Car Wash Business Plan Template


Starting a car wash business is usually a daunting task, but with perseverance, it can certainly be realized at the end with good financial returns. There are several processes involved in your bid to start a car wash business as well as procedures too.

Have you started observing the opening of the car wash business in almost every busy street? Anywhere I go these days, there is always a car wash service opened and a bar to compliment it. This shows that there is money in the business.

If you’re thinking of starting an automobile business with less risk, I advise that you start a car wash business. The car wash business is a business that can be easily established if done rightly and carefully. Anyone that has a business mind and is well prepared can start even a self-service car wash business.

It is a business that can either be started small or big based on the plan that you have in mind to start with. I did proper feasibility research on the business and I am here to give you everything you need to know to start a car wash business.

Some of the important things you should know about car wash business include starting, managing, investing in, and marketing a car wash business.

Among the list of experts and professionals to be consulted are architects, landlords, councils and real estate agents, car wash equipment providers, and banks.

Here is a sample business plan for starting a car wash station.

I will be discussing the steps involved in the process of realizing the dream of owning a car wash business with the following points.

I will start with tips on starting a car wash business. These tips are useful in staying afloat and succeeding in your car wash business.

Step 1: Deciding which Type

In other words, this means making a decision whether to open a handwashing car wash business or opting for an automatic machine car wash. Hand car wash generally has a lower set-up cost, but higher operating cost as compared to auto car washing. The following are factors to note in making your decisions.

– Hand Car Washing

This type of car wash business is labor-intensive as it relies solely on manual labor. Also in some cases, there might be dearth in willing labor, and especially, when it runs legally, balancing the hand car wash business with potentials for significant profit becomes difficult as the owner will have to pay tax and lawful award wages among many other expenses including the wages of workers.

Customers will have to pay more for services, as such, will have to reduce the frequency of visits to the car wash, thereby affecting general turnover, but might likely consider paying more money for the interior of their cars to be washed and in some cases, triple the amount paid for external washing.

This is where hand car wash scores higher than an automated car wash.

The startup cost for a hand car wash business, including building works is much lower compared to the automated carwash. Such things include plumbing, groundwork, and electrical fittings that are far less expensive when compared to installing an automated machine.

Structures like an office, a café, plant, and storage rooms, the bin rooms, and shade sale structures are all requirements needed.

Automated Car Wash

This type of car wash has much more costs involved in its setup when compared to hand car washes. Also, installed equipment need overhauling once every 10 years or even more if the equipment is not properly maintained.

Just as the name implies, the automated carwash can be unattended. But based on wash volumes and frequency of usage, it is recommended that at least 1 – 3 staff get employed. However, the wage aspect of this business could be very low.

Hand car washes at times can be overwhelmed with demand for service, creating extended periods of wait times of up to an hour. Because of this disadvantage, customers may drive past.

But such is not the case with auto car washes. A single machine can comfortably wash over 200 cars per hour, drastically reducing the waiting time to the barest minimum. This option provides a cheaper alternative for customers, and they tend to wash more frequently.

Step 2: Capital 

In starting a car wash business, you must have the necessary capital. You need to budget for the space you will be using, water supply, electricity to pump water, and some other necessary items.

Though you don’t need much, you will need about ₦30,000 to get started. This money includes rent for land and other washing equipment.

Step 3: Get Knowledge from Existing Business Owners

You should go to at least four of such people to see how their business is set up and done. You must do this before starting yours to stay successful in the business. One of the things that make a business fail is a lack of knowledge.

Due to the risky nature of starting a business, starting a car wash business must be preceded by a realistic expectation of the financial implications which should cover the startup capital required and also the return on investment accruable in comparison to risks taken.

Here, talking to as many experts as possible will not harm. They may include carwash industry suppliers, equipment manufacturers, carwash builders, and existing carwash operators.

Armed with this knowledge, meet at least 2 financial advisers to prepare a detailed budget and a cash flow analysis.

After all these, an inquiry should be made about the viability of the business venture.

Step 4: Location

You need to think about the location of your cash wash business. Your car wash business should be
located closer to the road as it is being seen here. Do not choose a remote location or somewhere out of town, it is better to be situated in a place where there are lots of traffic.

A feature common to all real estate is choosing a site for building, which could be very tricky and could be a gamble that can either pay off or not.

Here, there are no guarantees whatsoever that a selected site will be successful or not. Some factors that have to be considered however include;

– High Traffic Flows

When a business is located in areas with high traffic flow, there is a tendency that it will most likely result in more clients due to the mass movement of people around such areas.

– Visibility

Here, perfect visibility from either side of the road will most likely result in more clients for the business.

– Location of Business in Medium to High-Density Areas.
Successful carwash businesses are typically located in such areas as it has more potential for business growth than in areas of low density.

– Locating it in Areas where There Would be no Conflict With the City

Step 5: Town Planning Agency Guidelines

Having a business sited within approved areas helps in the avoidance of unnecessary conflicts with the law, as there are areas marked out for specific purposes. So getting advice from the city council will be in order.

Step 6: Buying an Already Established Carwash Business

This is a safer way of venturing into the carwash business with lesser risks involved. This is because the teething problems usually associated with starting a carwash business has been surmounted.

Typically selling 1-3 times their yearly profit values, the state of equipment, duration, and type of lease directly affects the sale price.

An attendant risk involved in buying over an existing carwash business is that the business location may be inferior.


One essential way of managing a car wash business is knowing the pros and cons. Knowing the pros and cons of the business you are about to start or you have started will help you to stand firm on your feet and fight those cons, it is what you do not know that you cannot fight.

Once you know them, you will be able to manage your business well to overcome whatever challenge comes your way. No business is exempted from the pros and cons including the car wash business.

The pros of car wash business are:

• Total control over changes and updates
• Total control over the operating decision
• Independence
• High level of control over investment decisions.

The cons of car wash business are:

Insecurity: This is a con that is common to most businesses, they always have the issue of security.

No Brand Recognition: Many car wash businesses do not have any brand recognition.

Setbacks: Car wash business is a business you start from scratch and most businesses that are built from scratch face more setbacks and challenges than other businesses.

Increased cost for Investment: The cost of investment can be increased at any time.
Management also entails hiring people to be car washers if you cannot do it yourself, you can also hire people to help you with the workload if it is too much for you.

Some of the equipment you need in a professional car wash business are a pumping machine or pumping room, drying bay, concrete wash slab bay (done during installation), ancillary wailing and paving, water source like a borehole or well, a standby generator to power your pumping machine, store or water tank for water preservation, vacuum cleaner, pressure and compressor washer hose, car wash soaps, metal polish, car wax, glass soft cleaner, fabric shampoo, leather cleaners, pedal detergents (detergents that are vehicle friendly), sponge, towel, brushes, cloth and so on.


Another important aspect of a car wash business is marketing. It is important you market your business to be successful. One of the ways to market your car wash business is to make it a brand and if this cannot be done, ensure you do good marketing that meets the customers’ demand.

For any business to thrive, it needs marketing. Marketing your business should be carried out on several fronts such as having an online presence, the printing of flyers, banners, and posters.

The car wash business sign should be colorful and attractive and clear. Also, it will do well for your business if you develop a good relationship with business around you because they will certainly advertise you one way or the other.

Marketing helps to tell potential customers about your car wash business.