Self-service car wash from scratch – a step-by-step plan

What will a self-respecting motorist definitely not do? Correctly! Will not drive a dirty car. Self-service car wash is a promising business project. With the right organization, such a business will not only quickly pay off the investment, but will also allow you to reach a stable income in a short time. But there are a number of hidden nuances, and you need to be prepared for them.

On the Internet you can find a lot of information, examples, interviews with owners, the essence of which boils down to the following: a wash of such a plan is an automated system with a minimum staff and no dissatisfied customers. And how things really are, you will learn from the materials of the article.

The essence of business

The number of car wash posts directly depends on the number of urban residents. A city with a population not exceeding 1 million people will have enough car wash for six posts. Despite the prevailing opinion that this niche is already oversaturated, experienced players in the car wash business do not share it. Attracting customers and making them permanent is the foundation of any business. And in this area, it depends only on two factors:

  • advantageous location;
  • quality sign.

About investments

Please note that a self-service car wash will cost the entrepreneur several times more than a manual car wash.

  1. Clients

Hand washing is an interconnected system of numerous factors. The circle of regular customers is limited. It depends on the cost of the service, the availability of qualified personnel, location, external and internal appearance of the building. If the business owner sets an inflated cost for services, there will be few people who want to visit the institution.

The majority of hand wash customers will be owners of business class cars. This service will not be available to the middle segment. It will require the introduction of special offers, promotions. Search for the most profitable suppliers. It is unlikely that one will have all the necessary nomenclature.

High-quality, expensive advertising. Also, do not forget about the human factor. The main cost item is personnel. The cost of washers is sometimes significant and not always justified. And these funds could be used to develop and promote the business. Of course, you can raise the cost of services, but you can not withstand the competition.

As for the self-service car wash . The client is offered a standard set: a vacuum cleaner and consumables. The quality and price of which correspond exclusively to your needs. Therefore, one good supplier will be enough.

The client comes to you, as a rule, after seeing a sign. Principle: I saw – drove – washed.

  1. A responsibility

Owners of a manual car wash periodically encounter unscrupulous and aggressive customers. The staff is accused of theft and damage to property. A scratch has appeared that the car owner had not previously noticed, suspicions immediately fall on the washer and spoil the reputation of your establishment. In the case of a self-service car wash, this will not happen. All responsibility for the car and property rests solely with its owner.

  1. Automation

Have you seen which state caters for hand washes? So, for a self-service car wash, it is not needed. The human factor is excluded. It will be enough to involve two or three administrators in the work, the costs of which are many times less. They do not need to be trained, trained, and the selection of employees is much easier. It is not possible to work past the checkout.

How much does it cost to open a self-service car wash?

To begin with, a business plan is drawn up, which includes the following items:

  1. choose a concept and develop a strategy;
  2. determine the location;
  3. find an organization that will work with documentation (collection, preparation, obtaining permits);
  4. construction (you can also contact specialists who organize the process for a fee);
  5. search for suppliers (equipment, detergents) and ordering;
  6. recruitment (through Internet resources, through regular announcements);
  7. drawing up a marketing plan;
  8. economic calculations.

The construction of a standard manual car wash, on a leased land plot with six entrances, will cost you about 7 million rubles . A similar project for a self-service car wash starts from 13 million rubles.

Please note that this cost does not include communications . The cost of electricity and water is much higher compared to manual washing. Consequently, you will see rather big numbers in utility bills. The same goes for connecting to resource supply points. Please take this into account when making your construction budget. If you’re on a tight budget, this option might not be for you. Expenses will increase many times, and in the absence of finance, construction will be delayed. However, you still have to pay rent.

The main item of expenditure is the construction and purchase of equipment. Each post must be equipped and ready for full-fledged work.

Don’t skimp on consumables. Remember, a regular customer is one who likes everything. It is unlikely that a motorist who stood in line for detergent or did not have enough water will return to you.

Additionally, you can purchase and install the following equipment:

  • exchange machine (for the exchange of large bills);
  • an apparatus selling automotive cosmetics;
  • coffee machine;
  • apparatus that supplies demineralized water.

This will increase the level of “loyalty” of your customers. As practice shows, not all customers come to the car wash alone. For example, children will be comfortable if they are allowed to buy sweet soda or a chocolate bar in the machine.

Usually, a third of the proceeds goes to cover costs. You must be ready for this. They can be reduced by maintaining an economical mode due to lighting and heating. There are also specific factors to consider. As an example, a self-service car wash opened in one city.

But, due to its location, connection to the water supply was possible only from the city pipe. Bottom line: several times a month, during the period of heavy loads, only three posts were supplied. There was not enough water for the rest. Consequently, the revenue was an order of magnitude lower.About payback

The period for which your business will pay off and begin to generate a stable income is about 2.5 years.

Before you open a self-service car wash, it is important to study the needs of a particular city. Calculate the number of car washes, their location, familiarize yourself with the conditions, equipment, range of detergents.

Consider the fact that the more washes, the higher the revenue and return on investment.

Selection of land

The right location is 70% of the success of your car wash business. An unsuccessfully located complex is unlikely to bring you profit. And most likely, without having worked even a year, it will close, and you will lose your investment.

There are a number of rules, following which you can choose the best option:

  • view from the road (the building should be clearly visible);
  • convenient and safe exit (best of all, located behind the speed limit sign. For example, speed bump, pedestrian crossing traffic light;

About the location

When placing a car wash in business districts or close to business centers, arrange it near the exit. Most people prefer to postpone their car wash until after hours rather than the other way around.

It is profitable to open a car wash in the parking lot of a shopping center, but it is unlikely that a novice businessman will be given a green light. As a rule, the rent is high, and the places are occupied.

Creation of a project, coordination and obtaining a building permit

So, start with the development of the project. You can do this in two ways:

  1. Contact the design organization (in addition to the services, they will help to issue the permits required by the regulatory authorities);
  2. Contact dealers. Equipment suppliers will provide free design.

!!! Please note that according to the current legislation, the land plot on which construction is planned refers to roadside service facilities or garage purposes. It is forbidden to have car washes in the immediate vicinity of residential buildings.

Also note that the installation of illuminated advertising requires a permit. Failure to do so may result in penalties.

Manufacturers with a serious reputation usually offer to consider a typical project. But in fact, the implementation and adaptation of a particular model directly depends on the area in which the implementation is planned.

Supply of communications

After the development of the project has been completed and a building permit has been obtained, the process of arranging a car wash begins. The best option is to contact professionals who already have experience in this area. Preference should be given to those who are recommended by the local “supervisory authorities”.self-service car wash

If the site is already equipped with communications – this is a huge plus. Otherwise, they will have to be carried out independently. The supply of sewerage, electrical networks, water, gas supply can cost a tidy sum.

Construction and landscaping costs

Construction work includes the necessary and costly items:

  1. Site preparation. If it is not located on the same level with the road, it must be leveled. Before this, the fertile soil layer is removed, and after that, taking into account the withdrawn soil, the site is backfilled.
  2. Laying plates and communications. This will require the involvement of special equipment, the purchase of building materials, the installation of fences. Some businessmen try to save money and break the technological process. This leads to the building falling into disrepair in record time.
  3. Arrangement of treatment facilities. Give preference to high-quality equipment, since the purchase of treatment plants due to a certificate will eventually result in a fine from the water utility. The latter take samples of wastewater and quickly identify violations.
  4. Improvement plays a special role. The most expensive is asphalting. But, if you plan to develop a client base and a good reputation, you will have to invest in coverage and advertising. The more effective your advertising sign is, the more passing motorists will pay attention to it. The best and least expensive option is to rent a parking lot next to a shopping mall or hypermarket.

Purchase of equipment

When you have identified your business potential, you should start looking for good suppliers. Manufacturers have different prices for equipment. Do not give preference only to foreign firms . Today, Russian manufacturers are in good competition with their Western opponents.

Since high-quality and reliable equipment is the main component of any car wash, choosing a supplier is the key to the prosperity of your business. Do not hurry. Study the market, communicate with customers, evaluate how competently the staff advised you about products.

Another item of expenditure is the purchase of additional equipment. This may include optional but required inventory:

  • CCTV cameras (various situations may occur and in some cases, video may be required);
  • vacuum cleaners;
  • a staff lounge (a small enclosed space where an employee can rest and change clothes);
  • boilers for underfloor heating.

List of documents required to open a car wash

A license is not required to open a self-service car wash. It is enough to open an LLC or register as an individual entrepreneur. A specialist will help you choose a taxation regime, as well as advise on the advantages and disadvantages of a particular option.

After that, you must obtain the following documents and permissions:

  • for conducting activities (issued by the department of the administration of the city or district);
  • washing project agreed with the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Supervision;
  • permits from the labor protection service, SES, fire inspection, ecology, architecture;
  • waste management agreement;
  • agreement on cleaning the adjacent territory;
  • land ownership (or lease agreement);
  • act on the disposal of the site (temporary or permanent).

If you do not plan to spend time visiting authorities and paperwork, feel free to contact professionals. For a fee, they will collect the necessary package of documents and draw up all the papers.


If you mean a 24-hour car wash, you will need to hire staff who are ready to work in shifts. His functional duties include only advising the client on how to properly wash the car, as well as clarifying where the cash exchange machine is located.

It is quite easy to train employees to work with the equipment and it is possible to keep within seven days. Such work does not require special skills.

Advertising and marketing

Competent advertising is the basis of any business. If there is a financial opportunity, you can order a message on the radio, local television channel. You can leave bright flyers and business cards at gas stations and cash desks of stores, after asking permission from the administration. An illuminated sign can also attract customers, so make sure it’s clearly visible from the road.

How much does a car wash cost

The turnkey service will cost several times more than if you built a car wash yourself. There are no two identical projects. The price can vary both up and down. In Russia, a six-post car wash requires significant investment. Starting investments start from 8 million rubles. And this does not include the lease or purchase of a land plot, the preparation and approval of the project. Every business owner has their own needs. Someone decides to save on landscaping, while someone needs the highest quality vacuum cleaners.About investors

If you are planning to open a similar business project, but you understand that investments may not be enough, you should look for investors. A sound business plan and accurate financial calculations will help you find those who will be ready to support your project.

What income can a car wash provide

The average cost of one session is 300 rubles. Assuming you have six boxes and your daily workload (daily work only) is 10 washes, we get the following calculations:

  • 10*6*300=18000.00 rubles per day.
  • Expenses per day for one wash – 30 rubles;
  • Total income per day – 17,820.00 rubles;
  • Per month – 534,600.00 rubles.

This amount excludes utility bills, taxes, salaries to employees, the purchase of detergents and unforeseen expenses. And thus the approximate income for the month is calculated.

Self-service car wash is a great project for those businessmen who want to build a stable and prosperous business. Of course, as with anything, there are risks. But, with a competent and rational approach, success will not be long in coming.

If you want to keep the hassle to a minimum, contact a qualified franchisor . And it is better to make a choice in favor of a large network, which has already established itself and is represented in many regions of Russia.

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