Starting Boat Cleaning Service – Business Plan Sample

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steps to start boat cleaning business

Boat cleaning business involves a huge market that extends not only to manual cleaning but a professional contract based cleaning service that contains many parts. Since the maritime industry is quite huge and there are numerous boats and ships out there in the water, the requirement of boat cleaning service is much given no boat owner wants to clean it by themselves which obviously is not an easy job.

If you are willing to invest in boat cleaning service then it is not necessary that you open up a usually large service center but it can involve only 2-3 persons in the starting. Before you start this business you need to come in terms with the objectives and requirements of this business. Here is an outline of the boat cleaning business plan.

Objectives of Boat Cleaning Service:

In simple terms boat cleaning service involves cleaning of a boat or ship or maybe a mid-sized cruise. This ‘cleaning’ term can have different meanings depending upon clarification. Like cleaning of a boat may include repairing of some broken part or changing of some temporary part that are destined to get useless after the journey.

Some objectives are:

  • Cleaning of the boat thoroughly which includes washing its hull and top sides
  • Waxing of fiber glass exteriors
  • Cleaning of carpets, floor, mats, etc. using dry cleaning methods like vacuuming
  • Wiping windows of the ship that are usually mirrors
  • Polishing woods and vinyl
  • Can include cleaning of rooms, bathrooms, bed sheet, etc.

Now that your objective as business is clear then you now should focus on what you can offer to them and how. This involves a strategic planning which requires a lot of research and get together with people involved in this business.

Create a Team for Boat Cleaning:

A boat is not that small that can be individually cleaned thus you need a team. The time size depends on the work load per day and the size of the boat. In initial days it is best advised to have a team of at least 5-7 people who have different objectives and expertise. Like cleaning a boat requires a cleaner who is expert in washing and cleaning. Here’s more:

  • At least two cleaners who will do the manual work of washing and cleaning the boat either with or without equipment based on requirement
  • Two people who are good in cleaning mats, floor, carpet, curtains, couches, etc. using machines like vacuum cleaner
  • One person expert in waxing of fiber glass exterior and transparent glasses or windows
  • One person expert in doing other such technical work
  • An extra person who is good in combined activities like cleaning of rooms, toilets, special places that require precision
  • Lastly, a person who manages your account and office matters which may include you.

This team of 6-8 people is what you need in initial days of your boat cleaning service which is bound to expand as your business grows along with your service.

Requirement of Equipment and Machines in Cleaning Service:

With the ever evolving technology and its growth it is not possible to clean boats manually. This is not only something outright stupid but it will also have negative impacts on your business as it will pull you out from the competitive market.

Thus the best thing is to embrace technology and machines even for small things. Some of the possible machines that you may need in boat cleaning service are:

Cleaning Tools: This includes brushes, a mop, cloth or towels, cleaners including machines like vacuum cleaner and steam cleaner.

Drive in Boat Wash: A drive in boat wash system is one that is installed in the dockyard where one can park the boat and then get the hull cleaned using jet spray water, large brushes with detergent that ensures thorough cleaning and requires quite less time rather than manual cleaning. This depends on the size of the boat.

Cleaning Material: Cleaning materials includes polish and vinyl, detergent or specific boat cleaning material, wax, glass cleaner, wood polish, etc.

Other Materials: One needs a vehicle that will transport all such tools and materials to the cleaning place. Apart from this you will also need some small boats that will be used while cleaning the hull of the boat. This can also include ropes and other such equipment to climb the large sized boat and then clean. In last you can add safety materials, gloves, helmet, etc.

Materials that can be rented: Of course it is not possible in the initial stage to own all the equipment and materials thus it would be advisable to rent few of them. This includes the workboat and trailer, machines, drive in boat wash area, vacuum and steam cleaner, etc.

For drive in boat wash, it is not that easy to get a place in the dockyard where you can park boats and clean them especially if you are newbie in this business. The best option can be to rent the place for few hours of cleaning based on your requirements.

Office and Warehouse Location or the Operation Location:

Now comes the question from where will you operate and do the cleaning operation. This requires you to make networks, create contacts and do some negotiations. If you have the investment enough to own a dockyard for cleaning then go ahead else try to strike a deal with the dockyard owner so that he can allow you to operate your cleaning business.

Since boats can only come at the docks thus you have limited options with you. In initial days you should try to find a small place for cleaning boats and an office on the same place to operate if possible because it will allow the boat owners to have an access with your cleaning service.

Legal Formalities and Documentations:

Every business involves a legal formality that is needed to start a business. Same is with boat cleaning service where you have to do the required legal formalities. The first step in this is to obtain the required documents for starting your business. Some of these documents include:

  • An NOC from the authorized agency for building cleaning deck at the port
  • Permits and licenses from the concern authority
  • NOC from Environment authority that deals with sea pollution
  • Making of contracts with clients regarding cleaning of boat
  • Certain contracts while leasing of office and cleaning yard with the owner
  • Certificate of Occupancy from the owner

Apart from all of these, you should also be in contact with a person who is well versed when it comes to dealing with this business. He can work as your mentor when it comes to legal fronts like documentation, drafting of contracts, dealing with concerned authorities, etc. He will be the person who will ensure that you remain safe from legal problems which may arise due to some faults.

Investment Required for Boat Cleaning Services:

Investment in boat cleaning business depends on magnitude of business you want to start. Like starting on a particular kind of service like cleaning the glass of boat or cleaning mat requires a minimal investment while giving comprehensive service like hull cleaning requires bigger investment. Here’s an idea of how much you need to invest here.

Acquiring a Port and an Office Nearby:

To run your business it is obvious that you need to own an office and a place in the port where you will clean the boats. The best option here is to rent those two places in initial period as owning them would be quite expensive. The rate for rent depends from place to place and is also based on negotiations.

If you have good contacts within the field you may get those places in cheap. Try not to waste money on them in initial stage as you may get into loss if your business doesn’t succeeds. When your business starts to grow only then you can go for owning your own dockyard and office.

Purchasing of Cleaning Materials and Machines:

This will not cost much and thus you can buy them all. A standard vacuum and steam cleaner will not require more than few hundred dollars. Apart from these two, cleaners, tools, brushes will cost the least.

Manpower and Team Expense:

It depends on how much people of what expertise you have hired and you have to pay them based on the standard rate applicable in your country. Don’t go for big team in starting as the expense will be huge. But maintain a minimal team that is multitasking and efficient.

Profit Margin in Boat Cleaning Business:

Profit margin will depend on your efficiency and what you charge from your clients. As the business will grow your profit margin will tend to increase. You should expect this only after few months of business.

Marketing Strategy and Growing your Business:

To grow your business you need to market your business well. Build your contacts with all the people who into this business. Secondly make contacts with boat owners and give them lucrative offers. Word of mouth works well in this business thus you need to be good in your work especially in initial days to make the difference.

With this, dedication, hard work and entrepreneur skills is what will make you a success.

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