Every driver loves having a freshly cleaned, waxed car, but many people lack the time and tools to do a thorough job at home. Car washes promise convenience, which could explain why this industry has grown significantly in recent years.
Various car wash services include in-bay or roll-over automatic washes, conveyor services and self-service car washes. Each type contributes to the car wash industry’s market value and growth rate. In the U.S., these services’ popularity reached a value of $14.2 billion in 2020, with an estimated compound annual growth rate of 4.8% from 2021 to 2028.
Why the Industry Is Growing
Many car wash stats explain the industry’s steady growth. Accessibility is one reason many car owners choose to use professional car washing services. Washing your car at home is a chore that can take hours. It is far easier and less time-consuming to go to a car wash. Because car washes have all the equipment in one place, do not require cleanup and even offer services where you do not have to leave your car, they are much more convenient and affordable.
More people are choosing professional car washes because, after a relatively slow year of vehicle purchases due to the COVID-19 pandemic, statistics estimate worldwide car sales to increase from 63.8 million in 2020 to 71.4 million in 2021. This expected hike corresponds with a need for additional car upkeep, attracting more people to car washes.
There are also environmental reasons people choose to go to professional car washes rather than use their driveways and hoses. Professional car washes use around 35 gallons of water per vehicle, whereas the average at-home car wash can require over 100 gallons of water. Because of this significant difference in water usage, some communities have implemented environmental restrictions that discourage do-it-yourself car washing. Conservation-minded customers may also choose to have their cars professionally washed.
A clean ride provides a sense of pride for many vehicle owners, while simultaneously keeping their vehicle in better shape. For instance, washing and waxing protect the car’s body and paint job. Also, car washes help maintain a vehicle’s overall appearance longer, thus leading to higher resale values. Another economic advantage is that a clean car might get up to 2 mpg better gas mileage than a dirty one.
10 Eye-Opening Car Wash Industry Statistics
While there are many reasons people choose to go to a professional car wash, it is undeniable that the car wash industry experiences consistent growth because of its convenience, affordability and practical benefits.
Here are 10 exciting statistics and trends that break down the car wash industry’s growth.
1. It’s Worth More Than $29 Billion Globally
The increasing use of professional car washes has equated to a global market size value of $29.4 billion in 2021. Studies estimate this number will continue increasing, with an estimated compound annual growth rate of 3.8% through 2028.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry was worth $33 billion, but closures and quarantines necessitated by the pandemic caused a massive economic setback. Despite the hiatus, as the pandemic’s effects begin normalizing and businesses continue regular work hours, car washes’ initial growth rate should return and stabilize.
2. North America Has the World’s Largest Car Wash Market
In North America alone, professional car washes wash over 2 billion vehicles yearly. Statistics project this trend to grow annually because of the consumer demand for professional car washing services and the convenience they provide.
Research attributes this large U.S. market to people’s willingness to spend money on convenience and leisure items. America’s car wash market has also expanded due to the different packages and deals car washes offer to reward regular members. Phone apps and no-contact payment methods have made touchless car washes a reliable, safe option amid the pandemic.
3. Roughly 43% of the Car Wash Industry’s Net Worth Comes From the U.S.
This number proves the United States is the most significant contributor to the world’s car wash industry. To achieve this contribution, nearly 66% of car owners in the United States get their vehicles washed once or twice per month. Industry contributions from habitual customers who pride themselves on having a clean ride keep the U.S. car wash industry the most mature in the world.
4. The United States Houses Over 60,000 Retail Car Wash Locations
These abundant places to get a car wash include car dealerships, gas stations and other facilities equipped with automatic car washes. Additionally, the U.S. has over 16,000 single-location and multi-location companies solely focused on car washes.
Another perspective on car washes nationwide is to look at the numbers based on the type of car wash. Specifically, there are over 9,000 full-service car washes, 10,500 exterior conveyor wash facilities, 36,000 self-serve car washes and 58,000 in-bay automatic facilities.
These establishments’ combined annual revenue equals nearly $10 billion. California ranks first in the nation for the number of car washes and income, with over 2,000 companies that focus solely on car washing and $1.6 billion total revenue from all types of car washes. Another state with a considerable car wash industry presence is Florida, which added 225 car washes between 2015 and 2019, increasing the state’s car washes by 21.1%.
5. People Get More Car Washes in Winter
Specifically, in states with snowfall and more winter road preparations, car washes tend to be busier during the winter. Cars get dirtier more quickly with exposure to things like road salt and filthy slush. Salt can also be harsh on your vehicle’s paint and exterior, so people prevent long-term damage by washing their cars more often than in calmer months.
6. Automatic Car Wash Options Are Profitable
The different types of car washes bring in varying profits annually. Automatic in-bay car washes bring in revenue equating to about $139,000 annually. After considering upkeep, maintenance and supplies, the average in-bay car wash provides a net profit of $86,531, with a per-car profit of approximately $4.35.
Tunnel car washes are like in-bay car washes, but instead of vehicle owners driving through the bays, tunnel car washes move cars through automatically on a conveyor belt or similar rail system. These car washes bring in more revenue because of their increased price and popularity. A tunnel car wash’s price averages around $15 per car. These car washes’ revenue can climb over $685,000 annually.
Self-serve truck washes are a less popular option than the previous two because they require vehicle owners to wash and rinse their cars themselves. The annual revenue of a two-bay self-serve car wash is around $41,000.
7. Car Detailers Can Earn High Salaries
Hourly, a car detailer’s average pay range is between $7.25 and $26.35. While the median yearly wage equates to over $27,000, more experienced and higher-paid detailers can make over $55,000 annually.
Maryland has the highest average hourly rate of $15.92, and the highest-paid detailer in Maryland makes over $45 hourly, culminating in a total of $95,275 per year.
8. Small Businesses Dominate the Car Wash Industry
Unlike many other sectors, the car wash industry is one of the few where major players do not dominate. Most car washes are independently owned small businesses that are not part of nationwide chains. The lack of conglomerations running the car wash industry leaves an opening for entrepreneurs to open and run car wash operations without globally notable competition. No major car wash companies earn more than 5% market share, indicating a relatively open market that gives small business owners a chance to thrive independently.
9. More Americans Make Purchasing Decisions Based on Environmental Issues
Approximately 78% of Americans say they are more likely to buy environmentally friendly products. This statistic is relevant to the car wash industry because emphasizing the water usage savings provided by public car washes will attract environmentally conscious consumers. Additionally, car wash companies can bring in even more vehicle owners by highlighting their use of eco-friendly equipment and materials. While these eco-friendly products may cost more, car washes that offer them can charge a premium.
10. Frequent Car Wash Visitors Are the Market’s Backbone
Frequent car wash visitors, referred to as heavy users, are vehicle owners who go to car washes multiple times per month. These people who derive satisfaction from having clean cars make up 66% of the car wash market. Another 47% of people visit the car wash once every few months.
These numbers are relevant because they prove the car wash industry has many loyal customers. The sheer number of consistent users explains the high demand and provides a path for independently owned car washes to gain a loyal customer base.
Looking Ahead at Potential Industry Growth
The car wash industry’s future seems bright, based on the estimation of a steady annual rise of 3.8% globally, increasing the sector’s total net worth by over $9 billion by 2025. This expected growth follows past trends where increasing numbers of people choose car wash facilities instead of at-home car washes.
Despite a slight downturn in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the car wash industry has recovered from potential losses during shutdowns. The pandemic has even caused some owners to use car washes more often because of the need for sanitization and the convenience of not having to exit the car to wash it. Despite the pandemic’s effects, the number of vehicle owners in the United States continues to increase, so the demand for car wash facilities should see corresponding growth.
The car wash industry will not become obsolete because it is impossible to outsource. Car washes must be local, which limits consumers’ options to either commercial washes or washing their cars at home. The convenience and various packages and pricing options offered by car washes make them a more desirable choice than a do-it-yourself car wash.
As car washes’ popularity continues to grow, the opportunity for small business owners will also increase. Business owners who keep up with user demands can build their reputation and differentiate themselves from competitors. Some recent car wash trends picking up traction include ceramic technology, tire shine, industrial washes, automation and membership programs. Customers love earning rewards for their loyalty, so offering incentives and programs can keep your car wash in high demand.
Let JBS Industries Help Your Car Wash Succeed
As the car wash industry continues to grow, so do we at JBS Industries. We are an international car wash supply manufacturer with the guiding principles of quality, innovation, value and service. These standards have allowed us to continue providing customers with various options to meet their specific needs. We create densely concentrated products with high dilutions, product consistency and custom manufacturing capabilities.
Within our high-quality cleaning products, you will see environmentally engineered options and reasonable prices formulated to satisfy any of your needs, ranging from hyper-concentrated formulas to low-pH foam soap. Some of our featured products include pre-soaks, detergents, detailing products, protectants and wheel and tire concentrates. Each product we offer has a specific purpose, which you can find under the product description to see what option works best for your car wash.
Contact Us Today to Learn More
To learn more about the different supplies we offer and industries we service, contact us either through our online contact form or by calling 855-220-6253.
JBS Industries aims to provide each of our customers with innovative cleaning solutions unsurpassed in quality and value and with exceptional customer service. Contact us today to learn more about the qualities that make us stand out.