ou’ve probably never stopped to think about where your local car
wash fits into the grand scheme of the car wash industry. The only thing
you know is that when your car gets dirty you need to wash it, and the clos-
est place to get that done is probably where you go. (But maybe not always. We’ll
see why this is true later on.)
Maybe you’ve spent some time considering opening a car wash business of your
own while waiting in line for a wash on a bright and sunny Saturday morning. You’ve
probably seen a dozen or more cars in queue, with each owner paying between $5 and
$25 for a wash that they may not even be totally satisfied with. If you’re like many
entrepreneurs, you may have started doing some quick math in your head—project-
ing what the car wash owner is probably making in one month, then one year. Maybe
Car Wash Chapter 1
Why Start A Car
Chapter 1 Why Start A Car Wash Business?
you even thought “Boy, this place is a
Finally it’s your turn. As you watch
your car move through the tunnel,
you see how automated the process is,
how quickly it gets done, how little
actual work seems to be required.
“How hard could this possibly be?
Anyone can make money running a car wash!” you might have thought.
Most car wash owners can share a wink and a smile at the naiveté of the aver-
age neophyte. Many people think a car wash is a great business opportunity
because they see it as a business that doesn’t require a great deal of hands-on work
but that still produces a great return on your investment. Beginners probably
believe the income stream from a business such as this is as automated as the
equipment that pulls your car through the wash tunnel.
The reality is a bit more complicated than that. It’s not exactly a mystery, but ask
any car wash owner, and he will tell you the same thing—“It’s not as easy as it looks.”
WHAT A CAR WASH IS AND ISN’T
When most people think of a car wash, they tend to think of an exterior-
conveyor wash. These are the washes that put cars on a motorized track