How To Open Car Wash Business

Souvik Dey Souvik Dey
Dec 16, 2020 8 min read
How To Open Car Wash Business

Starting a car wash business needs time, planning, investment, market research, and business strategy. Washing your car is important for a couple of reasons. Contaminants such as dirt, pollen, tree sap, air pollutants, and deceased bugs can all damage the great looking finish and paint on your vehicle. A car wash business can be attractive to a prospective entrepreneur.

Number of Automobile sold in India(in millions)
Number of Automobile sold in India(in millions)

Important Reasons You Should Wash Your Car Regularly

Avoiding Damage

Mud, dirt, rain, and even salt sprinkled on icy roads can attach themselves to the surface of your car as you drive. While you might not notice these at first, over time, the minerals that are in them can cause damage to your paint job. For this reason, it’s important to take the time to have your car washed regularly.

Improving the Condition

When you take your car in to get washed, soap and water will brush the impurities away from the autobody to help prevent the deterioration of your paint and even the different parts of your car.

Improving Safety

When you go for a drive, your windows, mirrors, and even tires should be clear of debris. By going to the car wash regularly, you’ll never have to worry about these areas being too dirty to drive with.

Improving the Value

If you’re going to do this months or years in the future, it’s important to do what you can to keep your car looking great now. Regular car washes are a big part of this, as they can help prevent rust, scratches, dull paint, and other issues that take away from the look of your car.

A Clean Look

Washing your car regularly can help avoid issues like this. This one small task can help improve the look of your paint and your entire car overall.

Car Wash Business Plan

  • You need to be aware of all the latest technologies and trends to have a good understanding of business.
  • You need to visit other car wash facilities and know the type of car wash you would like to start.
  • You need to research the other similar facilities in your area. You can finance your new car wash business through banks or private investors.
  • Choose the right location for your car wash business. A successful site should be near a shopping center, in high traffic, residential area, have quick access from the road, allow for expansions and business growth, and have enough space for cars to line up.
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Types of Car Washes

Hand wash

The safest way to wash your car is hand wash. There are few different ways to hand wash can be done, ranging from the traditional two bucket method to high tech, pressurized from cannons. They all have to use up water with soap and washing the vehicle with a soft mitt in hand. This kind of wash requires a good amount of time, a variety of equipment.

The pros of hand wash are :

  • Minimizes scratching
  • Can remove heavy contamination

The cons of hand wash are :

  • Takes longer than other methods
  • More expensive than automatic washes
  • Requires more equipment than other methods
  • Requires a lot of water
  • Tough to do with limited space
  • Tough to do in colder temperatures

Waterless Wash

A waterless wash utilizes only a spray-bottle product and several microfiber towels. You simply spray the surface with your waterless wash product, then wipe with a microfiber towel.

People use waterless wash due to the following reasons:

  • They don’t have the space for a hand wash
  • They can’t use water
  • They are on the road

A waterless wash is not good for removing heavy junk. Another drawback is that their potential for scratching. But waterless wash products are formulated to heavily lubricate the surface, they don’t quite approach the slickness of a foamy hand wash.

The pros of waterless wash are as follows:

  • Doesn’t take as long as a hand wash on rinse less wash
  • Can be done with limited space
  • Doesn’t use water
  • Only requires a waterless wash product and microfiber towels

The cons of waterless wash are as follows:

  • More chances for scratching
  • Can’t remove heavy contamination

Rinse less Wash

A rinse less wash is different than a waterless wash. In a way, it is sort of a hybrid between a hand wash and a waterless wash. With a rinse less wash, you will take a small amount of your rinse less wash product and mix it into a bucket of water. Rinse less wash can be done with wash mitts or microfiber towels.  A rinse less wash method tends to be favored by those underwater restriction or with limited space, who are also concerned with the stretching a waterless wash might cause.

The pros of rinse less wash are as follows:

  • Can be faster than a hand wash
  • Requires less water than a hand wash
  • Requires less equipment than a hand wash
  • Can be performed with limited space
  • Less likely to scratch than a waterless wash

The cons of rinse less wash are as follows:

  • More likely to scratch than a hand wash
  • Can’t remove heavy contamination
  • Requires more equipment than a waterless wash

Automatic Wash

Automatic washes are also known as  ‘tunnel’ washes, generally involve driving your vehicle onto a conveyer belt, which leads you through a series of brushes and blowers. The bristles on these rough brushes are often contaminated with abrasive grime from previous vehicles which can heavily mar your finish.

The pros of automatic wash are as follows:

  • Inexpensive
  • Fast

The cons of automatic wash are as follows:

  • Causes heavy scratching
  • Harsh chemicals can damage the finish
  • May not remove heavy contamination

Brushless Wash

A brushless wash is a kind of automatic wash that uses strips of soft clothes in place of bristles in its machinery.

Pros of brushless wash are as follows:

  • Inexpensive
  • Fast
  • Less abrasive than a brush automatic wash

Cons of brushless wash are as follows:

  • Causes significant scratching
  • Harsh chemicals can damage the finish
  • May not remove heavy contamination

Touchless Wash

A touchless automatic wash cleans your vehicle without the use of bristles or brushes. Instead, the entire wash is conducted with chemical cleaners, pressure washers, and pressurized air.

Don’t confuse with the brushes and touchless. Some assume brushless as touchless.

The pros of touchless wash are as follows:

  • Less expensive than a hand wash
  • Fast
  • Minimizes scratching

Cons of touchless wash are as follows:

  • More expensive than automatic and brushless washes
  • Harsh chemicals may damage the finish
  • May not remove heavy contamination
Car Wash Trends
Car Wash Trends

Costs of Starting Car Wash

  • Start-up costs may be the same or nearly the same from one location to another, many factors that will affect the amount you’ll have to pay to start your business are largely dependent on where you’re going to open your car wash.
  • Land acquisition, construction, and equipment expenses vary by location. Your location will need to be big enough to support the type of car wash you intend to open and have enough space for vehicles to line up.
  • The car wash cost is also influenced by the construction size and type. The average construction is about 1,700 square feet. Although cost is a factor when deciding on the size of your construction.
  • Consider the costs of equipment. The cost of this equipment varies depending on the brand, the type of equipment, and whether you are building an automatic or self-serve car wash.
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Equipment for Car Wash

You will need the following equipment, at a minimum:

  • Washing systems, such as a conveyor tunnel or self-service wands
  • Chemicals, such as cleaning and spot-free solutions
  • Dryers
  • Blowers
  • Vacuums
  • Brushes
  • Towels
  • Water system
  • Payment processing system

Market Segmentation

  • New car owners: Owners of newer cars are most likely to use a hand car washing service. These owners take great pride in their cars and will bring them often to the wash and detail service. The goal with these customers is to promote regular use of the wash and detail service.
  • Older luxury car owners: These people have either owned their high-end luxury cars for several years or are unable to afford the expense of a new luxury car but want the feel of relaxed driving. Both of these groups want to keep their cars in the best shape possible.
  • Sports car owners: These people are often younger or middle-aged men and will regard the look of their car as important. They will also pride themselves on the look of their car and will have their car hand washed (at least) weekly.
  • Lifetime owners: Many of these people have owned their cars for more than five or six years, and are more likely to be women. They are attached to their cars as friends and though it may be more sensible for them to purchase a new car, they will bring their car in for a wash occasionally, just when the car is dirty.
  • Local businesses: Some local businesses have fleets of cars and small vans that must be kept clean to maintain their company image. These businesses will be looking for a cost-effective, efficient car washing service to perform this service, and will prefer to use a car wash service during the week rather than during weekends, like the general public.
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Advertising of Car Wash Business

  • Hand Out Flyers: Before your business opens, hand out flyers to people who pass by your location on foot and those who stop by in their vehicles to ask questions.
  • Hang Posters: If it’s permissible, hang posters on telephone poles and other places that see a lot of foot or vehicle traffic.
  • Send Postcards: If it’s affordable, you can also market your business by sending postcards to your neighbors who live in the vicinity of your car wash. You can include a coupon on your postcard, or use it to invite people to attend a grand opening celebration.
  • Use Social Media: Using social media is one of the most cost-effective ways for you to market your business. You generally only have to invest time in social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter to promote your business and offer specials that are available only to your social media followers.
  • Set Up a Loyalty Program: Even before you open to the public, you should set up a loyalty program.  This will encourage people to return to your car wash beginning with the first time they use your services.


  • Efficiencies resulting from equipment and product technology developments
  • Advances in on-site marketing
  • Customers seeking more convenient, less-expensive services for car washing
  • Markets for services are very localized or regional
  • Low-cost marketing through local networks and social media
  • Software for managing  

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