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  • Writer's pictureCWPD Marketing Team

Did the Pandemic Hurt the Car Wash Industry?

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

The short answer is – not as bad as it seemed to be for most other industries – at least, not for the majority of the industry. The fact of the matter is that many people still needed their car washed. Even if they were not driving as much, that doesn’t stop the trees from producing pollen in the spring or salt getting on the cars in winter. Plus, getting the car washed gave some people the opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy a drive.

Car Wash Shutdowns and Reopenings

Of course, depending on the state where you operate your business, there may have been conflicting issues with whether your business could stay open. Technically, on the federal level, a car wash business could be considered essential for auto maintenance purposes. However, not every state agreed, and this caused some contention during 2021. According to a poll on, a third of the responders said their car wash was shut down during the pandemic – at least for a period of time.

Express Exterior Car Washes – The Safer Option

Some car wash businesses are also in a higher risk category. Express exterior washes are at the lowest risk level because there should never be an interaction between employees and customers unless something goes wrong. You also don’t need a ton of employees on the clock at once. One is usually sufficient.

2021 – A Fast Recovery for the Industry

Another poll from revealed that 85% of responders felt their car counts were higher in 2021, so the reopening is definitely helping car wash owners, especially those who had to close down for a time last year. In fact, 70% of responders said the car count was “much greater” in 2021, so this year has gotten off to a great start for the industry as a whole despite the continuing effects of the pandemic.

Invest in Turnkey Car Wash Business Today

Car Wash Pro Designers is seeing the growth in the car wash industry firsthand, as investors continue to flock to this great opportunity to run an essential business with minimal overhead. Start your turnkey design and construction project today, and let our experienced professionals help you break into a growing sector in the service market. Our express exterior washes are fast, produce high-quality results, offer eco-friendly options, and are incredibly easy to maintain!


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