The Business of Detailing: Calculating Your Cost of Service and How Much to Charge

The Business of Detailing: Calculating Your Cost of Service and How Much to Charge

Knowing what it costs you to offer any detailing service is critical to running a profitable detailing business. When you know how much it costs, you can determine how much to charge customers for your detailing services, how much to pay employees, how many services you need to do in a month to cover your expenses, if you're paying too much for supplies, and more.

Here's a quick guide to figuring out what it costs you to provide some of the most common detailing services...

Price of Service - Cost of Service = GROSS PROFIT

Some of the basic things that typically contribute to the total cost of a service  include the cost of the supplies used, labor cost, and for mobile detailers, the cost of traveling to/from the client.

First, you should have an idea of which supplies you use to get a specific job done, the quantity of those supplies required (i.e. 3ozs soap), and how much you paid for each of those detailing supplies.


Detailing Service Price Calculator

How to Calculate Detailing Chemical Costs

To figure out your chemical cost, you'll need to do some basic math and answer these few questions:

  • How many ounces are used of a chemical to complete a service?
  • What is your Cost Per Ounce for the chemicals used?
    • Formula: Price Paid / Ounces Per Bottle
  • Total Chemical Cost = Ounces Used x Cost Per Ounce

For Example, you're currently paying $6.95 for a 16oz bottle of the soap you use for Maintenance Washes, so you're paying $0.44/oz ($6.95/16). You know that you're using 2oz of soap each time you do a Maintenance Wash. So your chemical cost is 2 x $0.44 = $0.88.

How to Calculate Detailing Labor Costs

Unless you're working for yourself, one of the biggest expenses a detailing business has to manage is the labor cost for employees that are working for you. Here's a basic approach to figuring out the labor cost of a detailing service that you provide:

  • How much time does it take to complete a service?
    • Example: 0.75 hours
  • What is the Hourly Rate of the employee doing the work?
    • Example: $15/hour
  • Labor Cost = Service Hours x Hourly Rate
    • Example: 0.75 x 15 = $11.25

Putting it All Together

Chemical Cost + Labor Cost = TOTAL COST OF SERVICE

Example: $0.88 + $11.25 = $12.13 Total Cost

Now you know that in order to be profitable on that service (before overhead), you need to charge more than $12.13 for a Maintenance Wash. You can use this same formula to figure out your cost for ceramic coatings, paint correction, decontamination and more. The better sense you have of what costs are associated with the most common detailing services that you provide, the more profit you can generate from your detailing business.

Check out all the products and programs GlassParency has available to help detailers run and grow their business: Learn More