According to Global Industry Analysts, the global car wash market is expected to reach $24 billion (US) by 2024. This illustrates a market with huge opportunity, both locally and globally.

This gives entrepreneurs a fantastic opportunity to create a business within this sector, whereby demand is high and predicted to keep growing.

Demand for car washes is growing due to car ownership continuing to increase and people valuing services and products that can save them precious time.

So, with so much opportunity, how can newcomers get started in the sector and start their own car wash business?

This guide provides a simple checklist to help support you through the various parts of setting up and running a car wash business. For help using the best technology, be sure to get in touch with our team here at PSD Codax.

How to Start a Car Wash Business

Running any business is challenging in the beginning. There’s a lot to learn and a lot of moving pieces to manage. Nevertheless, the rewards can be monumental. It can create a thriving service that locals love and give you the lifestyle you want.

Businesses such as car washes are proven to be a service that’s in high demand – making it a great option for those looking to start a business. Regardless of whether you have prior experience in the industry or are a complete newbie, this guide outlines the various things you’ll want to consider before setting the business up.

Business Plan and Model

The first step to achieving success is to ensure you have a clear business plan and business model. This will shape the decisions you make going forward. Will you target everyday motorists, or maybe tailor your services to a commercial audience.

Having a plan in place is the first step.

It’s also important to decide what type of washing services you will offer – self-service, in-bay, tunnel. All these have their own unique aspects that will define operational and staffing needs, as well as costs and ROI.

There are lots of services that can help with this kind of thing. You’ll want to include financial predictions and costings in the plan too, to avoid any hiccups during the early months of the business. Having a clear vision of pricing and profitability means you know how much to spend on advertising and marketing, as well as other business costs, without going into the red.


Location is one of the most important decisions for your business.

Picking a good location will help ensure you maximise visits to your car wash. For help deciding how to select a good spot, read our blog on tips for choosing a car wash location.


Your car wash will likely need to employ some members of staff, depending on the size and scale, as well as business model.

This is a vital component to help exceed customer expectations and create a glowing reputation locally.

Hiring and managing people will become an integral part of the business and something that often separates successful car washes and those that struggle to gain any momentum.

Equipment and Technology

As discussed in relation to the car wash business model, there are lots of choices to be made in terms of equipment and technology.

Each business model will come with its own unique benefits that will appeal to different people. What’s important, however, is to ensure you pick a business model and associated equipment that your customers actually want. It’s no good setting up a hand-wash car wash if all your dream customers would actually prefer a self-wash service.

This means conducting market research and gaining a thorough understanding of all the equipment options out there to help you make the best decision.

There is also a wealth of technology available that can hugely support and streamline the services you offer. Our forecourt technology helps car wash operators improve the flexibility, security and profitability of how they sell car wash and valet services. From entry systems to controllers and signs, this technology can help make a huge impact on the internal processes and overall operations for your car wash.


Like any business, it’s important you have the protection in place to cover any accidents or damages.

Legal battles or damaged equipment costs could prove costly. This makes having insurance and legal protection for you and your employees a vital step. Depending on the business model you choose, the required insurance and legal contracts required will vary.

Standard Operating Procedures

Once you know the business model and plan, the equipment you need and the staffing requirements, it’s useful to prepare daily processes and standard operating procedures. This helps systemise the business, making it easier to scale and grow.

This also makes it much easier for new staff to join the business and understand what they need to do.


Particularly in the beginning, ensuring you get as much awareness and visibility for your new business will be vital in helping it grow and scale.

For tips on how to market your car wash, visit our blog on car wash marketing. From social media and search engine marketing, to local partnerships and advertising, there are lots of channels to explore.

Similarly, having incentives to market will also help, e.g. loyalty programmes, or new customer discounts. Being able to promote these sorts of initiatives will help give customers a compelling reason to visit you in the first instance.

Outstanding customer service and overall experience will help turn any first-time customers into loyal repeat business.

Learn More with PSD Codax

To learn more about how PSD Codax and our suite of car wash products, simply get in touch today. Our expert team can discuss your requirements and needs, and will offer help and support in any way we can.

Contact us today.