Car Wash Locator

car wash locator

How to Start a Car Wash Business

There are several options for a person to consider when looking getting into the car wash business. Should the person buy an existing business? Should it be automatic-self service or one with a staff of washers? Should you consider a mobile business or a business with a fixed location? Should the business be a hand wash business or equipment oriented? All of these questions must be answered and the potential owner must come to grips with these options. The amount of money the person has available to put into the business will be a determining factor on what way would be the best way to go. A fixed location will cost more to do than a mobile business. Buying an existing business is usually more costly upfront than starting one from scratch, but in this case it would depend on which way the person chose. For example the mobile car wash would be far less expensive than a fixed location operation. The mobile business would have the cost of equipment and a truck. The fixed location would entail a building and the equipment for the bay or bays.

Starting either from scratch would cost a certain amount. Whether this would be more of less than buying an existing business would depend on the deal that could be made with the current owner. If the owner is motivated and trying to just get out of the business, then a better deal may be possible. The circumstances would dictate the answers to these questions.

Talking with business brokers and looking on the Internet could help in finding a person with a mobile business. The fixed property would probably be easier to find.

Another possibility would be to start with a mobile business and as the cash flow became more stable, look into getting or adding a fixed location car wash.

The Internet is a terrific way to find businesses/equipment for sale

A person thinking about starting one of these car wash associated businesses can easily find car washes for sale and brokers who represent them. The mobile businesses may be slightly harder to find, but they are available. The advantage of buying an existing business is almost always a better way to go than starting one from scratch. The immediate cash flow and clients is a huge plus to a new owner. This factor could be the difference between success and failure. An existing business is much easier to push past the break-even point and to a successful venture. A true start-up business has to gain clients and slowly build up cash flow. The question for the owner of this business is will it happen soon enough for the business to survive.

Talk with a broker about what is available and the terms they feel they can obtain from the current owner. If this is out of your reach financially, then a mobile hand wash could be the answer or using a small power washer to get the business off the ground and started. There are several options in this business that could lead to a successful new business. Getting clients will be the biggest problem facing the new owner of such a business, as there are few to none when the business is opened.

The Internet can be used to find equipment, which is new or used. This is another real advantage of using this tool to help a potential owner find what is needed. Just put in what you are looking for in the search box and you will be surprised at how many sources will show up.

Arranging financing of an existing business

The current owner is the obvious source of some financing of an existing business. The problem is the buyer will have to pay a higher price for the business than if it were being purchased for cash. Having your financing in place when making your offer for the business will save money on the purchase price.

The Internet is an excellent way to find business financing for your purchase. There are several firms that show up on the Net for this type of loans. These firms are in the business of doing this kind of lending and are much more understanding of the problems a new owner faces when buying a business. They are certainly worth contacting and discussing your situation.

Car Wash information and Car Wash business planning

There are great sources on the Net that will help the potential owner of any type of business. The Car Wash business is well covered and a buyer can get good information about running and owning this type of business. Having prior knowledge of what is needed to be successful in this business will help a potential buyer decide if this is the correct move for them to follow. A book that tells the facts is invaluable to the buyer of such a business. Getting an up close and personal look before the fact lets the buyer imagine what it would be like to own a car wash business. If they like what the see in their minds eye they can pursue the project.

Another way to get information is to speak with people in the business. They may be willing to talk if they are sure that you will not be in competition with them. They could lead you to brokers and companies that would be helpful in getting more information. The one question that you should try to get them to answer is would they do it again. Has it panned out like they thought it would before they got into it?

Any information from all sources will help you evaluate even better the advantages and disadvantages of going into such a business. This is true of any type of business that a person is considering.

The problem as always is one size does not fit all. One owners experience could be great and another could wish they never made the decision


This business, car washing, has so many options available to owners and potential buyers that need to be looked at and considered very carefully.

It is not like buying a restaurant or a plumbing company. Those businesses have limited variations such as location or the type special services they offer. This business has many different levels of financial commitment to buy or start. All of these options make this an interesting business to consider. People are very particular about their cars these days. Their car represents a substantial investment that needs care and ongoing maintenance. This means this business niche is likely to grow and be used by more people all of the time. A trend like that makes this business even more attractive to the potential owner.

Finding a business for sale and the needed money to make the purchase is fairly easy for a person that is used to using an Internet search engine. If you speak with someone in the business, they may be very helpful and even better they may be in the market to sell. If they are, the obvious question is why do they want to sell. In any event they could give you valuable insight into the business.

About the Author

Bill Henthorn formerly was principal broker and owner of a resort / commercial real estate brokerage in Honolulu which specialized in representing sellers in transactions up to $50MM.He currently serves as the marketing director of

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