28 December 2021

HOW TO SET THE RIGHT PRICES FOR AUTO DETAILING?

Creating a detailing salon price list is problematic because customers and their cars often require individual treatment, and it’s difficult to find Fit To All solutions. Factors such as the size of the vehicle, its age, and the level of neglect can affect the work’s scope and price.

On top of that, the pricing should be simple and understandable for the customer yet minimally engaging for the detailer. And doing so is not easy, especially for beginners.

But what are the experienced colleagues who have seen and created several dozen price-lists for? 🙂

WHERE TO START?

First things first: you need to start with a thorough business analysis regarding your budget, ongoing expenses, and target earnings. In other words, you need to prepare all the data to determine the profitability and financial possibilities of the studio.

If you are taking your first steps in the detailing industry, calculating the budget will allow you to define a financial buffer within which you can operate without the risk of bankruptcy. This buffer will be the cushion of safety until your business becomes profitable.

Start with calculating all fixed costs: rent, utilities and bills, marketing, website and mail maintenance, insurance and permits, security, monitoring, leasing, accounting, cleaning products and tools, as well as salary for employees (if you intend to hire them) or averaged fuel and transport costs (for activities in the field).

Include how much you want to earn (we recommend not starting from astronomical amounts) or set the stages and goals you will strive for.

MARKET RESEARCH

Now that you’ve done an internal analysis, it’s time to look outside. Why not learn from other studios’ mistakes and successes?

Examining the market and competition is an excellent second step in setting your own prices. The recent years have been an absolute explosion in the detailing industry. New studios open constantly, and you need to work smart to stand out from the competition. To do so:

Determine the target group – it may seem that detailing services are aimed at a higher-class customer. However, as the popularity of this phenomenon grows, the middle class is also more and more often its recipient. Therefore, consider this when preparing the scope of services and the corresponding prices. Who is your customer?

Define your strengths – i.e., how can we stand out from other garages? In what aspects can we be competitive? For example, if there are already several thriving detailing studios in your area, maybe it’s worth considering remote services? 

Talk to people – you can obtain clutch knowledge in various ways:

  • Walk around the existing studios.
  • Talk to customers.
  • Search dedicated forums and internet groups.

This way, you will learn which services are the most desirable and the least, which problems other owners have encountered, and what solutions have been used to solve them. In addition, you will check what the local market has to offer and whether there are any patterns worth following or not.

At this stage, you should have solid theoretical foundations and numerous tips and premises as to what your pricing should look like. So what else can you do to be closer to the ideal?

 

KEEP BALANCE

When you create service packages, make sure they’re balanced.

Too many items can make your offer confusing. Too few may not meet customer expectations. So 4-5 thoughtful combinations will be the golden mean that, at least at the beginning of the business, will cover the needs of most customers, and at the same time, will remain transparent and legible.

These packages should include the most popular and desired services:

  •  detailing washing with interior detailing
  • washing and protection of fabric upholstery
  • cleaning and impregnation of leather upholstery
  • one-step paint correction with the application of a 3-year ceramic coating
  • two-stage paint correction with the application of a 5-year ceramic coating

Here you will read about all types of detailing services.

Size does matter

A common practice in auto detailing studios is an additional division of prices due to the size of the car. Starting with the smallest ones (e.g., Fiat 500), motorcycles, 3-door cars, sedans, hatchbacks, station wagons, buses, and vans. It’s a relatively simple but effective business model, which assumes that the amount of work that needs to be put into it increases with the size.

It’s what inside that counts

Your price list already includes several different external renewal packages broken down by weight classes. This is the most straightforward possible layout to which you can add side services such as interior cleaning.

The most common packages include:

  • interior cleaning (comprehensive vacuuming, wiping plastics),
  • cleaning upholstery or leather,
  • full interior detailing: cleaning upholstery or leather, washing other elements, dressing application.

You can also price separately other single operations, such as polishing the jambs, removing badges, cleaning the spare wheel, or renovating the convertible roof.

Important: it’s worth creating a margin here due to dirt invisible at first glances, such as stone in crevices and emblems, bird droppings and insects hidden under the paintwork, animal hair, etc. All this will draw the customer’s attention to the amount of work and justify the final price that may differ from the catalog.

Price range

Detailing studios most often use the price range. Clearly defined services and divisions into categories are not enough to opt for fixed rates. This is due to two reasons.

First of all, cars come in different conditions; some are close to brand new, while on others, to put it mildly, you can see the imprint of time. 

Secondly, cars may differ in the materials or the types of paint used. Different cars can also have complex shapes and surfaces (wheel arches, fancy bumpers, etc.)

Having this in mind, it becomes understandable to present the customer with the price range for each service. It’s also best to explain step by step, using the example of one’s vehicle, where there will be more work and less work. You want to educate drivers about the care of vehicles and related costs.

It’s crucial as the price ranges still arouse much controversy and initiate a cascade of questions from customers. The most common is “why does it cost so much?” and “what do I get for this price?”. Customers may not realize how much effort and resources are spent caring for a car thoroughly and how complex the procedure is. 

Your role is to enlighten them.

 

YOU’RE ALMOST THERE

Creating proper pricing is a highly individual process and will involve different procedures for each detailer. You won’t avoid a few modifications and revisions, but it’s an effort that simply has to be taken.

By following the guidelines in this article, we guarantee that the road will be much less bumpy.

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