How to Start a Car Wash Business in 2022?

 How to Start a Car Wash Business in 2022?

One of the most important things to consider before getting into the car wash business is how much it typically costs to create a car wash. If you do, you can tell if this company is a good match for your entrepreneurial objectives. Knowing how much money you need to invest in the beginning is essential so you don’t wind up overspending or borrowing too much money.

Car wash types

First, you need to figure out what kind of car wash business your market can support and what business you’re comfortable owning and operating. There are four professional car washes in operation in the United States, excluding mobile car wash firms. 

A business owner travels to an automobile’s location to detail the vehicle using a vehicle prepared for this purpose. Also, you must be aware of an average cost to build a car wash.

  • The outside and inside of a vehicle will be thoroughly cleaned by hand during a full-service car wash. In addition to basic cleaning and vacuuming, some car washes provide additional detailing services at a fantastic price.
  • It’s possible to find self-serve car washes at any gas station, convenience store, or other retail location that sells autos. People can also utilize coin-operated vacuums in several facilities to clean the inside of their vehicles.
  • Car washes that use an outside conveyor, or tunnel car wash, allow you to remain in the vehicle while an automatic system washes it. Your vehicle’s exterior is cleaned and dried in this tunnel by washing and drying systems. Typical Tunnel car washes utilize between 14 and 60 gallons of water for each car to be cleaned.

Different Types of Car Washes: Pricing, Costs, and Profitability

The prices, pricing, and profitability of the four primary types of car washes vary widely. Before making your final decision, learn more about the startup costs of the various car washes below.

Prices are Different

The car wash you decide to open will impact the amount of money you’ll need to start your business, how much it will cost you to operate, and how much you will charge every wash. Your start-up costs for a manual car wash will be lower than those of an automated one, but your ongoing labor expenditures will generally be more significant.

More significantly, if you want to create an automated car wash, you will be able to wash more vehicles each hour without needing to employ many workers. You’ll need to replace your equipment everyyear.

Charges on Annual Basis

Consider the amount of money you can charge for services when deciding what type of car wash business you want to own. Prices vary depending on a vehicle wash’s location and other variables, but every kind of car wash has its relative pricing point.

Self-serve car washes are the least expensive of the four options because they require the consumer to perform the cleaning process. Washing machines and vacuum cleaners, for example,are typically rented for 15-minute. Simple hand careis also not too expensive. 

Prices for in-bay automatic car washes and outdoor conveyor washes tend to be more than those for self-serve or basic hand washing choices. The costliest option is frequently a full-service vehicle wash that includes car detailing.

The pricing of various vehicle washes nearby can be compared with standard car wash pricing. You may know how much you should charge your consumers by looking at your competitors’ charges.

How much does it cost to build a car wash? The average cost to build a car wash is necessary to know if you’re not going to purchase an existing car wash. For example, you should budget for the purchase of land, the building process, and the purchase and maintenance of any equipment you might need. 

Because these expenses vary by region and other circumstances, it is critical that you extensively investigate the going rates in your area to estimate your capital requirements accurately.

The following are a few of the most significant costs related to starting a car wash:

  1. Acquisition of property

First, you’ll need to buy land to create a car wash. Ideally, it would help if you acquired land that does not already have any buildings. Make sure to account for the charges of demolishing and cleaning up in your purchasing price if it does. It would help if you looked for suitable sites near busy thoroughfares and densely inhabited regions with other companies and residences.

One bay of an in-bay automatic vehicle wash requires a lot of lands, at least 7,000 square feet. For a full-service car wash, you’ll need a lot of grounds to construct a customer waiting area. You may require space for a retail location to provide a place for customers to stay while their vehicles are serviced.

It takes roughly 18,000 square feet to have two automatic car washes and two self-service bays if you want to combine them. Adding four self-serve lanes and four in-bay automated vehicle washes will require an additional 22,500 square feet.

You must find the correct size for your car wash to succeed or fail, so make sure you doyour due diligence. If possible, purchase a plot of land adjacent to a road with a speed restriction no above 40 mph. 

  1. Ownership of a Car Wash

Construction, signage, and other expenses make it clear that the cost of managing a car wash will increase even before you open it to the public for the first time. Before you can welcome customers to your location, you’ll also need to cover the costs of labor and promotion.

You may not need to hire personnel until your car wash is near to opening. Still, it would help if you did so before opening your doors so that your employees may be adequately taught to operate your business’ equipment and efficiently handle customers. To run a successful car wash, you’ll need to hire a certain number of employees.

A full-service car wash will demand more personnel than the national average of 3.5 employees per car wash and auto detailing facility if you need employees who can wash the interior and outside of a car by hand. With in-bay automated car washes, there is no need to hire additional staff because they can run at all times.

Even if your car wash is primarily automated, you’ll still need to hire someone to perform routine maintenance on your equipment to prevent costly repairs and replacements down the road.

  1. Paperwork

You should check the zoning of a piece of property before buying it for your company’s needs. The re-zoning process or a particular use permit may be required if it isn’t. Ensure that the local utility codes and sanitary sewers can sustain a vehicle wash by checking them out.

You’ll also have to pay for a business license, business insurance, and real estate taxes in addition to the zoning and permit fees mentioned below. Architectural, engineering, impact, traffic studies, and building permits are additional, non-recurring expenses.

  1. Work on the site

Before construction can begin on the building you’ll be using for your business, some site work must be completed. The structure of your parking lot’s surface includes earthmoving and asphalt laying. Depending on how you’re going to set up and lay the foundation for your building, this may also involve prepping your external work areas.

  1. Equipment

The cost of car wash equipment varies according to the type of car wash you open, the brand of equipment you purchase, and the location where you operate. Self-serve car wash equipment is less expensive than automated car wash equipment because the latter is more complicated.

You will likely need the following equipment, at the very least, to run a car wash:

  • Conveyor tunnels and self-service wands are two examples of wash systems.
  • The use of cleaning and spot-free solutions
  • Dryers
  • Blowers
  • Vacuums
  • Brushes
  • Towels
  • The water supply
  • System for collecting payments

SEE ALSO: List of Best Mobile App Ideas


As a result, car washing will become more popular shortly and prove more profitable over time. Consider an establishment if you’re starting in the sector or looking for a ready-to-go activity. Establishments can provide everything from planning to statistical surveying to business arrangement, as can site selection and development, as well as the provision of hardware, supplies, and progress assistance, all for a flat fee and an elevated amount of monthly bargains.


Nikunj Shingala is a Co-founder of Webs Optimization Software Solution Company, a leading web & mobile application Development Company specialized in Hybrid, Native, iOS and android app development.

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