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Most observers would agree that the cleaning industry is one of the fastest growing and most profitable ever. Many small businesses have turned into large companies in a very short time. Opportunities such as contract cleaning, or carpet cleaning, have been winners for some!

Of course, the large potential profits make cleaning very competitive. So, what is needed is a venture within cleaning that is still very underdeveloped. Such an opportunity can be found in car valeting - a high paying business that is just waiting to take off!

Car valeting is an essential service. The high value of cars and the need to keep up appearances of these prestige possessions dictates this. Who would not pay £50-£60 for the thorough cleaning of a £20,000 car? You can be sure there is more than enough demand for this service.

All the service involves is advertising and carrying out thorough car cleaning - easy and not unpleasant. Customers both trade and private are everywhere. You don't need premises - the modern way is to offer a mobile service. But - it could be the start of your own valeting and car care centre!


Starting as a valeter is so easy you could just start today! All you need to do is think of a professional name to trade under - comical names are often best e.g. 'Mr. Cleanacar'. Have some business cards printed which can be circulated to pull in business.

Your home is an ideal base and the use of a telephone will be helpful. You can work full time or part time with another job. Weekends are a good time for this service - and even cleaning 3 or 4 large cars per weekend could earn you £200!

The only essentials needed to start include some form of transport - a car, van or even a bike. If you live in a densely populated area you could even walk which really keeps the cost of each job low. Either way, running a mobile service is much cheaper than using premises - use your customers facilities!

Build up a small collection of the usual car cleaning tools - cloths, dusters, sponges, buckets and various types of cleaning compound - a good wax polish is a must! At a later date you can buy steam cleaners for washing vehicle exteriors and cleaning carpets and upholstery. But, these are not vital to start - especially as you will require two machines for at least £100 each!

You don't need any skill to start. Techniques for obtaining high standards come easily with practice. One tip is not to 'skimp' on cleaning compounds. Some of these might be expensive but they cut down the effort needed!


Selling valeting services couldn't be easier. Just think how many cars are on the road. Even cleaning a tiny fraction of them would lead to a certainly-not-tiny fortune. Pitch your service everywhere you find a car. Cars less than 4 years old are most likely to be your business. Luxury/Executive cars are very lucrative - but there is plenty of money in small cars too!

Private motorists use this service readily. This is particularly so if they are selling their car. Having it professionally cleaned can add hundreds of pounds to its value - so valeting really does pay for itself. Travelling round cleaning cars outside private homes is a not inconsiderable business!

There are also many business operators of cars you should sell to. Business fleet operators, car hire and taxi firms all need your services. Regularly cleaned cars look better for business and keep their resale value. But, some of the most lucrative business is to be obtained from motor dealers of both new and used cars. Most dealers valet cars prior to sale, but most see this as an unwanted distraction. You can offer to prepare vehicles for them.

Indeed, many car valeters have lucrative contracts with garages to valet new and used cars for sale. This provides regular, lucrative work - and you can operate from the garages own premises. A full time business could thrive on 20-25 cars per week, each cleaned for only £30 each!

Use as many different ways as possible for selling your service. Make sure they are professional and reflect a high quality service. Press advertising, leaflets and door to door calling are excellent ways of getting work from private motorists. Personal visits and mailshots are good ways of selling your service to trade customers. However, an excellent source of business is recommendation by past customers and this costs you nothing. In particular garage customers might recommend your service to friends in the trade - which could turn out to be very lucrative!

Deal with all enquiries carefully and professionally. The customer might be trusting you with a vehicle worth £10,000 - £20,000 so you must sound reliable. Explain that your service is mobile, i.e. you come to them. With each order try and obtain a firm time and date when you will call to carry out the work.

Always agree a price in advance. This can be more or less what you like as your costs are very low indeed. A fair and profitable way of pricing is to match your price to the value of the car. Don't charge less than about £20 for even a small car like a Mini. Family type cars e.g. a Sierra or Cavalier should cost around £30. An executive Granada or Rover could be cleaned for £40 or so. For any type of luxury car or sports car - Mercedes, BMW, Porsche etc., don't charge less than £50-£60. Your service is worth it, and the owner will demand a good job.

If you are able to obtain contract work from a garage you could offer them a trade reduction. Regular business on which you can build a sound venture is always highly desirable.


When you obtain orders you should organise work carefully. This will depend on whether you are working full or part time. In general, a small car will only take about two hours to valet. Allow half a day for the larger cars - but £50 is still good earnings for a half days work!

Be sure to take all your equipment with you to the customers premises. Whether you are working at a house or business premises you should not clean a car parked in a busy road - apart from the danger it will soon get dirty. Ask the customer to provide water and power and a vacuum cleaner which is better than using your own. A garage might have a power washer or upholstery cleaning machine you can use.

It is best to start by cleaning the exterior of the car as this is hardest. You can then sit down to clean the interior. Wash all over with a good quality car shampoo and hot water. Never use washing up liquid as this causes streaks which make polishing harder. After washing dry off with a rubber buffer. Using a wet and dry polish means you can polish the exterior immediately with no waiting. Most polishes (but not silicone ones) will clean the windows to a good standard too.

Make a point of cleaning any chrome - but this is fairly rate on modern cars. However, cleaning it does make a big difference to the vehicle. Clean any black or grey plastic trim - bumpers, spoilers, etc. with a good silicone polish so that they shine.

You should not neglect to clean all minor things like headlights, rear lights, number plates and any badges. Clean and sparkling glass makes the rest of the car look clean too!

Clean wheels and tyres thoroughly. Paint tyres over with a solution of tyre paint and turps. This restores that 'as new' look.

Do not clean the engine compartment or underbody etc., unless specifically asked to do so. You will really need a pressure washer to do this and you should charge £10-£15 extra for the service. Brand new cars might have a protective wax covering and this will need to be removed with a pressure washer - most garages will have one though.

When the vehicle exterior is finished you can turn to the inside. First, clean all the door shuts as these are rarely cleaned and doing so will make a big difference. Then, start on the inside. Clear all 'junk' out of a used car - sweet papers, cigarette packets etc.! Remove protective covers from a new car.

If you have a carpet/upholstery cleaner, you can steam clean soiled interiors. Otherwise a thorough vacuuming will suffice. Also vacuum the headlining.

Clean all interior trim which is usually PVC. This includes door interiors and seat backs. Carefully clean the dash. Dust can be removed with a vacuum cleaner, then polish with a silicone polish. On a used car windows will then need to be washed to remove the greasy film that usually develops. On a new car various labels and crayon markings will need to be cleaned off. When working for a dealer ask them to supply seat covers and mats to protect the finished car.

Finally, don't forget to clean the boot area when working for a dealer. If cleaning a private car this service should not be included. People don't expect it - and cleaning most boots is sometimes a virtually impossible task!

You will soon find various types and ways of cleaning that will really make your finished work look impressive and ensure customer satisfaction. When cleaning a private car clean it to get clean. When cleaning a trade car clean it to look clean - and to sell!

On completion of the work ask your customer to check it over. It is not unreasonable to ask them to pay now - no credit! Try and negotiate contract work for a trade customer. Try and get private customers to book their next valet - in six or twelve months time. It's all extra income!


Car valeting certainly offers a good opportunity for a small or not-so-small business. The work is not hard but can still earn you £20 or more per hour clear profit! What's more - some people are doing it now, it's no dream.

If you want a larger business there is ample room for expansion. Once you have a regular business you could consider opening a valet centre in small premises in addition to your mobile service. Much better for getting regular contracts.

Many other services can also be easily offered. You don't have to know anything about cars or offer mechanical services. Car rust proofing is a popular and profitable service. Many paintwork preserving treatments can be applied. Upholstery protection services are the latest car care service - get the chemical needed from a carpet cleaners supplier. Styling accessories like spoilers or body styling kits or stripes can all be easily fitted for high profits. There are lots of car services that don't come under the realm of a garage and are just waiting to be exploited by you! And - what about valeting vans, lorry cabs, caravans, motorhomes, etc.?

The cleaning industry is a truly vast multi-million pound one. Unlike many businesses there are still profitable opportunities that are not saturated with new operators, a quality car valet service is one such opportunity.

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