If you want to have a successful car detailing business, it’s important to know the landscape of your industry. You can start by researching the competition and considering potential opportunities to enter different markets. In this article, our aim is to present you with a picture of the detailing industry around the country. We do this by putting together data that shows the number of car detailing businesses in different cities and states.

To compile this data, we pinpointed and focused on the 5 biggest cities in every state around the country. We used Yelp to find the number of car detailing businesses in each of those cities. Based on the number of detailing business and the population of each city, we assigned density scores to cities and states.  

A “concentration” or “density” score in this report is the relative number of businesses per person in a given place. A low density score means there are fewer detailing businesses in relation to the population of the area. Areas with low density of detailing businesses could be good opportunities to enter the market due to low competition. However, it could mean that demand is low for detailing services in the area. Likewise, areas with a high density score could be more competitive and more difficult for new players to enter. However, it could also mean that demand is greater for detailing services in high density areas.

States with the Most Car Detailing Businesses

Let’s start by reviewing the number of car detailing businesses in each state. 

The state with the most detailing businesses is California with 3,999. California alone accounts for more than 13% of detailing businesses around the country.

The state with the lowest number of detailing businesses is Wyoming with 43.

Detailing businesses by state bar graph

There are significantly more detailing businesses in California than in Wyoming – by 93x. While these numbers are accurate, it doesn’t give us the most accurate picture of market saturation and competition between the states. If we take the population of each state into consideration, we can put these numbers into better context. Based on the population of California’s and Wyoming’s biggest 5 cities, California is 40x more populous than Wyoming.

Below, we’ll look at the number of businesses in relation to population to understand the density in each state. 

States with the Highest Density of Car Detailing Businesses

The state with the highest concentration of detailing businesses is Delaware with a concentration score of 102.5.

The state with the lowest concentration of detailing businesses is South Dakota with a concentration score of 12.93. 

Density of Detailing shops by state heat map

Not surprisingly, mostly rural states with no large cities tend to have the lowest concentration of detailing businesses. (States like the Dakotas, Kentucky, and Iowa.) More surprising though, is that New York has a very low density score. Since New York City is one of the largest cities in the country, we thought we would see higher density. This could be a sign of a good opportunity to enter a market with low competition. However, it could also be that car ownership in New York City is low, causing low demand for detailing services. 

How States Stack up to the Detailing Business Concentration Average

The average concentration score across all 50 states for the number of detailing business per capita is 40.94.  

density of detailing shops by state bar graph

If you are thinking about starting a detailing business or opening a new location, you should review this data carefully. When you look at your state’s density of detailing businesses, it will help you understand your competition. It’s probably most wise to consider starting a business with a low density of car detailing businesses. It means you will probably have less competition for customers since each business serves a broader area. 

Let’s get even more granular on our analysis and dive into specific cities within each state. We’ll get into both the number of detailing businesses and density scores. 

Top 50 US Cities with the Most Car Detailing Businesses 

The city with the most detailing businesses in the country is Los Angeles, CA with 2035. Los Angeles alone makes up more than 50% of the detailing businesses in California and almost 7% of detailing businesses around the country.

The next 2 cities following Los Angeles with the most detailing businesses are New York, NY with 898 businesses and San Diego, CA with 763.

Detailing businesses in top 50 US cities bar graph

In this view, we see which cities in particular contribute to California having the most detailing businesses throughout the state. Between Los Angeles and San Diego, these two cities make up almost 70% of the state’s detailing businesses.

Interestingly enough, even though the state of New York has the second lowest density rate in the US for detailing businesses, two New York cities round out the top 5 for total number of businesses.

US Cities with the Highest Density of Car Detailing Businesses

Density of detailing businesses in top 10 and bottom 10 US cities heat map

This map is probably the best picture of competition for auto detailing businesses around the country. It’s probably wise to strongly consider opening a new business in a “Bottom 10” city and you should strongly question opening a new business in a “Top 10” city. 

Conclusion

The best way to use this compilation of data is to consider all data points together. When you consider the population of an area alongside the total number of detailing businesses as well as the density score, you can focus in on “sweet spots” that have more potential for a successful new business venture.

Important Takeaway: The total number of businesses needs to be considered in relation to the population of the area.

Detailing Business Startup Tip: Try to find cities and states with relatively high populations (or even high population growth) with a low density score to start a new detailing business. 

Research Methodology

To compile the data in this article, we pinpointed the largest 5 cities in every state around the country and noted their populations. The combined population of the top 5 cities in each state represent the population of the state in this study. We then went to Yelp to find the number of car detailing businesses in each selected city (251 in total, counting Washington D.C.). We divided the number of detailing businesses by the population of the city then multiplied the number by 100,000 to give us whole numbers to serve as our concentration or density score. 

A Glimpse at Car Detailing Businesses Around the Country infographic

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You can download the infographic here. Please include attribution to Mobile Tech RX when using this infographic.


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