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Looking to open a new car wash?

28 July 2014

If you are opening up a new car wash and starting your venture from scratch, consider an organized approach. This increases your business potential and reduces costly mistakes.

Starting a new business is always fraught with excitement and anticipation. After all, a business presents an opportunity for earning, expansion and the chance to provide jobs to others. Here are steps you might want to follow when starting a car wash business.

Look for the Right Location

A car wash station should be located in an area that enjoys high traffic. Ideally, you’ll have no competing business within a one-mile area. A commercial area is of course preferable but the location must be someplace where there is enough space to build.

A car wash business, after all, requires enough room for cars and equipment. Look for several options, then compare the traffic flow and the proximity of the area to other similar businesses. The location you choose should be visible to maximize its earning potential.

Know the Local Laws and Regulations

Like every other business, a car wash has to meet the requirements set by local and national laws. At the minimum, you will be required to apply for a business license and a building license, if a structure has to be built or modified. Ask your local government agency about:

• Local codes that cover your building
• Construction and utility usage
• The type of insurance you might need

In many cases, you might even have to work with your city planner as part of the process to have your business plan approved.

Determine the Type of Equipment You Need

In general, handwashing will have significantly lower setup costs than automatic car washing. However, it is also labor-intensive and will cost more to operate over the long term.

Automatic car washing machines require some serious investment. But they are generally easier to operate and finish each job more quickly. Because the machines are automated, they only require fewer personnel to manage. The waiting time associated with automated car washes is also shorter.

Determine Your Manpower

Manpower will depend largely on the size of your car wash business and the type of operations you intend to run. If you plan on opening an automated car wash, you will need to hire fewer workers to help you manage the operations. Be prepared for the documents and processes involved in hiring workers.

Decide on the Type of Business You Want

You could open your own business as an independent entrepreneur, but you have other options. This could mean a partnership or a franchise. Study the different types of opportunities and determine what suits your goals, personality and work preference.

Get Financed

Financing is a critical component of your goal of opening up a new car wash, and is easily the most challenging. For this step, you need to prepare a solid business plan that will outline how you intend to earn a profit. If you have investors or creditors coming in, they want to know how they will get their money back.

Know that getting financing is not just about being able to show where the money will go but how you will earn it many times over. The funds you receive will also go toward purchasing high quality equipment and building a good structure. If you are unsure about this step, ask for advice from experts and experienced business owners.

Build Your Car Wash

Remember, there is no turning back once you take the first step to build your car wash. Examine all contracts from construction of the building to the suppliers, to the equipment.

Stay in constant communication to ensure that everything is carried out correctly.

Market Your Business

The success of your car wash business depends on how well it is marketed.

Try to use every type of marketing technique available to you, including:

• Leaflets
• Print and online ads
• Signage
• Promotions
• Social media campaigns

Drumming up interest will help you establish yourself as a business and build your customer base. Observe what brings in the most business. Focus on what works and do it again in the future.


Written by MacNeil Wash Systems