Startup Costs: $100,000 +
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? No
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 and drag them through a tunnel where they are rinsed, soaped up, washed, rinsed again and possibly waxed. The cars them emerge clean (and perhaps relatively dry) at the other end. Also fitting into this conveyor wash category is the full-service car wash, combining the exterior conveyor cleaning with a manual interior cleaning. In addition to offering cleaning cars, many car washes also have gas pumps, maintenance stations and shops where customers can buy anything from snacks to gifts.
Research suggests that women are more likely to use the services of an automatic wash, perhaps because of the convenience. As you might expect, the typical patron is a bit more affluent than those using self-service car washes.
Possibly three separate areas of the car wash need to be equipped, depending on the type of wash you operate. Full-service and exterior-conveyor washes need all the car washing equipment, such as the power-wash units, vacuums, dryers and a water reclamation system. The offices for these types of washes also need to be equipped with all the basics, such as phones, fax machines, computers and calculators. Both washes need cash registers, but full-service washes offering a shop or other services may also need shelving, vending machines and inventory.