January 19, 2021 Chris Woolman

How Old is Too Old to Start a Detailing Business?

Many of the individuals I see entering the detailing industry today are middle aged, in their late thirties to late fifties, and I’m asked all the time, how old is too old to start a detailing business? It depends on many factors.

Pro-level detailing can kick your butt. It’s not easy work even when done with the latest and greatest tools and products. Detailing is hard physical work and older detailers need to take this into consideration.

Now, with the reality clauses out of the way, let me be direct: You are never too old to detail as long as you are a “young” old guy or gal. I have people I work with who are near sixty and can work circles around many detailers that are in their twenties. Some people remain young longer than others and some have work ethics that could kill a water buffalo. Age is more than a number, it’s an attitude and your own personal conditioning and life experiences will determine if you can handle detailing full or part time.

I work with people between the ages of forty-five and sixty all the time and if you are fit (or becoming fit again), have a youthful outlook, and share a passion for detailing cars, my money is on you. “Mature detailers,” as I call them, happen to be some of the most profitable per-hour detailers I work with. Mature detailers have some direct advantages, one being life experience. The older crowd may not be as fast, nor as hip, but when it comes to having a true eye for detailing, the older crowd is pretty skilled and able.

Now let’s beat up on the young studs for a while. I was young when I got into this game, and I was both stupid an lucky at the same time. I was all-knowing, but only for a short time. I met four very important people in my life who became my first mentors, and they were tough on me and kicked my butt, and a much-needed butt kicking it was. I learned to listen to these “old guys” but not until after I had fallen several times in business, and had some self-inflicted wounds all caused from your youthful ignorance.

If you are young, the best thing you can do is find mentors and start learning from them. A properly mentored young professional should be dreaded by his or her competitors, as the energy they bring to the game, teamed with proper guidance, are a potent combination.

As for you older detailers, don’t think you can’t be mentored just because you are older and wiser. You know better. Every old dog can learn new tricks, can’t they?