How much money does a car wash make?

Written by steve smith
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Car wash businesses can make a lot of money, but they need to be in a good location. They also need to offer a competitive price to consumers who aren't always looking to spend big bucks on getting their car washed. Since washing a car isn't a top priority, and there is a lot of competition, this can cut into profit margins. However, there are many things you can do to make a car wash more profitable.

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History

The car wash came along in the 1960s, offering an easier way to keep a car clean. They were extremely profitable in the 1970s and when automated car washes came along in the '80s and '90s, many people made a lot of money operating them. Today, car washes are not as profitable because people spend less on luxuries and tend to wash cars themselves to save a buck or two.

Significance

Washing a car was sort of like a ritual to some people back in the heyday of the automobile. To make a car wash profitable, you need to offer a good service at a really low price. Even though people can do it themselves, it doesn't mean they want to. So, if your car wash is cheap enough, and saves them time, customers will come.

Misconceptions

A general conception used to be that car washes made a lot of money. You could build an automated car wash and rely on a steady business. However, that is not always true. The cost of supplies, detergents and upkeep on a car wash takes a big bite out of profits. Owners need to carefully consider the cost of materials, how much is used during the car wash, and the economy.

Geography

Car washes are more popular in cities where people do not have access to a hose and an area in which to wash their own cars. However, the cost of real estate in these areas is higher, and therefore the car wash overhead is more. You also have more competition, so you can not charge more for a car wash in the city. In the south, car washes can operate year round, and people tend to use them more often in the nice weather. In the north, people are concerned about road salt and need to wash their cars in the winter, but they do not do it as frequently as they do in the summer.

Considerations

If you are interested in opening a car wash, carefully take note of the cost per wash of facilities already in the area. You should then find a location with plenty of traffic that will draw more customers. Research zoning regulations, and find out if you can put up a large sign, if there is the proper sewer and drainage requirements. Finally, find a vendor that can supply the equipment and materials to operate the car wash.

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