How Much Should I Charge for a Boat Detailing Job?

You’ve sharpened your skills to the best of your ability, put them into practice for countless hours, and are finally ready to offer your knowledge to the rest of the world — and earn some cash in the process. 

As more people look to purchase their own boats, the demand for professional boat detailers like yourself continues to rise. Still, figuring out the best way to price your services can be a challenge, especially if you’re just starting out.  

Don’t worry; we’re here to help. Follow these tips to make the most out of your jobs. 

1. Know the Size of the Boat 

As you might expect, the bigger the boat, the more expensive it’ll be to detail. 

The industry standard is to charge on a per-foot basis, which can make the overall pricing structure more manageable for sellers and buyers (this commonly ranges from $8 to $40 per foot). Charging by the step (this commonly ranges from $10 to $15 a step).

Ultimately, the way you determine this rate is up to you. Keep in mind that sellers with more experience and a proven track record can easily charge on the higher end, while someone new to the scene will likely need to start lower.  

2. Know How Much Product You Need 

As a boat detailer, you’ll be responsible for purchasing your own cleaning products — and ensuring you make the most out of them. 

So, before you agree on a price, take into account how much product you’ll need to dedicate for the job. Some factors to consider include: 

  • Size: Larger surface areas will demand bigger product amounts 
  • Expectations: Does your buyer want a fully corrected boat that requires special products and multiple steps? Or, are they content with a standard cleaning job that can be completed using common supplies? 

Though it’s easy to overlook, don’t be tempted to skip this step. Landing on a final price will be easier once you understand the personal cost it’ll take for you to get started. 

Check out some of our favorite products for beginners in the industry!

3. Know the Boat’s Condition 

Preferably, an inspection of the boat is the first — and most important — thing you do when considering taking on a client. 

Knowing how dirty the boat is will help you have a better idea of how much product you’ll need, outline a detailing plan, and know whether your client’s expectations are realistic or not.  

4. Know How Much Time It’ll Take 

At this point, you should already have a general idea of how much time the job will take. Still, it’s worth sitting down to plot out a specific estimate: consider client instructions, boat size, condition, necessary products, and more. 

With all bases covered, you’ll have everything you need to start narrowing down your final offer price. 

Final Thoughts  

It’s rare for boat detailers’ prices to stay the same forever, so don’t feel pressured to nail down one concrete offer that’ll never change. To simplify your approach, we recommend starting with a few base packages, along with some add-ons you can charge extra for. 

So, keep working with clients, perfect your services, and continue altering your prices to best reflect your value.

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