Bolt-ons for Business Growth

Once you’re ticking along with your detailing empire and the work is flowing through, you can look to add significant growth to your detailing business. Bolt-ons are what we call additional complimentary services – something that you can use as either an upsell or a stand-alone service your existing customers will also be interested in.

Here’s a rundown of UKDA’s seven best options, in order of expense vs reward.


1: Headlight Restoration


Investment – 2/10

Profitability – 4/10



It’s not going to make you rich overnight, but it’s a relatively quick service you can offer when needed without keeping expensive stock, and it’s an upsell from anything from valets to a standalone MOT failure. The typical charge is anything from £30-45 per headlight and it can be completed with some wet & dry paper and your normal compounds. Alternatively, you can speed up the job with a mini dual-action sander and some reusable sanding film discs, making the process more efficient. Just be mindful that a damaged headlight can be quite expensive – Porsche Cayenne headlights, for example, can be around £2000 to replace, so perhaps some scrap headlights for practice are in order.



2: Odour Treatments


Odour removal Fogging Machine
– 3/10

Profitability – 4-5/10



Again, more of a service upsell. The investment could be anything from a £30 fog machine and a bottle of fluid, to an all-singing ozone machine for several hundred. Each has merit and can be charged accordingly – again, as an upsell with an interior detail or as a standalone service. At £40-90 a hit for odour services, it offers a good return, especially once an ozone machine is paid off as it doesn’t have any consumables. However, don’t expect the process to take the cause of the smell away on its own – remove the cause first or they’ll be back a week later. Odour removal is just one of the topics on our Level 2 syllabus


3: Stone Chip touch-ins


– 2/10

Profitability – 3/10



Rock chips touch-in services are another easy add-on – you might need a bit of advanced notice unless you have a paint mixing system in house in to get the colour match, but anyone who drives a 996 through your door will need AT LEAST one stone chip repairing, along with wheel arch gravel rash – and that applies to most cars, especially presale or lease returns. Sanding is a skill you will need, and a denibber can be useful, but most of the cost is in paint and time. If sanding is something you’re looking to brush up on, take a look at our sanding and flatting course.


4: Leather Repair


Leather repair detailing


Investment – 4-6/10

Profitability – 8/10



A specialism potential customers will search for when tidying up a car. Leather recolouring and repair can be anything from a bolster scratch on an black Audi seat, costing very little in consumables and time, to a full restoration of a Reliant Scimitar. This would require a full kit to repair, grain match, colour match and finish on the fly – unless you order ready-made colours in. The potential for profit is limited only by your capacity and marketing ability – and if you’re not offering it, customers may go to an all-in-one shop just for convenience, so it can pay back twice with other work to complete in tandem. Training costs will vary depending on how ready for action you want to be. The UKDA Leather Course is a three-day intensive kickstarter designed to get you earning straight away, but if you have time to experiment and practice alone, there are one and two day courses available from various manufacturers.


5: Window Tinting


Investment –

Profitability – 3/10 – on a part time basis



Window tinting is a business in its own right, but you can potentially do the odd set as an additional service. The issue is you need to be doing it regularly to build up your install speed and skill level, so don’t be surprised when a “quick tint” takes up most of a day you could have spent machine polishing for twice the amount. Training can be fairly cheap with some manufacturers, and starter tools aren’t expensive. You will need to buy by the roll for the best prices on film though, so stock can get quite costly when maximising profit, but you can buy in smaller amounts to start from some suppliers. A clean environment is a must, while some basic trim removal knowledge will help. There will likely be lots of small competition in your area though, and per-job rates aren’t that high for the time it can take.

6: Caliper Painting


Investment – 6/10

Profitability – 6/10



Being labour intensive, and needing to abide by paint drying times, make this service worthwhile as part of bigger picture detailing. It’s messy, and depending on the style of refurb offered, you will need some decent knowledge of the mechanical side along with a good eye for painting. Whilst you CAN do them on axle stands if you are competent at jacking safely, if you’ve already got a ramp you’re already most of the way through the investment part on the wisest method, so it’s mostly the skills you need. This suits unit-based companies as a ventilated workshop space, ensuring protection from the elements, is a must.


7: Paint Protection Film


PPF installation detailing

Investment – 9/10

Profitability – 9/10



Tricky, and infuriating but incredibly profitable. That pretty much sums up PPF install. Once you’re in the flow it’s a dream for income, but don’t expect that flow to arrive in the first 6 months. Add to that the cleanest of workspaces, a massive plotter, and rolls of film costing around £1000+ each for 60 inches wide, and it’s not a quick return. But if you stick with it, have the right place and enough to invest, it can be a business in its own right.



So there you are. 7 options to expand your business with bolt-on services. it doesn’t stop there. you can look at plastic smart repairs, car storage, and – if you have the room and insurance – chassis cleaning, or even studio photography services for the client’s freshly detailed treasure…

Whatever it is, if you’re looking to grow, UK Detailing Academy can help. Whether with one of our trainers in our studio, to learn the skills in a safe and comfortable environment, or a business review day with our guru to see where the opportunities may be. Get in touch for a chat and see what we can do to grow your detailing business and add new detailing services.

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