Get Your Free Car Wash Cheat Sheet

This cheat sheet breaks down the basics so you can get squeaky-clean, pro-level results on the inside and outside—every time you wash!

Auto Detailing Post-COVID-19: What’s Changed

The world of auto detailing has experienced a lot of change in the past couple of years even before COVID-19. With the impact of the virus still being felt, these trends and changes have become all the more apparent. If you’re looking to enter this space or adapt to these changes, there are a few things worth noting.

Adapting to a new way of detailing, including attracting customers is a must in order to stay in business. For many auto detailers, business models have changed completely, bringing some into an entirely new line of work altogether.

In this post, I’ll break down how auto detailing has changed in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak in 2020, and give you a few best practices for helping your business adapt and thrive.

While things may not ever be like they were, opportunity still exists to make a good income in this field.

1. Detailing has expanded into disinfecting

One of the biggest trends post-COVID-19 has been that many detailers have expanded their services into disinfecting.

Others are also using EPA-approved disinfectants like sprays to treat surfaces, beyond just cars. Facility disinfection has become popular as of late, signaling a change in business models for many detailers.

Since many companies are more aware of sanitation best practices as a result, having detailers clean and disinfect offices and other areas outside of vehicles is one of the things I’ve noticed.

To verify that whatever detailing product you are using is an effective disinfectant against the coronavirus, you can use the EPA’s List N Tool here, which is handy to refer to the next time you are purchasing products.

2. At-home mobile detailing continues to grow

Another consequence of COVID has been the rise of more on-demand detailers, willing to meet customers in residential areas.

Since many companies are opting to stay in a work-from-home environment, the expansion into residential suburban areas I expect will continue to grow.

One of the biggest changes to the status quo, especially for mobile detailers, is that those who have traditionally serviced office parks are likely finding it challenging to find consistent business.

With so many companies opting to adopt full-time work-from-home policies, many office parks are finding it difficult to find tenants, leaving fewer cars in the parking lot.

3. The rise of touchless payment methods

Even though detailing has been traditionally a cash-based business, the impact of COVID-19 has forced many detailers to finally adopt mobile payments for good.

Mobile payments, as an example, are projected to increase to 120 million users in the United States alone by 2024, accounting for around 49% of smartphone users.

The exodus away from cash is obvious, but staying ahead of the curve as a detailer and setting up a variety of mobile payment options that are contactless is a great strategy as you grow your business.

Here are a couple of mobile payment vendors to consider accepting as a detailer that should cover most of the options out there currently.

  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • Venmo
  • Samsung Pay
  • Xoom
  • PayPal

Processing these payments and having the right technology stack is equally as important. To learn more about detailing software 101, check out my post here on this topic.


All in all, things are constantly changing in detailing in response to this global pandemic, which is why taking a minute to audit your business model and accepted payment methods (for example), is a good start.

Competing with large corporations for business is always a challenge for small detailers, the personal touch and care you are able to offer is something to always key in on.

For a few customer service ideas that can help you grow your auto detailing business, check out my webinar 7 Customer Service Ideas to Grow your Auto Detailing Business.

You can also sign up to have auto detailing tips sent straight to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter here.

Leave a Comment