How to Start a Self Service Car Wash

A self service car wash is place where people come to wash their cars. As the name implies, car owners do the washing themselves. They can pay with their credit cards or by inserting coins into the cash washing machine before they can use it for car wash.
The car wash industry is competitive as you get to see a car wash bar at almost every turn in the city. You can still start the business and make good money out of it. This article will discuss importance of investing in a self service car wash business and steps on how you can set up your own self service car wash bay.

Why You Should Invest In Self Service Car Wash

  1. Passive Income-: The self service car wash business runs itself. You set up the bay and car wash machines; while car owners pay to use the machine. It is a good source of passive incomes; that is a means of income where you can be away and still make money from it.
  2. Not Labour Intensive-: You don’t need to get employees that you will pay weekly wages or monthly salary. The self service car wash works on it’s own without extra hands to monitor it. All you need do is to make sure that you service the machines regularly.
  3. Part Time Business-: If you have the capital to invest in a part time business that will fetch you money while you concentrate on other jobs, then a self service car wash business is the best option for you. What you will focus on as the owner is on creative ways to advertise your car bay and get more people to patronize it, and bookkeeping.

Starting a Self Service Car Wash – Sample Business Plan Template

1. Raise Capital for Your Business-

: Self service car wash machines can be very expensive; some cost as much as $5,000 to $10,000. The bulk of your capital will probably be spent on acquiring these machines.
You can get some people to partner in your business start up as investors if the cash you have won’t be enough to get the business started. Where there are more than one partners; you must decide the percentage each partner gets from ROI depending on how much the partner contributed to the business, to avoid future misunderstanding on profit sharing in the future. Here is a sample car wash business plan template to help you raise the needed fund.

2. Register Your Business-: 

You need to register a business name in order to run this type of business. A company lawyer can help you get the business registration done for a small service fee. Though insurance may not be necessary for a self service business; you can still buy basic insurance just to be on the safe side of the law.

3. Lease a Space-: 

The next step is to get a space that you will use as the car wash bay. If you can get an area in the busy part of the town, it will serve you better though such places don’t come cheap. The lease agreement should be a long term agreement to should give terms for continual renewal as long as the rent is being paid as at when due.

4. Order for Your Machines-: 

After you lease your space, you can reconstruct the place into single stall bays; and each stall should have enough space for car owners to comfortable pack and wash their cars without issues.
After setting up the bay, order for the car wash machines. You can get quality car wash machines from at a very cheap prize; but it may be better to purchase the machine from the States because the cost of transporting the machine from China to U.S can be quite expensive. Also, if you purchase from a company in the Country, the company may offer to install the machines free of charge for you as an incentive for buying from them.

5. Regular Maintenance-

This is the aspect most people tend to ignore; they set up the machine and let it run without proper maintenance. You have to schedule appointment for regular maintenance for your machines. Calling a service technician bi -monthly to servicing and maintenance check on the machines will make them last longer.

6. Bookkeeping-: 

Buy bookkeeping software or you can get a journal to help you record your income and expenses. This is keep track of the business progress and also during tax calculation.

7. Advertise-: 

You have to devise creative ways to get people use you self service car wash bay; as I mentioned earlier, car bays are scattered in every area of the town; so you got to give people reasons why they should use your car bay. This is why getting a car wash marketing plan is a must.
  • Offer Discount-: One way to attract people to your car wash bay is by offering discounts; you can run the discount for the first three months after you start your business, and revert part to normal price later.
  • Print and Distribute Fliers-: You can print fliers and distribute to your friends and acquaintances to make use of your car wash bay. You can also drop the flier at strategic places in town; like restaurants, hotels, motels front desks.
  • Classified Adverts-: You can advertise your self service car wash business on classified ads sites. Ads site classify adverts according to locations; people from your location will get to know about your car wash bay on classified ads sites.
So far, I have discuss how car self service business works; why you should invest in the business and also steps in setting up the business. In conclusion, this business may not make you a millionaire overnight except if you have several washing bars in various locations; because the average cost for a self service car wash is $5.
Also, if you don’t want to go through the stress of starting up your own self service car wash business from scratch, you can pay to use the franchise of another company.