How to Start a Car Wash Business

Starting a car wash business may seem daunting at first. Complications can be avoided so long as you do your business plan correctly. This step-by-step guide may help you set up and operate your car wash business.

As sure as your car needs gas to run, it also needs to be cleaned when it gets dirty.

Making sure your car is in spic and span condition serves two purposes. First, for the obvious reason that it makes your car look good. Second, removing dirt and grime keeps the exterior of your car from deteriorating quickly.

Most car owners consider washing their cars a chore they could live without. They would rather send their times doing something worthwhile or more enjoyable than scrubbing, soaping, rinsing, and waxing their cars. Who wouldn’t?

This is where the cleaning expertise of a car wash business comes in. There are several reasons why running a car wash service is a good business opportunity. For one, as mentioned, most car owners would rather pay than be bothered by the hassle of cleaning their cars. Two, just when the number of cars has increased by a huge margin; for some reason, the number of exterior-conveyor car wash stations have decreased. Three, today’s busy lifestyle has turned time into a rare commodity. Cleaning a car takes a while and since car-owners simply do not have time to spare, their only option is to seek the convenience of have somebody else do the task for them.

    If you are interested in starting your own car wash business, here is a step-by-step guide that may help you with your project:
  • Step 1 – Decide whether you want to buy into a franchise or start your car wash center from scratch.
  • Step 2 – Select a name for your business. This name must be unique, catchy, and must reflect the nature of your service.
  • Step 3 – Scout for a possible location. Choose an area that is highly visible and accessible.
  • Step 4 – Acquaint yourself with the rules and regulations of the local government unit that may apply to you such as insurance etc. Procure the necessary permits and licenses you need to operate a car wash business in the city and state where you plan to offer your service.
  • Step 5 – Get a wholesale permit from the Franchise Tax Board. This permit will enable you to buy goods and be exempted from paying tax.
  • Step 6 – Come up with a workable operation plan. Include factors like facilities, equipment, manpower, and supplies in your operation plan. And make sure you work out both the long term and short-term aspects of your operations.
  • Step 7 – Check out your competition. See what kind of services they offer and if possible, device a way to offer more services and perks to entice customers.
  • Step 8 – When everything is in order and you are ready to open, launch a promotional campaign for your business using innovative and catchy advertising materials.

    * Don’t rely on walk-in clients. Companies usually have a fleet of cars at their disposal. Try to get a service contract with such companies. If you are lucky enough, you will have a regular source of income.
  • Step 9 – Device a way to keep your customers coming back. You may want to offer discounts, the rate of which is commensurate to how frequently a customer employs your service.

158 Comments

  • halle todd said on October 16, 2009
    i am a jamaican and i would like to open a car wash business, i want to go all out with it, how much would it cost me to do that and the best product to buy buy
  • rodger buffman said on May 17, 2010
    bristol tn. please send any and all business plans etc. for a mobile car washing business
  • Mark Barican said on June 15, 2010
    anyone of you wants to start a carwash business contact me at my email address chronic.scents@gmail.com i can help you. my company supplies and provides training from a start up car wash up to the well known car wash and detailing station all over the asia. we can provide you lower cost and a better quality products
  • Mladen said on June 2, 2011
    I am a college student looking to open up my own car wash business. I am looking to devote my whole time into this until I see profit and continue to excel from the business. Do you have any advice as to where I should start and how to get my business licenses acquired?
  • NoorMohammed said on January 14, 2012
    I like to start a car wash service centre, I would be grateful if you send complete feedback on this regards,
  • Vikrant Darekar said on January 28, 2012
    Hi, Myself Vikrant and presently working in a Private Bank. I am looking beyond service and wants to set up a car wash plant. Location which is mostly preferable is in between Kopargaon and shirdi. Both the location are connected with the state highway. My proposed car wash plant location is 500 mtrs from the highway and easily visible from road. Request your help in setting up the plant. Thanks & Warm Regards, Vikrant 9604500824
  • Ramesha said on March 18, 2012
    Please send complete details including investment to car wash station thanks my no 9731817801
  • durgesh gupta said on April 8, 2012
    i want investment amount as well as area required for this business . my area is near by indore OR 70 k.m from indore
  • Moin said on August 21, 2012
    Hi m interested in starting a car washing service station ... Plz help in purchasing the equipments required ....thank u ...my no is 09796403238..
  • riyas kuyyalil said on September 30, 2012
    I would like to have approximate cost for semi auto car wash system as well as manual car wash. I have very good place to setup.It is in Kannur Distric , Kerala , India.
  • lima imsong said on November 18, 2012
    i want to open a car wash service business not too standard i want to know how much does it cost for the equipments please help in purchasing. thank u
  • suranga prasad said on December 24, 2012
    Hi I'm Sri Lanka. I want to open a car wash service business. I want to know how to wash a car step by step. Please help me.Thank you.
  • Devendra Sharma said on January 3, 2013
    I like to start a car wash service center, I would be grateful if you send complete feedback on this regards. Location of Service center, City Bulandshar/GB Nager, State UP, Country India.
  • rinku Jain said on February 1, 2013
    I wanna instal a car wash system plz give me the estimate of the machine and approx. amount that are need to install
  • Joy Menachery said on February 12, 2013
    I would like to start a car washing unit in Perumbavoor town where we have tyre retail shop with sufficient space to locate a washing unit(MANUAL).Pl.let me informed the costs of M/c and utilities, along with procedures like municipal licenses and pollution control costs etc. at the earliest.
  • PANKAJ CHHABRA said on February 17, 2013
    Sir, I want to start an automobile service centre Starting from car wash with minimum investment. pls support... Thanx
  • vikash kumar said on March 15, 2013
    I want to start automatic car wash business in city Purnia, state- Bihar, India. Kindly advise me the best way to start this and what is the estimated cost for this platform.
  • Laz said on April 5, 2013
    I live in a university town in Nigeria, I want to start a medium scale car wash business but not the automated type. I will want to know the necessary equipment that will be needed for this in order to make mine stand out from the rest we have in my location. Many of the ones here already have pressure washers, but are there other equipment that I may buy to enhance patronage.
  • Nitin Shukla said on April 8, 2013
    Hello, I have an Indian Oil Retail Outlet and alongside I have a car wash service station which was closed since long time. I am starting it again. I just need a business plan to go along that would help me in the startup. If you could help me it would be great. Promotional material guidance required in particular. Thank You, Regards, Nitin Shukla, Indore, MP, India
  • Deju said on April 8, 2013
    Am a university student at addis ababa university. I wanna create my own new car washing business in addis ababa but am in stress about how can i do. what materials can i use to b better...
  • srinivas said on April 18, 2013
    i am MBA graduate from osmania university, i wanna create my own car washing business in Hyderabad, andhra pradesh but i have no idea how to start give me an idea
  • NAVEEN GOYAL said on April 19, 2013
    i want to start automatic car wash business. please help for about project cost . i'm post graduate in International business. And now am working for MNC from last three and half year
  • Ibrahim Kamal said on April 26, 2013
    what are the best equipment that one should get at start. The business location is Nigeria on a major and very busy road.
  • Narasimhan said on May 20, 2013
    Kindly send me the total business plan and ROI for car wash station in chennai, chrompet. Thanks and Regards, Narasimhan
  • Joseph Christopher S. Pengson said on June 13, 2013
    Sir/s, I would like to start a car wash business.. can you help me with this please..... How much will be the capital for such business? and the break-even..? Please contact me through my email or you can reach me through this number +639051599638. Your help is much appreciated. Thank you.
  • Amber said on June 20, 2013
    Hello my self Amber, i want to start my own car wash business can u plz help me fr buying equipments and how much cost is to be used for the same...approx
  • Vaibhav Kassrija said on June 28, 2013
    I want to start my own car wash plant in punjab. I own a place on the main road runs through the heart of city. I want to know the cost of the plant. please suggest. Regards Vaibhav Kassrija
  • Nitin S said on July 15, 2013
    Small Car wash business with bare minimum investment in Lucknow (Nayak Nagar Sitapur Road) India. My doubts are related to how to get customers and business? I haven't any business experience so require some gyan about Marketing, Dealing with customers for this business. Regards Nitin S
  • Ashish Giri said on July 20, 2013
    I want to start car detailing business in mumbai maharashtra so can any one help me for training of the business. U can also call me on 9833351366
  • Rupesh Shravage said on July 24, 2013
    Hello All Can any one help / guide me in opening a car wash center in Pune, my contact number is 08380077393
  • alpesh said on July 29, 2013
    Hi sir i want to start car wash business in ahmedabad, kindly suggest me which area is the best and what investment required.
  • Gurpreet said on August 28, 2013
    Hi all, I have a car washing machine, along with the vacuum cleaner which has been imported from abroad. I am located in hyderabad, if anyone is interested in the machines kindly reach me on 8019634127 Hyderabad number. Hurry limited offer price!
  • Gurpreet said on August 28, 2013
    Hi all, if you need information on a-z about car wash, we will be able to provide you consultation with a minimum amount of consultation charges. If interested kindly call on 8019634131 hyderabad number
  • mohammed shafi said on September 18, 2013
    I like to start car wash business in hyderabad in india how much indian rupee required to start with hydraulic system please assist me
  • Nasim said on September 19, 2013
    Dear sir, I would like to start a new car wash center in bharanikavu near kollam, kerala state, india. please let me know what is the procedure of new wash center? how much space need for the center ? what are the best equipment and, how to get my business licenses acquired? actually i don't have any idea about it. also about waste water.
  • ramdas volvoikar said on September 27, 2013
    I would like to start a car wash service centre in Goa. Please forward me the details
  • Tammy Nolan said on October 30, 2013
    Looking at a couple different locations. Branson, MO Area, St.Charles County and Franklin County in MO. Thanks!
  • rams said on November 5, 2013
    I like to start car wash business in rajahmundry in india (Andhra Pradesh) how much indian rupee required to start with hydraulic system please assist me
  • mathew baby said on November 20, 2013
    dear sir i would like to start a new auto service center in kerala kollam dist;
  • Hashiq said on November 21, 2013
    Respected sir, I'd like to start a car wash business at Malappuram dist. Kerala India, pls provide me some ideas about semi/automatic, machineries permits and approvals.
  • Bithin said on December 16, 2013
    I would like to start an automatic car wash station pls provide me the avg.cost for automatic.
  • Menaka Herath said on December 19, 2013
    I would like to start car wash station(car, lorry, bus, van etc). Pls send me where the places which i need to get equipment(hydrolic jacks, hoses) and floor plan.
  • h.s.kumaraswamy said on December 25, 2013
    sir, I want to open car wash unit, two wheel unit link to national highway please give me the area (land )purchase and cost of automatic car washing. equipments, thank you
  • zubair qureshi said on December 30, 2013
    I have a car business old car sale and purchase and i want to start car washing center In low budget shall I do or not
  • Kumar said on January 1, 2014
    We intend to open a car wash centre on a busy highway in kerala. Kindly request you to give us a detailed costing for the car wash centre with a minimum of 4 car wash bays, pump rooms, vacuum and drying areas and office. best regards, kumar. a.
  • Nser said on January 7, 2014
    to start car wash service station in kerala malappuram dt Tirur
  • G shiva kumar said on January 17, 2014
    Dear sir, Hai MBA graduate from osmania university, i wanna create my own car washing business in karimnagar, andhra pradesh but i have no idea how to start give me an idea and how much budget need for start the business. Thanks, G shiva kumar.
  • joppi p varughese said on January 28, 2014
    Dear Sir, Presently I am working in Dubai and planning to settle back in Kerala, India, setting up an automatic car washing unit in Kerala. Please advise me How much it cost for me including water circulating unit, etc.
  • biju said on February 7, 2014
    I would like to start mobile car wash unit. pls send the requirements mech cost of the unit
  • Binoy Sambasivan said on February 13, 2014
    I WOULD LIKE TO START THE UNIT AT N.Paravur ,Ernakulam Dist,Kerala.
  • syedali said on March 23, 2014
    Sir, I would like to start car wash centre at chennai, Tamilnadu. Please send me the procedure and equipment and machinery and it's cost. Thank you sir.
  • HARPREET SINGH said on April 3, 2014
    Sir, i would like to start car wash centre at derabassi, its situated on chandigarh-delhi highway and punjab state, presently i am doing car & truck engine rebuilt & recondition, i have very big space so want to utilize them, its my request to u pl send me procedure and equipment and machinery and its cost, thanking you, with regard, harpreet singh
  • Srinivas said on April 9, 2014
    Sir, I would like to start car wash centre at warangal AP. Please send me the procedure and equipment and machinery and it's cost. Thank you sir.
  • shaji thomas said on April 18, 2014
    sir. i am from mavelikara, south kerala. currently i am in dubai. would like to start an automobile service station. how much it will cost. whom are the persons to be contacted for the local proceedings and installation. hope you will give me a detailed information. thanking you. shaji.
  • jacob said on April 24, 2014
    I would like to start AUTOMATIC car wash unit. please let me know the requirements and machine cost.
  • Arul said on April 27, 2014
    I want to start a bke/car wash service business so i want to know how much does it cost for the equipments and all other investments.
  • Ramesh.T.Pillai said on May 3, 2014
    I am from kochi presently working and would like to start a automatic car wash station at kochi i would like to know the full equipment cost including installation and start up
  • Sanu K Sajan said on May 7, 2014
    I want to know how much is the appropriate cost for starting this field
  • S.M.S.Jayaweera said on May 12, 2014
    If any body who has space, plan to start a repair and service station some where in Colombo, I can joint as Technical supervising supporter, also I can provide compressor, service materials some tools, Contact my mail further intention future plans.
  • ajesh said on June 2, 2014
    I would like to start a car wash at Perumbavoor, kerala, India. I have my own land near to the city. Please send me the detail investment plan for machinery and other facilities.
  • A Hayat said on June 8, 2014
    Hello, I am looking out for the feasibility of coming up with a Car Wash outlet in UAE. Would like to know in detail about the expenses and procedure. Thanks!
  • sherlock hardware said on June 17, 2014
    i have small business kin jamaica, Shurley Marketing Consultan, i have a powerwash, but having trouble finding a location to start a carwash, i have done the leg works going to dealership giving them my business cards, i have also had meeting with property owner to to rent their property to start a carwash only to be turn down at the last minute, my idea was to start a small carwash then branch off into a fisrt automatic coin or selfserve carwash in the country, i have travel through the 14 parish on the island to check spots and location and upon this journey i notice that there is no automatic carwash in the country, so i set out to be the first one to have one available in this country, to bring the country out of the dark ages, but i need help to allow my vision to grow and blossom into something spectacular, i just need help, i have done marketing for years in toronto canada, now i need to bring my knowledge, if you can, give me some assistance with material, blueprint on how to set up and operate a newly innovation business that is new in a country that has falling behind.
  • mahir hussain said on June 24, 2014
    I want to start an automobile workshop from scratch as I am post graduate in mech. Engg. Have technical skills But don't have enough money can anyone suggest me any idea.
  • roshan sahu said on June 27, 2014
    Sir, I would like to start car wash centre at durg cg. Please send me the procedure and equipment and machinery and it's cost. Thank you sir.
  • Mahendra jadhav said on July 22, 2014
    Hi my name is Mahendra I want to start an automatic car wash station in navimumbai. if anyone can help me with this please contact me on9594020062
  • javed warsi said on July 30, 2014
    Hi i'm from Dubai i want to start a car wash business in dubai can you please provide me some guidance and tips or if you have any plan in hand related to dubai i will be very grateful to you thanks
  • Sojan said on August 23, 2014
    I am planning to start a small car washing unit in kerala, i want to know minimum equipments required along with capacities. What are the factors to take care off. If any chance to get proper training in car washing system?
  • rahul said on August 26, 2014
    How please send me all details automatics car Washing station my n: 7206303863
  • Jobi Tom said on August 31, 2014
    The latest technology, waterless car wash is more profitable and easy to operate. If anyone is looking for setting up this business , please feel free to contact me. We will provide all your requirements including, branding, business setup, operational guidance, training & supply of products..
  • Vijesh VJ said on September 5, 2014
    Hi, I would like to start car wash centre at Kerala. Please send me the procedure and equipment & machinery and it's cost. Thanks & Regrads Vijesh
  • sudheeran u menon said on September 13, 2014
    I am from thrissur kerala. i would like to open a car washing center in thrissur district on rental basis. Please contact me if anybody having the dead or alive service station. thank you. Umenons@gmail.con
  • sathishkumar said on September 25, 2014
    hi i am salem tn. i would like all type of car washing estimate price and support me. my mobile no : 7305416637.
  • Coollove said on October 9, 2014
    I'm from Lagos Nigeria. I want to open a car wash business please help me with this business plan, cost and tools I must buy to start off. I will also appreciate alliance/partnership. I can be reached on +2348037421912 or ikechukwuokwedi@gmail.com
  • Krishna Kumar.G said on October 16, 2014
    Dear sir, I would like to start a new car wash center in Puthencruze,facing to NH 49 near Ernakulam, kerala state, india. Please let me know what is the procedure for license from local government body to start new wash center? How much space need for the center ? what are the best equipment .Actually i don't have any idea about car washing chemicals and procedures. Also about waste water.
  • Nis said on October 19, 2014
    Dear sir, I would like to start a service center near irinjalakuda ( 5 km away from town ) , thrissur , kerala. Your initial guidelines are very helpful but I have few more queries. Please help me.
    How much will be the approximate initial setup cost other than land?
    How many employees are required and basic skills?
    Who are the best technical and equipment suppliers of service centers?
    What are the advantages and disadvantages of franchise ?
    Can I use river water , as there is a small channel from river in this plot.
  • abel said on October 23, 2014
    Very helpful article. please detail me the machinery required to start up this sought of business
  • SVM Waterless Car wash said on October 27, 2014
    Hi Everybody. we will provide waterless car wash liquid and towels for less price. we import liquid from USA. For any car wash liquids and towels Please contact us at svmcarwash@gmail.com or call us at 971501134356
  • Jinu Varghese said on November 2, 2014
    Hi i am from thrissur kerala. If anyone is interested in leasing or selling their car wash or service centre in thrissur, ernakulam. Please let me know. I have a very good car wash service centre business plan in place. looking for a place for lease near to shopping complex, malls ,or textile showroom having road frontage. contact me for more details at jinuvk@hotmail.com.
  • jafar sadique said on November 15, 2014
    hi, i'm jafar .currently working in saudi ,i wish to start car wash business in malappuram kerala. I have a required place to start the business. I have to know the detailed procedure to start.ping me thru jafaraani@gmail.com
  • Hafis said on November 20, 2014
    Hi sir, i am from calicut (kerala). am interested in this business bcz am automobile field..now i am looking for new business.. i have super location in my city..so plss give me details including machine price and other related tools etc..i am waiting for ur reply hopefully....email : hafisameen.mk@gmail.com
  • Vineesh VIjayan said on November 21, 2014
    Dear All, Please mail your requirements to vineesh.v@eurekaforbes.com. We can help you with Automatic Carwash Systems. Please dont forget to give your contact number.
  • Nilim said on November 22, 2014
    PLEASE SEND ME DETAILS REGARDING THE OPENING OF A NEW CAR WASH FACILITY. MY MAIL ID IS neil.gohain@gmail.com and I am from India
  • Vikram Y said on December 1, 2014
    Sir I want to start car wash business in Navi mumbai or raigad area. How much expense we need to start a business. I dont have my own place or land. I have to choose with rental basis. Do i need any registration or any permission? what equipment do i need at the beginning? What is the labor cost now. list the equipment do i need to purchase? how many labor we need? is any franchise near by navi mumbai. Please give me contact details. or any one giving this business on rental basis? plse guide me. vikram Y
  • Vaibhav Saini said on January 18, 2015
    Can you please give me an estimate to start the business in Delhi, India? Please mail me vaib_38@yahoo.co.in
  • babu said on January 23, 2015
    karnataka i want to buy a franchise. how it cost tell me more detail about franchise
  • sujjad ali said on January 27, 2015
    I am in UK walsall and want to establish my own car wash business . Can you guide me about the legal or council requirements about this business ? Such as water connections and drainage ? Thank you very much.
  • DIPIN said on January 28, 2015
    Hi I am in Thrissur district, (Kerala). I am interested to start Car washing unit, please give me details including machine price and other related tools and expenses.
  • harsha said on January 29, 2015
    We r inviting Sleeping Partner In Big Launch Car Washing in vijayawada Main Center main road Autonagar gate 8801581092 andhra pradesh
  • Alphonse Cyriac said on February 13, 2015
    Hi, I am from kerala, i would like to start a car wash business in kottayam. Help me with a detailed floor plan and a quotation for automatic car wash plant and the water recycling plant project as well. Mail me to alphonse.cyriac@yahoo.com
  • kannan muthu said on February 19, 2015
    Hi, i am from tamilnadu, i would like to start a car wash business in pudukkottai. help me with a detailed floor plan and a quotation for all equipment.
  • Iqbal said on February 23, 2015
    I am interested to start small business of Car Wash Station in Rwalpindi, Pakistan. I need initial information for necessary equipment, lifts etc. and other business tactics.
  • DEEPAK said on March 24, 2015
    Hi, I would like to start car wash at indore, madhya pradesh. Please send me the procedure and equipment & machinery and it's cost. Thanks & Regards DEEPAK
  • KISHORE REDDY said on March 25, 2015
    Hi, I am from hyderabad, We are car washing equipments dealers. 4 ton lift, compressor, water washer, foam washer. kindly mail me if interested i will send u quotation
  • Sajahan Farook said on March 31, 2015
    I'm planing to open car wash in srilanka so please how much of capital I need include equipment
  • MUHAMMED AJMAL said on April 14, 2015
    i would like to start a car washing business in india. its my new project in my life. i want some suggestion for this like business, and about the cost of this project
  • mohamed said on April 16, 2015
    Hi. I want to start a vehicle service station. Kindly let me know the estimated cost that is needed to start this business.
  • Soumitra Barman` said on May 9, 2015
    Dear Sir, I am planning to start a Car Wash business & hence need to know every aspect of this trade right from Site Planning to Start Of Operations including Commercial & Project Feasibility . Need to know the cost of Car Wash System. Regards, Soumitra Barman soumitra.singem@gmail.com
  • Ajayaghosh said on May 19, 2015
    Sir, I am planning to start a car wash station. I want to know what are the permissions and licenses need to take in a panchayath in Kerala
  • Yogesh Teli said on May 24, 2015
    Planning to start car wash business in mumbai, Maharashtra. Need to know who provides professional training. Can contact me on 9820609434.
  • Malaka said on June 4, 2015
    I AM PLANING TO START CAR WASH MANUFACTURING BUSINESS, PLEASE ADVICE ABOUT INCREASE SALES. THANK YOU MALAKA

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