The process of designing a car wash and getting it financed, built, and finally up and running can be grueling. Fortunately, many entrepreneurs are discovering that with the right design in the right location, the investment has a lucrative and long-lasting payoff.

If you are serious about opening your own car wash in the United States or abroad, there are a few thing you’ll need first:

1. A Detailed Business Plan

We’ve written about car wash business plans  before, as they are truly foundational for any car wash startup. These substantial documents cover everything from your company name and objective to your ideal location, design, marketing approach, growth plan, expected ROI, management strategy, and even exit contingencies if things don’t work out. Once completed, your business plan is used for everything from financing pitches to township approval meetings, and having the details down solid and backed up by real-world data can often make the difference between enthusiastic approval or rejection and delays.

But what happens if you haven’t been down the car wash development road before and you aren’t sure what should be included in your plan or what outcomes to anticipate? What if you aren’t 100% sure what’s ahead of you or where to get started?

2. Expert Guidance

Even if you’ve done your homework and everything in your business plan looks good in writing, it’s impossible anticipate every contingency without a depth of knowledge and experience to fall back on.

For instance, how confident are you know the following :

  • What wash pricing provides the greatest long-term advantage?
  • What is the correct range of water hardness for your wash?
  • How should you estimate seasonal changes in demand?
  • Which safety equipment is required for OSHA compliance?
  • What are the appropriate equipment repair and maintenance schedules ?
  • How should you estimate revenue from new or seasonal services?
  • What emergency procedures should be put in place?
  • What is the ideal conveyor speed for your situation?
  • How should you determine real-time cost per car?

Mistakes in these areas and others are costly and it’s hard to overstate just how dangerous and frustrating it can be to go through the car wash development process without the help of someone who has completed it before. Competent car wash development and consulting services, like those available through Tommy Car Wash Systems, can help you navigate the startup process and provide a valuable network of support when you need it.

Get more information here!

3. A Solid Equipment Manufacturer

Ultimately a car wash has to wash cars, and that makes the choice of the equipment used in the facility one of the most fundamentally important choices a car wash entrepreneur can make. While it may be tempting to rely on cheaper equipment or to reduce startup costs by cutting non-essential equipment and services, those small savings will come at the cost of long term success and performance—especially if the equipment causes damage to customer vehicles, breaks down frequently, or fails entirely a decade down the road.

Partner with a quality car wash equipment source and make the choice to build your wash right the first time, using high performing stainless steel equipment that will offer a lifetime of output and finishing the tunnel with valuable up-sale services.

4. A Great Location

Location, location, location. The ideal car wash site lies on major roads, features easy entrances and exits, has clear lines of sight for street-side advertising, and has several blocks of room between it and any local competition. Choose the right site and a car wash increases its chance to flourish. Choose the wrong site and even the best wash will struggle.

However, because the perfect site can be tricky to locate, Tommy Car Wash Systems maintains a list of potential car wash sites ready for development and can also use propriety computer models and local data to determine the relative potential of different potential lots in a target area.

5. Healthy Professional Ambition

Starting a business, any business, can be a challenge. This is doubly true for one that requires a relatively large up-front investment, employee and customer service management, marketing experience, and technical knowhow.

But that doesn’t mean you should give up or avoid the car wash industry. In fact, if you have the will and determination to develop and build your own car wash, now the most spectacular time in recent history to do so!

Over the past few decades the car wash industry has become increasingly fractured, split between full service washes, hand-only washes, self service washes, small in-bay rollover washes, express washes, and more. But while it may seem like the average American has more car wash options than ever before, this fragmentation actually obscures a powerful and growing demand for safe, high-end, high-speed car washes.

In 2015 Totally Tommy washes report great success across the nation, with increasing customer traffic and membership sales. At the same time the improved economy has led to increased interest in small business financing from many major financial and banking institutions, and for now interest rates remain at rock-bottom lows. With the right system in the right location, there is little limit to the success you may find!

If you would like more information about developing a car wash with Tommy Car Wash systems, our Equipment Packages or the Totally Tommy design please contact a representative directly using the form available through this link. We look forward to serving you!

10 Steps for starting a car wash

Tommy Car Wash Systems.