A Complete Guide on How to Become a Car Detailer

How To Become A Car Detailer

Are you looking for ideas that you can turn into a successful business empire? The automotive industry offers some of the most lucrative business opportunities in the world today. Unlike other industries, you don’t need advanced training or a degree to start a business in this niche.

One of the best businesses you can start today is car detailing. Thousands of people have tried and succeeded; you too, can be successful in it.

The huge demand for professional and affordable automobile detailing services fuels the current rapid growth of this industry. You will enjoy a consistent flow of jobs and revenue if you offer quality car detailing services.

What Does a Car Detailer Do?

Simply put, a car detailer offers car care and maintenance services. The services focus on the car exterior and interior paint, windows, aesthetic pieces, upholstery and more. It’s different from conventional car washing as it’s more thorough. Besides cleaning the car, car detailers aim to restore the car’s lost glory by making the parts and surfaces look brand new.

Car detailers use special chemicals and techniques to clean and polish exterior and interior surfaces. They often work at car dealerships, car washes, and detailing shops. Let’s dive in and look at the specific processes that car detailers carry out.

Wash Car Exterior

Over time, the paint fades due to harsh weather conditions and accumulated grime, such as dust and mud. Car detailers wash the exteriors by spraying shampoo using high-powered equipment. Other exterior parts, such as the door jambs, rims, and glass, are hand-washed.

Polish Car Accessories

Polishing revitalizes the appearance of car accessories by concealing signs of oxidation and wear. The polish is applied using special tools specifically designed for this purpose. The polish material is formulated using compounds that are friendly to the car accessory parts. 

Apart from the car accessories, the exterior and interior surfaces are polished to mast imperfections such as scratches and dents on the exterior. Polishing is also effective in concealing water spots and the effects of acid rain. For the best line shine, polish and wax are applied on the surfaces.

Clean Car Upholstery

Car detailers use a vacuum cleaner to clean the car seats. The vacuum cleaner sucks all types of grime from the seats, such as human hair strands, pet hair, dust, and contaminants. Due to the high suction power, the equipment can eliminate debris from even the most hard-to-reach crevices and headliners. A spray bottle is used to apply a cleaning reagent on stains.

Remove Interior Bad Odors

Bad odors ruin the quality of air inside the car, thus making it unfavorable to not only humans but also pets. Car detailers remove bad interior odors by vacuuming, steaming, shampooing and scrubbing the cloth surfaces of the car. The carpets are also cleaned as they are usually the main source of foul smell.

Steaming and spraying compressed air into the duct and vents helps eliminate odors that tend to linger for extended periods, even after cleaning, such as cigarette smoke.

Choose the Right Cleaning Chemicals

The quality of a detailing service is dependent on not only the skills and expertise of the expert but also the quality of the cleaning chemicals. Detailers take time to research the best cleaning chemicals in the market that are non-abrasive to car parts and eco-friendly.

How to Become a Car Detailer

Becoming a car detailer is easy, provided you have the right mindset and are determined to become the best car detailer in your location. Like other professions, there are several requirements that you must meet to get started.

Get your Driver’s License

You must have a driver’s license to offer car detailing services, as you might have to drive clients’ cars to and from your premises to their homes or offices. Different states have varying minimum age limits for new driver’s license applicants. You also need to pass the state licensing test and get insurance to cover you in case of an accident.

Learn About Car Detailing

Once you secure a driver’s license, start learning how to detail cars. You can do this through research online and offline, as well as working as a volunteer at a local car detailing shop. Do your homework on the different chemicals and detailing techniques used by the best shops in the industry.

Some of the skills that you need to become a pro car detailer includes the following;

  • Determining the right chemical to apply on different surfaces
  • How to handle various detailing equipment such as vacuum cleaner
  • How to polish tires correctly
  • How to apply wax
  • How to remove scratches and dents
  • How to apply paint and finish on the car exterior

Practice makes perfect. Don’t expect to become a professional car detailer overnight. Instead, focus on continuously learning the art of car detailing and network with professionals to learn the ropes quickly.

Gain Practical Experience by Detailing Friends and Family Cars

Detailing family and friends’ cars for free or at a discounted price will allow you to apply the skills acquired. Learn from your mistakes, take criticism positively, and be ready to learn new techniques along the way. As you perfect your skills, more people will learn about your service and bring their cars to you.

Apply for Car Detailing Positions

Starting a car detailing business requires between $5,000 and $10,000. Getting funding as a newly trained car detailer is difficult due to the high risk of defaulting the loan if the business fails. 

Your best bet is to apply for a car detailing jobs in your area to gain experience and hone your skill. While at it, work hard and smart to show the employer you’re the best fit for the position. Continuously save money to start your car detailing business later, lest you lose your vision to be a boss.

Salary Expectations for Car Detailers

According to Ziprecruiter.com, the average monthly salary for a car detailer in the U.S is $2,329 and $27,948 per year. As you climb up the ladder and become more skilled, you can earn up to $40,000 per year.

Is Car Detailing a Good Career?

Absolutely YES. You can make a living by working as a professional car detailer. Your career progression rate and growth opportunities largely depend on your location, skills, experience, and interpersonal skills.

How Quickly Can I Get a Car Detailing Job?

The duration to secure a car detailing job is largely influenced by your skills, certifications, location, and demand for car detailing services. Use the internet to connect with potential employers and be flexible in your salary expectations to increase your chances of getting hired fast.


It’s possible to become a pro car detailer and later on start your own car detailing shop despite the harsh economic times. As the saying goes, your network is your net worth. Network with industry leaders, be open-minded and have the right mindset. Good luck!