• CWPD Marketing Team

The Ups and Downs of Car Wash Ownership


If you own and operate a car wash or you are hoping to invest in a lucrative industry, we are going to take a look at some of the best and worst things about car wash ownership. The good news is that the good outweighs the bad, so let us get the downside out of the way first.


The Downside to Car Wash Ownership

One of the main downsides is that you must have money to make money, or at least be able to borrow money to make money. You do not want to be cheap with your car wash design and construction if you want to succeed. A turn-key express exterior car wash can cost $2.5-5 million (plus land costs & banking fees), so it is not a cheap buy-in by any means. But as you will see in the positives section, most investors will find this to be worth it.


The only other possible downside is if you do not want your investment’s return to be dependent on the weather. A very rainy season can cut revenues sharply. However, there are a lot of ways around this. For example, if you push rewards memberships where customers pay by the month for unlimited washes, then the weather will not affect you as much. And bad weather in the winter (“white-gold”) can be a good thing for business because everyone has to wash that salt off the car. So, this is more of a perceived negative than an actual downside.


The Upside of Car Wash Ownership

On the plus side, there are many benefits to owning a car wash. Here are just a few:

  • It is a cash business – You don’t have to wait for accounts receivables to come in. No one gets a car wash without paying in advance. This lets you start making money right away, which is especially important if you have business loans to pay back.

  • It is a highly profitable business – Running a car wash isn’t free, but it costs a lot less than you might expect. This means you can start turning a profit rapidly. Especially when it comes to an express exterior wash, you can usually get away with just having three to six good employee on the clock at a time. If you use water reclamation, maintain your equipment, and source your cleaning agents the right way, you can keep overhead to a minimum.

  • You have total creative control – There is not much about a car wash business that you can’t control. From the pricing to the marketing to the point-of-sale system, you have full control over how the business operates. You can even control your own work schedule.

Get started on your investment today by contacting Car Wash Pro Designers. We have the experience you want in your corner to start a successful express exterior car wash business.