Do you want to start a car wash business by buying Tommy Car Wash franchise? If YES, here is how much it cost to open a Tommy Car Wash franchise. Tommy Car Wash is one of the many businesses that have crafted the most comprehensive, cohesive car wash franchise package available, with an entire suite of benefits.

Every Tommy’s Express Car Wash is built from the Totally Tommy integrated equipment and facility design, developed to achieve the fastest processing speeds and best wash quality available from an express car wash. This is a unique template that covers all aspects of the finished facility. Tommy’s Express offers entrepreneurs the opportunity become participants with a growing national network of car washes.

How Much It Cost to Open a Tommy Car Wash Franchise

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment: $4,189,681 – $5,341,508
  • Liquid Cash Requirement: $750,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee: $50,000 – $50,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee: 4%
  • Ad Royalty Fee: 1%

How to Get and Open a Tommy Car Wash Franchise

With over 35 years experience in the car wash industry, Tommy Car Wash must have seen it all. They know what a stressful and potentially confusing process starting a new car wash can be. Below is well detailed process of getting a Tommy Car Wash Franchise.

1. Scout for Possible Locations for your Car Wash

First, you have to understand that enormous care must be taken when choosing a suitable location for your car wash business. Tommy Car Wash Site Model Pages have in-depth descriptions of location criteria to consider (including population, competition, street types, car counts, and more) and the company’s site development services can help you select and approve the best locations available in your area.

But you should consider driving around your target area, paying close attention to the relative traffic, types of local businesses, and anything that looks for sale. Understand and analyze your potential market.

2. Analyze the Competition

You are expected to thoroughly know the local car washes in the area. How many customers do they have and how aggressively are they marketing? What will they do when you open your wash? Can these businesses afford a multi-million dollar renovation to bring their wash in line with yours? Are they debt free and can they cut prices to out-compete you (with your interest payments) in the short term?

Are their customers frequent users and very loyal—or are they waiting for something better? In business generally, local competition can be dangerous, even for Totally Tommy buildings, and selecting a location with some elbow room between you and competitors is important. But it shouldn’t bother you too much because you’ll be working in a completely different weight class.

Tour as many successful car washes as possible to see what makes them tick—especially if you haven’t been in the business very long. Check out automatic car washes, partially automatic, express, detailing, and other washes to see how they differ from one another.

3. Organize the Paperwork

Research and find out what local city or county department handles business licenses and request an application, as well as information on local utility usage codes, insurance requirements, tax rates, and other requirements for opening a business. You will also need a Taxpayer Identification Number and you should use the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark search tool to check your brand then register to claim it.

Have it in mind that each area and city has different rules, so make sure you take the time to understand everything and keep your business in line. If you can, also get information on local sanitary sewers (for your waste water), utility prices, water usage limits, and other regulations.

4. Follow Up the Planning and Approval Process

Ensure to set up a meeting with the city planner. Explain in good details a rendering of your concept and try to get verbal approval for the design—or a list of probable issues to address. If you have approval you can set up a formal meeting to present your plans and have them voted on at a city council meeting. The company strongly believes that your Totally Tommy building with its modern style, efficient design, and great investment potential will blow them away! It’s advisable to be friendly, optimistic, and down to earth. If the city gets on board with your project it can make the whole process move along more smoothly.

5. Put Together a Business Plan

Note that your car wash business plan is expected to focus on both long term and short term operations. Leverage a professional service and have it in mind that the more detailed, thorough, and researched your plan is, the better it will look to investors or your bank. Remember to include costs (up front and overhead costs), planning for building to long-term revenue management, and marketing strategies (launch and long-term).

6. Seek Funding

Getting adequate funding for your business is perhaps the most challenging step, and your success here will largely depend on how well you’ve researched and organized your business plan ahead of time.

Note that a solid revenue model can help sway investors to put up the capital for your new car wash business, so be prepared to demonstrate that you need enough funding for a truly high quality car wash facility and equipment with great return potential. You will also need a convincing resume with business and/or car wash experience, and a solid marketing plan.

7. Establish the Right Wash

Tommy Car Wash believes that every car wash succeeds when they capture the attention of the local market and are designed to make turning in, purchasing a wash, and moving through the tunnel as quick and easy as possible. The Totally Tommy building is the best way to do just this, attracting vast numbers of passing customers with a great looking building, perfected layouts, and a full and fast service menu.

The model have been proven in scenarios around the country, every component of this facility design has been carefully thought out to create a single, cohesive investment that pays off. From the towers to the pay system, deceleration lanes, glass walls, stainless steel equipment, and clear roof, everything is designed to project sophistication, professionalism, and value.

8. Promote your New Business

Marketing and promotion is the only way to let your customers know what you do and where you do it. You have to ensure your community knows about your wash ahead of the grand opening with onsite advertising as well as print, radio, local web, and possibly TV advertisements.

You’ll begin to build a curious customer base that will drop buy and tell their friends and family afterwards. $15,000 or $1 / car for initial marketing including billboards, mailings to 5 mile radius, promotional washes, and radio commercials is a good place to start at your launch and $.10 / car is a standard ballpark long-term rate for the future.

One or two day Social media campaigns (incentivize customers with free washes for best results) can also be highly successful. You will also have to collect feedback and adapt your marketing program for the greatest possible effectiveness moving forwards.

Why Buy a Tommy Car Wash Franchise?

Boasting of 16 facilities currently open and almost 200 more in various stages of development, Tommy’s Express Car Wash is set to become one of the best known car wash chains in the United States with a large and shared membership pool. The company’s partners receive access to exclusive car wash technology developed specifically for use in all franchise networks.

This includes the new Tommy Point of Sale, Tommy Club license plate recognition, and the Easy-Chem detergent management system. Tommy Car Wash is able to continually explore, develop, and try new and innovative technology while individual operators focus on the day to day running and success of their individual facilities.

Tommy Car Wash understands that the right location makes a world of difference for every car wash, that is why the company’s in-house development team will help you identify and secure the best possible location for your facility, and they are ready to assist you through the entire process from site layout and local approvals, to final equipment installation and fine-tuning.

Also, to efficiently run a car wash successfully and deliver a high quality wash result, you’ll need the right training and practice before your site launches.

The Tommy University program brings Tommy’s Express owners and managers to its headquarters in Holland MI for both classroom and hands-on training, followed by additional training and review at their local site. The company strives to give its Franchises the tools, knowledge, and support they need to be successful from the car wash’s first year through its first decade.

Tommy’s Express is unique also because they offer comprehensive and highly professionalized marketing support before, during, and after your car wash’s grand opening. They manage your social media channels and online directories, providing a constant stream of social media and video content, implementing new seasonal campaigns, and closely managing your online reputation and reviews.

Tommy’s Express washes incorporate water conserving features, a dual belt conveyor system, and an app-based membership program integrated with license plate recognition technology.


Starting and managing any business, and especially a brick and mortar car wash filled with high-end technology, is complex. But you don’t have to bother, Tommy Car Wash Systems boast of a team with enormous experience and hundreds of washes behind them with thousands of installations and developments. A Tommy partnership comes with lifetime support. The company’s team will always be dedicated to making sure your wash is always running at 100%.