Google AdWords for Car Detailers

“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and advertise.”
Laurence J. Peter
Author of the “Peter Principle.”

Search advertising gives small detailers the reach of BIG detailers.

advertising for car detailers

Pay-per-click exposes small shops to big audiences.

Detailers hate advertising because they operate on such thin budgets, but you’ll notice one thing: the shops that stay in business–year after year–advertise the most. The “old way” favored the big shops: $4500 phone book ad kept you front and center, year after year.  Who ever looked at the “basic” entries?  But Google Adwords now sells the king’s seat–”front and center” on the first page of their search engine, for $1-$2 a click.

How Adwords works for a small Colorado detailer.

Allan Schlepp runs Pro Mobile Detail in Front Range, CO part-time. He bought my course in early 2010 and quickly set up a Google Adwords campaign. He pays around $1 a click to show his ad when people search for these terms:

detailing, auto detailing, car detailing, mobile detailing, mobile auto detailing, mobile car detailing

In these cities:

Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, LIttleton, Englewood, Lakewood, Denver, Wheatridge, Arvada Westminster

On average, Allan says he gets a job for every 40 clicks.

The math:  spend $40 to make $110.

40 clicks/job x $1/click = $40 advertising cost per job.
Average profit per job before advertising: $150 (it’s rural Colorado).

Therefore, his net profit is $150 – $40 = $110 per job. Not all jobs are full details: some interior-only, some exterior-only jobs that take 4 hours including driving. And importantly, let’s recognize the value of a new customer. About 25% will use him again ($150 profit the next time). About 15% will refer him ($150 profit there).

So, for Allan, a mobile detailer in a rural area, Google AdWords makes his business possible.

Your Adwords campaign…in 15 minutes

  1. Open your account at
  2. Set your maximum cost-per-click to $2.50.  You won’t necessarily pay $2.50 per click (depends on how popular the search term), but that should be enough that your ad isn’t buried on page 2 or 3.
  3. Sponsor the terms detailing, auto detailing, car detailing, mobile detailing, mobile auto detailing, mobile car detailing in every city you service.  You may end up sponsoring 20 – 50 keywords, but this is critical because your competition overlooks a lot cities and keywords, so for these terms the page is all yours.
  4. Set a daily budget of $15 and an overall budget of $200.  Any less, and you just don’t have enough data to make a decision about continuing.
  5. Ask EVERY customer  how they found you.  If they say “the Internet” ask further until you can determine if they clicked an ad or found you “naturally.”

If your website is any good, it’s hard to imagine not making money on an Adwords campaign.  Businesses (most of them small) spend $28 billion each year on Adwords…and that figure grows 15% a year, so there’s abundant evidence that it works.


About Bob Keppel

Author: "The Car Detailing Blueprint"
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