Everything You Need To Know About Opening A Car Wash

25 August 2020
 Categories: , Blog

Looking to be a small business owner, but not sure what business will work for you?  If you like to be outside, talk to people, and do not want to be stuck behind a desk, owning a car wash may be just the thing you are looking for.

Is the car wash industry growing?

The car wash industry is growing. Not only do cars always get dirty, but more and more people are choosing to wash their cars at a car wash instead of at home, In fact, since 2002 the industry has seen a 69 percent increase in customers choosing to use their services. 

Are there different types of car washes?

The hardest decision you may have to make before opening a car wash is what type of car wash to open. There are many options, including:

  • Mobile wash. A mobile wash is a location-independent business. Mobile car washes typically travel to truck stops and trucking hubs in order to clean semi-trucks and other oversized delivery vehicles that do not otherwise fit in a standard car wash. 
  • Self-service. A self-service car wash or a coin-operated car wash is a structure consisting of one or more bays where the car owner exists their vehicle and cleans it themselves with your high-powered hoses and equipment. You can add a self-service bay to a traditional car wash if you prefer. 
  • In-bay automatic. An in-bay automatic is the industry term for the single-bay car washes used at many gas stations. The equipment moves over the car as the car stays stationary.  
  • Exterior conveyor. An exterior conveyor system may be the car wash that most people are familiar with. The car enters in neutral and a large conveyor belt pulls it through the car wash, pausing at each station for soap, rinsing, and drying. This is sometimes called a tunnel system.
  • Full-service. A full-service car wash is a high-end wash that involves the driver exiting their vehicle while your team cleans their car inside and out. This set up typically has a nice store attached where the vehicle owner can buy a snack, auto accessories, or grab a free cup of coffee while they wait. 

The type of car wash you choose depends on your location, what your community needs, and your budget. 

What key pieces of equipment do I need for a car wash?

What equipment you need depends on what type of car wash you decide to open as well as your budget, but there are several basic items every car wash must contain. Every car wash needs a wash system. This could be a wash tunnel with a conveyor or self-service wands. You also will need high-powered dryers, spot-free rinse dispensers, blowers, and of course, a payment processing system. 

What are good add-on services for a car wash?

Having a high-powered vacuum for clients to use as well as free air for their tires is a good idea. Many car wash owners like to invest in specialized, touch-free systems for motorcycles as well as a bay dedicated to self-service dog washes.  

Opening a car wash is a great option for anyone who wants to own their own business, interact with people, and be outside instead of in a cubicle. For more information about starting a car wash, consider turning to the successful carwashes near you. Need help to find them? Look for businesses like Better Car Wash Equipment and Supply.