As non-essential businesses re-open, it’s the ideal time to think about your car valeting business, whether mobile or at a fixed site. If this is a new venture for you, or you have been operating for a while, re-visiting your car valeting insurance needs is beneficial to make sure you are sufficiently covered for your business start-up or expansion needs. We look at getting started in the valeting business together with the motor trade insurance options.
Setting Up a Car Valeting Business
Whether you want to be a mobile valeter or work from business premises, there are many things you will need if you are starting out including funding of your start-up costs for equipment, a mobile vehicle or buying or renting a business site. You will also want to set aside some money for marketing and advertising as well as motor trade insurance.
If you are thinking of applying for a bank loan to start your business, you will need a compelling business plan which shows that you have researched the market and your competition, worked out your initial expenditure versus your income, looked at possible locations, figured out your ‘unique selling point’ and put together a marketing plan.
What are the Initial Costs?
For your valeting business to thrive, it’s beneficial to invest in the most up-to-date equipment to give a high-quality service to your potential customers. The better the equipment, the longer it is likely to last too but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend out on the most expensive. Read reviews for equipment that offers the best value for money and keep a look out for good second-hand equipment or any available for rent. As well as equipment, you will need high-quality cleaning products, and many customers will now look for valeters that use products that are kinder to the environment.
Your van will likely be a large outlay, as will premises if you decide to go down that route. It’s often better to start small whilst growing your customer base and think of staff and premises when your business has proven itself viable. When looking at your costs, don’t forget to have a chat with a specialist valeting or motor trade insurance broker who can advise on the best cover for your business, without adding in any unnecessary extras.
Choosing a Location
When thinking about the location where your business will service, you need to consider several factors including top of the list – your competitors. Look at local online directories to get an idea of how many other valeters there are in the area, as well as petrol stations with drive-through car washes or jet wash machines.
It’s also essential to find out what people want. Have a chat with some local car dealerships, taxi or minicab firms, driving schools, fleet operators or car hire companies to see what sort of services they may be interested in. Have a think about the services that may not be offered locally and if you can fill that niche.
When thinking about location, you also need to consider the traffic that will pass your business – a high traffic area will give you the most exposure to passing trade. In addition, it is likely that motorists in more affluent areas will drive newer, more upmarket cars and be willing to spend on their upkeep with regular valets.
Car Washing Rules and Regulations
The main regulatory issues to look at when starting a valeting business are your water and chemical usage. Specific to valeting is a law regarding trade effluent that states you cannot allow the water you use when valeting to enter the watercourse. Check out the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website for rules about recycling wastewater and contact your local water company about trade effluent and what this will mean for your business.
Car Valeter Insurance
When looking into setting up your business, contact a specialist motor trade insurance broker who will be able to explain what insurance you must have by law and the other additional cover you should consider.
As part of your car valet insurance, you will need to include road risks if you are operating a mobile valeting vehicle, as well as a policy that will cover you and your staff to drive any vehicle at any time if necessary. Other areas to consider include insurance cover for customer’s cars while they’re being valeted, including indemnity in case of any accidental damage to their vehicle. If you employ staff, you will need employer’s liability insurance, and if you have premises you should consider public liability, premises contents and stock and cash cover.
Most specialist motor trade insurance brokers will have experience of providing valeting insurance, which can tailor a policy specifically for your business.