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How to Start a Self Car Wash Business

Updated April 17, 2017

Cars get dirty even if they are just parked. Since people need to clean their cars, it can be very convenient to start a self car wash business where people drive in to wash their cars and drive them out. Starting a self car wash business is similar to starting any other kind of business. You need a good location, a good marketing plan and solid business operation skills.

Decide if you would prefer to start an independent business or you would prefer to start a franchise of a chain.

Make a business plan as this will be essential to plan out all the short and long term needs of the business and will help in smooth operations.

Find a location. Look for a location where a self car wash service is needed. Choose a busy intersection such as a main street which is visible to more people. More automobile visibility will increase business.

Contact your courthouse. Request an application to register a car wash business through the courthouse, which issues business licenses in most states.Learn the requirements. There might be some restrictions such as schedule of operation and number of cars allowed in the lot. You most likely need business insurance, too. Check with your local public transportation department and business license division for specific requirements and regulations.

Learn the requirements. There might be some restrictions such as schedule of operation and number of cars allowed in the lot. You most likely need business insurance, too. Check with your local public transportation department and business license division for specific requirements and regulations.

Get a permit--a wholesale permit if it is needed by the franchise tax board. Having a wholesale permit can help you purchase equipment for the business at a lower cost and sometimes without paying sales taxes.Research profitable extra services. There are different kinds of services such as additional waxing or self vacuuming you can offer.

Research profitable extra services. There are different kinds of services such as additional waxing or self vacuuming you can offer.

Get adequate finances for the business and advertise the business by using creative and tested promotional methods such as flyers and referral coupons. According to entrepreneur.com, start-up costs for a self service car wash business run between £32,500 and £65,000 (as of July 2010).

Tip

There are certain seasons, such as winter, where the need for self car wash services increase. Check for service trends by analysing other established businesses.

Things You'll Need

  • Business plan
  • Insurance
  • Business license
  • Business loans
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About the Author

Alexander Cequea has been writing since 2008. He is an activist, speaker and film producer whose work has been featured in "Enlightennext Magazine" and the Environmental News Network. Cequea is currently producing a documentary about sustainability and consciousness. He has a Master of Business Administration in sustainable business from Maharashi University.