Business Overview

Many boat owners like to keep their watercraft in pristine condition, but they don’t necessarily want to spend time cleaning and detailing their boats. They’d rather be out on the water, enjoying their boat, than at the dock making sure it looks nice. Boat cleaning businesses provide cleaning and detailing services for boats, so that boat owners don’t have to wash their boats themselves. In order to attract as many customers as possible, most businesses clean all types of watercraft.

Who is this business right for?

Anyone who enjoys being outside and working with their hands may like running a boat cleaning service business. Cleaning boats is manual work, and it’s often done at docks where there’s little protection from the elements.

This is a business that can be started while working another job full-time. Business owners can begin by cleaning boats in evenings and on weekends, when they aren’t working elsewhere. Once their business grows to support a full-time salary, they can then transition from their current job to cleaning boats full-time.

What happens during a typical day at a boat cleaning service?

Business owners spend most of their cleaning boats, which may include:

  • washing and rinsing off boats’ top sides and hulls
  • waxing fiberglass exteriors
  • vacuuming and cleaning carpeting
  • wiping down windows
  • polishing wood and vinyl

When not cleaning boats, business owners order supplies, schedule cleanings, bill customers and market their business.

What is the target market?

A boat cleaning service business’ ideal customer is someone who owns a large boat that they’re particular about. Such a boat owner will likely be willing to pay well to have their boat cleaned, and they’ll probably be able to afford a cleaning service if they can afford a large boat. Additionally, they will be more likely to hire a cleaning service than clean their boat themselves, because cleaning a large boat takes longer than cleaning a smaller watercraft.

How does a boat cleaning service make money?

A boat cleaning service business makes money by charging for boat cleaning and detailing services. While business owners may consider their desired hourly rate when setting prices, most businesses don’t bill by the hour. Instead, they offer cleaning packages for set fees.

For example, Yolo Yacht Services offers two basic packages and also charges extra for additional services. Similarly, Miami Boat Cleaning provides quotes based on the size of a boat and the type of cleaning services requested.

What is the growth potential for a boat cleaning service?

Boat cleaning service businesses may have a single location that serves just one area, or they may grow to have multiple locations across the country. Boat Bathers in Chicago is an example of a business that serves one area. Pro Boat Clean, on the other hand, has franchise locations in the United States and Canada.