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Tips to Start Your Car Wash Business

Malvika Kulur
Always had dreams of starting your own car wash business, but never had the right guidance to start one? You don't need to worry, because this story gives you all the information you need on how to start one.

Quick Stat!

According to the US Census Bureau, the annual revenue of the car wash industry is nearly $58 billion.
Everyone loves cars, and they love them more when they are clean. Unfortunately, due to a fast-paced life which most people lead, spending time cleaning a car has become next to impossible. That is why, they take their cars to car wash centers and get them cleaned regularly.
Due to this, the car wash industry is booming, and even though there is a huge competition in the market, this business is a hit. It is very lucrative, as it can be started really quickly. The best part about this business is that absolutely anyone can start and run it.
The success stories of car wash business are many, and that is why, many college students and teens enter this industry. It is a quick way to earn some extra pocket money.
Students go door-to-door offering their services to people who have cars, but do not have time to wash their cars, or take them to car wash centers. This write-up gives you the complete know-how on opening your own car wash business, in quick and easy steps explained here.

Starting the Business


Starting a car wash business is very easy. You start with your research, usually beginning with studying the car wash industry. There are 3 main types of car wash businesses that one can start: mobile, manual, and automatic car wash services. One needs to understand each type, and do his research accordingly.
» A mobile car wash business is one that requires a person to visit homes and offer his/her services. Mobile car washers make house visits at the convenience of their clients' homes.
» Manual car washes are those that do not have automated machines to clean the cars, rather people do all the cleaning. These car wash centers employ people to wash the cars manually, without using machines.
» Automatic car wash centers are those that have the drive-through facility, where the car is taken through different mechanized cleaning stages. You should visit other car wash centers to understand how they work.
Doing the right research is the most important step in getting your business started. During your research, you need to also decide whether you want to start a franchise, sole proprietorship, or partnership.

Location and Equipment

Depending on the type of business you choose to open, you should select your location. To be on the safer side, choose a location that is close to a residential setup. It is easier to get business if your clientele resides near your center. You should choose a location that has ample parking space, and one that is not too far from any main roads.
Your center should be noticeable to as many people as possible, so having a good location is very crucial. Your location should be big enough to house a drive-through or other equipment that you need. Choose your equipment wisely.
If you plan to start a mobile car wash business, then you need not worry about the location. Your main concern is getting your business started and advertising it well.

Money and Business Proposal

Money is the most important aspect of any business. Once you have decided on your location, you need to procure the finances to rent the location and buy equipment if needed. You need to decide whether you want to take out a loan from a bank, find private sponsors, or take out money from your savings.
If you plan to borrow capital from a bank or private investor, you need to draw up a detailed business plan, and present it to them. You business plan should be very crisp and impressive, stating all the points, like location, equipment, labor, taxes, estimated profit, etc.


After all your finances and capital investment are taken care of, you need to go ahead with your registration procedure. If your location needs a special permit, you need to buy one before you make an offer on it. As soon as that is done, you should register your company and apply for all the important business permits that you will need.
You will be required to apply for zoning variances, Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Services, state tax registration certificate, federal tax identification number, environmental and safety inspections, etc.
Insurance for your business and its location should also be done. Once you buy your equipment, you can insure that too, against theft, damage, etc.

Purchases, Employment, and Advertisement

Once all your paperwork is done, buy all the equipment that you need. Place advertisements in the local paper, on the Internet, and radio for hiring employees. Conduct interviews, and select candidates that fit the job requirement.
Make sure that you employ people who are efficient, polite, experienced, and who have knowledge about cars and its related services. Get your car wash outlet constructed, and open your business. Advertisements are very important in this industry.
Your posters and fliers should be distributed on a large scale so that you can pull in as many clients as you can. If you have a set budget for advertisements, then employing an advertisement agency is a good idea. Since your business is a new one, you will need to put out some attractive offers to get clients.
Starting a car wash business, or any business for that matter, requires a lot of hard work and patience. You need to understand that there is a risk in it. If the market is down, or during the rains when it is not possible to maintain the cleanliness of a car, owners do not get it washed regularly.
Keeping that in mind, you need to come up with good and reasonable deals for them so that your clients keep coming back to you. Make sure that the quality of services that you offer is never compromised upon, and you will see your business boom.