Secrets Of A Successful Car Wash Business


If you’re an entrepreneur looking for a business that offers maximum profitability and a relatively low risk level, the car wash industry might be the place for you.


Practically everyone owns a car, but relatively few people have the time or willingness to give it a proper washing themselves. A professional car wash — whether automated or manual — presents an extremely attractive value proposition to the vehicle owner. He or she can have his or her ride cleaned thoroughly in a fraction of the time it would take to do it on the driveway. It also offers a level of cleaning that most people don’t have the know-how or tools to achieve. In short, opening a car wash can be a great way to accomplish your entrepreneurial goals.


However, simply opening your doors and waiting for motorists to find you does not guarantee success. Like any endeavor, it takes a certain degree of hard work, savvy and a little good fortune to succeed. With that said, here are important points to keep in mind as you start your enterprise.


Location, Location, Location


One of the most essential elements for success is choosing the right spot. This may be easier said than done, depending on where you are. Ideally, you want to be as close as you can to other destinations such as shopping centers. Having their cars washed is a matter of convenience for most drivers, so you don’t want to make them drive out of their way to get to you. This also means you should look for spots along heavily traveled streets. It’s a good idea to ensure that your location is easy to enter and exit from every direction. A corner lot would make the most sense in this regard, but these tend to be in higher demand and therefore command higher prices.


Create Convenience


Drivers should come to you because you can do something for them that they don’t want to do. This means you should make the experience as convenient as possible. For example, installing credit card readers on self-serve or automated bays means your customers won’t have to dig for loose change or struggle with crumpled dollar bills. Assuring that your bays are wide enough for large vehicles to enter easily is another winning strategy.


Choose the Right Partners


The suppliers and manufacturers on which you depend for your equipment and cleaning solutions can be just as vital to the health of your operation as anything else. If you choose to go with the cheapest options, you may regret it. Inferior products and machinery can leave streaks, water spots and even cause lasting damage to a vehicle’s finish. Taking the time to do your research and find the best overall value from these partners will allow you to achieve a higher degree of customer satisfaction and repeat business. All of the convenience in the world won’t matter if your clientele doesn’t have confidence in your business.


Do Your Homework


You more than likely will already have numerous competitors when you open. Take a close look at other car washes within a 5-mile radius of your site and pay attention to what they offer. If there are any gaps in their services, think about how you might be able to fill them and draw patrons away from them. Look outside your target market for successful businesses and ask them for advice. You may be able to glean some valuable information from veterans of the industry that you can use when drafting your business plan.


Opening a car wash can be a surefire money-earner, but only if you understand what you’re getting into and tread carefully. With the right strategy and forethought, you can take advantage of this lucrative market and enjoy a degree of financial security you didn’t think possible.


Author Bio: Jeff Carey is Vice President of Sales at CleanTouch, a leading car wash chemical brand serving thousands of car washes across the United States and Canada. He has 20 years of experience in the industry — and focuses on P&L, sales management, and field execution of the company’s strategies and plans.