When it comes to business, location is everything. For car washes especially, this means that selecting the right location on which to build your facility is crucial. At Tommy Car Wash Systems we have over 40 years of experience evaluating sites for new car washes and determining the potential these locations hold, and we have a deep understanding of the criteria in the site selection process that you should considered early on in the process. Criteria such as:

Traffic Count

While a high-tech modern car wash like the Totally Tommy design will attract visitors from far and wide, car washes are still generally an impulse purchase and exposing your wash to the greatest amount of passing traffic is of primary importance. Traffic counts, which can be obtained from local or state governments, detail the average number of vehicles which travel over a particular road in a 24 hour period. Generally speaking, busier roads are more desirable and put your wash in proximity to larger numbers of potential customers. However, there are other factors that should be taken into account such as the traffic speed (slower traffic can pull in to the lot easier) and road type (2 or 4 lane roads are generally better than divided highways or one-way streets).


In general, wealthier middle-class areas afford more customers with the cash to spend on a high-end car wash, and demographics should be considered when it comes to investing in a major car wash. Likewise, a denser local population (the number of households in a 1 or 5 mile radius) offers a larger customer base than a more sparsely populated area. If a town or city doesn’t have a great enough population in range of your wash the resulting revenue is unlikely to match your investment cost, leading to underperformance.


While a high end, high tech modern car wash can easily out-compete ‘shoe box’ touchless or self-service car washes, it is still best to avoid sharing the street with local competition. Instead, search for an area that is under served by other local car wash options and where you won’t need to split your customer base with another major car wash site. This is especially true of older, well-established washes that may be able to cut prices in order to scoop up customers, depriving your brand new wash of desperately needed customers after your launch.

Local Attractions and Partners

If your wash will be in operation for five years, ten years, twenty years, and hopefully longer, it is important to know your neighbors. Different areas will rise and fall in popularity and profitability and it is important to recognize these shifts before they happen and anticipate local changes. One of the best strategies is to pick a location with major local shopping destinations like retail outlets, grocery stores, or town centers and build nearby. These areas tend to retain their property value, have higher traffic counts, lower speeds, and some of your neighbors may also be willing to partner with your wash for different promotions like free wash giveaways.

Cost and ROI

The right location is always worth the investment, but that doesn't mean it's easy to tell if any particular piece of land is affordably priced relative to its latent car wash profitability. Fortunately there are mathematical models which can help define and inform these real world choices. With proprietary criteria and models  based on real-world car wash outcomes, Tommy Car Wash Systems can help show you what information is most important and give you the tools to evaluate potential locations for construction. This data can also be used to convince and persuade banks, financiers, and investors as needed.

When it comes to building record-setting car washes, everything from local climate conditions to site layout and color scheme plays a part, so make sure you have a knowledgeable and professional team on your side. For more information on pre-screened car wash site locations or partnership opportunities with Tommy Car Wash Systems, contact our team today.

Tommy Car Wash Systems