Car wash business
The country may be in recession, but this may also be a golden opportunity for those who can look beyond the problem to launch themselves into successful entrepreneurship. Owning a car wash business can be a great way to make a living. If you choose a good location, buy the right equipment, provide fast, efficient service at competitive prices, and market yourself well, customers will come and your business will thrive.
Nigeria is blessed with good weather, but either in dry or rainy season, people must wash their cars, and there couldn’t have been a better time to invest. More so, washing vehicle by oneself with a sponge, a bucket of water is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Consumers are increasingly turning to professional car wash services making them a lucrative business option.
The beauty of this business however is that it requires less capital and you may not need to worry about the commitment of your workers as most often you can base their income on the number of cars washed by individual.
You can equally make some cool cash by the side, providing refreshments for your customers while waiting for their cars to be washed. However, operating a successful car wash business also requires a significant investment and great planning. Here’s what you need to know before you begin.
As with any venture, this is the first and most important step. Visit other car washes, learn more about the latest technology and equipment, decide on the type of car wash you want to run, and figure out how much it’s going to cost and how you’re going to finance it.
Look at other car washes in the area you’re considering as well as around the city. Find out which ones are successful and why, and on the flip side, which ones are not and why. Learn from their mistakes and benefit from their successes.
- Business plan
The more detailed, the better. It should include your investment, financing and projected profits, and all costs such as taxes, permits, construction, employees, equipment, licenses, liability insurance, marketing and any other business expenses.
- Equipment suppliers and manufacturers
Whether you decide to run a hand wash, in-bay automatic or self-service will, in turn, determine the equipment and supplies you’ll need.
- Right place, right time
Location is very important – in any business it is carefully considered (or should be) before purchases are made. Car washing is no different: But what should you look out for, specifically, in site selection?
1. High traffic flow
If you’re in a quiet place, away from the main road and have a limited number of vehicles driving past, you’ll obviously have less customers. While you may be able to slowly gain a loyal customer base, you just won’t have the best turn over.
2. Target market
Research the type of people living in the area – is it an elderly neighbourhood? Families? Young professionals? Is there a typical kind of car that this demographic drives? As a result of this research you can tailor your car wash to your potential clientele.
3. Population density
Your car wash will be more profitable if in a more densely populated area.
4. Proximity to other businesses
Local corporate businesses could bring you consistent trade if you are suitably located. A regular fleet of company cars would be a welcome revenue stream.
It should be clear, concise and bold – this is particularly relevant for passing trade, so it should be visible from a distance.
- Effective marketing
It’s simple, if you don’t market your business, you won’t make a profit.
Using a variety of marketing strategies will be most effective in selling your business.
Never under-estimate the personal branding– showing the personality behind the car wash and getting people to trust you and your services will help build a loyal customer base.
More traditional marketing strategies are, of course, a must: leaflets, ads in the local newspaper, yellow pages, and effective signs.
It is the age of technology, hence online marketing can also be used, including a website informing potential customers about contactable links.
Time management and cost should be considered when marketing your car wash. For example, lower cost marketing initiatives such as leaflets and flyers will generally take less time to implement.
Cohesive branding is also a part of successful marketing. Like the signage, make sure that it is clear and consistent on all products, staff uniform and signs.
Firstly, make sure that you have enough start-up capital before you enter into any deals – and that means more than the cost of the car wash. Every new business needs a significant contingency fund.
Be realistic about how much you’re investing and the return you’ll make – consider all factors (location, population).