First off, I LOVE cars, and the older and rarer the better. And since they’re much nicer to drive when gleaming in the sun – I love cleaning and washing them!
I have been doing it since I got my first car, and it’s a good hobby to get into. They say that if you do what you love then you never have to work a day in your life, and while this isn’t my living, it’s a very good side hustle. It’s fairly cheap too – all you really need to start off is a bucket, a sponge, water and car shampoo (though as you get more into the hobby you can pick up different techniques and supplies to get even better results).
How I Got Started
My friends and colleagues at work noticed my car was always clean and shiny, and one of them asked if I would clean his car for him. At first I was a bit nervous because I was a little scared of washing someone else’s car in case they didn’t like the job I did, but in the end they loved it! And word of mouth spread my reputation from there.
I charge upwards of £5.00 ($8) for a basic wash and vacuum, and then £35.00 ($55) for a complete wash, vacuum, polish and wax including a claybar treatment. In the handful of months doing this last Summer I’ve made over £150 ($230). Which I’m hoping to improve once Summer officially hits here in Scotland as you can’t even feel your fingers in the winter :)
Here is my guide below to getting some good results yourself! I don’t use pressure washers as I think that they can possibly damage your paint by firing the dirt and grit into it. And I would say practice on your own car/cars first before you take on business with it.
How to Clean the Inside of Your Car:
- Remove any rubbish present
- Remove the removable carpets, and vacuum these.
- Vacuum the complete inside of the car, concentrating on the carpets and seats.
- If there are stains on the seats, use car upholstery cleaner.
- TOP TIP for the trim inside: use baby wipes or dash cleaner. Should leave it looking great!
- Spray febreze to give a fresh smell
How to Clean the Outside of The Car:
- Rinse the car with a garden hose or a bucket of clean fresh water
- Mix a cap-full of car shampoo (wash and wax is fine, and my personal preference) into a bucket of warm clean water
- Using a sponge or microfibre mitt (some people say these can cause “swirl marks” so I have recently moved to microfibre mitts to try out) and clean the car FROM THE TOP DOWN, working your way clockwise around the car. Don’t use it on the windows.
- Rinse the car again with a garden hose or a bucket of clean fresh water
- Dry the car with a clean towel or real/synthetic chamois (I use synthetic)
- Using a car polish, apply a thin layer using the towel you just used to dry the car as it will be a bit wet, rubbing on with a circular motion and again from the top down and clockwise. Then let it dry to a haze. (If your car wheels are painted, you can polish those too. You can also use metal polish if your wheels are steel or alloy, but cleaning them normally should give good results. Use a toothbrush to get into the little gaps)
- Using a clean dry microfibre cloth, buff the polish off and you’ll be left with a clean and shiny car!
- You can now repeat the polishing steps, this time with a car wax to seal the finish (optional).
- Clean your windows by using car window cleaner spray. Spray all the windows on the inside, buff on with a clean cloth, and buff off with another cloth. Repeat for the outside. (All buffing on the windows with one cloth, and all buffing off with another cloth)
- Use “back to black” or tire dressing spray to spray onto the outside rim of the tire and black plastic trim on the car. You can leave this on as it is for the wet look, or you can buff it off for a dry look.
Set aside a good amount of time to do this, it takes a while! And hand washing always gives the best results for a proper job. There are an UNBELIEVABLE amount of products you can use for cleaning cars too (it’s a big market), but to do these steps it shouldn’t cost you that much. Check out reviews of them first, but you will often find that the cheaper brands can actually get better results!
Anyone else have a hustle with cars?
Cameron is a 24 year old guy from Scotland who has started his first financial blog at: YourBudgetOrYourLife.blogspot.co.uk. He also has a YouTube channel that shows his build of an electric guitar he made and some other random stuff, check it out: youtube.com/user/funtimecamo.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Back in the day I did something similar for side money, only it was on *damaged* cars coming up for auction, haha… My job literally consisted of spraying down 50+ cars a day, and then going in to vacuum the parts that weren’t totaled, bloodied, or any other version of nastiness. The auction company realized that for every car that was pretty’d up a bit – even though, yes, they were halfway crushed! – they’d get $200-$300 MORE when they sold them. Pretty interesting stuff… Especially since they only paid us $15/car to have ’em cleaned ;)
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[Car photo by bikephotomusic]