Proven Tips for Starting and Running a Successful Car Wash Business

Car Being Washed

The car wash business is promising because the required capital to start is not that huge. 

You don't need excessive promotion because the average customer is from a car wash location, and operational costs are also standard.

However, even though it looks easy, why do many fail in this business? 

What steps must be taken to make your car business successful? 


We did our homework and found out how a person can run a car wash business and gain profit from it quickly. And we found tips on how to avoid the car wash business going bankrupt.

It turns out that fatal errors are not always the cause of failure, and it is actually easy to overcome them. So, for those who want to open a car wash service, don't hesitate; we have sure tips to make your business run smoothly.

Tips for Running a Successful Car Wash Business

Actually, there aren't a lot of tips for running a profitable car wash business that will allow you to make a profit swiftly, maintain a steady flow of money, and avoid going bankrupt.

Thus, the likelihood is that everything will go smoothly for your car wash business if you truly pay attention to the tips provided in this article.

Let's begin now.

1. Choosing the right location

The risk of a car wash business failing is really big if you choose the wrong location. What is the reason? This is because the more car traffic around, the more potential consumers there are.

Just imagine: if the location enters an alley even though the road is wide, what will happen? Can car owners find it easily, and will they bother entering the alley even though there is a more strategic car wash?

Therefore, choose a location with high mobility to increase consumer prospects. Areas leading to offices, shopping centers, schools, entertainment facilities, eating places, and other public areas will be better.

2. Determine the type of car wash

Before opening a car wash business, first determine the type of car wash you want to have.

Do you want to open a manual, hydraulic, or automatic type? Which one is your choice?

  • Manual type: Almost all manual car wash businesses are carried out using human power. Generally, the laundry will have some kind of empty space to clean the bottom of the car that is placed above that space. The manual type is simple but is often the favorite because it is safe.
  • Hydraulic type: Most car wash businesses now use a hydraulic system because it is easier to clean underneath. However, for hydraulics, there is a risk that the car could be somewhat damaged if the operator is not skilled or lacks maintenance.
  • Automatic type: This one uses machines for cleaning and drying cars and it does not require workers, but an automatic car wash business obviously requires much more capital.

Think carefully about the types of car wash above from various aspects, then decide after you are sure.

3. A sufficient amount of capital and reserve funds

Providing sufficient capital and reserve funds is important because there are often unexpected expenses.

The cost of the car wash business itself is not too expensive; for example, for hydraulics, it costs around $3,300.

However, these costs do not include funds for renting a place. Then, the price of the tools you were previously eyeing may change when you buy them.

Another possibility is that the tool ordered is not available, and you have to wait a long time or change to another type.

So, providing sufficient capital and reserve funds is very important to overcome the above problems. Of course you don't want to delay opening your business, especially since you're already paying rent, right?

4. Obtain an appropriate land area

The next tip for a quick and successful car wash business is to consider the size of the land where the car wash is located.

Getting the right land area is important so that it is easy for customers to park and you can also project profits.

For example, if the place only fits two cars, that means for 60 minutes there are only two customers.

Conditions will be different if the space accommodates two washes and three car parks; profits can be greater and success quicker.

The ideal land area for your own car wash business is clearly in accordance with the owner's wishes. However, if you want a car wash that can accommodate 4-5 cars, then 150 m2 will be enough.

5. Selection of washing equipment

Washing equipment is like a cell phone; even though the specifications are the same, the quality can be different.

So, pay close attention to the problem of choosing washing equipment because there is a price, and of course there is an item.

Washing equipment specifications also vary; please choose one that suits the scale of your car washing business.

For example, consider how big the compressor is, the use of a jet cleaner, the size of the hose, the suction cup, and other complementary equipment.

Also, find out how the tools you choose are maintained and their durability.

I wonder whether it will last if the car wash business is successful and has lots of customers every day, or how much maintenance it requires and how often.

Also, make sure to keep the warranty card as good as possible so that if there is damage, you can use it.

6. Observe the car wash business competition

If you want to be successful quickly, being superior to competitors is clearly necessary to attract customers.

So, observing the car wash business competition around you is necessary to find out what their condition, quality, and strategies are.

Don't let it happen that because you think it's running smoothly, you end up stuck there.

Meanwhile, on the other hand, competitors continue to make improvements and additional services that can take away your customers.

To not be left behind by your competitors, there are many ways, and it doesn't always have to be apple to apple.

For example, they offer faster washing than keeping up, while not always offering the same thing is the best way.

Think first about whether you won't be overwhelmed if you want to offer the same thing.

You can take different steps that are within reach. For example, hold promotions or give customers laundry vouchers; this is also interesting.

7. Adjust the price of washing services

To be successful quickly, of course, getting big car wash business profits is the way to go.

However, setting high washing costs is not a solution. What if the car wash nearby is much cheaper? Maybe they will choose another washing service?

So, adjust the price or cost of car washing to those around you so that consumers don't run away first.

For example, if you want to offer a higher level of service, there must be a much different plus value, and consumers must feel they are benefiting.

8. Provide options that make it easy for customers

Providing options that make it easier for customers can make them satisfied and make them come back and become customers.

A large number of subscriptions is certainly profitable and can make your car wash business a quick success.

Some of the conveniences you can offer customers include:

  1. Easy parking
  2. Choice of payment system
  3. Variations in washing (for example, you want to clean only the outside or only the inside)
  4. Car pick-up and drop-off

Simple choices like the ones above can make customers feel satisfied and end up coming back again and again.

9. Clear SOPs

A clear SOP can make your car wash service business quickly successful and reap profits.

This is because customers know what they can get, have clear service standards, and have clear workmanship standards.

The existence of SOPs also standardizes various things, including washing quality.

This can also maintain the quality of your car wash so that it does not decline and continues to provide the best.

It's best to post this SOP on social media pages, websites, or at your car wash business directly.

The goal is to ensure that both customers and employees know what their obligations and rights are.

10. Rewards for customers

Giving rewards to customers can make them feel appreciated and special. Luckily, customers won't hesitate to come back to wash their cars at your place.

Then, there is a possibility that they will recommend your place to their friends, family, or relatives. This reward can take various forms depending on your abilities, for example:

  1. Price cuts or discounts
  2. Merchandise
  3. Free washing voucher
  4. Free laundry products
  5. Drinks

Please adjust the reward according to your abilities so that it can continue smoothly.

Don't let the program stop halfway, make consumers disappointed, and choose to leave.

11. Professional and friendly employees

Employees are the cornerstone of your business because they are the ones who operate and deal with consumers.

Select the employees who will work and, if possible, have previous experience.

Set the standards you want during recruitment so that you won't be disappointed later.

Owners should also provide training so that employees can be proficient and comply with SOPs. 

Supervision is also still necessary so that employees do not do their own thing or take things for granted.

12. Comfortable waiting area

Lastly, there is the issue of a comfortable waiting area so that customers feel at home while waiting for the car to be washed. The size of this comfortable waiting area is certainly different.

If a car wash offers premium washing services, obviously a good waiting area is expected.

On the other hand, if the washing place is simple, then customers don't expect more; they don't get caught in the rain or heat, and clean is enough.

Risks of the Car Wash Business

Many people sometimes feel doubtful when they want to open a car wash business.

This is not wrong because this business still has disadvantages that must be understood so that you can prepare yourself.

The following are some risks that you are likely to face when running a car wash business:

1. Low customers

The first risk is that the car wash business is likely to experience a detrimental period, namely when there are few customers and almost no one comes.

There are several things that can cause this, such as choosing to build a car wash business in a location where almost no one owns a car.

Therefore, pay close attention to the environment where you want to build a car wash business.

2. Unstable income

Furthermore, unstable income is also a barrier to why this business does not run according to plan.

Some conditions that make income unstable include damage to the equipment used to wash cars, few customers, increased rental costs, and many more.

3. Business competition

When you open a business, such as a car wash, you will not be free from competition from other businesses.

Even if business competition enters a serious stage, it can take the form of bringing each other down or badmouthing businesses run by other business people.

Car Wash Business Package

If we pay attention, we can see several other car wash businesses selling several attractive business packages. You can also take part in implementing this to help your business grow further.

Some individual products that are often sold together with this business package are:

1. Snow shampoo

The first item sold and included in the car wash package is snow shampoo, which is very useful for keeping the car clean and shiny.

This type of shampoo is made from several chemicals that are mixed in such a way as to produce a lot of foam so that it can clean all kinds of dirt stuck to the surface of the customer's car.

2. Tire shine

Not only the surface of the car but also the tires must always be cleaned well.

Therefore, tire polish is also provided in the package for sale because this polish is useful for making car tires as black and clean as before.

3. Vacuum cleaner

This next tool has the function of cleaning and sucking up all dirt that is invisible and is still attached even though it has been cleaned using water.

Some of these impurities include biscuit crumbs, cigarette ash, and so on.

A vacuum cleaner is the most effective alternative for cleaning a car in hard-to-reach corners.

Simple Car Wash Business Capital

Before deciding to open a car wash business, you must first know about the possible capital that must be prepared.

Actually, the capital needed to run this business varies depending on the equipment. The following is an estimate of several things that must be prepared when calculating capital:

1. Car wash banner

The first thing to consider when preparing capital is the cost of making a car wash banner.

Even though it sounds simple, banners are important to help your business get recognized by people.

For this reason, try to create a banner that is easy to remember so that customers feel interested.

2. Making a well

Next, you have to make a well because the well is useful for channeling water. Clean water that comes from wells will flow more smoothly because it comes from water sources in the ground.

3. Waiting room

So that customers don't feel bored while waiting for their car to be cleaned, you can prepare a comfortable waiting room by providing lots of tables and chairs.

Not only that, you can also buy a radio and speakers to play songs, so it's not too quiet.

4. Car wash equipment

Finally, the main capital must be used to buy car washing equipment. You can buy high-quality equipment and try to keep the budget within your means.

Ideal Land Area For a Car Wash Business

If you have a house in an urban area, you may feel a little confused about how much land is suitable for building a car wash business.

This business requires a fairly large business space, so at least you have to provide a place that can accommodate approximately 2 to 3 cars.

Generally, the land area large enough to accommodate a number of cars is approximately 90 to 120 square meters.

If more vehicles can be accommodated, your car wash business will also develop better.

It would be even more ideal if the car wash was built on the terrace of your house, so you don't have to pay rental fees.

There are several places that can be used for this business, and it would be better if you built it in a location that is busy with people visiting.

Some examples of areas that are perfect for a car wash business include:

1. Near housing

The first location is an area near housing or urban residential areas. Because it is very likely that the people who live in this housing have cars.

2. Near offices

Apart from housing, areas close to the office are also worth considering.

Because many office workers also have cars, the chance of them passing by your car wash is higher.

Car Wash Business Cost Budget Plan

In preparing for this business, we also have to make an appropriate budget plan.

The following is an estimate of the capital that will likely be needed to run a car wash business:

1. Initial capital

The initial capital required to build this type of business is quite large.

Therefore, if you have difficulty preparing initial capital, you can look for other alternatives, namely by borrowing money from the bank, or you can also enter into a business collaboration.

2. Operating costs

The operational costs needed to run a car wash business every day also need to be calculated properly.

All operational costs will generally be calculated within a period of one month or 30 days so that you know approximately how much you will spend for a particular month.

3. Monthly income

If you already know the operational costs, then you can calculate how high the profit prospects are.

This income can be calculated by adding up the number of cars washed every day according to their size.

After that, you can find out the net profit by subtracting revenue costs from operating costs.

4. Calculation of breakthrough capital

If you have found a rough calculation of net profit, you can also calculate how long it will take to return your investment from this business.

To calculate it, you can divide the total initial capital by the net profit each month.

Hydraulic Car Wash Business Capital

Maybe many people don't know the difference between a regular car wash and a hydraulic car wash.

In short, hydraulic car washing is a method for washing a car that is done while lifting the bottom using a tool, namely a hydraulic machine.

By implementing a hydraulic system, all parts of the car, such as the undercarriage, will be washed until they are clean.

To start a hydraulic car wash business, it is more or less the same as a regular car wash. However, you also have to prepare certain tools, such as:

  • Car hydraulics
  • Hose
  • Compressor
  • Wipe
  • Snow Tube

There is still much more equipment that must be prepared, such as installation costs for all of the equipment.

You also shouldn't forget to prepare capital funds to pay for electricity, because usually the amount of electricity used for this activity reaches approximately 5500 watts.

Not only that, but as a hydraulic car wash business owner, you also have to consider other things.

Some of these things include the cost of renting a place, especially when you open the business elsewhere.

In fact, you also have to pay attention to the salary system that will be given to car wash employees.

In the automotive world, there are three salary systems for employees: fixed salary, mixed system, and profit sharing.

For novice businesspeople, it would be better to implement a profit-sharing system first if you are still worried about turnover not meeting expectations.

Car Wash Business Turnover

The turnover that may be obtained from running a car wash business is varied and not absolute.

This means that the amount of turnover really depends on how much the business can accommodate in one day and the number of consumers.

Now, there are several tips that you can follow to increase your turnover, as below:

1. Carry out innovation

Innovation is very important when running any business you want to pursue.

One innovation that you can make to entertain car wash business consumers is by setting up an entertainment corner, such as showing films and television series that they can watch.

2. Manage finances

In order not to suffer losses, you must carry out proper financial management and not do it carelessly.

Don't use the income you get from the car wash business for personal things, because if you continue doing this, it could actually make your business go bankrupt.

3. Investment profits

The next tip is that you can try to invest the net profits you have obtained from the car wash business.

That way, later, you will get double the profits compared to before.

However, try to be careful when doing this because if you take the wrong step, you could lose your business income.

Benefits of a Car Wash Business

There's no mistaking it; this business is very tempting. The amount of turnover that can be obtained is quite high.

Here are some of the benefits that you will likely get when you open a car wash business as a beginner:

1. Easy to run

The first advantage that is felt is that this business is a type of business that is quite easy to run every day.

Because this business does not require processes that are too complicated and troublesome for many parties,.

You only need to have employees who are well-behaved and competent, which is enough to help your business run well.

In fact, young employees can also learn the process of washing vehicles easily and quickly.

2. A good image in society

The main advantage of the car wash business is that this business has a fairly good image in the eyes of the public.

There are several types of businesses that have a negative image in the public eye, one of which is the internet cafe business.

Meanwhile, this business will not cause any problems because it actually provides good services to the local community.

3. Wide market

The final advantage is that this business has a very wide market and will most likely continue to grow all the time.

This is because more and more people nowadays are buying private vehicles such as cars and the number is increasing every year.

You can apply the suggestions or tips on how to run a successful car wash business quickly above at any car wash.

Whether it's the right capital for a simple car wash business or an elite car wash, the essence of the business is exactly the same.

Service is a priority and customer satisfaction must be maintained so that they do not give up coming back. Then, the issue of location is very crucial and has an important role.

So, if you haven't found a suitable location, it's best to wait first because it's only spacious and there aren't enough costs.

Hopefully you can run your car wash business smoothly and quickly with success. If there is a problem, don't immediately panic and give up. Please try the tips above first, who knows, it might help and get you back on your feet.

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