City / Area Selection
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Before you can endeavor to build a successful car wash in any location, you must first determine if it is feasible. The issues listed below should be addressed prior to looking at any real estate in your area, or planning to build a car wash.
A fairly obvious example states that if there are already a certain number of car washes in your area, it will be more difficult for you to be profitable.
Each of the points below requires a lot of legwork on your part. It will take time, but it is worth it. Doing the research ahead of time will not only save you money, helping you avoid bad investments, but will make you more money after the project is complete.
Existing Homes, Apartments, Condos and Businesses
Households equal cars and cars equal money. Note the population trends in your area, and what type of people that area consists of. Note the current types of businesses in your area. Do they promote a safe and comfortable place for customers? Do they draw people in on a regular basis?
Low income areas use more self-serve. Medium to high income markets tend to use automatics more. DO NOT DISMISS ANY MARKET SHARE. Many washes break this industry theory. People are people. All people appreciate quality service.
Make sure to find out how many washes are surrounding your potential location. Look within a one mile, two mile, and three mile radius. Which ones are older versus the ones with new technology? Note how many self serve bays and automatics each one offers. Visit these other locations and critique their service. There is something to say for quality versus quantity. There is no existing formula to calculate or judge technological or human variables. All models count self serve bays and automatics as equals.
Competition refers mainly to other carwashes in the area. Make sure to look at all types of washes and the potential for other future washes. How strong will their competition be? Is there one particular location that has a large percentage of the market share? Why? How hard will it be to take a portion of that market share? Research their marketing plans and what has been their best money-maker. Map out a tentative marketing plan for your wash. Rate their equipment and decide how your equipment will offer advantages over the other washes in the neighborhood.
Growth and Development Potential
Will future construction increase the value of your location or give more people a reason to visit the area? How much can you expect the number of homes and businesses to grow in the next one, two, or three years?
Look at estimates of numbers of cars along your frontage road, in your neighborhood, and within a specific radius. Traffic counts are not only important for patronage but also for establishing effective advertising.
Is there even a demand for a carwash in the area you're looking at? Ask yourself and ask the local residents and businesses. Would a new wash located closer to them be convenient? Do they all visit a carwash across the street or in the next town over? What prices are they used to paying and what are they willing to pay? Keep in mind that, for most people, washing their car is a destination event, not a last minute decision.
Information on existing neighborhood population, traffic count, and general layout can be obtained from a demographics company.
- Why I Have to Wash
- Car Wash How To
- City / Area Selection
- Wash Site Planning
- Equipment Selection
- Equipment Selection Pros and Cons
- Automatics Which One!
- Automatics - Friction or NO
- Self Service Criteria
- Published Wash Articles
- Car Wash Glossary