How to open your own car wash from scratch? Detailed business plan and my review of the work

Choosing the type of car wash

Before opening a car wash, first of all, you must decide how much money you are willing to invest in your business. The type of car wash you can open will depend on the amount of investment. Let's look at the main types that are currently on the market.

  • Manual contact washing
    - involves manually applying detergents and cleaning with sponges. This type of car wash is the most common, since the entrepreneur does not have to spend money on expensive equipment. The downside in this case is that physical contact with the vehicle can lead to scratches and damage to the body. Another disadvantage is the long service life of the car. You will not be able to serve a large number of customers in an hour, as is the case with other types of car washes.
  • Manual non-contact washing
    - the procedure is carried out in several steps. First, most of the car is cleaned under the pressure of water. Then active foam is applied, which removes remaining dirt. Next, the foam is washed off under high pressure of water. The final step is to apply polish. The initial costs for this type of car wash will be higher than in the previous case, since special equipment will be needed for the work.
  • Self-service car wash
    - if you want to open a self-service car wash, then this is a very right decision. This type of sink is gaining more and more popularity every year. In this case, customers do not pay for washing their car, but for the time they spend in your car wash. Thanks to the fact that your customers do everything themselves, you can save on car wash employees, since a large number of personnel will not be needed for this.
  • Automatic car washes
    - it’s immediately worth noting that choosing this type will lead to a large initial monetary investment. You can save on the number of employees, but the minimum cost of equipment for such a car wash starts from 3 million rubles. In turn, automatic car washes are divided into two types: portal - when the car enters a box and is cleaned due to the fact that special equipment is installed around it; tunnel car washes - imply that the vehicle is installed on a moving belt and, while moving, cleaning occurs in several stages .

The best option in this case is to open a contactless car wash with employees, or on a self-service basis.

"Skoka-Skoka" and "turnkey"

The World Wide Web is replete with a lot of information on how to open such a business. But 80% of this information was written by journalists for various business resources who, a priori, do not understand anything about building a turnkey self-service car wash. When you read these “opuses”, the remnants of hair on your head begin to move slightly and a legitimate question arises: how?!?, where do such numbers come from?!? Some authors have gone so far into the wilds of their imagination that they are ready to promise their readers the opening of a 5-6 station self-service car wash for 2-3 million rubles. The remaining 20% ​​of articles are written by equipment salesmen, who are, of course, professionals in their field, whose main task is sales, sales, sales. Although among sellers there are those who are ready to share real figures on the costs of organizing a business.

So, let's start with a clean slate, forget what we read earlier on the Internet and try to take an honest look at the real costs.

Although we offer all our clients to open a turnkey self-service car wash, in fact, we are an engineering company. Those. We are good at installing this equipment, servicing it, and advising our clients, but we are not builders. We know a lot about construction, but we don’t build it ourselves. We prefer to trust this to specialists in their field. Therefore, we always warn our customers about this, including the fact that the opportunity to buy a turnkey sink will be more expensive than if the customer wants to build it himself from scratch.

The vast majority of our clients built sinks themselves. Of course, we see all our projects through to completion and always try to help at every stage. Not only consultations, but also proven contractors. Therefore, we have the cost figures. In addition, over the past 2 weeks, we have spoken with many of our clients and friends who have built a car wash in the last six months to find out the full extent of the costs that had to be incurred before launching the business.

Let's start with small digressions.

About the seasonality of business

Car washes are a seasonal business. In summer and winter, demand in this niche sharply decreases, and in autumn and spring, on the contrary, it increases. This must be taken into account when starting a business.

If you are planning to open an automatic car wash, the best time to do so is right before the start of the season.

If you plan to open a standard car wash, then it is better to do this during the off-season for the following reasons:

  • Staff needs to be trained
  • The customer service strategy is not well established
  • The supply of consumables is not adjusted

If you open at the beginning of the season and are immediately faced with a large influx of customers, you simply may not be able to cope, either you or your employees.

Business payback

Car washes take a long time to recoup their investments. With a minimum budget, entrepreneurs begin to receive net profit after about 6-9 months. But if more investments were made, then the car wash can pay for itself in at least a year and a half . The profit margin at a car wash depends not only on the location, services offered and their quality, but also on the season. According to statistics, in Russia motorists visit car washes least often in the summer, but in spring and autumn car washing services are more in demand. When servicing 30 cars per day (at a cost of 1,000 rubles per service), the initial investment will pay off in a few months. But you should understand that there will be days when only a couple of customers will come to the car wash.

Washing the car

What services can car washes provide?

In addition to regular body washing, this company can provide a large list of other services, which will bring greater profits. Many car washes take advantage of this and can offer their customers a wide range of services. For example, interior cleaning, as a rule, is one of the most expensive services, and one such clean is equal in profitability to several standard car washes.

Examples of services provided:

  • Standard body wash, the main specialty of this business
  • Interior cleaning
  • Bumper and wheel drawing
  • Engine cleaning
  • Body polishing
  • Dry cleaning
  • Cleaning the trunk
  • Treatment with “Anti-rain” or “Anti-fog” agents
  • Washing wheels from dirt with drying
  • Removing difficult stains
  • etc.

Please note that the more services you want to provide, the more variety of equipment you will need. Employee salaries will also increase, as they will be engaged in providing not the most simple services.

Organizational plan

To learn how to create an organizational section, read the article on the structure of the organizational plan of a business plan.

The enterprise will be registered as an individual entrepreneur, which will facilitate business registration and reduce costs. Due to the fact that this organizational form allows us to work only on a simplified taxation system, we choose it with the “income minus expenses” system.

Due to the fact that the car wash is small, there will also be few staff. The organization's staffing table is presented below:

18 0006 0006 0009 000

Job titlequantitysalarybonussum
Director110% of profits
Washer63 00025% of services provided18 000
Sprinkler32 0003% of services provided6 000
Wiper32 0003% of services provided6 000
Administrator33 00020% of revenue9 000
TOTAL1639 000

3 people will work at the same time - a washer, a doucher and a wiper; the work schedule is 2 days, 12 hours each during the day, 2 days of rest, then 2 days, 12 hours each at night, then 2 days of rest. All work on the delivery of detergents, equipment repairs and other current responsibilities is performed by the owner of the business - an individual entrepreneur.

Accountant is outsourced.


In this example, a business plan for a car wash, after you have chosen its type, the second step is to select a location. We need to decide on the place where to build our enterprise as early as possible, since obtaining permission to create a car wash will take a lot of time. You will learn about this a little later.

Mobile car wash

When choosing a location, you should immediately note that instead of building a new building or converting some garages, you can choose a mobile car wash for your business. It involves a moisture-resistant box that can accommodate one or two cars. The cost of such boxes starts from 700 thousand rubles and a huge advantage is that if you are located in some unfavorable place, you can move with all your equipment to another at any time. This is especially beneficial if you want to open a self-service car wash from scratch with minimal investment.

In garages

An excellent option would be if you can rent several garages for a car wash. To have a good flow of customers, they must be located near some kind of highway, or next to a large area of ​​​​residential buildings.

The main challenge here is that you will have to invest in making garages suitable for your business. You will have to asphalt the road and connect various communications.

Also, ordinary garages cannot boast of high resistance to dampness and over time they will begin to deteriorate, and this will lead to additional costs for major repairs.

On the outskirts of the city

The next option is to locate on the outskirts of the city next to some busy highway. The advantage in this case is that most likely you will not have to argue long and hard with the city administration to obtain a permit, since there will be no residential areas nearby in which there will be people unhappy with the placement of a car wash next to their home.

In the city

It is very difficult to obtain permission to operate a business in the center of a residential area. But if you can do this, then most likely you will create a business that will never need to find clients.

In some cities, industrial buildings, such as factories or warehouses, are sometimes located right in the city center. You can try to get permission to open a car wash in such places. Of course, the flow of customers will not be as large as if you locate your business in the main square of the city, but in any case, this is better than locating in small microdistricts.

In the parking lot

In many large cities, car washes in parking lots are a success. They can be placed in street parking lots of shopping centers or underground ones. The profitability of such car washes directly depends on the number of parking spaces and their load.

Also, such car washes are located in underground parking lots in luxury buildings, where people drive expensive cars and washing a car every day will not hurt their wallet.

In the village

If you want to open a car wash in a village, then you must evaluate the potential demand. As a rule, village residents do not often drive expensive cars and prefer to wash them themselves. Considering also that the population of villages is usually small, if you open a business in such a place, you may never see a profit.

The situation changes dramatically if the village is located on a busy highway. In this case, the idea has the right to life.

On your own plot in a private house

Many people wonder whether it is possible to open a car wash on your own site to save on renting premises? This is a great idea, but it should be borne in mind that according to the law, each piece of land must be used strictly for its intended purpose. Therefore, if you open a car wash at your dacha, you will not be able to use it to grow vegetables, fruits, etc.

My story of working at a car wash

Before I started my daily rental business, I had to get wet at a car wash almost every day.

The car wash belonged to the father of one of my friends, which, when hired, promised me good career growth in this direction - a car wash administrator, and then possibly a manager of a network of car washes (the owner had several facilities).

Therefore, I initially planned to establish myself firmly in this field so that I could live large throughout my university studies.

I worked together with my classmate. The working day usually began at 16:00 and ended at midnight.

We worked well, as young people do, trying to stand out from the crowd and prove themselves to management in order to gain favor and take a more significant position.

We did our work as smoothly as possible. While one vacuumed and dusted the inside, the other applied and rinsed off the cleaning foam outside. Then together we wiped the car dry, and when the happy client drove his clean car out of the bay, we immediately took on the next car.

That's how they worked - sometimes they stayed late, sleep-deprived people came to classes and were reluctant to get ready for work. After some time, my classmate could not stand it and left, and I was left to work alone.

They quickly found a replacement for him in Uncle Tolik. But either because of the conflict of generations, or my apathy, Tolik and I failed to work together. Therefore, I wrote out a letter of resignation and went with it to the office, where a serious conversation with the owner awaited me.

Although staff turnover in the car washing business is normal, they didn’t want to let me go just like that. Due to the fact that the previous administrator quit, I, as a young person who knew all the intricacies of the job, was offered to take his place and try my hand at managing a car wash.

The next working day was my first as the head of an (albeit small) enterprise. The duties were simple - watch the cash register, print receipts and drink coffee from the machine. It's a fairy tale, after all!

However, soon I was no longer just sitting at my desk looking bored, but began to become interested in how to take my car wash profits to the next level. First of all, I created a website on the wix platform to actively attract traffic from social networks and ordered advertising in thematic groups on VKontakte (auto enthusiasts, car show enthusiasts, etc.).

My efforts were not in vain, and after a few days the influx of people wanting to wash their cars increased somewhat. Therefore, I asked management for funding to conduct a larger PR campaign.

The idea was to print promotional materials (leaflets) and distribute them to all cars within a radius of several kilometers, so that using them people could get a discount on their car wash services.

I had to walk around the area and put leaflets under the windshield wipers after work (during the evening shift), and therefore it happened that until the very morning I wandered through the alleys of the city, so that those who were awake could come to class and fall asleep in the last desk

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