When starting your business the first step you should take time to do is create your automotive detailing business plan. A lot of you might overlook this step, don't be one of them. Your business plan will be a living and breathing document that you will use as reference and update along the way. I will outline what your business plan should consist of for the detailing industry and give you an example to help get you started.
A business plan according to Wikipedia:
"A business plan is a formal statement of business goals, reasons they are attainable, and plans for reaching them. It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals.
Business plans may target changes in perception and branding by the customer, client, taxpayer, or larger community.”
Your business plan is useful for you to define exactly what you want to do and put structure to your thoughts and goals. It will also give you an outline and step by step process for what you will do to get started. You will use your business plan to track your progress as you go and make necessary adjustments to maintain the success you are striving for.
A business plan is also used if you want to get investors as they will look to use your business plan as a roadmap to see if your company is worth investing in. If you don't set goals for 1, 3, or even 5 years in the future then the investors will not be as confident in trusting you with their money.
Sections of a Business Plan
The executive summary is the very last piece of your business plan to write but it is the first section. Go ahead and read the rest of this article and then come back to this section.
Now that you have read about the rest of the sections you can start on your executive summary. This section you will want to summarize your skillsets and abilities to run the business, your market analysis overview and any other high points you want to mention from your other sections. This should be your extended elevator pitch to potential investors and yourself when you go back and reference your business plan later.
In the company description section you want to extend your elevator pitch to explain your company and what is the overall goal of your business. List out market needs your business is addressing, the customers or businesses you will be detailing for, how you will meet the needs of the market using your detailing experience and expertise.
This is where you will need to really do some research on your market. Find out how many detailing companies service within the radius you will market, how many customers there are in that area, what is their average income, how many dealerships, how many small businesses with car fleets that need to be detailed, etc. You will also want to define any seasonal impacts to your business and how you will maintain income throughout winter months.
I would recommend using bureau of labor statistics (BLS) to find out the wage and statistical information for your particular location. The NAICS code for car wash when looking through these tables is
Look for industry trends nationally and locally. For instance, according to BLS the projected nationwide employment for ‘cleaners of vehicles’ from 2014-2024 is 10%. Definitely use BLS and their references. On the career one stop website by the department of labor you can search for “Cleaners of Vehicles and Equipment” and select your location to find the employment projection for your area.
Organization and Management
This section should consist of your structure and ownership details. If you are starting a detailing business with just you then this section should be simple and straightforward. You will want to provide your name and summary of your background and skills kind of like a short synopsis of your resume. You also want to state your percent ownership in the company, 100% if it is just you.
Service or Product Line
In this section you will describe the services that you intend to offer to your customers and reiterate how it is meeting current market needs.
Marketing and Sales
This section is one of the most critical for your detailing business. You will want to come up with your market strategy which will consist of
How you will get initial market share from either clients or businesses
How are you going to reach your customers: fliers, business cards, face to face/door to door, car shows, online website traffic, groupon, social media, referrals, word of mouth, etc.
This optional section is needed is you are seeking funding. You will want to determine how much you need and how long it will last you. You need to determine if you are willing to give up equity or just take on debt for your business. You will detail exactly how you will use the funds and any additional terms or condition you wish to have.
Once you have done the research on your market and used the BLS statistics you can project your financial goals you would like to make. If you are seeking investors then you will want to provide the facts and data used and any assumptions you may have made and why.
If you would like a template automotive business plan, enter your email address below. Some detailers may think they need to go into debt when setting up their business, I do not recommend going into debt if you don't absolutely have to. As you probably are aware from your personal finances, debt does not always make things easier. Owning a business with no debt is ideal, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take the time right now to create your business plan.
If you are just starting out I would check out my mobile vs fixed location post to see why a mobile auto detailing business has cheaper startup costs. Now that you have created your business plan you can decide how you want to structure your business. Keep serving, growing and learning.