How to Buy a Car Wash Business? Costs and Considerations

Buy a Car Wash Business

This article on how to buy a car wash business should help you be more open-minded as you embark on your journey to discovering a new passion. 

How to buy a car wash business? You need to prepare business plan, money, feasibility study, location, licenses and permits.

For more information, keep reading.

Where to Purchase a Car Wash Facility?

Purchasing an existing car wash business might be the easiest way to get into the industry, especially if it is a good location or is already popular in the community. This allows you to also most likely inherit most of your needed equipment, especially with automated car washes.

There are many ways to look for car wash businesses that are for sale. Some of them include:

  • Browsing online business marketplaces to locate car washes for sale
  • Searching services such as Craigslist to find businesses for sale by owner
  • Networking with local business organizations to find anyone selling their car wash
  • Looking through the classifieds section of your local newspaper
  • Partnering with a business broker who can connect you with sellers
How to Buy a Car Wash Business? Costs and Considerations
How to Buy a Car Wash Business? Costs and Considerations

How to Buy a Car Wash Business?

Purchasing a car wash business involves hard work as well as trial and error. The fact that you understand how to manage the business is crucial.

Conduct a Feasibility Study

Consider the viability of owning a car wash before you even start looking for a place to purchase. Think about the initial costs of buying a car wash, then calculate the costs of operating and managing the car wash, as well as maintenance and repair costs. It may seem appealing to purchase an existing car wash because everything is there, but think carefully about why the current owners are selling and whether or not you will be left with issues, such as outdated equipment or a dwindling clientele.

When it comes to considering the money needed, look at your resources, which includes personal assets, access to capital and creditworthiness. If you don’t budget for startup costs, ongoing costs, and improvements, you risk losing out in negotiations or experiencing a disastrous first few years of operation.

Prepare a Business Plan

Without creating a business plan, no one should even think about starting a business. This plan will take into account your preliminary industry feasibility data. You should also think about the kind of car wash you want to run. Despite the fact that a different kind might become available, it might not satisfy your company’s objectives.

Explain your company’s mission and vision clearly. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and examine the competition. Before you spend your money, find out how busy and how other car washes in the area are doing.

Develop a marketing strategy that might involve early bird discounts, coupons, and school fundraisers. Establish baseline car wash prices to determine your break-even points based on average expenses in your area. Keep in mind that costs like rent, utilities, and labor differ from city to city.

How to Buy a Car Wash Business? Costs and Considerations
How to Buy a Car Wash Business? Costs and Considerations

Budget Your Money

Make sure you have enough money to invest in a car wash business. Otherwise, you might prefer to take out a car wash loan, which is still a debt you will eventually have to repay.

Your startup costs for a new or used car wash shop could range from $60000 to millions. You must account for all costs, such as those for supplies, advertising, inventory, advertising, employee wages, etc.

How much is it to buy a car wash business? Is investing in a car wash a wise move? Are the costs justified? You may need to evaluate these queries.

Starting with a low-cost car wash is always an option, and once the budget allows for expansion, you can always upgrade it.

Keep in mind that getting into a business always uses capital. If it is not enough, then do not hurry. Something in which there is no financial investment is not something you can invest in.

You may want to apply for a car wash financing source in case you lack the monetary requirement to buy such business.

Do a Feasibility Study

Take a close look at a car wash business before buying it. First, the money you have that is intended for investing, plus other resources you need to open one, should be the priority.

After that, determine whether you actually need to buy one. Is it actually required in the area? Will it click?

Finally, think of the manpower and the minimum wage you have to spend on them for their work.

How to Buy a Car Wash Business? Costs and Considerations
How to Buy a Car Wash Business? Costs and Considerations

Careful Site Selection

Start shopping for a location. Since you are purchasing an existing car wash, you might not have many options, and it’s possible that you had a specific opportunity in mind when you began your feasibility study. Even if you did, search your neighborhood for any additional sites that might be for sale. Just a few miles away, there might be a better opportunity.

You can choose more wisely if you do some research on your options. Even though you might have your heart set on a conveyor car wash, you might discover that a wand-style car wash is much simpler to keep clean.

Licenses and Permits

You should make sure that all the legal documents are taken care of, including your business license or car wash permit. Insurance is also important for your business and your employees.

Making connections with people is the best way to market your company. If you intend to take big risks, you might want to hire an advisor. You might be able to find people who can make suggestions for and improve your car wash business plan as well as hone your business skills.

Additionally, you can promote your business on social media. Join Reddit, a social media platform where you can share your interests and use this to grow your social networks.

How to Buy a Car Wash Business? Costs and Considerations
How to Buy a Car Wash Business? Costs and Considerations

How Much Does a Carwash Cost to Open?

Excluding land, the amount of money required to open a carwash depends on the size and type of the building, the machinery, and the location. When building a carwash, operators can anticipate spending, excluding land, an initial investment of between $3 and $5 million. Of course, larger operations may have higher costs.

In the carwash industry, the fastest-growing segment is the express wash model. Autonomous sprayers and a conveyor belt-driven dryer are used in these tunnel washes to move vehicles through them. Models of tunnels are fully automated. The express wash model may feature automatic pay machines, which means you’ll need relatively few employees facilitating the day-to-day operations of your carwash business.

With the express wash model, you can clean your customers’ cars quickly, thoroughly, and affordably. Free vacuums may be available at your express wash so that customers can also clean the inside of their vehicles.

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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Carwash?


A successful carwash company needs a good location. Finding a location on a busy street near a shipping center and residential neighborhoods is advantageous. It is ideal if there are no existing buildings on your land. Be sure to factor in the costs of demolishing any buildings on the land you buy if you want to start over.


If you construct the carwash facility on your own, equipment costs will take up a sizable portion of your budget. Similar to buying a car, you can spend more money on higher-end accessories and features. Owners of carwashes have the option of purchasing equipment that is comparable to a Kia, a Rolls Royce, or equipment that falls somewhere in the middle of those two options.

Plan to purchase the following equipment for your carwash:

  • Washing system (conveyor tunnels)
  • Conveyor (belt or chain)
  • Arches
  • Vehicle wraps
  • Brushes (Side, rocker, top)
  • Blowers/Dryers
  • Water reclamation system
  • Tunnel Controller
  • Point of sale systems

Carwash equipment, like any other type of equipment, requires ongoing maintenance, and may even break down from time to time. Maintaining your equipment lowers the likelihood that you’ll experience downtime and need to make costly repairs. Preventative maintenance assists in locating underlying issues before they become significant issues.


Before you welcome the public into your establishment, you will incur costs in addition to the cost of buying or renting the land and constructing the business. Hiring and training employees and marketing to raise community awareness of your carwash are two major expenses to factor into your budget.


Well-designed and visible signs on your property let customers know you are open and help them understand the purpose of your business. The frequency of customers making impulsive purchases increases when the signage is optimally visible to commuters passing by your carwash. Work with a professional sign company to get the right signage design and placement so your customers can find you quickly and know exactly where to go once they arrive.

This guide will go over how to wash a car at home and some frequently asked questions about best practices for washing cars in order to assist you in keeping your car clean. 

How to Buy a Car Wash Business? Costs and Considerations
How to Buy a Car Wash Business? Costs and Considerations


How Profitable is a Car Wash?

They estimate that a self-serve car wash can generate roughly $1,000 to $1,500 per month in revenue per bay. The US car wash industry brings in $14.21 billion a year in revenue, according to Grandview Research.

Is a Car Wash Passive Income?

Self-service facilities provide long-term income
But once that’s the case, all you have to do is pay the running costs for water, electricity, cleaning supplies, and occasionally maintenance and repairs. Anything beyond that is your passive income.

Is Owning a Car Wash a Good Investment?

Owning a car wash gives you an increased revenue as there is a high volume of customers. 289.5 million cars are expected to be registered in the United States by 2022, according to Hedges & Company. 20,000 cars washed in one year can bring you an average revenue of $139,000 alone.

Is a Car Wash An Asset?

Car washes are a niche asset class that has gained popularity over the last several years but was identified by our The asset class of real estate is appealing in 2019. We saw a chance for investors to profit from the market dynamics and industry growth.

Summary: How to Buy a Car Wash Business?

Money, manpower, viability, and connections should all be taken into account. Nobody wants their business to fail, so it is imperative to do your research before starting.

Car washes can be a very profitable source of income, particularly if you have a great location and manage your business well. Your income may be largely passive, requiring only minor weekly maintenance, depending on the type of car wash business you run.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment. KV Auto tries to give you the best car industry information. Thank you for reading.

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