How to Start a Profitable Car Wash Business – A Simplified Approach

How to Start a Profitable Car Wash Business – A Simplified Approach:

Car wash business is a profitable venture on many levels. Whether you have enough money to start a mega car wash or you just want to start a small business and put some money in your pocket, the car wash business never disappoints. In this post, my goal is to show you how to start your own car wash business whether as a full-time business or a side hustle.

Of all the many service oriented businesses you can think of, car wash business is one of the best if you are up to it.

There are people who spend time to save money, and there are people who spend money to save time. When you start a car wash business, you basically target people who need to spend money to save time, and there are lots of them these days.

Car Wash Business

As life becomes busier and our societies faster, not everyone has the luxury of time to wake up early in the morning and wash their car before embarking on the daily tasks. Even if they do, it’s a lot of work cleaning the interior and washing the tires clean, isn’t it?

How to start a car wash business

You are probably reading this post because you are already convinced that a car wash business is right for you. Instead of telling you how this business is lucrative – trust me, it is – let’s just dive right into the heart of the matter; this is how to start your own car wash business on any level.

Learn professional car washing

This is actually the part where people start to fail. To understand what I’m about to say, enter any street and ask people there to recommend a car wash for your car. That is when you will understand that not every cash wash is worth their penny. See, if it’s just to pour water on a car and wash it with soap, everybody would make money washing cars, won’t they?

Start by learning from professionals. Visit any professional car wash service you know and learn whatever you can from them. You can offer to work for free while they show you the ropes.

Be professional. Attend to customers with every courtesy, pay attention to details while washing the car

Find a good location

Location is very important for a car wash business. What is a good site?

For a start, your site should be a busy area with enough income earners who can afford to pay for your service. Remember when I said you target people who spend money to save time?

You may find ample cheap space in a rural setting with little traffic but you may not get enough business to keep yourself afloat. It might be OK to get a location a bit removed from the busy town and hope that your good works will draw much of the traffic your way. That could work, but the closer you are to where the action is, the better your business will be.

You want to pay close attention to the location of your business. People who visit an auto (mechanic) shop usually want to wash dirt/grime off their car before they continue on their business. Therefore, if you find some space close to an auto shop, you could be in business. The same goes for very dusty, dirty areas.

Make sure there is enough water

A car wash needs water, lots of water. You will need a steady source of water, so factor that into your consideration for a location. I have seen people who open a car wash business near a stream. Others buy a big water storage tank and contract tankers to fill the tanks daily.

If your location has a water borehole close by, that definitely works too. How you get water is up to you. One thing I can tell you is you cannot afford to turn customers away because ‘water no dey!’ (…there is no water)

Buy equipment and materials.

One thing I love about the car wash business is you can start it on any scale. You can invest huge amounts of money, if you can afford it, to start a state-of-the-art car wash. You can also get two buckets, one piece of cloth and some detergents and wash people’s cars in the morning before they move out for their daily business. Whichever way you go, you will make money if you render good service.

That said, the more tools you can afford, the better your business will be for it. As much as possible, get every equipment you can afford for your business. They will make life easier for you, and they will show your customers you really know what you are doing. You will also be able to charge a decent fee for your work.

Some of these equipment are:

  • Pressure car washer
  • Towels
  • Brushes
  • Chemicals
  • Wax
  • Compressors
  • Conveyor,
  • Mobile wash systems, etc

If you can buy these equipment from the moment you start, fine. But if you are starting small, I suggest you invest the money you make into getting better equipment for your car wash business.

Add services

You can add services to your car wash business to maximize revenue. You could add a mini bar so people could get some refreshment while they wait for their car. You could also add a sports viewing center, betting shop, etc.

There are items people usually buy for their car. Items like car air fresheners, floor mats, brushes, hydraulic, etc. You can stock and sell these items so you make extra money for no extra work.

Full time or side hustle

Well, this depends on you. If you don’t have any job or business at the moment, you can start a car wash business full-time. Don’t worry, if you do a good job, it will definitely put serious money in your pockets.

If you go full-time, you can afford to run your business the way it suits you, you can start with little or no capital as I have already said, and you can work alone or directly supervise your workers depending on the scale of the business.

If you start the business as a side hustle, you will be adding a major stream of passive income to your income portfolio. However, you will rely on other people to run the business, therefore you need to design a system/process that makes it difficult for them to cheat you. Cheating is very easy when you are not directly supervising your workers.

If you are starting car wash business as a side hustle, I would assume you already have an income source and you have saved up enough money to start the business in a not-so-small way. When you start big, you can design checks and systems that prevent your workers to cheat you. If not, you would just be opening a big business for your workers while you get nothing.

Advertise/promote your business

People will need a way to know you offer car wash business. If you have a good location, advertisement could be as simple as having the first few sets of cars come in and washing them. Once people see these cars, they automatically know there is a car wash there.

You can also put up a sign/billboard that says you wash cars. Word of mouth works wonders too. The rest would be up to how professional you are in your service delivery. If you are the best car wash in the neighborhood, just relax and count your money because people will always recommend you to their friends. At least, I know every car wash I have visited was always recommended to me by someone else.

Don’t spend your money on unnecessary advertising unless you have stiff competition. If you do a good job, people will find you.


Do a good job. Take extra care to protect people cars and what they contain. One theft, scandal or misconduct and your customers will run away.

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