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Guest post: Car valeting: A summer of fun that turned into a real business

There are some people that get up every day and dread going to work – and I feel for them. I’m lucky though, since the age of 16 I’ve had a job that I love and have even been able to turn into a business that continues to prosper.


In 2008, having spent five years learning my trade as a car valeter, I spoke to a friend of mine who had just set up his own company giving financial advice to young entrepreneurs looking to get their ideas off the ground. He explained just how easy it was to get started and guided me through everything from tax issues to insurance.


But it was long before that my love for valeting and detailing started. In my teens I was in need of a summer job and my friend worked for a local company that needed hard workers to help them with everything from steam cleaning to upholstery and waxing. The two of us worked together and he showed me all the tricks of the trade. Maybe it was the fact that it was just us two listening to the radio and getting paid well for a few hours graft, but I had never enjoyed myself quite so much. As we were the youngsters on the team, we got all the worst cars. The old saloons that had been used daily by 20-a-day smoking taxi drivers, the family hatchbacks with chocolate smeared all over the windows and the filthy vans from the nearby building company. The real horror shows.


The thing is, come rain or shine, there was something incredibly rewarding about these cars and vans coming in – absolutely caked in filth – and leaving looking like brand new. People would come and pick up their motors and often be genuinely startled at how much cleaner and shiner they were, even tipping us on the odd occasion for our hard work. I knew after my second summer at that place that this was the job for me and I started working there on a full time basis, leaving the boredom of college well behind me. Of course, when the time came to think about living on my own and taking girls out on proper dates, my thoughts turned to earning more money. I was already in charge of most of the lads working on the lot, so the only thing to do was to set up on my own as a mobile valeter, and later employed a couple of friends to join me at my own plot.


It hasn’t all been easy, like most people the recession has made things more difficult at times than they should have been, but I’ve kept things ticking along with a couple of extra jobs where necessary and have put the money back into the business. Now every day I get up and drive to my own valeting bay and office where I have a good team of lads making people’s cars sparkle – and just you try and stop me from joining in with them!