Car Wash Franchise – What’s The Best Car Wash Franchise?

If you are interested in getting into a business that will remain regularly profitable, it can sometimes be advisable to pick up a franchise. Buying an established brand name and using it to start your own business can often lead to a more effective startup.

A fairly secure business to get into if you are starting a franchise for the first time is the car wash industry. In this article we will go through some of the basics of owning a car wash franchise as well as some of the most popular car wash franchises that are available across the world right now.

Here is everything you need to know about the best car wash franchise you could invest in.

Types Of Car Washes

If you are trying to decide on the type of car wash that works best for your franchise, there are a few different types that are available to choose from. If you want to offer the best car wash experience for customers in your area, you need to discover the types of car washes that they like.

Some of the basic types of car wash franchise and car wash types that are available include:

Automatic

automatic car wash

An automatic car wash remains one of the most common types of car wash franchises. This type of car wash as people driving into a tunnel with a series of blowers and high-pressure brushes that will go over the car and completely clean it. These types of car washes have been in service for generations but the only drawback is that you may have to pay the occasional claim or create a policy as the brushes can sometimes damage paint.

Touchless Automatic

touchless automatic car wash

A touchless automatic car wash often uses much more water with high-powered water jets and chemicals that will clean the car off. These types of car washes don’t create a spotless shine but they also won’t damage paint and this can lead to less claims against your business.

Self-service Car Wash

Self-service Car Wash

These types of car washes generally require more space. It offers the chance for customers to clean the exterior of their car with high-pressure hoses, brushes and more. As customers will have to put in the work themselves, some prefer to go to automatic car washes. Self-service car washes also regularly require multiple bays so this can extend the price of real estate/rental.

Auto Detailing

Auto Detailing

Auto detailing is a full-service car wash in which professional cleaners will go over the car from start to finish. Meticulous attention and comprehensive service packages can be delivered here. This can be a case where cleaners can go over the exterior of a vehicle and then the interior of a vehicle for the best shine.

Car Wash Industry Statistics

According to the latest in statistics on car wash facilities, they are more in demand than ever.

The car wash industry has been growing by nearly 2.1% almost every year since 2012. As the number of cars on the road is steadily increasing, there’s been an increase of car wash facilities as well. It estimated that 8 million vehicles a day are washed at car washes across the US. 65% of car wash stations also have gasoline pumps.

Almost 90% of the car washes across the United States are operated by a small business owner or franchisee. This is a popular practice and many of the largest gasoline corporations and car wash owners worldwide operate just a small portion of the overall businesses for the car wash industry.

The average price for a car wash across the United States is around $15. It takes around 38 gallons of water to wash every car that comes through a car wash which can account for many of the business expenses.

Car Wash franchises generate revenue. Across the United States car wash facilities generate $48 billion in revenue including what they receive in gas sales.

Car Wash Industry Trends

The car wash industry is currently trending and extremely in demand. The largest trends in the United States are towards the in bay automatic car wash. Around 58,000 facilities across the United States offer automatic car wash tunnels.

Self-serve facilities come in second place with around 36,000 facilities across the United States. Many citizens across the United States don’t mind the idea of washing their own car. As self-serve facilities are often a little bit cheaper for a car wash, these facilities also lower the overall costs for car washes across the USA.

Exterior conveyor washes are a reasonable rarity at around 10,500 facilities across the United States. These types of conveyor washes can sometimes lead to a less spotty design with a car wash but they do also require a larger investment.

Full service car washes are some of the rarest car wash franchises of all. There are only 9000 full-service car wash facilities in the United States. These are in some ways considered to be a luxury service.

Many franchise owners are branching into the idea of full-service car washes for their ability to improve car detailing with workers that can provide the full service experience. These types of car washes are becoming more in demand but with their increased costs, not every business owner is willing to invest in a full service industry.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Car Wash?

Buying a franchise doesn’t mean you will have the facilities taken care of either. In most cases a car wash franchise only allows you to use the name in the business practices of an established company. You will still be responsible for building and renovating a car wash from scratch. Knowing what the average cost to build a car wash may be, can help you with starting up your franchise and making the best decisions for that franchise.

Here are some figures to help you determine what it typically costs for you to build a car wash:

Location costs

The cost to acquire land for your car wash could be close to $100,000-$2000. You may also have to pay extra landscaping costs and full building construction. If you are buying an empty patch of land and building from scratch you could pay as much as $500,000 to build the car wash.

Permits/Licenses

You may also be responsible for various permits and licensing fees. The initial cost of permits may be around $200, if you need professional fees to negotiate land use you may be responsible for legal fees up to $50,000 to get the proper license to operate.

Waste Management

Any type of car wash facility must also have access to an integrated system that will collect and reuse wastewater. As a car wash is bound to contaminate wastewater, it needs to have a system in place for recycling the water that it uses for efficiency. Waste management often requires an investment of $35,000 up to $100,000 for the average car wash.

Equipment

Depending on the type of car wash you want to open, you can expect to pay $8000-$10,000 per bay to outfit an automatic car wash. Extra equipment like cleaning components, customer service seating, cash registers and more could cost you another few thousand dollars. If you are going to be running the business regularly and picking up your own equipment, you need to consider getting the right vehicle for the job as well.

Insurance And Incidentals

A car wash will also need to have a business license, insurance, safety systems and security concerns. This could cost as much as $15,000 depending on the size of your facility.

Costs For Promotion

Promoting your car wash is going to be a major requirement for your company. In order to draw a crowd in, you could save an estimated cost of $5000 for signage and more for taking out newspaper advertising.

The overall cost of a car wash franchise and your overall startup could be between $500,000 up to $1.4 million. These are important figures to keep in mind if you are starting up this business.

How Much Do Car Wash Owners Make?

A car wash owner can make a decent living however. If you get a location in a high-traffic area and you have a substantial amount of money coming into your business. According to U.S. Census statistics self-serve car washes are capable of generating nearly $1500 in monthly profit for each bay they have. With the average cost of an automatic car wash set at around $6.34, an automatic car wash owner is able to earn roughly $4.35 per car wash.

If you have an automatic car wash in a busy area you could see in annual revenue stream of just over $685,000. While there are many costs for start-up and maintenance, the overall profits that can be seen each year will help you very quickly recoup your investment in a car wash franchise.


The Top 7 Car Wash Franchises


Tommy’s Express Car Wash Franchise

Tommy's Express Car Wash Franchise

History

This company got started in 1969. They were the first to create a dual rollover system for automatic car washes. Born out of Holland Michigan, this company has produced sophisticated wash equipment for generations.

Number of locations

55+

Growth Over Last 5 years

Expansion of 50+ franchises are planned over the next 5 years.

Investment Required

Minimum of $40,000.

They have fours  franchise site models. These models and total investment for each is show below:

  1. Express
    Total investment: $3 to $5 million
  2. Mini
    Total investment: $2 to $3.5 million
  3. Gas Station
    Total investment: $3 to $7 million
  4. Flex
    Total investment: $3 to $7 million

Profit Potential

Over $1.6 m per year.


Mr. Clean Car Wash Franchise

Mr. Clean Car Wash Franchise

History

Mr. Clean started as one of America’s most trusted brands for household cleaning and expanded into a car wash provider. Mr Clean washes are franchised and they utilize Mr. clean brand cleaning materials and comfortable lounge areas for customers.

Number of locations

10+ locations

Growth Over Last 5 years

The company is offering a proven business model and an experience that has expanded across Georgia and Texas over the past 5 years.

Investment Required

A minimum of $35,000 is required for the franchise fee

Profit Potential

$600,000- $1.8 m. Training is provided as well as the option to own several franchises.


Fleet Clean Car Wash Franchise (Mobile Truck Washing)

Fleet Clean Car Wash Franchise

History

Fleet clean is a company that got started in the year 2009 and then franchised in the year 2014. They offer a focus on customer service and employ technology that can provide consistent work in cleaning fleet vehicles.

This company specializes in fleet washing and mobile truck washing.

Number of locations

20+ locations across the USA and Canada

Growth Over Last 5 years

The company has expanded to include Fleet cleaning services in the United States and Canada with excellent recurring revenues.

Investment Required

$35,000 is required for the franchise startup costs. Financing is available.

Profit Potential

Most Fleet Clean owners experience nearly 30% profit margins every year in a recession proof business.


DetailXPerts Car Wash Franchise

DetailXPerts Car Wash Franchise

History

Starting out as a car and truck wash business, detailxperts is a franchise that is completely grounded with innovation and a strong caring for the environment. The company was one of the first to deliver nature friendly and biodegradable cleaners that can be recycled.

Number of locations

Dozens of franchises across the United States

Growth Over Last 5 years

The company has doubled in size over the past five years with more car washes opting to use biodegradable cleaning materials.

Investment Required

$35,000 is required to start a franchise. The base fee is around $79,000 for full set of materials.

Profit Potential

With at least a 30% profit potential on your initial investment, this business can expand rapidly. Many franchise owners have expanded their fleets to 3 trucks just a few short months after opening.


Sonny’s The Car Wash Factory Car Wash Franchise

Sonny’s The Car Wash Factory Car Wash Franchise

History

Operating since 1949 this is one of the oldest car washes in the United States. Currently they hold 40% of the market share on car washes out of United States franchises.

Number of locations

Hundreds of these locations can be found across the United States.

Growth Over Last 5 years

Sonny’s has recently expanded with new construction for three-minute express car wash models. They have changed their technology for improvements and it is introducing greater levels of profitability for franchise owners.

Investment Required

A $35,000 investment minimum is required for this franchise

Profit Potential

As one of the most recognized names in the industry, most franchise owners see a recoup on their investment in less than three years for profit potentials of 35% per year.


Team Blue Car Wash Franchise

Team Blue Car Wash Franchise

History

Team blue got started as a family business by a father-son in the mid-Atlantic states. It expanded into 20 franchised units and would eventually go on to be a nationwide team franchise.

Number of locations

Team Blue has expanded to dozens of stores across the United States.

Growth Over Last 5 years

Since 2008, the company has continued to expand nationwide and their 1/4% system wide gross sales revenue sharing and their expansion continue to rise.

Investment Required

An initial investment of $196,000 with a franchise fee of $15,000 is required to start one of these stores. The company offers discounts with six franchises and $45,000.

Profit Potential

The profit potential here is shared among all owners with a slight bonus and most are able to recoup their investment within 2 to 3 years after opening.


Cactus Car Wash Franchise

Cactus Car Wash Franchise

History

Cactus car wash has been designed as a flex serve car washing location. They offer full-service car washing, restoration options and a customer service focused approach. With a fun Southwestern design theme and an efficient service, this is a brand name that many trust with their vehicles.

Number of locations

7 locations across Georgia and South Carolina.

Growth Over Last 5 years

The company has expanded from its original location in Georgia to South Carolina and across the state of George. New locations planned for Kennesaw and out of the state are improving the strength of this franchise.

Investment Required

The initial franchise fee is $45,000 and expected startup costs can be around $2.3 million excluding real estate costs.

Profit Potential

Profit potential is protected by a protected territory and a long-term twenty-year franchise deal. Most investors are able to recoup their costs within 3 years.

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