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Sandholdt

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Good day everyone.

Finally I feel confident that my project will be executed and followed up with massive action!

I'm in the process of starting up a Mobile Car wash business.

What I have done so far:

I've mapped out a business plan - Who's my target audience, which services do I offer, how do I plan to scale, what make me stand out compared to competitors, how do I make this business profitable, how do I get customers.

I've ordered home the machinery needed along with all the products and tools - spend ~$3k.
I've set up domain name and hosting.
I designed the logo (my wife did).
I set up a facebook site.
I've set up the legal documents - It's an OFFICIAL business!

What need to be done:
My website need to be build - I've created a gig on Upwork, but none hired yet. -Put budget for $300.
I need to order home some flyers for early advertisement (following @IceCreamKid 's example, I'll offer a free wash for neighbors to current clients to build up a customer base).
I want to order home some polo's, long-sleeved polo's and a jacket with my logo on it - maybe a hat/cap too, to look professional when reaching out and doing the job.
I need to create an Instagram profile, where I will post up before/after pictures.
I still need to shoot some pictures for the website (Luckily my wife is a professional photographer)

Oh, and I'm starting this up during day hours while working full-time as an operations manager during night hours. Current job pays ~$65.000 yearly and I'm gaining experience leading my staff. Right now I have 16 employees.
I do like my job and the experience it provides, which is why I will continue doing it while working up my business.

Feel free to ask if you would like more details, and also I'd love any experiences you may have to share. Already I have learned a lot from this forum, and the mindset this forum has helped me develop is what has made me finally pull the trigger for this business!

I plan to update this thread as I get more customers, employees, and let's see what else!
 

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ZCP

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How many have you sold?

What is the sale, cogs, profit of each sale?

What is the cost to obtain A sale?

In other words ... have you spent as much time on math as you have on shirts?
 

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Are you going in only for the car washing service, or you aim at becoming a mobile car detailer ? I'd probably pay $50-$60 for a mobile car wash max, while a basic car detailing service could probably sell for $120-$150 (and still include the washing service).

How long does it take you to wash one car, from start to finish ?
 
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Sandholdt

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So far I haven't been looking at shirts. I have concluded what I would consider a professional approach to the client base I'm targeting. Part of that approach is wearing a suitable uniform.

The model I've planned to go with, is subscription based in different tiers, making sure any sale I get will provide me a monthly recurring revenue - assuming I do a satisfactory job.

I do not yet have the experience to make a qualified estimate on the cost per sale/wash.

Some of the factors, primarily product and time spend per wash will vary heavily. I expect the first couple of washes per customer will cost me more, but as the car will be maintained properly due the the subscription based model, I will need less time and product per wash.

Cost per sale I suspect will be felt mostly in the time I put in it, but again, I do not yet have the experience to give a qualified estimate on product used. The only paid advertisement I plan on using is through the flyers, as I live in a local environment where word of mouth travels fast. And I will be targeting clients through local Facebook groups.

With the model I've chosen, I suspect a high lifetime value per customer, so having to put my time up front to get going with a loyal following is not a huge concern for me.

As I don't have my products yet, I haven't went out pitching. Only for my in-laws - which is also going to be my first customers.
 
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Sandholdt

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I believe just providing the washing is more scale-able, as detailing is hard to learn for new employees. I won't completely discard the idea however.

I did consider - once I'm more experienced - to reach out to local used car dealers to set up a detailing package - tiers with different amount of cars serviced 0-5, 6-15 etc. including professional pictures (utilizing my wife) of the car for easier sales.
 

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Are there any other businesses going with subscription model (in your field of business)?
 
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ZCP

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So 'just hope it all works out'? Really?

You've washed a car. How long does it take? What do you need in materials? How much does all of that cost?
---------------------------------
This is like getting in your car to take a long trip and 'hope' you have enough gas! How many miles is it? How many miles per gallon does your car get? How full is your tank? How many gallons can your tank hold? Can you make it or will you need to stop?
---------------------------------
Back to washing cars....
Do some math!
Work out a simple P&L for 100 car washes sold to see where you are
Sale ....... sale price x 100
Cogs ...... cost of goods sold. labor, materials, etc. directly related to the sale
Gross Margin = Sale - cogs

G&A expenses
insurance, licenses, marketing, uniforms, flyers, fees, bank, accountant, payroll, tools, etc.

Net Profit = Gross Margin - G&A expenses

How many cars do you need to detail to make your desired profit. What if you only do 25? What if you do 1000? Make sure you include your labor costs as if you had to hire someone! Make sure the numbers work and then see if they scale.

Income statement - Wikipedia

If the numbers work, do a LOW investment MVP and run a test over a week to see if your assumptions jive with the real world. Then pivot. Good luck!!
 
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Sandholdt

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So 'just hope it all works out'? Really?

You've washed a car. How long does it take? What do you need in materials? How much does all of that cost?
---------------------------------
This is like getting in your car to take a long trip and 'hope' you have enough gas! How many miles is it? How many miles per gallon does your car get? How full is your tank? How many gallons can your tank hold? Can you make it or will you need to stop?
---------------------------------
Back to washing cars....
Do some math!
Work out a simple P&L for 100 car washes sold to see where you are
Sale ....... sale price x 100
Cogs ...... cost of goods sold. labor, materials, etc. directly related to the sale
Gross Margin = Sale - cogs

G&A expenses
insurance, licenses, marketing, uniforms, flyers, fees, bank, accountant, payroll, tools, etc.

Net Profit = Gross Margin - G&A expenses

How many cars do you need to detail to make your desired profit. What if you only do 25? What if you do 1000? Make sure you include your labor costs as if you had to hire someone! Make sure the numbers work and then see if they scale.

Income statement - Wikipedia

If the numbers work, do a LOW investment MVP and run a test over a week to see if your assumptions jive with the real world. Then pivot. Good luck!!
I really appreciate your questioning. Thank you!

I have been going through all the products I ordered to make an estimate of cost per wash.
Also I've been looking in to the actual employee costs in this line of work on top of their salary (I already have some experience with this from the job I already have).


So. I set up a worst-case-scenario, meaning considering the maximum usage of product, fuel, tool maintenance and time spent, and I put up a best-case-scenario, counting in minimum spillage, and considering it's a returning vehicle where the effort/time to clean will be less.

I've set my desired profit at 50.000DKK (~$7700) on a monthly basis.

To reach this milestone I would need 7837 worst-case-scenario washes, but only 215 best-case-scenario washes.

The big factor here is how much time is spent on each vehicle.
 

NMdad

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I've set my desired profit at 50.000DKK (~$7700) on a monthly basis.
This does NOT answer @ZCP's questions. Also, that way of thinking--while it might be helpful to determine whether a business can support your lifestyle--belies a "me" perspective. Far better to think about who you can help & how many people you can help.
 
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Sandholdt

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Far better to think about who you can help & how many people you can help.
It was based on this thinking I came up with the idea of this business. I hadn't heard the word "detailing" until I started researching.
My whole setup and USP is based around how I can help - by saving time for my customers. In my local area there is quite a bit of carwashes. Both the big centers and manual workers. There is none however who go out to the customers, to help them save the waiting and hassle of going to a stationary carwash.

The desired income was in attempt to put down some numbers for reference in an attempt to answer @ZCP - I do have the actual calculations in an excel spreadsheet, based off of the questions to think about. (I assumed those questions was meant for me to think about and learn from it)

I haven't thought of all the WHAT IF questions - 25 or 1000 washes, I believe it's just a matter of time for either of them. I am more scared that it may be too fast rather than too slow .. Since I already have an income I'm not reliant on the money from this business, and either way I have no plans of withdrawing any of the money as they will be reinvested for scaling.

It is too late for me to do a LOW investment MVP .. I already bought the entire tool and product line needed .. Sure there is more nice-to-haves, but I ordered the essentials and a bit.
 

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Valhalla

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I am more scared that it may be too fast rather than too slow ..
I wouldn't be scared of that. This feels like the classic first year business school case study where a student decides if they can get "just" 1% market share of a multi billion industry, they will be so massive so let's invest huge sums now.

I'm not trying to deride your business, but there's just very little mention of what you're going to do to make your customers so pleased they use your service every week and tell all their friends. A $300 website won't be able to handle bookings, scheduling and customer information in the way you and your clients will need.
 
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ZCP

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No. It was an attempt to get you to put math and science in place of hope.

Is each wash profitable with hired labor?
How much can you spend to acquire one wash?
For each level of fixed costs, what are the most washes you can do before you have to scale those fixed costs?

These things will tell you if you have a potential business ..... IF customers want your product. That will be the next step.

For now you need to know if it is worth pursuing on paper before spending the time and money to then realize it is not.

DM me your actual numbers and I'll see if I can steer you....
 

Kid

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Not that I know of.
Ok. I asked because there might be a reason that people don't use subscriptions vs one time fee
in mobile car washing.

Speaking of subscriptions - read the "Lawn care company" part of recent thread or talk to @Johnny boy.
And maybe pick a thing or two from him.
 
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Sandholdt

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A $300 website won't be able to handle bookings, scheduling and customer information in the way you and your clients will need.
Then I may need to redo it later. I am not much into what a site can handle at what it can't.
I've scheduled meetings with a few web developers, so I'll hear their take on it.
 
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Sandholdt

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I'm not trying to deride your business, but there's just very little mention of what you're going to do to make your customers so pleased they use your service every week and tell all their friends.
What I will be doing, that no one else in my area is:
1. I will come to them. Either on their home address, or their work address. Whatever they would prefer. I do this to save them the time of going wherever else they might want to take their car.
2. Because my service is subscription based, I will give the customer the option to have regular scheduled appointments. Example: Every second Monday between 9 and 12 you KNOW I will come by, again, saving you the time and hassle of actually scheduling or ordering the service. - Many people like to drive a clean car, they just can't fit it in their schedule to get it washed. I can fix that problem.

Other than that I have all the golden nuggets from this forum on how to follow up on customers and provide excellent service.
 
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Sandholdt

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For each level of fixed costs, what are the most washes you can do before you have to scale those fixed costs?
This part I don't quite understand.

But thank you for the feedback. I will send you my numbers.
 

LinorCG

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Before going to building sites, ordering uniforms, shirts with company logo's on it, have you landed your first customer yet (even if its free)?

I think we're eager to know and so should you, whether there's a demand or not.
 

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As someone who washes my two cars by hand, the time it takes to get a quality wash would be my biggest concern if I was going into this businesses.

I would venture a very good guess that you will have to compete on quality rather than convenience, the I will come to you idea sounds good in theory but I have seen this type of experiement tried with fuel delivery to your car so you don't have to go the gas station and I don't believe it worked with a full fledged mobile apps/web etc. to schedule, wasn't successful. If the quality is the same as the drive thru car wash or just a bit better, people will just spend the 20 minutes or so to do the drive thru.

Your business will come down to cost and quality for the most part, it will be a battle of how much you have to pay the employee/costs vs what you will net, the margins will not be high. I suggest you focus on very high income areas in your area as those will be the individuals who will most value their time.
 
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Sandholdt

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Before going to building sites, ordering uniforms, shirts with company logo's on it, have you landed your first customer yet (even if its free)?

I think we're eager to know and so should you, whether there's a demand or not.
As soon as the technical part is in place, I have 2 subscriptions lined up for a start.

Considering the people who know about this project that's a very good rate (my own mother don't even know of it yet).
 
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Sandholdt

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As someone who washes my two cars by hand, the time it takes to get a quality wash would be my biggest concern if I was going into this businesses.

I would venture a very good guess that you will have to compete on quality rather than convenience, the I will come to you idea sounds good in theory but I have seen this type of experiement tried with fuel delivery to your car so you don't have to go the gas station and I don't believe it worked with a full fledged mobile apps/web etc. to schedule, wasn't successful. If the quality is the same as the drive thru car wash or just a bit better, people will just spend the 20 minutes or so to do the drive thru.

Your business will come down to cost and quality for the most part, it will be a battle of how much you have to pay the employee/costs vs what you will net, the margins will not be high. I suggest you focus on very high income areas in your area as those will be the individuals who will most value their time.
I am aware the time consumption will be the biggest expense for this business, which is why I have prioritized quality tools and products to be able to be as efficient as possible.

Quality wise I won't settle for anything but spotless. I am willing to take the time to learn and optimize processes to get the cleanest car in the least amount of time possible.

My target customers is exactly the upper-middle and above, which is also why I think it necessary to also prioritize proper uniforms compared to showing up in a worn down t-shirt and jogging pants.
 

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ZCP

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This part I don't quite understand.
But thank you for the feedback. I will send you my numbers.
If you have a manufacturing plant that cost $xxxx / mo and you can do 0 to 10000 parts a day, then your fixed costs are the same and your sales (and gross margin) scale up. But when you run the 10001 part, you would need a new plant w/ more costs and your fixed costs would multiply. You hope your sales can go up by big multiples while your fixed costs only go up by smaller multiples. Understanding this is key. Then compare it to how many you need to break even, be profitable, etc.

In your case, you will be limited by how many cars one crew can do a day. So you have to figure out what costs scale up and what costs just ease up.
 
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Sandholdt

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In your case, you will be limited by how many cars one crew can do a day. So you have to figure out what costs scale up and what costs just ease up.
Since time is the big limit to this business, it would maybe ease up to have a crew of 2 per car compared to 1, since there would only be the cost of 1 car compared to 2 .. that is assuming the wash would be double speed with double crew, which just isn't realistic.

The way to scale a business like this is expanding the area of which I provide the service and then hire in more employees as needed.
 

devbe83

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First of all, congratulations on taking the plunge and starting the process!

At some point, I have been thinking about starting something similar here in Belgium. My thinking was to not immediately go for individual subscriptions, but try and land a few bigger ones that have multiple cars in the subscription. For two reasons: more money in one go, and if you could organize with the subscriber that you do a couple of cars in one go you don't lose time on multiple trips.

More concrete, (at least over here) there are so many office parks where companies have their employees on-site. What if you land a subscription with such company or multiple employees in such company? You could wash several cars on the same location, on the same day. Maybe such company has some sales reps that spend one day a weeek in the office. That day is the day you could be tackling several sales people's cars.

Seeing you mentioned DKK as a currency, I am assuming you are from Denmark. I'm wildly guessing that there are similar types of companies there that you could check out as well.

Also you are selling a convenience. "Don't spend time during your own time to find a car wash, we do it while you are at work!"
 
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Sandholdt

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First of all, congratulations on taking the plunge and starting the process!

At some point, I have been thinking about starting something similar here in Belgium. My thinking was to not immediately go for individual subscriptions, but try and land a few bigger ones that have multiple cars in the subscription. For two reasons: more money in one go, and if you could organize with the subscriber that you do a couple of cars in one go you don't lose time on multiple trips.

More concrete, (at least over here) there are so many office parks where companies have their employees on-site. What if you land a subscription with such company or multiple employees in such company? You could wash several cars on the same location, on the same day. Maybe such company has some sales reps that spend one day a weeek in the office. That day is the day you could be tackling several sales people's cars.

Seeing you mentioned DKK as a currency, I am assuming you are from Denmark. I'm wildly guessing that there are similar types of companies there that you could check out as well.
You are correct. We have some of those. Only a few nearby my location (I live in the largest city in a 100km radius, and we're ~50.000 inhabitants) To get near one of the "large" cities here in DK i would need to drive ~200km.

There is however a few call centers, 2 LARGE production companies (1 of them have 25k employees worldwide with the headquarters 20km away from me), and a lot of car dealers I'm going to reach out to.
 

Thomas Chauvet

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Hi dude, nice to see someone with such motivation !

I would make the same comments as ZCP, I think you started this from the reverse side but maybe it will still go well, why not?

IMHO You'll benefit greatly from reading "Ready, Fire, Aim" from Michael Masterson (or may be just the few first chapters if you're not into reading or do not have much time). It emphazises a lot on why the first step is getting sales before anything else (website, uniforms, etc)

I'll be happy to have some return if you do read it.

Good luck and can't wait to hear from you!
 

Knugs

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Its illegal to wash your car in your driveway or at all when its outside a car wash in Germany. Have you checked the laws in Denmark?

I
 
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Sandholdt

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Its illegal to wash your car in your driveway or at all when its outside a car wash in Germany. Have you checked the laws in Denmark?

I
Yes. It's fully legal here :)
 
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Sandholdt

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Hi dude, nice to see someone with such motivation !

I would make the same comments as ZCP, I think you started this from the reverse side but maybe it will still go well, why not?

IMHO You'll benefit greatly from reading "Ready, Fire, Aim" from Michael Masterson (or may be just the few first chapters if you're not into reading or do not have much time). It emphazises a lot on why the first step is getting sales before anything else (website, uniforms, etc)

I'll be happy to have some return if you do read it.

Good luck and can't wait to hear from you!
I will definitely put it on my list!

I know I'm been doing it a bit reverse here, but I had the mentality that if every other car wash can make it work, I sure as hell should be able to as well.

Especially with no one around offering the same service as me.

If it doesn't work out I will have to adapt. At least I need to be able to take away with the money spent upfront :)
 

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