Is there ever a “best” time to start a detailing business?
Best is very subjective. For some, the “best” time is when they’re fed up with their current job and want a change, for some it’s a long-planned out strategy based on market trends and careful saving to realise their dream career. But with weather affecting so much of the workflow in detailing, let’s look at the seasons from a detailing perspective:-
Spring. If you already have the knowledge and equipment, spring is a great time to start a detailing business in earnest. People are getting their cars out of the garage and going on long drives so they’re starting to notice the condition following the Winter blinders. The weather is still hit or miss though, so you’ll probably be rained off a bit. If you’re setting up from scratch you’ll probably miss out on the “early season” – it’s going to take a few months for a business to pick up enough from nothing unless you invest some serious time in advertising and promotion, all of which take you away from work and earning money. Spring is generally good at revival work – cars which have sat a bit over the winter and perhaps need a bit of extra time spent getting them back ready to use, such as convertibles and second or third cars, so pushing the “Spring clean” vibe has proven success.
Summer. Starting a detailing business in summer means you pick up new clients quickly because demand is high. The downside is, that many people go away over the hotter months so work can fluctuate quite a bit and holiday costs can take priority over non-essential spending. Add into that the three months of building the business and you’re going to be getting big enough to feel like coasting right as the kids go back to school and the September lull sets in. As for the type of work; the summer sunshine usually highlights paint defects more too, so you can expect an upturn in correction work and ceramics to “lock in” the finish. If all your ducks are in a row by the end of the spring rain though, you’re in a great position to grow quickly and develop long-term clients.
Autumn. Autumn is a bit of a “mad rush broken up by dullness” bell curve. You’ll benefit from the second wave of new car deliveries and more frequent visits caused by the wet roads, but you’ll also have shorter days and less predictable weather. Autumn is usually a time to keep ticking over with regular clients and intersperse them with larger jobs, either at businesses or client premises or at the unit if static. Winter protections are a great upsell, preparing cars for the road salt-laden days ahead, and glass treatments for the wet weather. Start a detailing business now and this will allow you to slowly build regular dependable clients, and give a platform for an easy boost transition the following year.
Winter. Many use this “lull” as a chance to catch up and develop their skills looking forward to the next year, but winter can actually get quite busy if you market your services correctly. Regular cleaning will help keep vehicle corrosion down to a minimum, so pushing the service more as critical maintenance rather than for vanity may be a more productive tactic. Also, in Winter, the public are much less… hygenic… in their vehicles, so interiors fast become damp, rubbish-filled and stuffy from the lack of open windows, so services such as interior-only valeting, steam cleaning, and ozone or fog treatments can prove to be a winter hit with clients who don’t want to worry too much about the exterior and are conscious of germ spreading. Winter is a great time for training too, with shorter hours it gives you an opportunity to practice skills, tidy up social media, work on your business plan and visit training centres for the next big push on your journey to start a detailing business.
So which is best to start?
The short answer is, that there is no perfect time to start a detailing business and it largely depends on where you are at with development.
The best time is whenever you feel ready. If you want to work up to it with a soft launch Autumn gives you a gentle six-month ramp if you want, with the option of plenty of work if you push the right services or find there is demand. Winter is ideal if you want to develop and build the foundations ready for a spring push and launch them with a bang. Spring is great if everything is in place and you’re just looking to go full time and get down to the hard graft, and Summer will allow you to earn plenty so that you can strategize your next steps in comfort when everything calms down a bit. The biggest variable is you, and training with UK Detailing Academy can put you in the best place to make those decisions, and get them right the first time.