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Best practices for running a successful car wash and detailing business

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Dear Dave,

Do you have any advice on how to start a car wash and detailing business? What things should I consider first, and what do I keep in mind over the long run?

Andrew

Dear Andrew,

I’m excited for you, man! And I love your ambitious spirit. Working for yourself is one of the toughest and most rewarding things anyone can do. It’ll take a lot of blood, sweat and tears to be successful, and you’ll experience some of the highest highs and lowest lows in the process.

But, if you don’t absolutely love cars and everything that goes into keeping them clean and looking great, I’d advise looking into another line of work. In other words, if you’re thinking about this kind of business just because it’s plausible or a way to make money, chances are you’re not going to be happy or stick with it very long. In that case, it’s really more of a side job than a business.

Is this something you’d want to be doing every day five years from now? Think about possibly having a team to lead and work with, too, at some point. Then, layout a smart business plan, and write up everything from your marketing strategies to the cost of start-up equipment and supplies, to what your projected revenues are, and the per-unit charges for all your services and widgets. Work this up like you had to prepare a report for a college class, and that’s what a business plan looks like.

You’ll always do a better job, and have more fun when you’re part of something you love. And when it comes to running the business, stay away from debt, pay cash and don’t be afraid to grow slowly. Be patient, be smart and give people a quality, reasonably-priced product and friendly, professional service. If you do all these things, there’s a good chance you’ll be successful.

Best of luck, Andrew!

Dave Ramsey

About Dave

Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored several best-selling books, including "The Total Money Makeover." The Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

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