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Starting a carwash business can be interesting, fun, and profitable for anyone with strong business acumen and perseverance. However, to start a successful car wash business, you need to spend a lot of time planning, researching and put a lot of effort into the startup process. Simultaneously, you need to have the right location, top-notch services, proper marketing, and good prices to draw customers to your business.

The bottom line is that there are a million other things that you need to think about when looking to open a car wash business. Perhaps, the most important thing is that you need a simple business plan that works for your specific situation. Do you plan to offer your services in an area with exotic cars? Or do you plan to operate in a rural area where customers will only require a basic car wash?

Remember that unlike looking for a personal injury attorney in Denver, a business plan does have to be perfect. All you need is to set your objectives (that are attainable), and you’ll be good to go. Read on for tips to help you start a carwash business in 2021.

Scout for a Location

You’ve probably heard that location is everything for a business, and your car wash business is not any different. Since you cannot guarantee your car wash business’s success, it’s of utmost importance that you carefully choose the location you want to set up your business.

Scouting for a perfect location can be a daunting task. However, you can do this by driving around your target area. At the same time, you should pay attention to the relative traffic in the area that you’re scouting, types of businesses in the vicinity, as well as anything that looks like it’s for sale. This way, you will get a first-hand feel of how the market is and how you can scale your business further to benefit from the already established competition in the surrounding environment.

Identify and Investigate Your Competition

The level of competition that you are going to face matters a lot. To beat your competition, ensure that you thoroughly research the other car wash businesses in your area. Once you identify a formidable location and research every business in that vicinity, it’s time to scope the competition within a 5-mile radius. Identify the type of services offered within the vicinity, the prices offered, types of the services provided, and how they carry out their marketing.

Ensure to take notes as you investigate your competition. This way, you will go back later to review your notes as you make further plans for opening your car wash. While it’s essential to investigate all possible competition in the area, it’s equally important to pay attention to other businesses around the competitors. This will give you a clear idea of what makes the carwash successful or not.

Plan Effectively

After studying your competition, it’s time to develop an effective business plan. Like any other business, a business plan for your car wash will help you get the clients you need to get your car wash running and think through your business’s details. While at it, ensure to make your plan as detailed as possible. The plan should typically include an introduction, which is usually 3-5 pages, followed by a detailed marketing analysis (9-22 pages), a description of your business, a description of the services you wish to offer in your car wash, equity investment, and funding, among many others.

Get Financing

Once you’ve drawn up a formidable plan, the next step will be to get the financing you need to open your carwash. While this might sound easy, securing funding is likely the most challenging step. Regardless, it’s essential to keep in mind that your business’s success will largely depend on how well you’ve researched and placed for your business ahead of time.

In a bid to get the finances that you need, a solid revenue model will convince your investors to put up finances for your business. Therefore, to get the funding you require, you need to be prepared to prove that you deserve the funding for a high-quality facility and equipment with excellent return potential.

At the same time, you will require an effective resume indicating you have relevant experience running a car wash business. Finally, you should assure your potential financiers that you have a solid marketing plan to ensure that your business runs well.

Make Operational Decisions

At one point, you’ll have to decide whether you will run your business yourself or will have to franchise. While there are many operational models, you should keep in mind that they all come with pros and cons. On one hand, franchising your business will offer you the support you need at the expense of a residual ad, and on the other hand, the solo operation will offer you total freedom; however, it will deprive you of much-needed brand awareness and backup.

Regardless of the level of personal involvement you need, ensure that you make them early enough. Additionally, when you plan to hire a manager, it’s imperative to ensure that you handle the hiring yourself. This will place you in a better position to determine whether the business manager is qualified to run the business.

Do Paperwork

The final step is to do your paperwork. Depending on your location, file a license application as well as information on tax rates, local utility usage codes, insurance, and any other requirements to run your car wash will be necessary. Since each location has different rules, it’s imperative to ensure that you understand all the rules and keep your car wash business in line. With the help of an experienced lawyer or an accountant, you’ll file all the required paperwork on time.


Launching a business, especially a brick-and-mortar business such as a car wash, is not a walk in the park. It requires in-depth research and ample planning. While these are some of the top tips for launching a carwash business, more goes into it to ensure that it is successful.

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