Can Your Car Wash Business Make Money in the First Year?


car wash business

The idea of launching a car wash business can be quite enticing. You’ll become your own boss. And it’s a necessary service – everyone needs to wash their car, and not everyone is able to do so in their driveway.

However, as with any business, you need to know whether or not it’s going to be viable. We’ve rounded up some things to think about when considering opening a car wash business.

Understand What You’re Getting Into

You’ve probably heard the phrase “look before you leap.” While it sounds cliche, it’s actually good advice.

Do your research before you make any decisions. Your research will involve talking to other car wash owners to learn about the costs of starting such a business. Other car wash owners will also give you an idea of what returns are realistic, especially in your first year.

Another part of your research will include talking to car wash equipment manufacturers and resellers to get an idea of how much equipment costs. You should definitely consult with lawyers and accountants about the legal and financial aspects of starting your own business, too.

Decide on Handwashing or Automatic Car Wash Machines

One of the first choices you’ll make is whether to rely on handwashing or automatic machines. There are advantages and disadvantages to each.

Handwashing is very labour intensive. However, customers are willing to pay a premium for the human touch, even though handwashes don’t last as long as machine washes.

Automatic machines have a higher setup cost. Machines have a limited lifespan and require maintenance. On the other hand, automatic machines can accommodate over 100 cars per hour. And, they can be left unattended – you don’t need as many employees to supervise them.

Buying an Existing Car Wash Business

Your research might reveal that it’s more cost effective for you to buy an existing car wash business. There are a few factors you should consider before you start shopping, though.

Ask yourself, is the car wash equipment in good condition? Am I going to have to invest a lot up front to buy new equipment? You should also think about whether you’re going to be leasing the property or buying it outright. Those costs might eat into your profit.


There’s a reason that real estate agents always say, “Location, location, location.” Your business’ site matters.

You want a place that allows easy access to vehicles. Also, check that local zoning restrictions don’t interfere with your ability to advertise your business.

Want to Make Money in the First Year? Invest in the Right Car Wash Equipment

Car wash tools are vital for the success of any car wash business. Without the right equipment, your car wash business might not make any money in the first year. Therefore, if you want to make money in your first year of operations, you should invest in modern car wash equipment or upgrade your current tools. That is where we at Macneil wash can help. With more than 30 years experience, we know what your car wash needs to be profitable.

Take a look at our quality car wash systems, car wash equipment, and get a quote to take the first step towards making your car wash business profitable.

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