5 Secrets to a Successful Car Wash Business

So long as there are vehicles on the road, there will always be a need for car washes. If you are an entrepreneur seeking to invest in a profitable opportunity, a car wash business might be precisely what you’re looking for.

If you are considering investing in the car wash industry, continue reading to learn the five secrets Auto Laundry News reports that successful operators have found to be helpful in starting on the right track.

  1. Know What You Don’t Know

There is a lot you need to be aware of when it comes to running a successful car wash business including proper site selection, how to conserve water, chemical information, and equipment used in marketing, hiring, advertising, and pricing—even the software needed to keep the business running.

The best place to start learning is to “know what you don’t know,” then seek to obtain as much expertise and knowledge as you can about every angle of the car wash operation.

  1. Choose the Best Site Possible

“Location, location, location” should be the mantra for the car wash industry as well. Location is everything to a car wash business, so choose the best site possible.

The ideal site should have the following traits:

  • Sufficient space. Your site should be big enough so that vehicles of all sizes can get through the car wash itself and access other areas, like the vacuum bays. Also, be sure to have room for cars to get in line without blocking the roadways.
  • Ease of access. Make it easy for customers to locate the entrance of your car wash. Placing your car wash at a busy intersection won’t be very beneficial if customers can’t figure out how to get to it easily.
  • Highly-traveled road or street. Find a location on a highly-traveled road or street, and that has a speed limit of 40 miles per hour or less. This way, you will benefit from a lot of traffic as well as a speed limit that allows drivers to read your signs.


  1. Ask For Assistance

If you are new to the industry, take advice from those who’ve been in it for a while, and really absorb what they have to say. You will save yourself a lot of stress by learning from their experiences.

states that when asking for assistance, do what you would in any other business—visit car wash sites that have been successful to see just what that looks like, check references, and ask for operators’ opinions on who you’re considering working with. The more knowledge you obtain, the greater your chances of success.

  1. Know Your Competition

Steve Gaudreau, a 25-year car wash veteran and author of “So You Want to Own a Carwash,” states in his book to use a map to determine your competitors within a 5-mile radius and identify their trade area, as well as your own, and where the overlap is.

  1. Pick the Right Suppliers and Manufacturers

Choosing a manufacturer that provides high-quality components, tunnel systems, and parts, and who backs up sales with expert, prompt service and support is one of the most crucial decisions you will make.

Also, make sure not to underestimate just how important the chemicals you use are—they are crucial to your success.

It might be tempting to choose the least expensive products, but don’t cave. Look at the chemicals you use as your car wash’s business card. The last thing you want is water spots, dull finish or other flaws keeping your customers from returning.


While these five tips are crucial to your car wash’s success, they are only the beginning. You will also need to think about factors like construction, financing, permits and rules, zoning, employee hiring, advertising and marketing, and more.

That’s why it is critical that you connect and learn from established industry operators. The vast majority will be happy to share their knowledge.