Mobile detailing software

Mobile car detailing setup: The top 7 products you need

Starting a car detailing business is no easy feat. That's why we've compiled the top 7 products you need for a stellar mobile car detailing setup.


Mobile car detailing setup: The top 7 products you need 

Starting a car detailing or car wash business is no easy feat. From building a loyal customer base, managing a hectic schedule, and finding the right mobile car detailing setup, there’s a lot to juggle. 

As you start building your mobile car wash or mobile detailing business, the first thing you’ll need to figure out is what products and tools you need to wow your customers and make your job easier. You’re probably aware that a stellar mobile car detailing setup is so much more than just soap, water, a bucket, and maybe a hose.

If you’re new to the mobile detailing business, this simple guide will help you quickly set up your van the right way, so you can serve customers with the right gear, long into the future.

The Products You Need For Mobile Car Detailing Setup

At the end of the day, the products you use for each detailing or car wash service can make or break the customer experience and the quality you deliver. While you don’t need to invest in the best or most expensive tools when you first start out, you’ll want to invest in the basics that most pros recommend to help you wow customers with your work. 

Here is a simple list of products we recommend to get you going. 

Wet/Dry Vacuum 

Wet/dry vacuum cleaners can do wonders in your detailing process. Unlike traditional vacuum cleaners that we usually use at home, these don’t just suck dry dirt, lint, and dust but also get rid of water and other liquids. While it takes hours to clean the car's interior manually, a wet/dry vacuum cleaner can get the job done in minutes. 

Humans may miss a piece of debris here and there, but a vacuum won't. This equipment comes with various settings allowing you to blow, inflate, dry, and vacuum using just one machine. For beginners, we recommend the RIDGID Wet/Dry Vac. We recommend this vacuum due to its power and efficiency for the price. 

Power generation

A power generator may be used for powering your equipment required in a mobile car detailing setup like pressure washers, steamers, etc. 

There are plenty of options available out there when it comes to choosing a power generator and it can be daunting to choose just one. You’ll want to look for a generator that can continuously produce 3000-3500 watts of electricity to make sure you can power all the equipment. Since you will be driving it around for your business, you should also consider its weight and size so you can easily transport it around from appointment to appointment. 

If you’re looking for a more affordable but reliable generator, the Harbor Freight Predator series generators are another option to consider as well. 

While investing in a power generator can get a little pricey, it will give you the professionalism you need to effectively carry out each service without the need to bother your customers to use their power line. 

Water

It’s no secret that it’s almost impossible to run a car detailing business without water. And just like power generation, carrying your own water will make you look more experienced and professional when you show up to each appointment. Carrying your own water will also make it possible for you to detail cars wherever you are, especially if there isn’t a hose available at your service location, 

Carrying your own water will also help you save a ton of time because you won’t have to worry about bothering your customer or manually connecting your equipment to a water line every time you show up to a new appointment.

We suggest going to your local tractor supply store to get set up with a water storage tank. You’ll want to make sure your tank can carry at least 60 gallons so that you can complete each job without the risk of running out of water. 

We recommend this 60-gallon low-profile water tank because it’s impact-resistant and easy to transport. Keep in mind that you will need a transfer pump for most water tanks. The size of the water transfer pump will be based on the size of your tank and the amount of water GPM your pressure washer requires. 

Pressure washer 

To take your business to the next level, you’ll want to invest in a professional pressure washer. A pressure washer is a must for your mobile detailing setup so that you can get to the nitty-gritty spots on tires, rims, and dirty paint. 

You’ll have to choose between a gas or electric power washer. Electric power washers are typically more convenient and less expensive than gas because they are more portable but you’ll want to make sure the battery can last the day or that you have extras so you don’t lose pressure halfway through a job. 

You can find the perfect electric pressure washer to start your business from Harbor Freight, which has a range of prices and sizes to choose from. 

Towels

Towels are used in almost every step of the detailing process. From cleaning the exterior paint to interior carpets, you’ll most likely need towels from start to finish. However, the regular towels you use at home won't cut it for mobile detailing. Regular towels have a sewn edge that can scratch the vehicle's surface. So, we suggest you always use microfibre for better finishing. 

It’s also worth noting that getting your rags dry-cleaned is a good way to increase the staying power of your rags, which can save you time and money in the long run. 

Using premium quality microfibre towels is great for easily trapping dust, moisture, and other particles. We suggest the Edgeless 300 and Edgeless 360 rags from The Rag Company based on their price and performance. 

Buckets

Buckets can be found anywhere easily. However, not all buckets are suited for car detailing. For a mobile car detailing setup, you need quality car washing buckets with a dirt screen for trapping dirt and grime at the bottom. Without the screen, little pieces of dirt may stick to your sponge and scratch the car. 

It’s important to invest in buckets that car detailing pros use and recommend. To take your detailing business to the next level, use one bucket for the car wash product and the other for clean water. Using two buckets can add an extra layer of protection and help you leave that sparkling clean finish your customers will rave about. 

Chemicals

Chemicals are a key component of cleaning a car like a pro. There is no specific chemical that you need to use. A variety of them is available in the market, so you can try everything out and determine which works best for you. 

Some types of car wash chemicals that you may commonly see in stores include compounds, degreasers, clay bars, paint cleaners, car wash soap, polishes, and waxes. These are to be used on the exterior part of the vehicle. However, make sure you buy for cleaning the interior as well, like the carpets and leather seats.

For more affordable chemical options, we recommend:

For high-end options, we recommend:

You can also visit your local detail supplier if you want to purchase chemicals in person. 

Extractors/steam

Steam car wash is an eco-friendly approach for cleaning the interior and exterior of the vehicle as it uses a very small amount of water. The heat and pressure dissolve the dirt and other pollutants present on the surface. It is also an effective sterilizing tool. 

Extractors are equipment that can make dirty-looking seats and carpets look brand new in a matter of minutes. This cleaning device uses water, pressure, and suction to extract dirt and stains deeply embedded in the carpets and seats. 

For basic cleaning, you may try a Chief Steamer with 1200-1300W. We also recommend the Mytee extractor 8070 because of its portability and ability to get the job done for professional use. 

Mobile detailing software

As you get ramped up and running with your mobile detailing business, you’ll probably be torn between handling appointments, collecting payments, and running your business. That’s why it’s important to invest in the right mobile detailing software so that you can run your entire business from your phone. 

A mobile detailing software is like your personal assistant that handles bookings, payments, and customer service, all while you’re completing services in the field. The right software should help you organize your schedule by location, provide the self-service tools modern customers expect, and empower both you and your employees with the right tools to grow your business and save time. 

Mobile detailing and car wash setup for beginners 

Since you’re just beginning your business, it is best to start slow. You should buy a few products, evaluate their performance and buy other ones to compare. 

The key is to move slowly. Be strategic about what you spend the most on at first and don’t just buy the most expensive item. Start off on the cheaper side, and then you can gradually upgrade to better products and tools if you feel the need. The important thing is to invest in the tools that work best for you, the size of your business and your specialty. 

Save time, get organized, amaze customers, repeat 

In order to compete with the big guys in your area, you'll need to wow your customers with the most modern tools while increasing revenue, retention, and online reviews. Investing in the right products and tools doesn’t have to be expensive, but will help you deliver amazing service to customers and get a ton of returning customers.

Most importantly, you should give your customers the modern self-service tools they expect from bigger businesses. With Zippity, you can build your dream mobile detailing business, your way. Zippity’s app enables you to compete with big, professional businesses by giving you the most modern customer experience tools in the industry - all while being super easy to use and letting you generate value in minutes. Manage your entire mobile detailing business from your phone so you can focus on what’s important, whether that’s focusing more on clients, training your people, or even spending time with family and friends.

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