Feb 8, 2022
Business
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4
 min read

Why I'm Adding Mobile Car Detailing as a Service

Why I’m Launching a New Service:

As my cleaning business has continued to grow over the last year, I’ve decided to renew my focus on it for the next 3 to 4 months. My goal is to double the profit before fully removing myself and handing the business over to a capable day-to-day manager. The clearest method for hitting this goal is growing the existing cleaning business. However, I also want to create new optionality in the business by trying to launch another service line. This is partly due to the benefits of diversification and potential growth, but it's also because I just enjoy building things. 

Why Mobile Car Detailing:

Home cleaning will never be my full-time role, so when I thought about new service lines, I wanted to ensure the service was simple to price and complete. There are far more attractive types of home service businesses, but I wanted something that directly aligned with my existing business so that it wouldn’t require additional office staff in the long-term. 

With my current cleaning business, I’ve been able to differentiate in the market by having clear and transparent pricing. In addition, I allow the customer to schedule online. As I researched the mobile car detailing market around me, I found no competitors that had this operating philosophy and tactic. While the mobile car detailing market is much smaller than home cleaning, I think there’s an equal opportunity to differentiate from the existing competitors in my geographic area.  

There are some obvious downsides to this market. The market may just be too small to succeed in. There are 3-4 other players in my area so clearly there is enough demand to test it out. I also believe that it will be harder to get recurring cleans since many customers see car detailing as  more of a treat than a necessity.  

How I’m Planning To Grow It:

Obviously launching a new service line is fun, but the only thing that matters is getting sales and having the service appreciated by customers. Importantly, they need to hear about the service to set an appointment. Without an appointment, we won’t have the opportunity to deliver great work. As I planned the business, I laid out my core growth strategy that I’ll execute over the next 3 months. Hopefully, by the summer this will be a self-sufficient business line with enough inertia to keep growing with reduced marketing cost. 

Focus on Cross Selling: I can leverage my existing Pelican Clean customers and my email list. For better or worse, because most of my home cleaning customers are recurring clients, I don’t have a crazy large email list. I hope client loyalty will make up for it! 

  • Website Structure: I’ve restructured my website so that when you go to the home page, you see the two services we offer, and you get to choose which one you’d like to move forward with. This tells all customers about both services, hopefully triggering a need for both from a client. 
  • Initial Marketing Emails: I’m going to send an initial marketing email to all my existing clients announcing the new service and offering them a $50 coupon to try it out. 
  • Cross-Marketing on Emails: Because people need constant reminders before taking action, I’m going to include a small banner reminding clients about our car detailing in our emails that remind clients about upcoming cleaning appointments.  This way, they’ll see the reminder about car detailing every time their home is cleaned. The banner will include a discount code for them to use on their first car detailing. 
  • Discussing it on calls and texts: This will be more manual, but since we get a lot of inbound calls and texts, we can use that as an opportunity. On each one of those, I want to bring up that we offer car detailing and ask the clients if they’re car is bothering them because it’s dirty. Hopefully, this leads to a few sales.  

Digital Marketing: This was the main driver for my growth when I launched home cleaning so I’m hoping I can replicate some of my best practices and avoid some of the big failures:

  • Nextdoor: I’m not super active with the business on Nextdoor. That could be a big miss, but I’m going to test 2-3 months of different promotions on Nextdoor focused on getting people to book car detailing.  
  • Google Local Services: Local Services works well for me since I have good reviews and a friendly office staff to take calls. I’m hoping I can replicate this success with mobile car detailing and get us to pop up right at the top of google when people search us. I like Local Services because it requires action from a client to call us. This way, we know they’re interested in a service and not just researching. 

Direct Mailing: I’m planning to test send out about 1,000 postcards to people in the area we serve. I got some of my earliest customers from this tactic. While it’s expensive, I think there’s meaningful ROI. I also enjoy the design process and think it’s fun to put this whole postcard together. I always include my home in the direct mailings. This way, I get the joy of receiving my own creation. Seeing what I do in the real world always gives me a kick. 

Other Creative Ideas: The interesting thing about car detailing is that I think there are a lot more interesting creative options for growth in this market because you can target anywhere people park their cars for a long time. 

  • Offices: While my area doesn’t have the large offices of a big city, there are still some that people go to daily. I’m planning to approach those organizations and offer discounts for people that want their car washed while at work. This is efficient for the customer, and it’s efficient for our team because they can do a few cleanings without driving between jobs. I’m curious what kind of incentive structure I can offer to the individual that promotes this at their company. I’ll likely test out a few different options. 
  • Car Dealership Perks: Wouldn’t it be cool if car salespeople gave a gift card for car detailing as a thank you to people buying a new car from them? This would be a great perk for the buyer and would increase loyalty for the seller. Not to mention, it would give us great leads for potential new long-term customers.
  • Corporate Gifts: This is more of a long shot, but this could be a great corporate gift from someone as a thank you. 

Goals:

As with this entire experience, the ultimate goal is to learn and build something sustainable. However, it’s helpful to build concrete goals for the business so that I know my time investment is actually worth it. So, here are my rough goals:

  • Find what marketing levers work so that I can continue to invest in the right channels for continued growth. It’s easier to scale once you recognize the important levers. I’m starting with a bunch and need to figure out what works. 
  • Build Mobile Car Detailing into a $7.5k monthly revenue business by the second half of the year. This equates to roughly 30 cleans a month. I think this is feasible and while it may seem low, I think the car detailing business will be a different challenge than home cleaning. The market is a lot smaller than home cleaning, and I’m guessing it will be harder to get recurring cleans.

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