Car wash

Car Wash

Car washing business deals with three main groups of clients: tenants with private owners, automobile dealerships and local businesses.The statistics show that 40% of the residents earn more than $70,000 per year. Consequently, they have luxury cars and want them to look correspondingly. There are also various automobile dealerships, which will require the services on cleaning of entire fleets. Thepayback period ranges from 2.5 months. Its gross profit margin is about 50%. ROI is roughly 38%.

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Equipment $8,733
Supplies $3,500
Personnel $1,500
Property $4,000
Other $5,000
18 payback

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The car wash industry can be divided into five primary groups: the one that can be run by the customer all alone (self-service), the more classic one (full service: local employees making sure each car is properly served), exterior rollover(the automatic systems placed in the bay are doing the whole thing for you), exterior only, and detail shop for small repairs (scratches, dull paint) and quick overall cleaning. As you can guess, the services of the last group cost less. Nowadays, the automated system-based car washes are preferable, so the exterior rollover is the most popular kind. However, it is hard to begin with.

This service is aimed to provide customers with three supreme functions: exterior car wash, interior cleaning, and drilling. Any car wash should offer direct car wash, rinse engines, dry & wet salon cleaning, and general polishing. The cars enter the wash one by one, spaced out evenly by employees of the car wash. 

The ability of a car wash to ensure a high-quality service heavily depends on the ability to find the best professionals. It is recommended to hire personnel, which is aware of car brands peculiarities, auto components, and the cleaning process itself.

The type of ownership defines the status of a person, so the potential car wash must meet the relevant requirements for washing and cleaning.

1)      The owners of new cars: the lucky owners of “new vehicles” are most likely to use the service manual car wash.

2)      The owners of luxury or retro cars: the owners of such models will become regular customers.

3)      The owners of sports cars: These clients are mostly young people or middle-aged men who will order a full complex from time to time, but will try to keep their cars clean as long as possible to save money and prove their auto is as powerful as a lion.

4)      Ordinary motorists: They treat their cars as their friends, but tend to arrive at the sink only when the vehicle is heavily polluted.

5)      Representative offices: Quite often car wash services are visited by this segment’s cars to make the surface shine before they are offered for sale.

6)      Local businesses: these guys will be looking for affordable, efficient service because they prefer to use the service on cleaning during the whole week long (except the weekends).

Potential Risks:

●     Problems with the validation services, the excessive demands of epidemiological reconnaissance.

●     Poor location and lack of clients.

●     High level of competition.

●     Insufficiently qualified staff recruitment.

Despite many difficulties regarding the organizational process, a car wash business can be viewed as the low-cost and profitable one. However, its success depends heavily on the location and successful completion of all negotiating stages and inspections.

On the whole, the pros of this type of business are:

-          No need for background experience;

-          Huge, constant demand;

-          Potential for communication channels development;

-          Attractive profitability level.

Imagine we open our first private enterprise and are not ready to take big risks. Here is the short list of “must-have” inventory and its average prices needed to launch a private car wash:

-       A compressor - $250;

-       Steam cleaners - $400;

-       Car wash vacuum system - $1,500;

-       Vacuum motors - $150 per unit;

-       Combination vacuums – up to $3,000 per unit;

-       Portable car washer - $95;

-       Car wash device with high pressure - $150;

-       Electric washing machine – up to $200;

-       Purification water system – more than $4,000;

-       High-pressure washer with heated water - more than $1,000;

-       High-pressure water supply machine – about $500.

The most critical equipment was already mentioned, so in this paragraph only the brands will be recommended. Pay attention to “Karcher” (Germany), “Carebridge” (UK), “Comet” (Italy), “Ceccato," “California Kleindiest” (Germany), “Wesumat," “Wedner," “WAP”, and “Islobal” from Spain.

You might need to purchase car glass washing liquids (around $100 each), car polish for sharply the same price, some cleaning chemicals (under $1), special powder ($250 and up), car wash shampoos ($2 - $5), etc. It all depends on the scope of your car wash and the quality of equipment. Some well-equipped car washes require only few washing agents and most probably, few sponges. That’s it. The overall raw material expenses are scanty comparing to the total price of equipment.

Washing powder - $350 - $700 per ton;

Cleaning chemicals - $1 per unit;

Washing detergent - $1,800;

Liquid powder – up to $800 per ton;

Sponges - $150 per package;

Special soap - $150 per package.

While speaking about the most beneficial location to place your auto wash, one of the best options would be to open the car wash inside the garage, located in a huge shopping mall with the parking, for instance. Then, your potential customers will be a step away from you. Also, gas stations located close to a busy highway, might be an excellent alternative. The list of qualities to be considered while choosing the best site:

?     High-traffic flows: road frontage provides an easy access to your washing business.

?     Signage: at least 30 m visibility in either direction is critical.

?     Medium to high-density residential area: discover one!

?     Demographics: take into account the average automobiles’ age in your district, the number of cars per household, their use opposed to public transport.

?     Local educational institutions & community organizations.

?     Local business & government: local government agencies are often excellent clients.

It is recommended to rent an existing building or part of it, than to build everything from scratch. The space required fluctuates around 90 sq.m., 60 sq.m. of which is the area dedicated to posts. The rest belongs to other rooms (i.e., market). Rental rate amounts to $1,000. over 100 square meters per month. The main communications like electricity, water supply, and heating network are expected to be provided. This may result in costs spend on additional electric power and the creation of a drainage water system. The total cost of these works can reach $7,000 – $10,000.

Ownership.Any car washing company may belong exclusively to one owner. It has to be registered and funded by the initial personal investments. A car wash can be registered as a limited liability company (LLC).

The car wash project should pass the epidemiological reconnaissance examination, labor protection, environmental protection, fire inspection, and the state expertise. Initially, the subject of the wasted water was highly relevant. As a rule, car washes use the recovered water, which passes through a special cleaning equipment to be used repetitively after washing procedures. Car wash business belongs to the category of open technical water supply systems, and, therefore, the number of standardized indicators is increased, but their values are tightened. Most of the attention is now paid to the organoleptic characteristics of water, and the presence of various bacteria that affect the security of restored water. Microbiological factors influence the possibility of workers to be damaged by one of the infectious diseases.

Since car washing is a seasonal business, with business increasing in the warm summer months, and being busier on the weekends than during the week, such company can hire one full-time car wash/detail specialist and one full-time car wash specialist. Staff number can reach the mark of 11 members. The general appearance and accuracy of each employee is especially important for this type of business: that is one of the criteria for clients to take into account while evaluating the service in the end. The excellent service provided by each employee or machine will bring you a sink respect among motorists.

Follow this checklist step-by-step to count your working staff:


Car washers (3 – 6 people);

Administration/sales manager.

First person’s salary - $25,000 annually.

All washers salary - $32,000 annually;

Salesman salary - $18,000.

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