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Detailing

5 steps to grow your detailing business

How to use metrics to initiate growth.

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Competition in the auto detailing industry is tough. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to stand out and really shine. Here are five steps to help you grow your auto detailing business by setting goals and using metrics to measure your success.

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Step 1: Define success for your auto detailing business

The first step to growing your auto detailing business is to focus on success. In this first step, you’ll need to define what success is for you and your company; this could vary from business to business. The important thing here is to think about why you started your business in the first place and what your vision is for the company going forward.

Here are some examples of defining success:

  • Make enough money to support my lifestyle or support my family
  • Give back to my community (through job creation or financially)
  • Grow my customer base and serve my community better.

It’s fine if, when you sit down to write out goals, you come up with something general. Broad and sweeping statements are okay here. We’ll hone in on specifics later on.

Step 2: Set measurable goals for your business

After you define success, then you’ll move to setting tangible goals to help you achieve it. Where defining success is broad and big picture, goals are supposed to be specific and attainable.

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You can think of your goals as benchmarks. Once you hit a goal or a benchmark in your given amount of time, you make a new one. Goal-setting and achieving is a constant process; you can start small and make bigger goals as you go along.

A great template of setting goals is to follow the SMART method outlined by The Balance Small Business. Make sure you’re considering these five things as you start to set your goals:

  • Specific: Clearly define what you want to accomplish.
  • Measurable: Define and utilize accessible and relevant data to track your progress.
  • Attainable: Your goal must be realistic and manageable.
  • Relevant: Make sure your goal lines up with your definition of success.
  • Time-based: Set a specific length of time to accomplish the goal.

Step 3: Identify the variables of auto detailing

Now that you’ve set some of your first goals, now you need to think about how you are going to achieve them. To change something about your auto detailing business, you need to understand the variables of your business. Your variables are all of the things that can change; most variables are within your control, but some might be outside of your control (like seasonality).

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Make a list of all of the factors you can think of that go into your business. It might look something like this:

  • Number of shops
  • Location of your shop(s)/services
  • Number of employees
  • Employee pay and pay rates
  • Number of cars detailed per day
  • Types of cars detailed
  • Time to estimate, time to detail, time to invoice
  • Types of detailing services and packages offered
  • Price per detail
  • Advertising budget and channels
  • Operating costs
  • Seasonality.

Once you start writing them down, you’ll start to realize that your auto detailing business probably has hundreds of variables. You can think of your variables as dials. When you adjust them or when they change, they affect your business. Understanding your variables and noticing how they affect your business will help you set goals, measure your performance and make improvements to your performance.

To achieve your goals quickly, you’ll need to identify the variables that will have the most impact when you turn the dial. It’s important that you align your variables with your goals.

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Step 4: Measure and analyze your company’s performance

After you identify the variables that will affect your goals, now you can start turning the dials on your variables and measure their impact on your business. In order to measure the impact of your changes, you need to be able to access your business data. This should be easy if you use an auto detailing estimating and invoicing technology with an analytics feature. If you don’t, that’s fine; you’ll just have to track, aggregate and visualize your data manually in a program like Microsoft Excel.

Related: Trends in carwash software

For each of the variables that you choose to adjust, you could measure its impact on metrics, such as return on investment (ROI), profit, revenue, cost savings, employee performance, etc. When you make a commitment to track and measure your performance, you are making a commitment to understand your business and make smart decisions.

Step 5: Make improvements and set new goals

Hopefully, the changes you’ve made have gotten you closer to achieving your goals. In this step, it’s important to note what changes made an impact and how much of an impact they made. If you’ve achieved the goals you’ve set, you can go back to Step 2 and set new goals. If you weren’t able to make your goals, you can go back to Step 3 and try something different.

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After you’ve gone through the process a few times, you won’t be turning your variable dials randomly. You should be able to better predict the impact that a change will have on your business. Once you’ve gotten the hang of the process, you can try to find and focus on the variables that make the most impact, not just an impact.

If you want to grow your auto detailing business, it’s important that you look for variables and make decisions that will help you make you more money. Using metrics can help you find places where you have room to improve and where you’re leaving money on the table. To run a successful auto detailing business, you need to be able to see how you’re doing from a historical perspective and analyze trends in order to make smart decisions for the future.


Eric Garves is the CEO and co-founder of Mobile Tech RX, the leading estimating and invoicing software for auto reconditioning technicians. Prior to Mobile Tech RX, Eric was a partner and vice president at Five Star PDR in the Austin, Texas area. During his time in Paintless Dent Repair, Eric saw the need for estimating and invoicing software built specifically for the industry. He launched Mobile Tech RX in 2014 along with his partner, Daimen Simmons, and became the CEO of a software company with a mission to help auto reconditioning professionals across dent repair, detailing, paint, interior and wheel repair grow their businesses. Eric holds an economics degree from the University of Arizona. You can reach him at [email protected].

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