How to save money on your detailing products!

by Richard C. Weichand

Tight on cash for products while operating your own detailing business? Follow the easy steps below and save big!

I enjoy interacting with all our Greenway's Car Care customers whether they are just maintaining their own vehicle or making a living off the trade. Many of the small detail business owners I talk to seem to always complain about not having the budget to buy the chemicals they always need. I look back almost 15 years ago and I remember I was once in their same shoes. I remember how hard it was when I started my mobile detailing business in college and I was trying to reinvest my profits back into the company while paying my monthly bills. Being able to only work part time and attend college at night, I was always concerned of how I spent my money. One of the biggest mistakes I made was not properly preparing my detail chemicals before the next detail job.

I can first remember when I started to purchase professional grade auto detailing chemicals for my business. I felt like a kid at Christmas when the UPS deliveryman would drop off the large brown box containing all my soaps, degreasers, tire dressings and interior cleaners. I put these gallon items in the back of my pickup truck and I then felt prepared and confident for the next detailing job. I did not realize I was making the mistake right out of the box by not preparing my detailing chemicals.

The Job site

The phone rang a lot for me as I was a go-getter and was able to secure many detail jobs per week. As most small business owners who have everything else going on in the game we call life, we constantly find ourselves always running out of time. I would book my appointment and make sure I was at the customer's house when the sun came up. This gave me the opportunity to make sure I completed the job properly and with enough time to arrive home, shower, eat and rush off to evening college.

I realized while I was completing these jobs I constantly found myself filling up my 32-ounce spray bottles throughout the detail. I would grab my gallon of product and attempt to fill the quart bottle only to see a few ounces of product spill outside the bottle. Who really can find their funnel when they need it?

The Fill

As your attempting to fill your spray bottle and feel the chemical running down the side of your hand, your next step is to actually dilute the product with water. Now turn on the pressure washer, remove the spray tip and attempt to add water. As you are filling your bottle you notice a large amount of suds forming in the bottle that quickly runs over the side removing the name of the product you wrote on the bottle with a black marker if there was a name at all.

You wait for the suds to slowly start to settle as you attempt to top off the bottle. Minutes later you are ready to get back to work to only run into the same situation with another cleaner you start using. As you continue this process throughout the detail you notice your filling area also made the customer's driveway look different and not in a good way (for you mobile detailers). Some all purpose cleaner mixed with some extractor solution and a wheel cleaner is not meant for blacktop guys!

The Empty Gallon Jug

By purchasing a few empty gallon jugs will save you time, money and the embarrassment of leaving your chemical mark on the customers driveway. Each and every product you use during the detail process will be properly diluted and ready to be put to work. You will quickly see the savings as you will be buying less chemical and keeping more of your hard-earned money in your pocket. Just because you saved on the chemical side, please do not forget that a portion of this money must be saved for reinvestment into your business.

As you navigate through the Greenway's Car Care website you will notice we offer secondary labels, empty 1 gallon and 5-gallon jugs along with our Greenway's No-Spill Funnel. These are a few items I always recommend to have in your arsenal and make them a mandatory part of your budget. Greenway's No-Spill Funnel is especially neat since it has a loop on the one side that allows you to secure the funnel around the neck of our empty gallon jugs. The other end threads onto a standard spray bottle ensuring that the product ends up in the spray bottle only.

Too many chemicals are similar in color and you do not want to make a costly mistake of spraying the wrong chemical on the wrong surface. Labeling your bottles with a high quality coated label is very important for being safe and efficient.

Whether you are operating a detailing business or enjoy cleaning your own vehicles on the weekend, saving money and being organized is always a good thing. By following the few step above you will realize that these small changes will pay off big with a minimal investment required.