You’ve dreamed of opening a car wash business. Sure, it takes the entrepreneurial spirit, some cash, industry knowledge, and a host of other talents, skills, mindset, discipline. All those traits aside, how should one determine that opening a car wash is the right move?

  1. Can money be made? If you want to open your own facility, you should enter a growing industry, not one that is on the skids, or might not be around in a few years. With few noticing, the car wash industry has enjoyed a steady growth for several years. According to Brandon Gaille, today, the US is home to more than 9,000 car wash facilities, with Americans spending approximately $5.8 billion a year at car washes. And both those numbers are rising.
  2. 90% of car washes are individually-owned. A big conflict for true entrepreneurs is when a major conglomerate runs the show. While there are definite advantages to that system, such as branding, and having someone ‘hold your hand’ through the early process, many self-starters don’t want or need that kind of scrutiny. Owning and running the business gives all that to you.
  3. Where should you open your business? In the retail business, it’s all about location, location, location. You will need a spot with lots of city-type traffic, where your store will be easily seen by as many daily passers-by as possible. You should also be in close proximity to a strip center or a similar retail-heavy activity area.
  4. Get to know the car wash industry. While operating a car wash seems like a simple task, and in some ways, it’s probably easier that say, running a restaurant, there’s a lot more to it than what meets the eye. Read the industry publications, talk to folks who own one, both successful and unsuccessful, find out the pitfalls, hidden obstacles, unexpected struggles, and exactly what goes into creating a successful car wash business. After researching, if you discover this business isn’t for you, great. You saved yourself a tremendous amount of time, energy and money.

What are your experiences? Where are you in the car wash buying business? Let’s hear your war stories.