Author Topic: Purchasing a self-serve car wash  (Read 9252 times)


  • Bristles
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  • Posts: 250
Re: Purchasing a self-serve car wash
« Reply #50 on: January 08, 2018, 05:35:38 PM »
Car wash owner here.

Iíve owned a few business in my life.  Liquor store, bar, and now a car wash.  My main investments are commercial real estate - retail strip centers and office buildings.

I bought my wash from an asset company.  I wanted the corner for future use.  Itís a 4/2 (4 self serv bays and 2 IBAís(In Bay Automatics))with a dog wash.

When I consider my investment and the hours I put into ( less than 6 week) itís been the best return of investment Iíve made to date.  Roughly 35% COC .... so Iím happy with that..

A few things You should consider.

1.  Is your wife mechanically inclined?  A car wash has many systems - 240,120,24v AC. Compressed air.   Tons of things from solenoids to check valves.  You will eat all your profit if you are unable to replace simple parts or find a attendant that can do so.  For example.  I was out of the country and a simple $57 solenoid would up costing me $1750 to repair my automatic. 

2.  How old is the equipment? Is there floor heat, furnaces, water softeners?  What kind of change machines?  Do they accept credit cards?

3.  Find out if an Express Exterior is coming to town.   They are killing SS washes.

4.  Who is cleaning the pits?

The avg gross for the industry is $1500/bay/month. 

If you have any specific questions, PM me or ask here.

Lots of folks here are very negative, but as someone with close relatives in the business, it can be a great money maker. I agree with everything this person said. I would make sure to have an inspection by a reputable company and figure out if there are issues that need to be addressed such as equipment, etc and include that in the price as you negotiate. As you say, there is a lot of potential especially if there are no credit card receivers currently as well as slight price increases that you could make. . It can be a dirty job as well since you are throwing away trash, cleaning the bays, and having to do some handyman stuff that can be learned over time. I think 12-15 hours of work a week is pretty accurate but it is everyday.

It is a great business and i hope I can own one myself someday soon.