Small business

​​How to Start a Car Wash: 7-Step Guide

Any business in the cleaning industry has profit potential, more than anything because most people prefer to delegate such tasks. Starting a car wash is not the smallest investment, but with a good location, a strong marketing strategy, and good car washing services you can attract a lot of clients.

This is why it’s important to write a detailed business plan that will help you go through all the steps necessary to give your new business a chance to succeed. Here are seven crucial steps to help you open a car wash.

1. Pick a Location

You should be very cautious when picking a location since it can make or break your business. When it comes to car washes, most people will go for the most convenient solution, even if the prices may be a bit higher, or even if the service isn’t as good as they would want.

There are many things you should take into account when choosing a location for your car wash, including accessibility, traffic, nearby businesses, and so on. Finally, analyze your competition in your area – the services they offer, their prices, their customers, and their marketing.

2. Take Care of the Legal Stuff

For every business, there is a series of rules and requirements that you must comply with. Aside from forming a legal entity, to start your car wash, you will have to register for taxes and get certain licenses and permits to work. Keep in mind that the rules and regulations differ from state to state, so you should learn more about the regulations in your area.

3. Get Insurance

It’s also crucial to get car wash business insurance to protect yourself and your company, for instance in case a car is damaged, someone sues you, an employee is hurt on the job, a customer is hurt on your premises, as well as avoid serious cash flow interruptions, which can be devastating for your business.

For most businesses, across industries, there are some minimum requirements for insurance, which may include coverage for liability and workers’ compensation. However, it’s best to invest in a policy designed especially for your type of business, to make sure that you are covered for more specific situations.

4. Plan Out Your Finances

Whether you have the necessary amount of money or you want to get funding, you must have a clear idea about your expenses. It could mean the difference between your business’s survival and failure. You should know how much money you need to start your business – for the legal stuff, the equipment, the supplies, and how much money you will need to stay above water in the first months until your business takes off. In other words, you should know all of your ongoing expenses. These include things such as utilities, salaries, rent, taxes, insurance, marketing, and so on.

5. Invest in Marketing

For businesses like car washes, the mere location can be its own advertisement. Nevertheless, marketing makes all the difference in the world, if you find the right strategy. The smartest decision you can make in terms of marketing if you aren’t an expert is to outsource it.

Use both traditional and digital marketing for the best results, and especially pay attention to social media.

6. Build Your Brand

Having a memorable and eye-catching name and logo is always a plus in the business world. Some brand names or trademarks for products become so resounding, that the term for the type of product, gets replaced with their name, or their name becomes a generic ­term – a process called genericization. For example, the name Band-aid has become synonymous with the term adhesive bandage, the name Kleenex with tissue, Xerox with copy machines, and so on.

If you manage to create a recognizable logo and name for your business, people are more likely to remember you and choose to go to your car wash every time.

7. Plan How to Retain Your Customers

Convenience can be decisive when it comes to people choosing to go back to a business. But offering a superb customer experience is also very important. To attract repeat customers, you can also offer more to them, for instance, loyalty programs, discounts, or gifts.

Final Thoughts

Everyone who has a car has to wash it, and most people prefer to have someone else do it for them. This is why, typically, car washes are in high demand. One of the reasons why it’s a good idea to start a car wash business is that you don’t need a very large structure. It’s also easy to operate, it doesn’t require very complicated training, the operating expenses are fairly low and the initial investment is significantly lower than for other businesses.

If you have any questions, please ask below!