Benefits of a Car Wash Business
In 2019, the United States had 16,976 car washes with paid employees. When you think about it, that number isn’t too surprising. Nearly anyone with a car likes to have a car wash nearby to keep their vehicle clean. And as that number might suggest, a car wash is a lucrative business for many entrepreneurs.
As with any business venture, opening a car wash has pros and cons. While we believe the benefits far outweigh any potential concerns, we’ve put together a list of the advantages and potential considerations to help you decide for yourself.
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Benefits of Opening a Car Wash
The benefits of owning a car wash as a business include everything from market growth and profitability to more personal appeals like the independence of owning your own business. Here are our top six advantages of opening a car wash:
1. Industry Growth
The car wash industry is booming, and it’s only going to look up from here. In 2020, the global car wash market size had a value of $27.8 billion, and the market is expected to continue growing through 2028 at a compound annual rate of 3.8%. In the U.S., that rate is even higher, coming in at an estimated 4.8% compound annual growth rate.
2. Opportunity for Small Businesses
No major companies hold more than 5% of the market share in the U.S. — which makes it far more feasible for new business owners to break into the car wash market successfully. In this industry, you’ll have a relatively open field without having to compete with major established brands.
On top of the incredible market opportunity for new business owners, owning a car wash has a business profit averaging $86,531 for automatic in-bay car washes. While the revenue varies depending on the type of car wash you choose to open, the most popular tunnel car wash option generates up to $685,000 a year in revenue.
4. Choice of Car Wash Type
Because there are four main types of car washes, you have the freedom to decide which works best for you. The four types are:
- Full-service car washes
- Self-serve car washes
- Exterior conveyor belt car washes
- In-bay automatic car washes
Each type will bring its own set of pros and cons. For example, self-serve car washes let the owner of the car wash the vehicle themselves — meaning a lower startup cost for you, but they aren’t as popular as in-bay automatic services. On the flip side, automatic car washes require more expensive equipment, but you don’t need as large a staff as a full-service wash, in which the employees hand-wash the cars.
Every car wash owner will have a different set of priorities, making the variety of car wash options appealing. You can choose whichever suits your situation and goals the best.
5. Nationwide Market
When people search for a car wash, they look local — which means all cities need car washes. You don’t need to move to a major metropolitan area to have a lucrative business.
However, some cities might have more competition or less demand than others, making it essential to conduct effective market research. Consider factors like how many potential customers and how much competition a particular location would have. Once you’ve completed your research, you’ll likely still have a broad set of options for places to start your new business.
Owning a car wash brings all the benefits of owning any small business. You have the flexibility to run your business in a way that suits you, and you ultimately control your business outcomes. Because you’re the boss, you also have the opportunity to implement any creative ideas you might have to set your car wash apart.
If you do have a few creative ideas, hold onto them. We’ll come back to them in a minute.
Considerations for Owning a Car Wash
While there are many benefits to owning a car wash, there are also a few considerations to keep in mind before diving into your new venture:
- Be aware of regulations: All industries have laws and regulations in place to keep them operating honestly and safely. When running a car wash, you should stay on top of environmental laws, as well as worker and customer safety laws. To give you a starting point, we’ve put together a guide to the major regulations to be aware of when running a car wash.
- Anticipate competition: While the local demand for car washes is exciting, it also means that certain areas might have substantial competition. Use your market research to plan for this possibility. Even if you find yourself in a high-competition locale, you can still run a successful car wash. Create a strong marketing plan — putting those creative ideas to work — and offer unique or specialized products, such as our Shine Time Ceramic formulas and Glow Foam Ceramic formulas.
- Know your costs: Any new business has startup and operational expenses. For a new car wash, some startup costs — like land cost, rent and advertising — will be universal, while other expenses will vary across the different types of car washes. For example, opening a hand car wash might cost as low as $15,000 to start, but you might need millions to start an express wash. If you know these costs ahead of time, you can prepare accordingly and have a successful start to your new business.
Knowing these considerations now will help you stay strategic while beginning your new venture. If you’d like more advice on how to start a successful car wash business, read our guide to creating a business plan. Good preparation is vital to reap the many benefits of owning a car wash.
Turn to JBS Industries for High-Quality Cleaners
If you’ve read the pros and cons of owning a car wash and you’re ready to start your new business, turn to JBS Industries for the best supplies. Top-of-the-line detergents, protectants, polishes and more will help set you apart from the competition. We’ve been providing high-quality car wash cleaners for over 40 years, so we know how to develop cleaners that stand out.
We also know that you might have a lot of questions about which supplies are best for your new venture, so we provide excellent customer service to get you those answers quickly. Contact us to learn how our products can help you start your new car wash off strong!