What Do I Need for a Mobile Car Wash?

Mobile washing and detail services provide automobile owners more flexibility to get their cars cleaned.
Mobile washing and detail services provide automobile owners more flexibility to get their cars cleaned. (Image: Car washing image by Evgeny Berdjansky from Fotolia.com)

Mobile car washes provide a service unlike other car washes in that they come to the customer. If you want to get started in this business, reliable and proper transportation is important. Make sure all equipment is of a size and weight that is easily transportable. Transporting heavy equipment could be troublesome and dangerous to your employees.


Mobile detail units have an enclosed or open trailer. Choose a transportation vehicle powerful enough to pull a small trailer. Larger trucks should be sufficient, but big semi trucks wouldn’t be needed; the trailers won’t be that big. Purchasing an enclosed or open trailer will depend on your budget, but enclosed trailers protect your equipment when it’s not in use. Open trailers leave your equipment to theft. Washing equipment will also stay cleaner in an enclosed trailer.

Wash Equipment

Mobile car wash equipment includes pressure washers and mobile storage tanks holding the water to clean the cars. Electricity powers most pressure washers and you'll need generators with multiple outlets for various pieces of washing equipment. Storage tanks are needed to transport clean water since most residential areas have hard water, which can leave spots. Soap and wax need to be fully stocked at all times.

Detailing Tools

Some of the tools you will need are buffers, vacuums, carpet extractors, brushes and spray bottles. Buffers apply wax to the car's exterior and are powered by air or electricity. Mobile air compressors will provide enough power to operate a buffer. Vacuums are the most common equipment used for the interior, as well as carpet extractors, brushes and spray bottles.


You’ll need a place to store your equipment when you’re not washing cars. Garages or shops will provide a safe and clean environment to store your mobile units and cleaning supplies. Buy or rent a building if you don’t already have a place to store your equipment. Leave room for expanding your fleet if you choose to add more mobile units.


Start small and slow, especially if you have no experience. A lot of work goes into washing and detailing cars. It also could take a while to build up your clientele. Cars will always need to be cleaned. Every car you wash will be an advertisement in itself.

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