I have worked with dozens of detailing entrepreneurs who started out part time. Many where close to retirement and wanted to start ahead of schedule at building their client base while still employed in their careers. Some work in careers that allow some freedoms and time off. Firefighters and police officers in many cases are prime candidates to become detailing entrepreneurs.
If you are on a tight budget and are squeezing every dime into starting your business, keep your job or at least have a part-time job to help pay the bills. When I started my business, I was a part-time sales technician at a high-end tool and supply store two to three days a week. I hated that job, but it paid the bills and allowed me to invest more and more in my business without going into debt. Having that job also gave me the energy, motivation, and desire to work harder and smarter within my business without having to worry about the money aspect of life, which reduced my stress. Listen, stress will kill a business and stress kills creative thinking, not to mention that stress can kill you. Stress is simply unhealthy and I advise you to stay clear of it at all costs.
During your first couple of years in business, you will experience slow periods. Don’t be too proud to take a part-time job during slow times. As I explained above about my first year’s part-time job, I went looking for a job in the winter where I would be around people who would purchase detailing services. Likewise, my wife took a job where she would be in direct contact with prospective clients. We worked this angle very carefully and our plan worked very well. I was a ski instructor and my wife worked as a waitress at an exclusive fine-dining restaurant. The contacts we both made were a sizable chunk of the starting foundation of our business. So keep an open mind to opportunities during the off-season of detailing.
If you are going into the prime season of detailing in your market, you’re educated within detailing (meaning you know what you are doing), and your detailing business is outfitted with the correct equipment supplies and cash reserve for sustaining you while you get started, then congratulations! You are among a small group entering the detailing industry that is prepared to go full-time. Cash flow is always a real issue within any new business, so if you have the cash reserves to start, perform the proper start-up marketing, and keep your bills paid, go for it! The full-time option is usually the fast track to success!
Jim Goguen is a close friend and a professional detailing entrepreneur, and between the both of us we have over fifty years of detailing success. We are both firm believers that many entering the world of entrepreneurship fail to have the patience they will need to make it. Detailing success does not happen quickly and achieving your goal could take years.