobile detailing services. Like Washos, you can sign up to become a detailer on the website. According to the website, an average detailing job costs $70. Around 75% of that fee goes to the detailer.

Why You Should Consider Washing and Detailing Cars As a Side Hustle

There are various reasons why detailing makes for an excellent side gig, especially if you’re dedicated to the craft. These are:

  • Flexible scheduling: As a freelance detailer, you decide when and how often you work. If you’re well-versed in the job, you can finish detailing a car in an hour or two, giving you plenty of time left to schedule around your existing commitments.
  • High earning potential: Car detailing is often considered a premium service. For every job you complete, you have the potential to earn a significant amount. Thanks to its low overhead cost, most of the profit margin goes to your work rather than the equipment needed to complete the job.
  • Consistent demand: Lots of car owners take pride in maintaining the sleek appearance of their cars, so many are willing to pay a premium to keep their vehicles looking their best.

Problems With Washing and Detailing Cars

Here are the disadvantages of washing and detailing cars as a side hustle:

  • High skill requirement: Car detailing demands a certain level of skill and expertise to achieve professional results. Without proper technique and know-how, there’s a risk of accidentally damaging the vehicle’s interior, paint, and other surfaces.  
  • Weather dependency: Unless you have a workshop, car detailing often involves working outdoors. Poor weather conditions can disrupt your work schedule and affect the quality of your services.
  • Physically demanding: Car detailing involves a lot of bending, standing, and lifting, which can take a toll on the body and potentially lead to accidents and injuries.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Difference Between Washing and Detailing a Car?

Washing a car is simply that: it involves removing dirt, dust, grime, and other surface contaminants from the vehicle’s exterior.

Car detailing is aimed at restoring and enhancing a vehicle’s appearance and overall condition, both inside and out.

It goes beyond basic cleaning and addresses issues like scratches, chipping paint, and the like.

Why is Detailing So Expensive?

Detailing work is expensive because it requires a high level of thoroughness and expertise to achieve good results.

The products used to clean, polish, and shine also tend to be more expensive than standard consumer-grade alternatives because they’re formulated for professional use.

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