We all can attest to the fact that the amount of cars on the road is increasing with each coming year. However, note that with the constant need to protect our environment against climate change and global warming, there is a massive demand for more earth-friendly ways of taking care of vehicles.
Owing to that, car wash businesses in the United States are expected to stay in line with a good number of regulations and environmental laws.
Reports have it that the United States car wash industry generates close to $10 billion annually and is growing at about 3% per year.
While it can prove to be a lucrative business venture, you also need to understand that it requires a substantial amount to start and requires a lot of work.
Aside from that, despite being a renewable resource, the world is dealing with water shortage and it keeps getting worse.
With the way car wash businesses operate and the services they render, the essence of the rules and regulations is to guarantee environmental protection and occupational safety for workers.
Important Rules and Regulations for Car Wash Business
In the United States, there are certain rules and regulations car wash businesses are expected to comply with to guarantee safety, environmental compliance, and business legality. Although the exact regulations will vary depending on your location, below are some basic ones to keep in mind;
1. Zoning and Permitting
You can’t just wake up, open up a car wash business, and start tending to the needs of customers. You have to understand that there are zoning restrictions that come with starting this business, and there are certain permissions and authorizations you will be expected to obtain.
Although the restrictions and authorizations will vary from one location to another, it is important to ensure that the location you choose for your business aligns with local zoning laws.
2. Environmental Regulations
There are numerous technological developments that make it possible to improve the services you can provide to clients, while at the same time keeping the environmental footprint to a minimum.
As such, ensure to put in place best practices to deal with water runoff and chemicals used in the car wash to limit or totally avoid environmental contamination.
3. Water Usage
In the United States, there are also regulations that govern the usage of water by car wash businesses. Although the specifics will depend on your location, it is recommended you take your time to research and understand water conservation regulations. You should also consider using water-efficient equipment and systems to reduce water consumption.
4. Waste Disposal
In a good number of states and counties, there are storm drain regulations that prevent car wash businesses from allowing their untouched runoff to flow into a storm drain that goes to freshwater sources. Going against these regulations could get your facility hit with fines.
5. Chemical Handling
Just as was noted above, some aspects of the car wash and detailing process necessitate the use of certain chemicals. As such, you should understand ways to safely store and handle cleaning chemicals as per local, state, and federal regulations. Note that this might entail proper labeling, storage, and disposal.
6. Employee Regulations
There are regulations that come with managing employees. As such, it is very important you understand and conform to labor laws, such as wage and hour regulations, workers’ compensation, and safety standards.
Aside from providing information regarding chemicals employees come into contact with, you will also have to provide the proper protective gear.
7. Health and Safety
It falls on you as a business owner to guarantee a safe working environment for both employees and customers. There are certain regulations and rules that govern this aspect of business management, and it will vary from one location to another. Nevertheless, ensure to put in place safety protocols and emergency response plans.
You would also want to take note of the accessibility requirements necessary for people with disabilities, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States.
The ADA requirements for businesses are nonetheless quite flexible, and policymakers understand that smaller businesses might have a hard time making the property compliant.
And that is why it gives room for these businesses to develop plans to remove any physical barriers over time as resources become available.
9. Signage and Advertising
Depending on your location, there are regulations and rules that come with signage and your advertising activities. As such, take your time to understand those rules and adhere to the necessary regulations for signage and advertising in your area. This might very well include size and placement restrictions.
10. Customer Data Protection
This is meant for car wash businesses that collect customer data. In the United States, you will be expected to comply with data protection and privacy regulations such as GDPR (in Europe) or CCPA (in California, USA).
You should never start a car wash business without the right coverage. The essence of insurance is to protect both you and your business from unforeseen circumstances. Nevertheless, ensure to acquire the right insurance coverage to shield your business and customers.
12. Noise Regulations
Car wash noise remains one of the most common issues car wash owners and operators have to deal with. Neighbors, municipal regulations, and OSHA all demand that the volume on every facet of car wash operations be reduced.
Howbeit, while Car wash noise is unavoidable, it is recommended you seek ways to stay in line with local noise ordinances to reduce disturbances to neighbors and the community.
13. Fire Safety
This business comes with a plethora of excitement and risk, and one of those risks is the high possibility of fire. As such, ensure to stay in line with all fire safety regulations, such as fire extinguishers and emergency exits.