How Much Does It Cost To Build An Automatic Car Wash?

Here is the average cost involved in setting up an automatic car wash business.

Automatic auto car washes have become the rave due to the advancement in technology and the attendant efficiency they’re known for.

Setting up an automatic car wash can be quite substantial in terms of cost. This is what we seek to find out.

Read along as we discuss all things cost-related.

What Constitutes Cost?

Several aspects of an automatic are wash make up its costs. These range from equipment to fittings, construction costs (buildings), permits, and professional fees among other things. All of these are essential components of the cost that cannot be ignored.

So, to build an automatic car wash, reference to the tiny details of the project must be done in reaching a holistic cost amount.

Average Cost to Open An Automatic Car Wash Business

This is the center of our discussion. Here, we’ll be looking into the different aspects of the project plus their cost implications.

In other words, we’ll be providing the cost breakdown of the entire project. This should give you a picture of what is needed and most essential. It also allows you to be financially prepared before embarking on the project.

There are multiple types of automated car washes. However, we will be considering the Express Car wash model.

This comes with a 125′ wash tunnel in addition to a water reclaim system. This model often comes completely automated. It has an auto teller system, and pay machines. There is little or no need at all for manning them.

  • Size Matters

When building an automated car wash, size should be included among the most important considerations to be made. That is due to future expansion plans. In other words, growth should influence the size of an automated car wash.

Most times, it’s best that the facility be larger than your current capacity during construction. This allows for much easier expansion of your capacity when the need arises. You may want to expand to include more related equipment among other things.

However, when your size is limited, it affects your expansion plans. Plus, it takes a longer time to recoup your investments. Having stated the importance of size to your project, we’ll now consider the actual cost of the project.

  • Building Construction Costs

Structures are an essential part of installing an automated car wash. A building occupying a space of about 5,000 sq ft will cost an average of $160.00. This is just the cost of building and does not include land costs. Building and site improvements will cost between $800,0000 to $1,000,000.00.

There are closing costs for the transaction too. Closing fees are often paid after closing a real estate transaction.

Here, the seller transfers the title to the property to the buyer. This will cost an average of $30,000.00. It is important to note that the costs mentioned above are an average and might be higher or lower depending on location.

  • Automated Car Wash Tunnel Equipment Cost

Equipment is essential to the smooth functioning of a car wash. Even more essential is such equipment for automated car wash systems. When building, equipment such as dryers, tunnel brushes, a water reclaim system (for better water management), conveyor equipment room (consisting of piping, water softener, and controls) and arches are required.

All of these car wash tunnel equipment will cost about $400,000.00.

  • Pay Stations Cost

Pay stations work effectively with automatic car wash systems. Very minimal to zero need for manning such equipment is required. There are continuing innovations that help enhance its efficiency. What else? Pay stations allow for more cars to be run through your tunnel.

Installing a pay station for your car wash will cost anywhere from $30,000.00.

  • Signage And Menu Boards Cost

Signage and menu boards are used to boost sales for car washes. These come in different brands and offer a wealth of utility through its digital display and programming capabilities. The cost for signage and menu boards will start from $34,000.00.

  • Security System Cost

Installing an effective security system for your car wash business helps prevent theft and other unwanted circumstances. The security system consists of cameras, perimeter fencing, and a tunnel. The cost of this security equipment starts at $25,000.00.

All of the costs mentioned to this point (that is, building, tunnel equipment, pay station, signage and menu boards as well as security system costs) amount to about $1,319,000.00.

However, that’s not all. There are additional costs attached to building an automatic car wash.

  • Permits And Professional Fees

These are requirements you’ll need that gives the nod to proceed with operations as a new business.

Depending on where you live, different cities, as well as counties, will have their permit costs. These cover three basic areas; occupancy, building, and use permits. Although these may vary, it shouldn’t be less than $90,000.00.

Professional fees, on the other hand, consist of the engineering and architectural fees of about $80,000.00.

  • General Contractor And Real Estate Commissions

General contractor and real estate commissions stand at an average of $500,000.00. This could go a bit more or less depending on the size of the project.

However, we’re considering an automatic car wash project of about 125′ wash tunnel size with water reclaim system.

  • Land Costs

This is about the most important resource or capital. Everything rests on it and it takes up a substantial part of your startup costs. Based on a price per sq feet of $24.00, 30,492 sq. ft. of land will go for $731,808.00.

The bigger the land size, the more cost it adds up to the total amount.

  • Total

Having listed the different cost components for building a 125′ wash tunnel automatic car wash system, the total cost for the entire project will range from $2.7M to $2.9M. Such costs will be quite different when financing the project through a bank.

This will include interest payments in addition to a construction contingency fee of 10% of the total construction costs among other things.

There you go! The cost of building an automatic car wash has been broken down into different components. We’ve seen that the total amount can be quite substantial. However, the potentials are quite significant for entrepreneurs who are ready to operate a sound business.

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