Key Equipment & Supplies Needed to Start an Auto Detailing Shop

auto detailing shop

The global car detailing market reached a size of $1.34 billion in 2021.

Everyone likes to keep their car looking good, so by starting an auto detailing business, you could help them achieve this while making a good living. Before you begin, however, you need to make sure you have everything you need. There’s a lot of equipment that you’ll have to get so that you’re ready to detail people’s cars properly.

In this guide, we’ll cover some of the key equipment and supplies that you’ll need to start an auto detailing shop. Keep reading for more.

Air Compressor

One of the most common uses of air compressors is running pneumatic tools, but they can do so much more. You might have other pieces of kit that you can operate with an air compressor, such as a washing system or buffer. You may also use it to blow water off the surface of a car or to get food scraps and other debris out of small gaps that are difficult to reach.

An air compressor will help with a range of detailing tasks, making it one of the most essential pieces of equipment. Note that you may be able to get by for a while without one, so you can get things started and then grab one when you’re in a better position to do so.

Brushes and Sponges

Some car detailing supplies are very simple but still essential. Brushes and sponges are among the most basic cleaning tools you’ll find, and you’ll need them for any detailing job. It’s best to have a good selection so you can do things like wash, scrub, dry, and polish both the exterior and interior of vehicles.

Having a variety of brushes and sponges will make it easier to clean different areas in cars. It can also be a good idea to go with various grades so that you can deal with different surfaces more efficiently.

Buffing and Waxing Pads

High-quality buffing and waxing pads will help you provide a pristine finish to any car. It’s important to use these with an orbital polisher or rotary buffer that has low oscillation speeds. This will prevent the risk of damaging or scratching the paintwork.

There are all kinds available, so like with brushes and sponges, you may want to get a selection. This will give you more flexibility when detailing different cars. Take the time to look into different options when you shop for auto buffing pads.

Washing and Cleaning Buckets

Any detailer should have at least a couple of buckets as a minimum. You’ll want one for water and whatever cleaning product you’re using, and another for clean rinsing water.

The buckets should be high quality but can be basic. If you want to improve things, you can get buckets that have screens to trap excess dirt. There are also options that have tray attachments where you can store other tools.

Detailed Towels

When detailing vehicles, you need to think beyond just cleaning. Letting a car dry naturally can leave water marks, so it’s best to dry them off with high-grade detailing towels.

100% cotton terry cloths are a popular choice. You could consider going with microfiber towels or chamois as they’ll also serve you well. Note that chamois can be more expensive than other types, but they’re ideal for drying vehicles of all sizes, so they’re well worth considering.

Equipment Cart

Even if you have a small business, you’ll still need plenty of equipment to start with. Having an equipment cart will prove incredibly helpful as it gives you a place to store your tools and will help you keep things organized. You might not be able to fit everything in here, but you’ll quickly come to know what tools you need the most, allowing you to prioritize your storage.

You should take a look at the equipment you have first. This will help you determine what size equipment cart you’ll need. They’re generally quite inexpensive so you should be able to get your hands on something suitable quite easily.

Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner

This is one of the most important tools for any car detailing business. You’ll be vacuuming cars a lot, so you want to make sure you have one that does the job well. Look for a commercial-grade vacuum – ideally one that’s specifically designed for cars.It needs to be a wet and dry vacuum, and ideally, you want it to have a good selection of attachments. Different settings for sucking, blowing, and drying are also something to look for.

Power Washer

This isn’t something that all detailing companies use, but those that do can offer improved services. A power washer is one of the most effective ways to clean off thick dirt and filth, allowing you to tackle tougher jobs.

This is more of an optional piece of equipment, as you can get by without one. With that in mind, it will give you an edge over competing businesses, so as your company grows, this is something you’ll want to consider.

Starting Your Auto Detailing Shop

If you want to get started, you’ll need several pieces of equipment. Making sure you have the right gear and know how to use it will help your auto detailing shop to grow and succeed. As you get bigger, you can start investing in more advanced equipment to further improve your service.

For more business articles, check out some of our other blog posts.