How to Start Car Wash Business for Beginners

The carwash business is a great way to make extra big money with low investment. Startup costs are low and earning potential is very high. You must be passionate about cars and automobiles to succeed in this business. Creative marketing is the key to achieving success in this business.

Car owners normally depend heavily on cars for communication needs. Most car owners find challenges in having time to clean or maintain them. And here lies the business opportunity.

10 Steps to Start a Car Wash Business

1. Get Trained

If you are seriously looking forward to getting into the trade of car wash service business, having adequate training is a must. You need to learn the appropriate updated skills for cleaning cars and vehicles. Check local college or training institute and get enrolled for the training. The training generally covers the use of chemicals, the process to clean engines and body including interior and exterior, business practices, etc. Normally the duration of the training course is around three months.

2. Gather Experience

It is extremely important to have hands-on experience in practicing the skills learned in the actual field. It is advised to work under a reputed car wash company before starting your own. It will not only give you confidence but also learn the tricks of the trade and understanding customer expectations from a car wash technician.

3. Research the Market

Before starting any business, understanding the local market is a critical step. It holds true for car wash business too. Go for detailed market research and collect information regarding the market size, types of customers, who are your competitors, services offered by existing and their pricing strategy, the gaps you observe, etc.

4. Naming Your Car Wash Business

Choosing a relevant name for your business is immensely important in the long term success of any business. Choose a relevant and catchy name in which customers can easily relate to your car wash business. Check this guide to know how to name a business.

5. Create a Business Plan

Based on the information collected, start documenting a detailed business plan. This documentation will remain as a road map for your car wash business in the days to come. Include objectives, operating plan, a financial plan including pricing strategy, marketing plan in your business plan. If needed take the help of this business plan generators for guidance.

6. Incorporate Your Business

If you want to have a hassle-free business, incorporating your venture is a wise thing to do. Every state and country offers different types of legal entities. Check with the local authority and choose the formation which is best for you based on your resources. If you are from the United States, people having personal assets and looking for protection of the same, forming an LLC  is a preferred option for beginners.

After you incorporate your business, apply for a business bank account for future financial transactions.

7. Licenses & Permits

Check with the local appropriate authority to understand the licenses and permits required to start and run a car wash business. Most states require a business license, operating permit or tax registration. It is important to know that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics enlists this business in the “Cleaners of Vehicles and Equipment” category. Buy a business liability insurance after properly negotiating with vendors.

8. Procure Equipment

You will need a garage to clean the vehicles. For a beginner, it is advised to operate more like a mobile car wash technician, where you would go to customers for cleaning their vehicles.

In addition to the space required for the car washing, you’ll need the following bigger ticket items:

1. A good shop vac with a long hose.

2. Detailing attachments for the shop vac. Click here. Cost: $18.00

The basic equipment includes sponges, brushes, cloths, buckets, vacuum and cleaners, and wax. You’ll need to be familiar with car detailing products so you don’t use anything that may cause damage to the car’s finish.
You will also need access to an electrical outlet and water spigot. As your business grows, you may consider buying a portable generator and a large capacity water tank.

9. Bookkeeping

Simply, bookkeeping for a small business is recording day to day business transactions. Choosing proper accounting software is hugely critical in setting up a proper bookkeeping process.

10. Promote Your Business

Car Wash business owners’ promotional strategy should be locally centered. You must not promote your services beyond your operational reach. Create advertisements and place them in local publications, such as small newspapers and community-focused magazines. Place ads on smaller, local television and radio stations, and buy advertising space in local phone books and coupon books.

Strategic partnerships with companies that are not operating in your segment in the local car-care industry can help customer bases to grow your own business. You also need to create a basic website for your business. Promote your car wash business on social media platforms and keep your customers updated regularly about topics related to the car wash.