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How to Start a Boat Cleaning Business in 12 Steps

You can start your boat cleaning business with little investment and earn good profits. This business has lesser competition than household cleaning or pressure cleaning. Therefore it will be easier for you to start the business and get clients.

With the rapid growth of the water transport and maritime industries, the boat cleaning service also has a good demand. To start this business, you need to gather some knowledge about boats and their types.

Your business of boat cleaning can be both full-time as well as a part-time business. For beginners having a low budget, it is advised to start on a small scale and gradually scale up your business with the increasing demand.

Before you start your business, learn the techniques of boat cleaning very well. There are some online portals from where you can learn this. Another option is to learn it from an experienced boatman.

To set up your boat cleaning business properly and get good returns, you need to follow certain essential steps. Let us have an idea of the steps below:

Here are the 12 Steps to Start Boat Cleaning Business

1. Choosing a Proper Location

The option for the location of your business is limited. You have to set up your boat cleaning business nearby the docks, ports, and yacht clubs. Since you have to be available quickly for cleaning, therefore your location has to be near these places. You can start your business at one location and gradually expand to other similar locations.

2. Know the Market

In the first step of knowing the market, you have to research the people who own boats. They are your prospective customers. However, you also have to know the affordability of them to assess whether they are going to pay for boat cleaning service or do it themselves.

Another important point is to find boat companies and cruise services. They are the potential market for your business and you can offer them a special rate for a greater number of boats. Tourist cruise and yacht services need regular cleaning services. Therefore, you have a potential market there.

Collect all possible data both through the personal network as well as online research.

3. Learning About Boats

Before you start the business take the initiative of learning about different types of boats and their cleaning techniques. There are interior cleaning, exterior cleaning, and other aspects like dying, polishing, etc. The cleaning process includes:

  • Cleaning the boat
  • Cleaning the floor, carpet, and mats with a vacuum cleaner
  • Waxing and Polishing windows along with wood, vinyl, and fiber surfaces
  • Cleaning the furniture on the cruise

This knowledge will give you an idea of the raw materials you need for your boat cleaning business along with the machinery you need for that. Get in touch with a boatman or someone from the boating company to learn the skill. You can also learn it online.

4. Create a Business Plan

After the primary research, you have to prepare a detailed business plan. Try to include all the minute details about your business in the business plan. If you want, you can consult an expert in preparing the business plan.

Remember to discuss the following points in detail in your business plan:

  • Funds needed to start the business
  • Source of funds
  • Raw materials/equipment needed
  • Details of expenses
  • Prospective clients
  • Rate of cleaning
  • Profit Percentage
  • Marketing and publicity plan

5. Naming your Boat Cleaning Business

Find a meaningful and suitable name for your business. It should not be too difficult to understand as well as pronounce. Take others’ opinions before finalizing the name.

Learn More: How to Name Your Business

Get the website domain in the name of your business after you finalize the name. The domain name is very important for launching your website. Website is very important for your business. This is because it provides a platform for publicity as well as getting business.

Also, get a trademark in the name of your business.

6. Registering your Business

Registering your business is a must if you are looking to start and run a legally compliant boat cleaning business. Check with a local competent authority or an attorney and select the most appropriate business structure.

For instance, in the United States, most successful boat cleaning owners have registered their companies as LLCs. The primary reason LLC formation is easy to manage and provides several benefits at a low cost.

You can form an LLC or take help from professional registered LLC formation agencies.

7. Register your Business for License, Permit, and Taxes

You need several licenses and permits for the successful legal operation of your boat cleaning business. There are federal licenses and permits as well as licenses and permits at the state level. You also need a NOC from the authorities related to marine pollution.

Register your business for the taxes that apply to your business. You have to get EIN for that.

8. Buy a Business Insurance

Get your business insured for the sake of safety and security in case of any accident or calamities. You will need General Liability Insurance and Worker’s Compensation Insurance to start with. These two will protect your assets along with the security of your staff.

9. Open a Business Bank Account

Open a bank account in your boat cleaning business’s name. Make your accounting very clean and specific right from the beginning of your business.

Get a business credit card in the name of your company.

10. Calculate the Cost of Starting a Boat Cleaning Business

There are expenses on different heads in your boat cleaning business. First of all, you will need the materials needed for cleaning. They include:

  • Mops
  • Brushes
  • Cleaners (both boat cleaners and glass cleaners)
  • Towels
  • Polish
  • Wax etc

Apart from these, you will also need a vehicle, a workboat, a vacuum and steam cleaner, etc.

You will also need to hire 2-3 people to do the cleaning, an accountant (you can do this yourself), and rented office space near the harbor or boat club. Therefore the cost of fuel, rent, and salaries are also there.

To sum up, the starting expenses will be nearly $10,000. In this case, you have to rent the vehicle or use your vehicle.

As the scale of your business increases, you can hire more people and expand your network.

11. Arrange Funds

It is without saying, you need to have money to start a boat cleaning business. If you don’t have the necessary money to invest, borrowing money from investors is the only option. One needs to have a good credit record and the ability to invest at least 15-20% of the initial costs to launch the boat cleaning business.

12. Create a Marketing Plan

To get more business and earn good profits in your boat cleaning business, you need to chalk out a detailed and strategic marketing plan.

Find below some tips to promote your boat cleaning business:

a) Personal Contacts

Personal contacts will help you greatly in the business. You need to get in touch with the boat dealers, the boatmen, people working at the yacht club, marinas, and of course the boat owners. All of them will need the service of boat cleaning. The boatmen and the people working will refer your name to potential clients.

Distribute flyers, business cards, and brochures mentioning your service, and contact these people. Keep in touch with them regularly.

b) Create a Boat Cleaning Business Website

Website is a very important tool in today’s business. It will serve you as a publicity medium along with a business expansion tool. Keep your website updated with your rates and the comments of satisfied customers.

Learn More: How to Create a Website

Activate online booking and payment options on your website. Add the website link to the flyers, business cards, or brochures you distribute. Design your website nicely with good pictures. Make it user-friendly.

c) Advertise

You need to put advertisements for your boat cleaning business in newspapers, radio, television, etc. Also, use colorful banners and posters in the marinas advertising your boat cleaning services.

d) Explore Social Media

Use social media for promotion as well as the expansion of your business. Create pages in the name of your boat cleaning business on social networking sites. Share the link to your website there. Share these pages on your personal social media account.

It spreads the name of your business and many interested clients can get in touch with you through these pages.

e) Offer Special Packages and Discounts

Offer special quarterly or annual packages for boat cleaning. Also, use special discounts at the festival or at other times. Try to give some additional service to regular customers. This will help you get more clients through referrals.

f) Maintain Good Customer Relations

Good customer relation is a basic need of any business. Maintain a good relationship with all the customers so that you get repeat orders and new clients through referrals.

These are the important points you need to consider while starting your boat cleaning business. Even after these points, you must be having certain questions in your mind regarding the business. Let us try and find out the answers to these questions.

Suggested Read: How to Start a Pressure Washing Business

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the rates of the boat cleaning business?

You can charge on a per-foot basis. The normal rates are $4-40 per foot. Secondly, on a per-hour basis, you can charge $25-35 per hour.

Is the boat cleaning business profitable?

It is certainly a profitable business. The cleaning of a boat takes only a few hours. Therefore you can clean at least 2-3 boats per day. This adds up to a comfortable amount of few thousand per week. If you have efficient cleaners and do your job well, you can comfortably earn a profit of more than 20%.

According to this report,  the yearly U.S. sales of boats, marine products, and services are valued at a total of $42 billion in 2019. As per industry experts, this industry is expected to grow by approximately 10% from 2020 to 2026.

Can I start a boat cleaning business from home?

If you are based at a place near the marina or boat club, you can start your office from home.

The boat cleaning business is seasonal, how can I survive in the off-season?

You can do an auto cleaning business in the off-season. Both businesses have many things in common. Therefore you can do it to sustain as well as increase your profit margin.

These are the basics of the boat cleaning business. You can start this business, considering the growth potential.