Yay! We bring to you a detailed guide on how to start a car wash business and earn significant income by running a successful one.
Appearance matters a lot in anything one does be it in one’s dress sense or the general look of one’s vehicle. Like good dressing, neat and well-kept vehicles speak volumes of the owner or driver.
You can imagine dressing all neat and nice, probably in one of your best white attire only to be afraid to use your car because you don’t want it to stain your clothing as the vehicle is dirty.
That is the reason some car or motorcycle owners take care of their vehicles on a daily basis.
However, there are some who, for one reason or the other, cannot undertake this chore and so depend on others to do it for them. This is where service like car washing comes into the light.
A car wash business is one of the most profitable business ideas in Nigeria, it requires significant investment, good planning, and attention to detail in order to make the business profitable.
With the right location, good marketing, and top-notch service, you can draw in numerous customers who need their cars washed quickly, efficiently, and at a good price.
The business is not limited to a particular class of society. Youths, graduates, unemployed, businessmen, women, investors etc. can start a car wash business and it is a viable venture.
Is Car Wash Business Profitable?
Have you ever asked “is owning a car wash a good investment?” Yes, it is.
Car wash business, if well set up, organized and managed can yield you a lot of revenue and create jobs for others.
The market for this business is always available without season. During raining season because of the nature of our roads, the muds and dirt of the road stain the car and during the dry season, everywhere is dusty and the dust needs to be washed off.
The cheapest car wash outlets’ pricing cost about ₦500 to ₦1,000. The charges can even be more than that depending on the locality, just to wash a car’s interior and exterior.
If you want extra service like steam washing of your radiator, it will attract an extra fee for that.
Using a low estimate of washing 10 cars per day as a case study, if you wash about 10 cars at a cost of ₦1,000 each, that will be ₦10,000 per day and that figure is likely to increase on weekends.
Just think of the number of cars in your city or locality that use our dirty and dusty roads on a daily basis. Also noteworthy is the busy schedules of many car owners. All these factors make the services of a car wash expert always needed.
This is a business you can do, if you are unemployed. You can also do this business if you are employed but looking for a profitable business you can invest in.
You can recruit experienced personnel to run the business for you while you also go to the business premises on your days off work or weekends.
Should it be a large-scale professional car washing service, the startup capital will be huge as the income will be enormous too when you succeed.
Otherwise, if it is a small-scale car washing service, you will not look for a huge capital before you establish it and can expect a considerable amount of money as profit.
Not only is car wash business profitable on the long run, it is one of the daily income businesses in Nigeria you should consider starting.
You need to have the know-how, be aware of the type of detergent, water and brushes to use.
While some water, chemical, and detergent could damage the car color, hard brushes would leave marks on the body; so it’s always good to know the exact material to use to get the right result and satisfy your customers.
How to Start a Car Wash Business – Steps & Equipment Needed
To succeed in a car wash business, starting on the right foot goes a long way.
At the initial stage, before you set up your business, you will need to put the following into consideration. They will be part of the planning you will do for establishing a car wash service.
- Analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your car wash business
- Determine your target set of customers. Will it be mainstream drivers, commercial transport drivers, fuel tanker drivers, or high-class car owners?
- Draft your advertisement or promotion to attract more customers: this can be done both online and offline. You can use leaflets, newsletters flyers ads on media, and the Internet.
- Project the expenditure and sales for the first few months
In order to be successful at this planning stage, you need to be open to every piece of advice you get and be selective in adopting them.
Then proceed with researching and carrying out a detailed feasibility study carefully. It is a business that can be handled from one person up depending on how big you plan to start.
You also need to be updated on the latest trends and technologies to acquire a better understanding of the industry. In carrying out your research you should do the following:
- Know the average car statistics in your area so as to help you predict success for your business.
- Find out what the demographics are in your area.
- Read business publications to find out what the newest materials and equipment are.
- Talk to car wash business owners, car wash suppliers, and car wash equipment retailers, in order to understand the business from all sides so you know what you are getting into.
- Try to visit as many places as you can to see how they set up their store, what kind of equipment they use, the number of customers they can attract and other tricks they use to promote their products. Learn from both their success and failure stories.
- Find out about your competitors within the area. Get to know what services do they offer, what are their prices, how do they market their business, how often are customers using the services.
- Take note as you investigate the existing car washing business because you will need to go back and review them as you make plans for yours.
- Also pay attention to success factors. If a car wash has a high volume of customers, what are some of the factors that are contributing to this?
How much does it cost to open a car wash business?
Make sure you know how to raise money for your business. To set up a small-scale type as mentioned earlier, sparingly a budget of around ₦200,000 to ₦500,000 from your own savings might be sufficient for initial operation.
However, the capital must be many times higher for large-scale car washing services. In that case, you may need to reach organizations offering scholarships, grants, or any form of business loans.
Always remember: failing to plan is planning to fail!
Find a good location
Deciding on a particular spot to cite the business is another step that requires careful consideration.
Don’t locate the business out of sentiment as this might push you out of business. The spot you choose to set up your car wash business can decide how well you will succeed.
Don’t rush to choose a convenient place for you, everything must be considered in your customers’ views. If you have carried out the first step diligently, then you likely will not have an issue locating a good spot for your business.
Choose a location that is clearly visible and easily accessible from the road, which can allow for expansions and business growth, and have enough space for cars to line up. Choose a venue large enough to accommodate wash, vacuum and drying areas, and the office.
Get a place where there are lots of vehicular movements as this will increase the number of patronage you would get.
You may find some popular filling stations in the neighborhood that are willing to give space for hire. Transports often patronizing these stations are probably your first customers.
You can rent a land if you don’t have the funds to buy a land of your own. After the business has boom you may begin to look for how to buy and own the land.
There are many advantages to owning your own land as it will be shown as I proceed with other steps. It becomes easier to install some other facilities on it.
In choosing for the right piece of land for your car wash business, ensure to choose a land that has a good drainage system so that dirty water won’t flood the road.
If it doesn’t have, you may have to create one yourself. This is to avoid causing environmental damage to the roads by causing water-log around the vicinity of the business. This is what several car wash businesses have neglected.
Get a reliable source of water.
Water is the lifeline of any car wash business. This can be a bore hole, pipe borne water or a well.
You just need a stable source of clean water because of course, car owners will freak out if they see their vehicles washed with dirty water.
Whatever the source of water that you have, you should have a storage tank where you would store the water. If it is a well or bore hole you will need water pump to transfer the water to the storage tank.
Get a reliable source of power
You can get a modest power generating set to power your car wash equipment and the lightings, fans, refrigerators, and television for the customer waiting area.
Build a nice washing bay
Try to make the floor of the washing bay area concrete so as to prevent making the area messy and water-logged.
Also, having a canopy above the washing bay area makes washing comfortable even when there is sunlight and it beautifies your washing area.
Erect customer’s waiting bay
This is important as you need to treat your customers well. Customers need to have a place with a roof or canopy and chairs where they can wait for their cars to get washed.
You can put a television in this waiting area and serve them snacks and drinks while they wait. You may also employ someone who would be selling the refreshment to them. This way you get additional income for the business.
Making them comfortable while they await their car to be cleaned and the way you relate with them will make them always come back.
Get the necessary materials and equipment
You will need to purchase the following for your car wash service:
- Overhead tanks to store water in scarcity
- Washing machine
- Vacuums and blowers
- Compressor and pumps
- Chemicals (e.g. cleaning solutions, wax, spot-free rinses, protectants, etc.)
- Generator to power the equipment and lightings
It is also noteworthy that the materials used on the body are usually different from those used on the glasses.
One needs this knowledge because the use of wrong materials could leave rainbow colors on the screen and this is dangerous when driving at night.
Make sure the technician needed is available to service your equipment as at when due.
Recruiting an experienced car wash personnel
If you want to operate your car wash service yourself then you will need to undergo at least a brief training program under an existing car wash business.
This will help you to learn all the needed techniques for running the business. You can even train yourself by viewing several online videos on techniques in washing cars.
However, another option you can explore would be to recruit a competent and experienced car wash expert. Either you or the person you hired should be customer-focused.
Your employees should be punctual, efficient, skilled and have excellent communication skills.
Some of your customers might have gone through some tortuous moment in traffic; they are ready to flare up at the slightest provocation. Treat your customers well and you’ll have a constant supply of cash.
Advertise your car wash business
The signage for your car wash should be colorful with clear messaging.
Make sure that driver can easily see it from the road and the signage is visible to them for at least 15 seconds.
Ideally, traffic should travel past at low speed, so drivers have time to see your signage and make that decision to have their cars washed.
Use a multifaceted approach to advertise your business that includes words of mouth, flyers, posters, newspaper, radio or television ads and an online presence depending on your budget.
Include other services.
Many car washes have combined other services and businesses with their car wash to increase revenue.
Additional services will make your car wash more attractive to customers and help your car wash stand out from the crowd.
Laundry services, washing of rugs Restaurant, pepper soup joint, a barbershop, or even an enhanced waiting area discussed above with cable television, sales of soft drink, comfortable place to sit are possible additions.
This will of course depend on the available space and its ownership. Also, the cost of including other services should be considered.
Summary of Starting a Car Wash Business
Car wash business is one business that many people tend to neglect. People regard it as a dirty business done by street boys and undergraduates, but by now you should have changed this perception.
Setting up a modest car wash service will likely require around ₦200,000 to ₦500,000 in the beginning.
While to start car wash business may not be easy at the initial stage as it is true with other business, with this article I hope you have found that it is equally not that difficult.
Follow the step by step process in this article and you will be climbing the ladder up to success.
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