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Ryan in wales

Original Poster:

7 posts

47 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st September 2010 quote quote all
Hi all! As you can see I am new to the forum and would appreciate some much needed help! I want to start my own Mobile Valeting Company, but i am only 17, the biggest concern is would people mind a 17 year old cleaning their cars? Next thing is insurance, being this age is never the best to try and insure things and I presume that's the same with this?
The next thing is how do i go about doing it? I live in a quiet part of Wales but full of elderly people, who have all on a number of occasions told me they would like someone to clean their cars for them. I know I would need to do some market research on the business (flyers, meeting people etc) but how do i go about this in such a large area i would need to cover?
The initial outlay of purchasing a van etc isn't a large concern as i would go from little and if all is well progress up to a larger van. I have noticed you can purchase ready made up business' off ebay, is this a good idea?
I would appreciate some help from all you car enthusiasts!! smile Obviously it's in very early stages, but it needs to start somewhere? Thanks.

Edited by Ryan in wales on Wednesday 1st September 21:52

jr123

3,299 posts

48 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st September 2010 quote quote all
Get over to Detailingworld.co.uk

Many of them are mobile detailer's, they have a business section and can give you all the advice you need, at 17 your insurance will probably be high on a van as well though.

Are you going to wash machine polish, wax and such if so you may require some sort of liability insurance.

CinqAbarth

566 posts

49 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st September 2010 quote quote all
There's a massive gulf between pensioners wanting someone to run a soapy sponge over their Micra for them and people wanting a 'detailing' service.

I'm not convinced remote parts of Wales are the kind of places where detailing is required.

Most car enthusiasts up there seem to drive 'rally slags' covered in mud and stone chips.

Everyone else is either a farmer with muddy 4x4s or a pensioner.

SC7

1,882 posts

65 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st September 2010 quote quote all
I did this myself, and have had the business 5 years now.

My advice would be to start off by doing it at weekends, then work your way up. Be prepared for it to take months and months to build up a client base.

If you do a good job, you will reach a point where you don't need to advertise as you will have regulars and get your best customers by word of mouth.

Another piece of advice I would give you is to avoid garages/traders. They all want something for nothing. They want a better job than anyone else and they want to pay less for it. Obviously when you start out you can't be picky, but as you build the business up you'll find that the little old ladies and lazy businessmen will be your bread and butter, as well as offices.

Equipment-wise, start off simple. You'll want the following to get going...

Long extension cable (use customer's power where possible)
Good quality (read Honda) generator
Small-ish Karcher washer
Numatic/Karcher wet/dry vac
Baffled water tank in the van (Bear in mind: 40ish litres per car)
Good quality hose (Hozelock)
Pressure sprayer bottles (again, Hozelock)
Sponges, Mitts, Brushes, Cloths etc.
Consumables (Turtle Wax Professional range is a good starting point)

As you get going, you'll find out what works for you.

Hope this helps.

Ryan in wales

Original Poster:

7 posts

47 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st September 2010 quote quote all
Yes thats true there are many farmers driving around in their muddy 4x4's but thats a useful thing, many own normal cars (mercedes, bmw's etc) so there is that market, also i would be able to cover a big area from where i'm based including aberystwyth.


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Ryan in wales

Original Poster:

7 posts

47 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st September 2010 quote quote all
jr123 said:
Get over to Detailingworld.co.uk

Many of them are mobile detailer's, they have a business section and can give you all the advice you need, at 17 your insurance will probably be high on a van as well though.

Are you going to wash machine polish, wax and such if so you may require some sort of liability insurance.
Many thanks for that useful website. With the liabilty insurance do you know any useful places/websites to look at??

Ryan in wales

Original Poster:

7 posts

47 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st September 2010 quote quote all
SC7 said:
I did this myself, and have had the business 5 years now.

My advice would be to start off by doing it at weekends, then work your way up. Be prepared for it to take months and months to build up a client base.

If you do a good job, you will reach a point where you don't need to advertise as you will have regulars and get your best customers by word of mouth.

Another piece of advice I would give you is to avoid garages/traders. They all want something for nothing. They want a better job than anyone else and they want to pay less for it. Obviously when you start out you can't be picky, but as you build the business up you'll find that the little old ladies and lazy businessmen will be your bread and butter, as well as offices.

Equipment-wise, start off simple. You'll want the following to get going...

Long extension cable (use customer's power where possible)
Good quality (read Honda) generator
Small-ish Karcher washer
Numatic/Karcher wet/dry vac
Baffled water tank in the van (Bear in mind: 40ish litres per car)
Good quality hose (Hozelock)
Pressure sprayer bottles (again, Hozelock)
Sponges, Mitts, Brushes, Cloths etc.
Consumables (Turtle Wax Professional range is a good starting point)

As you get going, you'll find out what works for you.

Hope this helps.
It helps alot hearing it from somebody who has done it themselves! Do you have this liabilty insurance? I'm still in early stages ofcourse. If you don't mind me asking where are you based?

SC7

1,882 posts

65 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st September 2010 quote quote all
My liability insurance is included with my road risks policy mate (covers me to drive customers' cars and any vehicles that I own).

I must admit it was a struggle to get the insurance before I was 25. Only a couple of insurers will touch you. I went through a broker called Nash Warren, who have been fantastic throughout. I think I paid about £1600 in my first year - But it's well worth it when you consider I owned a Transit Connect, a 530i Sport, and was covered to drive any car I was cleaning too.

I'm based about 12 miles east of Manchester.

Ryan in wales

Original Poster:

7 posts

47 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st September 2010 quote quote all
SC7 said:
My liability insurance is included with my road risks policy mate (covers me to drive customers' cars and any vehicles that I own).

I must admit it was a struggle to get the insurance before I was 25. Only a couple of insurers will touch you. I went through a broker called Nash Warren, who have been fantastic throughout. I think I paid about £1600 in my first year - But it's well worth it when you consider I owned a Transit Connect, a 530i Sport, and was covered to drive any car I was cleaning too.

I'm based about 12 miles east of Manchester.
Thanks, I shall have to keep them in mind! That was my main worry really! If I could get insured! That seems pretty good too! Especially being able to drive any car. Do you have a webiste I could have a look at? Thanks.

SC7

1,882 posts

65 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st September 2010 quote quote all
I don't I'm afraid mate.

I had one starting out but I just didn't get any business from it. It was more trouble than it was worth.

As long as you're on Yell.com and you hammer it initially with leaflets/business cards then you won't need a website.

That's not to say don't get one - Just that in my personal experience it was a waste of time and money.

Ryan in wales

Original Poster:

7 posts

47 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st September 2010 quote quote all
SC7 said:
I don't I'm afraid mate.

I had one starting out but I just didn't get any business from it. It was more trouble than it was worth.

As long as you're on Yell.com and you hammer it initially with leaflets/business cards then you won't need a website.

That's not to say don't get one - Just that in my personal experience it was a waste of time and money.
That's okay. Within an area like mine I think word of mouth is much more appropriate! It's just getting enough people! I'm sure Manchester is a much bigger place than North Wales!! How man cars do you normally get done in a day?

SC7

1,882 posts

65 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st September 2010 quote quote all
I work off half an hour for a "Wash & Go", an hour for a Mini Valet and 3 hours for a full valet; so it just depends how long I want to work.

I do two days every week at an office in Salford where 7/8 Mini Valets per day is the norm.

Get yourself some leaflets made up and hit the locals! You'll soon get people ringing, and if you do a good job they soon pass your details on.

Ryan in wales

Original Poster:

7 posts

47 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st September 2010 quote quote all
SC7 said:
I work off half an hour for a "Wash & Go", an hour for a Mini Valet and 3 hours for a full valet; so it just depends how long I want to work.

I do two days every week at an office in Salford where 7/8 Mini Valets per day is the norm.

Get yourself some leaflets made up and hit the locals! You'll soon get people ringing, and if you do a good job they soon pass your details on.
Many Thanks for all of your help! It has made everything a bit more clearer! I will have to get some leaflets out to everyone! Would you mind if I ever sent you a messege on here? If I have some questions or anything?

SC7

1,882 posts

65 months

[news] 
Wednesday 1st September 2010 quote quote all
Not at all mate. If you ever need anything just gimme a shout.

And good luck with it!

CHIEF

2,254 posts

166 months

[news] 
Thursday 2nd September 2010 quote quote all
One of the most helpful threads i've ever seen on Pistonheads.

Nice one SC7

beer

Eric Mc

76,356 posts

149 months

[news] 
Thursday 2nd September 2010 quote quote all
Don't be afraid to ask any questions about the tax and saccounting aspects of running your own business either.

Valetco

364 posts

73 months

[news] 
Thursday 2nd September 2010 quote quote all
Hi Ryan,

Lots of good advice so far. In terms of specific valeting info have a look at www.britishvaleters.org the forum section will be very useful for you,as for detailing world have a lurk but I wouldnt bother with a similar post you are likely to get pulled to bits Im affraid, its not the most friendly to startup newbies.

Insurance is going to be a major factor at your age have a look at www.valeters-insurance.co.uk and either email or call Lloyd he will give you a full rundowm of your insurance options and comes highly recommended.
If you cant get full and comprehensive insurance including public liability and articles worked on including road risks please DONT go anywhere near a paying customers car.

You havent mentioned any experience valeting and believe me it is a skill that needs to be learnt and is a mile away from washing your own/family and friends cars for a few beer tokens. Given your age and the likely massive cost of insurance I would consider taking a role with a main dealer as a valeter and learning your craft, and the reality of how hard you will need to work to earn a good living.

As for buying an existing van/business I would be wary they are often poorly equipped or on there last legs or downright dangerous.Remember that 1L of water is approx 1kg so 400L poorly secured is basicaly a half ton deathtrap behind your head There are van layout threads on both detailing world and bv.org and believe me the vans on ebay etc in comparison show why that business inevetably failed.

I'm based on the North Wales borders approx 15 miles from Chester so If you want to discuss in more detail just drop me a PM and I'll see what I can do.

Good luck

Oli

Cyberprog

1,359 posts

67 months

[news] 
Thursday 2nd September 2010 quote quote all
I'll weigh in on the website front - treat it as a virtual business card, contact details (including a form, but don't over-complicate it) and maybe some photos of work you've done. All easily DIY'able for around £20 a year or so.

Gibson70

417 posts

89 months

[news] 
Friday 3rd September 2010 quote quote all
Ryan,

Good to see people in here advising you in the right direction.

As Eric said in his earlier post - maybe it may be worth a read on this link - http://www.bytestart.co.uk/content/19/19_1/self-em...

Good luck with your new venture. You'll make it if you work very hard :-)

Cheers
SG

badboyburt

1,485 posts

61 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th October 2010 quote quote all
Some great info on this thread, has the OP started his venture yet ?
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