Do you want to know how much it cost to start a car wash business? If YES, here are 13 factors that determine the cost of opening a car wash. Some of the basic services offered by car wash companies include; cleaning, washing, and waxing automobiles (cars, trucks, vans, and trailers et al). In the car wash industry, you will also find customized services such as full- and self-service car wash, as well as vehicle detailing services.

The industry is open to both small entrepreneurs (neighborhood car wash) and big-time investors. The market for car wash is driven by the purchase of cars and the increase in consumer spending – in essence, as the general economy of a country grows, more people will buy cars and more people will patronize the services of car wash on a regular basis.

The trend in the car wash industry is that most car wash companies in the bid to survive the recent global economic meltdown included additional services to their core service offerings. Some car wash companies include washing of rugs, selling of car accessories, running a bar, barbing saloon and even restaurant within the same premises if they have enough space.

Over and above, car wash businesses all over the world are still enjoying good patronage particularly if they are well positioned and if they know how to reach out to their target market.

The Estimated Cost to Open a Car Wash Business

When it comes to starting a standard car wash business, one is expected to spend the bulk of the startup capital on renting and equipping a facility. Aside from that, you are expected to purchase a wide range of cleaning equipment, secure the required license and permits, and pay your employees and utility bills.

In view of that, here are the key areas where you are expected to spend your startup capital on;

  • The Total Fee for Registering the Business in Sacramento – California – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $1,500.
  • Marketing promotion expenses for the grand opening of the car wash the amount of $3,500 and as well as flyer printing (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $3,580.
  • The cost for hiring Business Consultant including writing of Business Plans– $3,000.
  • Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $30,800.
  • The cost of accounting software, CRM software and Payroll Software – $3,000
  • The cost for leasing standard car wash facility- $80,000.
  • The cost for facility remodeling including drilling of borehole – $40,000.
  • Other start-up expenses including stationery – $1000
  • Phone and utility deposits – $3,500
  • Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $40,000
  • The cost for Start-up inventory and car wash and auto detailing equipment and tools (vacuum cleaner with attachments, white cloth rags, paper towels, brush, bowl cleaner, dust pan & brush, dry mop, wet mop & bucket, latex gloves, extension cord, window cleaner, disinfectant cleaner, furniture polish, soft scrub product, SOS pads, feather duster, high duster, caddy with handle to keep your supplies in, cleaning chemical supplies, detergents and soaps) – $25,000
  • The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $13,750
  • The cost for the purchase of furniture and gadgets (Computers, Printers, Telephone, TVs, Credit card machine, POS, tables and chairs et al): $4,000.
  • The cost of launching a website: $600
  • Miscellaneous: $3,000

From the rough estimate as listed above, you would need a minimum of two hundred and thirty – eight thousand, nine hundred and twenty USD ($238,920) to establish a medium – scale but standard car wash business in any city in the United States of America.

Please note that this is a rough estimate and we usually advise our readers to directly contact suppliers of the items they would need to get the real time prices of these items. The truth is that if you are a good bargainer, you can get a better deal that will help you beat down the estimated price as listed above.

Factors That Will Influence The Cost Of Opening A Car Wash Business

  1. The Type of Car Wash Business

A major factor that will determine the overall cost of opening a car wash business in the United States of America is the type of car wash business you want to start. We have strictly mobile car wash business and also car wash business that operate from a fixed location.

A fixed-location car wash can operate as Self-Service Car Washes, Automated Car Washes, Soft Touch Car Wash, No-Touch Car Wash, Machine Dryer Car Wash, Hand Car Wash or Waterless Car Wash. The implications are that they also come with different cost implications when starting the business.

  1. The Choice of Location

Another major factor that will determine the cost of opening a car wash business in the United States of America is the location. In business, location is key part of what determine the success of the business. As a matter of fact, there are business consultants cum realtors who are specialized in helping people choose an ideal location for their type of business; a location that will guarantee them to profitability in the shortest time frame.

Your choice of location for your car wash business determines how successful your business may grow. The truth is that the location you choose to open your car wash business determines if you will be issued the required licenses and permits.

Please note that in the United States of America, zoning violations and citations can be very costly for a business. It is always preferable to make sure you comply with all the zoning and land use laws before you choose a location for your business.

  1. The Required Licenses and Permits

In the United States of America, you cannot open a car wash business without first applying for mandatory licenses and permits. You would need Business Operation License, Doing Business as (DBA) License, building license, zonal permits, and signage permits amongst others.

These license ad permits cost money and it will influence the overall cost of opening a car wash business in the United States of America. In order to get the overall cost of licensing and permits associated with opening a new car wash business in the United States, we will advise that you reach out to your city government to find out what you need for your car wash business. You also need to consider state and federal requirements.

  1. The Type of Facility

The type of facility you want to run your car wash business from is also a major factor that will determine the overall cost of opening a car wash business in the United States of America. As regards the facility, you have the option of renting, leasing or constructing your car wash business facility from the scratch.

With renting and leasing a facility, you might just have to spend extra to modify the facility, but there is a limit to how far you can go and it will be dependent on what the landlord of the facility wants.

Let us assume that you want to construct your car wash business facility from the scratch. It means that you will buy the land or a property, construct and equip the car wash facility. With that, you will agree that you are going to spend way more when compared to people that rent or lease a facility.

  1. Additional Services Offerings

Another key factor that will determine the cost of opening a car wash business in the United States of America is the additional service offerings of the car wash business. The fact that there are different types of car wash business means that these businesses are designed to offer different services.

For example, a car wash business that operates from a location can also decide to provide a wide range of mechanical, electrical and engine maintenance and also washing and detailing for automotive vehicles. In essence, some of the additional services you are going to be offering will cost you more hence you must increase your budget for opening a car wash business.

6. The Cost for Branding, Promotion and Marketing

The cost for branding, promoting and marketing the car wash business is yet another key factor that will determine the overall cost of opening a car wash business in the United States of America. Trust me, if you need massive results as it relates to competing and winning a fair share of the available market in your city, then you must be willing to pay for effective branding, promotion and marketing of your new car wash business.

As a matter of fact, it is not cheap to come by an expert in branding, promotion and marketing that will help you compete with brands that are already determining the market direction of the car wash business industry in your city. So, if you add the cost of paying a branding and marketing expert, it will sure increase the cost of opening your car wash business.

7. The Cost for Furnishing and Equipping the Business

Another very important factor that will determine the cost of opening a car wash business is of course, the cost for furnishing and equipping the facility. You will quite agree that aside from the basic facilities that are expected to be found in a car wash business, an investor may decide to spend more than expected to furnish and equip the car wash business facility to look unique.

As expected, you should budget and buy flat screen TVs, sound system, DVD players, Satellite dish and decoder, office furniture (table, stools and sofas), drawers and cabinets, telephones, filing cabinets, office equipment (cash register, security and fire alarm and protection gadgets, CCTV, ventilation, signage), amongst others. All these will cost money and it will influence the overall cost of opening your car wash business.

8. The Cost of Insurance

The cost of paying for insurance policy cover is yet another important factor that will determine the overall cost of opening a car wash business in the United States of America. Interestingly, in the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from.

Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy cover and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your car wash business.

9. The Cost for Registering the Business

The cost for registering the car wash business is yet another cost that will influence the overall cost of opening the business in the United States of America. Although, the cost of registering a business is affordable, it will no doubt add to the overall cost of opening a car wash business in the United States of America.

10. Sourcing Your Supplies and Ongoing Expenses

Another major factor that will determine the cost of opening a car wash business in the United States of America is sourcing your supplies. If you have direct access to manufacturers of the types of supplies that you would need, it will sure cut down the cost of running the car wash business as against buying your cleaning supplies from third party suppliers.

11. Cost of Recruiting and Training Your Staff

The fact that you are opening your car wash business as a new business means that you are expected to recruit and train your staff to conform to the kind of car wash business you want to operate. The training will help you sell the corporate culture of your organization to the new employees. As expected, it will cost you money to hire expert trainers that will help you bring your new hires up to speed and that will add to the overall cost of opening a car wash business.

12. The Cost of the Purchase and Customizing of Uniforms

Another factor that will determine the overall cost of opening a car wash business in the United States is purchase and customizing of uniforms. Your staff members are expected to all have different uniforms. All these uniforms will cost you money which is why it must be part of your budget if you are looking towards opening a car wash business in the United States of America.

13. The Cost for Grand Opening of the Car Wash Business

In recent times, no car wash business opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. This means that the cost of grand opening of a car wash business is part of the factors that will determine the overall cost of opening a car wash business.

You can choose to do a soft opening if you are operating on a low budget or you can choose to go for grand opening party. The bottom line is that it is a cost that must be part of your budget and this cost will influence the overall cost of opening the car wash business in the United States of America.

In Conclusion,

Please note that there are other factors such as tax, and insurance et al not listed above that will sure influence the overall cost of opening your car wash business which is why we will advise that you work with a result driven business consultant in your city to give you the needed guide and info as it relates to the unique factors in your location that will influence the overall cost of opening your car wash business.

Solomon. O'Chucks