Love Cars? Here’s a Great Summer Job for Teens

If you love cars, even if you don’t have your own car yet (or not the car you want), here’s a great idea for a summer job that can help you buy that car sooner than you might think.

When you think about working with or around cars, some of the jobs that come to mind first are thinks like being an auto mechanic, or a car salesperson at a dealership, but there are other options, and they could even get your foot in the door at a dealership if you want to pursuit that career trajectory further down the road.

When you think about washing cars, you probably imagine one of two things. A fundraiser where a bunch of people are in a parking lot with buckets of suds and soap trying to raise money (maybe a scene from a 90’s movie?), or one of those drive-thru car washing machines. There’s demand for a more personal touch when it comes to washing cars,

What is Car Detailing?

Car detailing goes a step further than just washing the car, it’s about getting the car spotless and immaculate and people are willing to pay a premium for car detailing services.

“Professional detailing services and sale of products to both professionals and enthusiasts represent a large commercial presence in places where automobiles are a primary mode of transport. In the United States alone, the professional and home detailing industry was over $9 billion in revenue, as of April 2014,” per Wikipedia.

That’s massive. You can grab a piece of that pie! You can setup a small car detailing service right now where you go to people’s homes and do it right in their drive way, you don’t need to setup an expensive shop or anything like that. Obviously, as a small start-up run by a teenager, you’ll probably want to charge a bit less, especially if you don’t have a shop with top-tier equipment and tools, and you can always work your way up.

Detailing involves working on both the interior and the exteriors of cars. The interiors of vehicles often have a lot of different fabrics, materials, and surfaces and each of those require their own special techniques and cleaning agents to do a great job. Make sure you take the time to learn and study this before proceeding!

Starting Your Own?

A car detailing shop is going to offer the best tier of service, but you can compete on price, and advertise to people you know, and word of mouth can get around. Also, consider setting up an Instgram or a TikTok account to promote this, show before/after clips and you’ll start to get more and more attention.

You could also apply for jobs at car washing companies (Just make sure they aren’t owned by Walter White!), and dealerships. Used car lots will also hire staff to clean their vehicles before selling them, and this will give you lots of experience – while getting paid – before you startup your own service, if you decide to go that route.

Mat Woods

Author Information

Mat Woods is the lead writer at He works tirelessly alongside the rest of the team to create useful, well-researched, trustworthy articles to help parents and their teens.