Good Small Business Ideas: Boat Cleaning

by Greg DePersio

2 min read

If you live near the water and enjoy working with your hands, a boat cleaning and detailing business offers the opportunity to make a fantastic living. It doesn’t require a big startup investment, educational credentials, or advanced skills. Before getting started, you’ll want to research your local market to gauge the level of demand for boat cleaning and how much competition you’ll face. You also need a contingency plan in place for making money during Canada’s long off season for boating. If competition is high, try to get creative and come up with unique services to offer customers.

Boat Cleaning Business Advantages

The boat cleaning and detailing industry offers low barriers to entry. You don’t need dedicated office space and can run your business in a completely mobile setting. Your biggest overhead costs consist of cleaning supplies and products. If you start on a small scale, you can be up and running for under $1,000. Your level of education doesn’t matter, nor do you need advanced skills. Even if you’re a total rookie who has never cleaned a boat before, you can learn on the job. Consider offering your services for free to learn the ropes, or tagging along with another boat cleaner. It’s a skill you can pick up fast.

Conducting Market Research

It’s prudent to research your local market before starting any business. In a niche such as boat cleaning, you first want to ensure sufficient demand exists. If your area is landlocked and doesn’t feature a sizable body of water nearby, boat cleaning might not be a viable venture. Assuming the demand is there, look at your competition. Just because you have a lot of competitors doesn’t mean you can’t carve out your own niche and be successful. Study the pricing and specific services of the competition. From there, you can determine how to position yourself to enjoy a competitive advantage over the other boat cleaners in town.

The Off Season

Boat cleaning is a seasonal industry, especially in a place like Canada where long, cold winters are a reality. Few Canadians are taking their boats out for a weekend cruise in January when it’s 13 below. You want the money you earn during the busy times to last you through the lean months. You might also consider thinking of ways to branch out your business into different services in the wintertime. If your area features lots of yachts and houseboats, you could offer to clean and remodel their interiors.

Carving Out a Niche

The most successful businesses aren’t carbon copies of their competitors but carve out their own unique niche to set themselves apart. Figure out something your target market wants or needs, and that your competition isn’t offering, and become the go-to business for those services. Focus on your unique offerings when marketing your boat cleaning business. For example, most boat cleaners require customers who want their boat bottoms cleaned to have the boat hauled out of the water and onto shore at the customer’s cost. Perhaps your business could team up with local divers to offer in-water boat bottom cleaning.Boat cleaning and detailing might be your ticket to a successful business venture. By conducting market research and analyzing the competition, you can determine if this industry is right for you.

References & Resources

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