Is it profitable to invest in car wash business?

A survey suggests that every third car-owner washes his car at least once a month. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, consumers spend an estimated $5.8 billion at car wash businesses annually, with approximately eight million vehicles being washed on a daily basis.

So we can say that car washing is a huge market and investing with good planning can make a profitable car wash business. It is recommended to hire a car wash consultant if you are a new car wash dealer and plan to invest in the vehicle wash industry.

Market Analysis

Before we start, we must determine if it is worth investing in the car wash business? The exact size of the car wash industry is still unknown. But statistical data shows that it is worth investing.

Of the 272.48 million registered vehicles, the approximate number of cars sold in the U.S. per year stood at 6.3 million (More or less). Owners of cars are the target audience of car washes.

According to another study, a third of them use car wash services once a month. 23% of respondents wash their cars twice a month. The same number of car owners wash their cars every 2-3 months. At the same time, there are motorists who prefer to wash the car every week – there are about 12% of them. Another 8% – wash the car every six months.

Direct car wash services are in the greatest demand – from 75 to 90% in the structure of total sales. Complex services are much less in demand (up to 9%), that is, dry cleaning of the passenger compartment along with a car wash, or waxing and car washing. Ten times fewer cases when the driver purposefully seeks cleaning.

Types of car washes

The market has a wide range of different car washes, which differ both in technology and in price. Four types of sinks can be distinguished: manual contact washers, non-contact, automatic brush and self-service car washes.

They differ primarily in price. The cheapest option is a self-service car wash. The most expensive is manual contact washing since manual labor is involved there (washing + drying).

The cost also depends on the size of the car – for a passenger car, mini-jeeps and SUVs, it will differ.

Target Audience

First, you need to determine the location of the future business. When choosing, it is worth paying attention to the following characteristics. The first is the convenience of location; the car wash should be as close as possible to potential customers. The second most important thing that is worth paying attention to is the access to the car wash location. Easy access to the car wash along with good infrastructure will be a key factor in growing a newly started business.

Cost to open a car wash

Site Construction

The next component is the land issue. Land for the construction of a sink can be bought, but in this case, investment in construction will increase significantly. The most optimal way is to rent land. The washing building itself is customary to build from metal structures that can be quickly assembled. Often, under such buildings, a foundation is not laid, it is built on asphalt terrain. It does not require a car wash and water supply, as it works on the principle of water recirculation.


As for the staff, then for a small sink, an example of which is considered, seven people will be enough. An accountant, two administrators, and four washers.

The total estimated cost of the project is $40 thousand.

Most of the money goes to purchase equipment – up to 50% of the total budget. Construction will take 37% of the total cost structure. Less significant items of expenditure: design and permits, furniture and inventory.

Investments must pay off in approximately two years.