How to start a carwash business

Written by shanika chapman
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How to start a carwash business
Carwash (ViewApart/iStock/Getty Images)

Savvy entrepreneurs know that the key to business success is fulfilling a demand. Many car owners, particularly those that are meticulous about the appearance of their cars, regularly frequent car washes. If your town lacks a convenient car wash business, starting one could prove extremely lucrative. Depending on the type of car wash you open, start-up costs start at about £195,000 ($300,000).

Things you need

  • Business plan
  • Liability insurance
  • Business permit
  • Federal tax ID
  • Location
  • Equipment

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  1. 1

    Determine the type of car wash you want to open. A touchless car wash, which uses high pressure water to clean the car, requires more equipment and is a much more expensive investment than a self-serve car wash. Touchless car wash businesses, such as tunnels and rollovers, also don’t typically get the car as clean as self washing can. However, touchless car washes can process cars at a much faster rate than a self-serve. It may be advantageous to offer bays for each type.

  2. 2

    Draw up a detailed business plan. In order to procure financing, you will need a thorough business plan detailing how you intend to compete, start-up costs, marketing approaches, and when you expect to begin making a profit.

  3. 3

    Find a location for your car wash. Look for existing car washes to minimise construction costs and paperwork. If you elect to build your car wash, you will need to contact your local zoning authority, building department, and environmental department to get approval. You’ll also need to hire a qualified contractor to help you draw up the building plans. Once you’ve narrowed your search, contact the utilities company to get a quote on fees. If constructing a new building, the process may take up to 9 months before you can open your doors.

  4. 4

    Set your car wash business apart by offering better lighting (if open late or 24 hours), a safer location, free drying cloths with a package deal, and cleaner facilities.

  5. 5

    Purchase equipment and supplies for your car wash business: a touchless car wash system, an auto cashier, coin machines, ceiling brooms, brushes, vacuum systems, and wand holders.

  6. 6

    Advertise your anticipated grand opening via large banners at your location. Submit your business to online directories.

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