car wash

Becoming Your Neighborhood’s Go-to Carwash Station

The purpose of car wash businesses is to provide waxing, washing, and cleaning services. Currently, more than 16,000 retail car wash businesses in the United States have combined revenue of roughly USD 10 billion. This industry encompasses vehicle detailing and full or self-service car wash stations. Unlike other businesses that took a massive hit because of the pandemic, the car wash industry remains in demand. People are still buying cars, and they will need a place where they can have them serviced and cleaned.

Register Your Business Name

One of the first steps that you need to do when starting a business is to register your chosen name so that no one will use it aside from you. There are many ways for you to register your business name. You have to consider several factors like the extent of protection you need, the location where you will operate, and the whole business structure. To put it simply, here are the three different ways on how you can register your name:

  • Form a business entity and register as a limited liability company (LLC).
  • Register the name as DBA (doing business as).
  • Register the name at a federal or national level.

Since you are considered a small business, you can begin the registration process by going to your state and local government office. You can also visit the website of the US Small Business Administration and find out about the specific requirements. The cost for this varies, but the standard price is USD 300.

License and Taxation

Generally speaking, you need to have a business license issued by your state before you can begin your car wash business. This permit is needed and associated with other factors such as social impact, taxes, public safety, and zoning. Requirements are sometimes specific based on which state you’re in, so to make sure that you are on the right path, you can contact your Count Clerk, the Small Business Administration, or local City Hall.

Since you will be hiring employees, you must also register with the local Department of Treasury or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the State Tax Number (EIN). A unique set of numbers assigned to a business entity can be used when hiring employees and filing taxes.

Water and Disposal Permits

The local fire and water department will visit your house and decide if there is an adequate water supply. They will also check the piping and connections if they have been laid out properly. In addition to this, you would also need a discharge permit issued by the local water authority stating that your sewage and water disposal is up to code. Other permits that you have to secure are. You would also need a discharge and sewage permit from the local water authority stating that your sewage and water disposal is up to code.

Have Your Business Insured


Since you will be conducting your small business at home, you need to have a policy that will protect your property and belongings. The average cost of homeowners’ insurance that you can get starts at USD 1,211 per year, but this will still vary depending on your chosen policy. The rule of thumb is, the wider the coverage, the higher the monthly cost will be.

In addition to property insurance, you can also consider getting garage liability insurance as an added blanket of protection. This type of policy is designed specifically for the car wash business. Its main purpose is to protect you and your business if a car is stolen or there are any damages to the vehicle.

Invest in Your Equipment

To start operating, you will need to buy several types of equipment. The price range of car wash equipment varies depending on how big your business is and your scope of service. Generally speaking, the capital you need to complete the basic equipment for a self-service station ranges between USD 8,000 and USD 10,000. Other pieces of equipment that you need to add to your checklist are:

  • Blowers and dryers
  • Conveyor tunnel and washing systems
  • Vacuums
  • Brushes
  • Towels
  • Payment processing system

Market Your Business

Now that you have the foundations laid out, the next thing for you is to let your neighbors know that you are open to business. Going door to door or handing out flyers can not be done because of the pandemic. The best way for you to advertise your small business is to hit social media. Create a shareable post that indicates the name of your business, your location, operating hours, and the services that you are offering.

According to the US Census Bureau, 90% of the United States’ car wash stations are labeled as small businesses. Individuals or families run them instead of corporate conglomerates. As a budding entrepreneur, these statistics prove that you can be part of that 90%.

Share this with your friends
Scroll to Top