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How to start a profitable Car Wash Business

Roller wash & Jet Wash

How to start a profitable Car Wash Business. 4 things to consider.

CAR WASH BUSINESS: The Car washing business can be very profitable but here are some things to consider. With the right location, good marketing and great service you can win numerous customers who need their cars washed quickly, efficiently, and at the right price. Opening a car wash business also requires a sizable investment, correct planning, and attention to detail in order to make your business profitable.


Research the car wash business in your area. Ok, so you've worked in a car wash business or related forecourt business but you'll need to be up to date on the latest trends and technologies to have a good understanding of the car wash industry. Your detailed business plan. Should include the specifics of your investment and your projected earnings (profit & loss). Also include the costs of land, associated taxes, employees, equipment and materials, maintenance, insurance,effluent discharge licenses, ground works, water charges, accountant’s fees, and marketing.

2.BUSINESS RESEARCH: Choose the right location for your car wash business. Location, Location, Location. Like any other business, your premises must be fit for purpose and include room to grow. Read Internet trend reports and industry updates. Find out what the demographics are in your area and read up on how car wash businesses are doing in areas with a similar population density.

Read business publications, find out about the latest equipment. The car wash industry is developing more energy efficient and environmentally friendly machines, it's important to be knowledgeable of new developments. Equipment. Make sure you purchase the correct equipment for your business. Ask other people in the business, see who the big players are using. Know all the questions you need to ask before you approach the equipment companies. You don’t want to get oversold but you don’t want to get undersold either, after all the idea is to grow your business into the future. Investigate the competition in your area. Find out where they are, what services they offer, what their pricing is, and how they attract customers. Future planning. Check the planning for areas that might be developed for service stations or hypermarkets. Make sure your car wash is near a residential neighbourhood. Are there plans to develop residential housing in the area?

3. MARKETING PLAN: Choose the correct name for your wash business Spend time getting the right name for your business. Don’t be afraid to sound out other people about your proposed names or maybe they have some good ideas. Consider the online and offline implication of your name. Is your name available online?, email addresses, printing costs for multicolour designs can be expensive. Advertising budget. It is now accepted that all businesses require both an online and offline budget. Budgets however, do not have to be huge, just wisely used. The bulk of your customers will probably be local so make sure they can find you. Put thought into your marketing, maybe hook up with a complimenting business to feed off each other. Car washing like other businesses have slow times and special offers can be a great way to keep your staff and equipment busy.


Set a price. Not too high or low. Consider the competition? What is their pricing policy and what is their offering? What is your USP? What is your margin? Do you know your margin?

Do a great job. You’ve been there, got home and the car is only half washed. Do a great job so they come back again and again. You want them to tell their friends. The right equipment for the right job. The equipment you'll require will depend on how automated your car wash is and what services you plan on offering. Remember auto washes dont take holidays or ask for pay rises but do need to be maintained. Hire the right people. You need people pleasers. The customer is always right. This can be a dangerous area to work in so staff training is vital to keep both staff and customers safe. Equipment maintenance. After your staff, you rely on your equipment. Have a staff policy to keep a preventative maintenance record sheet so downtime can be kept to a minimum. Keep all the equipment in your car wash well maintained. Get to know how your equipment works and have a good maintenance contract with your equipment supplier.

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