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10 Types of Car Wash Business Model ideas

Car Wash Business

Do you want to open a car wash business but you are undecided on the kind of car wash business model to pursue? If YES, here are 10 types of car wash stands.

A car wash or auto wash is a facility that cleans the exterior and, in some cases, the interior of motor vehicles for a fee. The business makes money by attending to a steady stream of cars and by providing added services.

Before you set up a car wash, you have to first of all know the kind of car wash you would want to operate. Car washes come in different types and that is what we want to look at in this article.

Car Wash Business Model – 10 Types of Car Wash

1. Automatic in-bay Car Wash

Automatic Car Wash Business

In-bay automatic car washes are known to be the most popular type of car wash for car owners. They are often found at petrol stations and other such locations. They can be either friction-style, touchless, or both. Automatic car washes consist of tunnel-like buildings into which customers (or attendants) drive.

The service has provisions where customers can select from a menu of wash options which may include undercarriage cleaning, tyre and wheel cleaning and spray-on wax. This allows them to select the wash they want based on their budget.

The washing process involves the automatics rolling over a stationary car to wash it. At some washes, the system will send the correct number of rollers automatically, based on tire sensors. The tire sensor lets the wash know where the wheels are and how far apart they are.

On other systems the employee may guide the customer on and press a ‘Send Car’ button on the tunnel controller, to manually send the rollers which push the car through. An automatic car wash is a popular choice because the structure washes cars quickly and doesn’t require a regular attendant, although many automatic car washes can only accommodate one car at a time.

Some car washes have their customers pay through a computerized POS, or point of sale unit, also known as an “automatic cashier”, which may take the place of a human cashier. An automatic car wash is a popular choice for many business owners because the structure washes cars quickly and doesn’t require a regular attendant on the clock.

2. Tunnel System Car Wash

A tunnel car wash is similar to an in-bay car wash in that the customer drives their vehicle into a bay for an automated wash.

The major difference is that the vehicle is moved through a tunnel on a conveyor belt. With the tunnel system, the customer takes the car to the tunnel and allows the conveyor system to steadily carry it forward while it goes through various wash stages.

It can also provide a service to clean underneath the car and the final stage is usually where a powerful fan dries out the car. The tunnel system often provides a more complete car wash than other systems, that is why it is more preferred.

The tunnel system is time saving as more than one car can be washed together in a single tunnel, and it only takes 5–10 minutes to wash a single car. It does require more space than an in-bay car wash though, and it does require more maintenance, but it also allows you to provide a more thorough wash.

3. The Flex-serve tunnel

The flex-serve tunnel is yet another car wash type you can settle with. It is a service that allows you to add optional exterior, aftercare, or express valeting service for an additional cost. Essentially, the flexible nature of this service means that after the tunnel wash, customers can also enjoy some of the benefits afforded by having their car hand washed.

4. Touchless Car Wash

Touchless Car Wash Business

A touchless automatic wash cleans your vehicle without use of bristles or brushes. This is why it is called touchless. Instead, the entire wash is conducted with chemical cleaners, pressure washers and pressurized air.

Like soft-touch car washes, touchless car washes are automated, with the vehicle passing through a tunnel where the vehicle is cleaned; however, touchless car washes do not use the foam or cloth applicators that soft-touch washes use, instead relying on high-pressure washers to both clean and rinse the vehicle off.

The touchless car wash involves flexible machine spray that can reach all areas of the car’s surface using high-pressure water jets and a combination of cleaning and polishing chemicals that are applied onto the car surface and left to work on the dirt for just the right amount of time.

In general, a touchless wash takes a little more time than the traditional brush wash because of the time it takes for the chemical to work. Touchless car washes may be safer, as there’s a reduced risk of cosmetic damage to the car when brushes aren’t used. Some touchless automatic washes employ attendants to towel-dry the cars, while other have a dryer.

Because the vehicle is not physically impacted during a touchless wash, the vehicle is at a lower risk of being damaged. However, touchless washes have a harder time cleaning off tougher materials or reaching difficult-to-reach locations on vehicles, and their usage of stronger chemicals can potentially damage a vehicle’s paint finish

5. Self-Service Car Wash

A self-serve car wash is exactly what its name implies — a car wash where motorists can wash their own vehicles. What’s the difference between using a self-serve car wash and washing a car at home? When drivers use your self-serve car wash, they get to use your equipment and supplies instead of buying their own.

A self-service car wash is a simple and automated type of car wash that is typically coin-operated or token-operated self-service system.

Newer self-service car washes offer the ability to pay with credit cards or loyalty cards. The number of coins or tokens inserted determines the amount of time customers have to operate the equipment; in most instances, a minimum number of coins is necessary to start the equipment.

With the self-service car wash the car owners wash their cars themselves, paying separately for options including soap, brushes, high pressure water and wax. Other features that are frequently available to customers are vacuum cleaners and tyre inflation.

This type of car wash is relatively cheap, and customers have the option to wash their car the way they like. This can be particularly important if customers don’t like anyone else to handle their vehicle or it does not fit into other car wash facilities.

6. Bikini Car Wash

Bikini car washes are as they sound are car washes where women clad in bikinis wash cars. These car washes usually spring up as summer events for fundraisers for a school, a sport association, or other youth organizations or charities.

Typically, women in bikinis bring in donors by standing on a roadside with colorful cardboard signs or posters, and the cars are washed by their classmates in a nearby parking lot. Depending on the organization responsible, as well as the local laws, a variation of the bikini car wash sometimes occurs, in which the women will wash the car topless, usually for an extra fee.

There are also commercial bikini car washes, where bikini-clad women actually wash the cars for a fee and the entertainment of the drivers. Hooters restaurants usually have bikini car washes in the summer to attract customers.

7. Hand Wash Car Wash

A full-service car wash is also another option available to you when you want to open a car wash. Here, all vehicles are hand-washed by the staff. This obviously provides the deepest clean and best detailing, but it will also mean a lot of work on your end.

There are higher costs for labor, training, and management, and it will take some time to clean each vehicle satisfactorily.

8. Waterless Wash

A waterless wash utilizes only a spray-bottle product and several microfiber towels to clean cars. You simply spray the surface with your waterless wash product, then wipe with a microfiber towel. People use waterless washes for a number of reasons: they don’t have the space for a hand wash, they can’t use water, they’re on the road, etc.

9. Rinseless Wash

A rinseless wash is different from a waterless wash. In a way, it’s sort of a hybrid between a handwash and a waterless wash. With a rinseless wash, you’ll take a small amount of your rinseless wash product and mix it into a bucket of water.

It won’t produce any suds, though—that’s why you don’t need to rinse. All you need to do once you’ve washed an area is wipe down to dry.

Rinseless washes can be done with wash mitts or microfiber towels. Many detailers work by soaking several microfiber towels in a bucket filled with rinseless wash product and water. You take one microfiber towel, wring it out, and set it aside to dry with.

Then, you spray a panel with a pre-wash product and grab a soaking microfiber towel and start cleaning. You take your wringed-out drying towel, dry the panel, and then finally you take a fresh, dry microfiber and complete the drying process. Repeat panel-by-panel until your vehicle is clean.

A rinseless wash method tends to be favored by those under water restriction or with limited space, who are also concerned with the scratching a waterless wash might cause.

It still scratches more than a handwash, but far less than a waterless. You’re also not going to be able to remove heavy soiling as well as you could with a handwash.

10. Auto Detail Shop

Some entrepreneurs reason that instead of opening just a car wash, they can open an auto detailing shop and offer both car washing and auto detailing services. Auto detailing shops have a professional washer that can clean a car by hand from start to finish. You can offer to clean both interior and exterior of cars.