Car cleaning businesses comes in all different designs — from full service to self service to automatic to hand polishing. If you’re thinking about starting a car washing business, which direction would be right for you? Will that approach work where you want to have your business? How can you find out more?

We’ve grouped the following resources together as a starting point for your research into what it would take to start your own car washing business. In addition to the free content (such as sample car wash business plans that you can read in full online), you will also find links for additional tools and products to help you move from the “where do I begin?” research step to the “how do I get started?” step — when you’re ready.

Car Wash / Automotive Sample Business Plans

Looking for inspiration? Check out our car wash / automotive sample business plans. See how others like you got started and turned their business idea into a reality. These plans can be read fully online.

Car Wash Business Plan (Full Plan Online)
The Soapy Rides sample plan demonstrates how a family-owned business provides its customers with three services: exterior car washing, , interior cleaning, and detailing and targets three main groups of customers: individual car owner and leasers, car dealerships, and local businesses. The strategy behind Soapy Rides target segmentation is to attract customers who will be repeat users and will frequent the business even in the typically quiet times for a car wash business.


Car Wash Marketing Sample Plan

The Soapy Rides marketing sample plan outlines in more detail how the family-owned business will target it customers to help maintain a steady stream of business throughout the year.

Start a Business Resource Kit

Looking for more resources to help you start your car wash business? This free online business planning toolkit includes a presentation by business planning guru Tim Berry, a set of business calculators, sample business plans and more. Launch the toolkit

Additional Car Wash / Automotive Sample Business Plans

These additional plans are available in LivePlan.

Automobile Repair and Car Wash Business Plan
The DIY Wash N’ Fix sample business plan talks about a new concept in auto care for the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) market. Their business idea is to provide a professional environment in which to wash, paint or repair your automobile.

Executive summary
DIY Wash N’ Fix is a new concept in auto care. The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) market in America is increasingly popular, as evidenced in the growth of DIY housing suppliers. However, there remains a gap in the market for DIY auto repair, currently firms offer auto parts and tools, but not a place to perform the work. Therefore, our business idea is to provide a professional environment in which to wash, paint or repair your automobile. The car wash industry is attractive, because it generates steady profits on little additional investment. An opportunity for excellent acquisitions currently exists in the car wash and auto repair industries, given that many of these businesses are owned by baby-boomers who are anxious to retire.

Car Wash Self Service Business Plan
In this sample business plan, Auto Paradise outlines its concept of self service PLUS. It will provide the highest quality laser car wash, self-serve car wash and vacuum/shampoo services as well as offer ATM services and sell reverse osmosis (RO) water on site.

Executive summary (excerpt)
Auto Paradise is a dynamic start-up company establishing a two-bay automatic and four-bay self-serve car wash that will provide exceptional car care services to the members of the community. Quality services that will exceed expectations will establish Auto Paradise as the premiere car wash service. Owners are pledging investment and are looking for investors to raise an additional investment, which represents 20% of the company stock, to establish the company and to secure a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. 

Start a Car Wash BusinessCar Wash Start-up Kit

This jam-packed guide will walk you through the four different types of car washes you can start–full-service, self-service, automatic rollover and exterior conveyorized–and provide the pros and cons of each so you can determine which is your best choice. You’ll also discover these business aspects of the car wash industry:

  • Startup costs
  • Equipment needed
  • Daily operations
  • Personnel required
  • and more!

Also included in this start-up kit is a copy of LivePlan software, the world’s bestselling business planning software.

Car Wash Industry Research

Get valuable financial intelligence and industry trends in a car wash industry research report, which provides five years of financials, business ratios, and more. Better yet, these industry reports are available at the U.S. national, state, and even county level, so you can really understand the local competitive environment. Start your market research the easy way.

Browse and purchase industry research reports. Search under “Automotive Repair Services (75)” and subcategory “Car Washes (7542).

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.