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Building Your Mobile Detailing Business: A Complete Guide to Equipment and Supplies Under $3,000

Updated: 3 days ago

Building a mobile detailing business can be an exciting venture, but choosing the right equipment and supplies can be daunting with so many products on the market. In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to get started with a budget of around $3,000. From hardware like water tanks and generators to medium equipment like vacuum cleaners and steamers, we'll help you make informed choices to ensure your business thrives.

Building Your Mobile Detailing Business: Essential Hardware for Your Detailing Van

Water Tank

A water tank is a must-have for mobile detailing. We recommend a 45-gallon vertical tank, which fits well in smaller vans like the Ford Transit Connect. Secure the tank to your van floor using a drill and mounting straps, which can be purchased from Amazon or Home Depot. Ensure you also get a compatible water pump to facilitate easy water access.


A reliable generator is crucial for powering your equipment. Look for one with at least 4,500 watts of power. Install an exhaust tube to direct fumes outside the van, ensuring a safer and more pleasant working environment. Generators and exhaust tubes are available on Amazon.

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Medium Equipment: Essential Tools for Detailing

Vacuum Cleaner

The RIDGID 4-gallon wet/dry vacuum from Home Depot is compact yet powerful, making it ideal for mobile detailing. Pair it with a set of flexible hoses and crevice tools for thorough cleaning.

Pressure Washer

A Ryobi 1900 PSI electric pressure washer is perfect for detailing. It's powerful enough to handle tough grime but compact enough to fit in your van. Available at Home Depot or Amazon.

Steam Cleaner

The McCulloch MC1375 Canister Steam Cleaner is versatile and effective for interior detailing. It's available on Amazon and comes with various attachments for different cleaning tasks.

Water Extractor

For upholstery and carpet cleaning, the Bissell SpotClean ProHeat Portable Spot and Stain Carpet Cleaner is a great choice. It’s affordable and efficient, fitting easily into your mobile setup.

Step Ladder

A three or four-step ladder will help you reach higher areas of the vehicles you detail. Ensure it fits in your van without taking up too much space.

Tornador Tool and Air Compressor

Although not essential initially, a Tornador tool paired with a RIDGID air compressor can greatly enhance your cleaning capabilities. Consider this as a future investment.

Supplies: Stocking Your Van


Invest in color-coded microfiber towels for different tasks:

  • Green: For dirtier jobs like shampooing and door jams.

  • Blue: For windows.

  • Black: For hard surfaces.

  • Orange: For paint to remove wax, sealants, and polish.


  • Chemical Guys Pet Hair Removal Brush: For carpets and upholstery.

  • Detailing Brushes: Get a set of brushes for interior detailing, wheels, and paint correction.

Water Hose

An expandable water hose (50 feet) connected to your water tank pump is essential. Keep a spare in case of emergencies.

Clay Bar and Clay Mitt

Both are necessary for decontaminating paint surfaces before polishing.

Buffer and Pads

A Dual Action buffer is key for polishing. Lake Country pads are recommended for their quality. For one-stage polish, use 3D One with orange pads.

Drill for Headlight Restoration

A NEIKO 10529A ⅜” Right Angle Drill is perfect for headlight restoration, combined with KSHINENI 3-inch drill buffing pads and wet sanding discs.

Chemicals and Cleaning Products

  • Collinite Insulator Wax: For long-lasting protection.

  • Chemical Guys Citrus Wash & Gloss: A versatile soap for both bucket washing and foam guns.

  • Chemical Guys Leather Conditioner: Keeps leather seats supple without an oily residue.

  • 3D HD Speed Polish: An excellent one-stage polish and protectant.

  • Meguiar’s Synthetic X-Press Spray Wax: Ideal for quick touch-ups and can be used on various surfaces.

Additional Essentials

  • Nitrile Gloves: Durable and resistant to chemicals.

  • Invisible Glass: For streak-free window cleaning.

  • Stoner Bug and Tar Remover: Efficiently removes tough contaminants.

  • Ultimate Orange Degreaser: A powerful, versatile cleaner for interiors and engines.

Specialty Bags for Advanced Services

Paint Correction Bag

  • Meguiar's Cutting Compound and Ultra Finishing Polish

  • Lake Country Pads: For various stages of polishing.

  • 3D HD Speed Polish: For final finishing.

Ceramic Coating Bag

  • Gtechniq Serum & Graphene: For long-lasting protection.

  • CarPro Iron X: For thorough decontamination.


By carefully selecting these products and equipment, you can start your mobile detailing business efficiently without exceeding your $3,000 budget. This setup ensures you have the right tools to deliver professional results and build a loyal customer base.

For more detailed tips and updates, follow our blog and subscribe to our channel. Happy detailing!

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