How to Start a Car Wash


Take a second to give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve decided to start a car wash, which can be a highly profitable business idea! Starting a car wash properly can take a lot of effort and time, and there are many different variables you’ll need to consider. 

But don’t worry, I’ll teach you how to start a car wash using the Lean Startup Method to save both time and money. Author Eric Reis created this business startup strategy for launching a business in his 2011 book, The Lean Startup Method. 

Before I teach you all there is to know about starting a car wash business using the Lean Startup Method, you should know why the conventional approach to starting a business is ineffective

The traditional flawed business startup process

Typically, guidelines for the traditional business startup technique look something like this:

  1. Identify a passion or skill set you can cash in on (in this case, I’m guessing it’s cars and car washes).
  2. Write a car wash business plan.
  3. Fund your business.
  4. Choose a location for your business.
  5. Choose a structure for your business.
  6. Decide on a business name.
  7. Form your business formally: register your business, get a federal tax identification number for your business, apply for business licenses and permits, obtain business insurance, and open a business bank account. 
  8. Ultimately fail because this method is flawed. 

You can understand why many small business owners read about this business technique and believe it’s an efficient and sensible method for starting a business. (Well, that is until you read the eighth step.) This startup method gives the impression that if you have a proper business plan, money, and a suitable location, you won't have to put any effort into your business to make it successful, and the earnings will simply come in.

Although this concept and its claimed consequences seem appealing, the reality of starting a car wash business is drastically different.

You can follow all the stages in the standard business startup method and still watch your business fail. In reality, four out of every five small businesses that are launched via the conventional startup method fail within the first year of operation.

These failed businesses did not crumble as a result of their owners' laziness or lack of ambition. Instead, they failed because they were designed and built on unstable foundations due to the three flawed assumptions the traditional business startup method makes.

Assumption 1: You have deep and intimate knowledge of your market 

You're probably not an expert in the car wash industry if you're looking to learn how to start a car wash business. You may be unaware of critical aspects of starting an automatic car wash or touchless car wash, such as car washing equipment and technology developments, zoning concerns, business permits.

If you want to start a car wash business, you probably already know about some of the newest gizmos and gadgets that other car wash businesses are using, and you may have worked at a self serve car wash yourself, but there are a lot more things you should know before starting your own car wash business.

The traditional business method's first erroneous assumption is that you thoroughly understand the business of washing cars—experience that you simply do not have when you first start a car wash business. The level of expertise that the traditional method assumes you have can actually take decades of car wash industry experience. This faulty assumption results in unsavvy business practices and disappointing, unsustainable revenue.

However, when you open a car wash with the Lean Startup Method, you develop knowledge and expertise in the car wash industry while gradually operating your car wash without an all-in initial investment and the pressure to immediately succeed. This is simpler than the traditional startup method since by the time you make your significant investment, you’re an expert in the industry, which means you have a greater chance of succeeding.

Assumption 2: Your needs and wants are more important than your customers’ needs and wants 

Any business's primary purpose is to earn money. But if you're incapable of listening to your customers' needs and requirements, your business will not last long.

The traditional startup method urges you to consider why YOU want to own a car wash business. This approach makes no attempt to evaluate your clients' car washing needs or why they would purchase car washing services from your car wash business.

Without consumer feedback on your car wash, your marketing will sound a little like “Please purchase car washes from me.” This is a desperate, inefficient advertising approach that may possibly harm your business’s reputation.

When you implement the Lean Startup Method to start a car wash, you'll learn about other car wash businesses in the region, as well as your prospective customers and what they want from a car wash near them. Is there a lack of car washes in your neighborhood? Do other car washes lack the car wash products that customers want (such as cleaning supplies or cloths)? Do customers prefer specific soaps or finishes?

The traditional startup method's second faulty assumption is that the aspirations of business owners supersede the demands of customers.

Using the Lean Startup Method to open a car wash business encourages you to ask customers what they think about competing car wash businesses and what they want to see from your car wash. There are fewer financial risks with this method since you won’t need to invest large sums of money in a car wash before knowing whether or not it will work. The valuable input you get from prospective customers will serve as the foundation of your car wash business and impact your inventory selections.

Assumption 3: You have unlimited cash to burn 

Money, if it were an eternally renewable resource, might alleviate many global issues, but this is unfortunately not the case. As a result, entrepreneurs and investors carelessly throwing money around isn’t an efficient way to accumulate wealth. As a business owner, you have to take certain financial risks, but your company won’t produce money if you waste it.

Starting a car wash business using the Lean Startup Method means using little more than a water hose, buckets, suds, and sponges, which is probably a lot different from the fantasies about a fancy touchless car wash or an automatic car wash that have encouraged you to go through with starting a car wash business. 

If you were to start a car wash using the traditional startup method, you would jump straight into opening a sleek touchless car wash. You would immediately need to establish a diverse service catalog, follow state and local regulations regarding utility usage, meet state and federal compliance requirements, and learn tons of complicated zoning regulations—all without knowing which business strategies work for your car wash business. The traditional startup method assumes that you have the funds and expertise to manage a large car wash, that you have done the required networking to develop connections in the car washing industry, and that you can open your car wash and start earning a profit right away.

It can cost between $50,000–$3.5 million to start a car wash business. That's a lot of money, and because most people can't afford to replace that much if their business shuts down, I'm guessing it would be a catastrophic setback to your finances as well.

When you implement the Lean Startup Method to start a car wash, you may do so in smaller increments while developing essential contacts in the car washing industry, learning about other car wash businesses in the region, and generating money before taking any substantial financial risks.

If you'd rather run a car wash business that survives and flourishes than become one of the four out of every five small businesses that fail with the traditional startup method, the Lean Startup Method is a better option for you.

What is the Lean Startup Method?

The Lean Startup Method is based on three fundamental principles: build, measure, and learn.

When you use the Lean Startup Method to start a new business, you will experiment with numerous product concepts and strategies to enhance your services. Using the cheapest, most efficient means to market your goods is a crucial part of the lean startup strategy. You begin accumulating expertise in the car washing industry right away, albeit more gradually than with the traditional startup method. Because the traditional method requires you to write and stick to a business plan before you fully grasp how to manage your car wash business effectively, the Lean Startup Method is the more reasonable startup method of the two.

The first phase is the build phase. During this phase, you'll go out and speak to people in your community to find out what difficulties they have with existing car wash businesses, identify a problem you can address, and then build a solution that satisfies the needs of your client base. Are there not enough car washes in your neighborhood? Do your customers only have access to a self-service car wash? Do customers want to see a different type of car wash, such as an automatic car wash? Are residents familiar with automatic car washes or premium services?

The measure, or test, phase comes next. During this phase you test the solution you created in the prior phase. This will tell you whether your solution will work for your car wash business. Do people enjoy the services you offer? Do your customers enjoy the products you're using? Have you earned any money from your services? What is your most popular service or package?

The last phase is the learn phase. This phase gives you vital information on how pleased your customers are with your goods, services, and the entire consumer experience of your car wash business. How do people perceive the quality of the services you provide? Which of your packages do they prefer? How does your car wash stack up against other car washes in the area? If one of your ideas or services fails, you can toss it aside rather than wasting additional time and money on something that isn't succeeding. You will have a more successful car wash business if you can concentrate on lucrative and effective services and products.

Why use the Lean Startup Method?

Would you purchase a product if you knew it was 80% likely to fail in a year? It seems ridiculous when asked that way, but that’s the reality of starting a company with the traditional method. Four out of every five small businesses that start using the traditional method fail within the first year of business.

When you start a car wash the traditional way, you take major financial risks without performing market research or learning about the industry; you just jump in and hope it succeeds. However, as a business owner who implemented the Lean Startup Method to establish your business, you will keep testing fresh ideas and services with your customers, providing them with solutions that satisfy their car washing needs based on their input. When you start a car wash using the Lean Startup Method, build a community for your car wash business that will ultimately become your client base, giving you an edge over other car wash businesses that adhere to the traditional startup method.

When you use the Lean Startup Method, your startup costs are much lower than when you use the traditional startup method. The traditional method assumes you have the funds to pay hefty launch expenses on your own. The Lean Startup Method enables you to learn about the car wash industry and effectively operate your car wash business. Your car wash business has a higher likelihood of surviving far beyond its first year if you don't add the stress of needless financial risks.

How can I say with such certainty that the Lean Startup Method will provide your car wash a higher chance of success than the traditional startup method? That's simple. I've used the Lean Startup Method to launch five different businesses over the last eight years. I was successful in selling three of these companies, and I continue to manage the other two to this day. I've assisted hundreds of individuals in starting successful businesses, and I can assist you in starting your car wash, too!

How do you use the Lean Startup Method to start your car wash?

When establishing a new business, I always follow the lean startup principles of build, measure, and learn. The Lean Startup Method will lower your car wash's initial expenses while also ensuring that it has sound business foundations and that you have all the tools and knowledge necessary to run a profitable car wash. This is a better choice than the unstable business foundations and substantial startup costs involved with the traditional startup method.


During the first phase, the build phase, you'll devise a strategy and begin building your car wash. You accomplish this by recognizing a problem that members of the community have with other local car washes and within the industry, finding an opportunity to offer a solution, producing a solution, and forming a client base for your car wash business.

This critical stage allows you to determine if your car wash ideas are sound and whether your solutions meet the needs of your community. The build phase's purpose is to provide a strong business foundation for your car wash and ensure you have the information and resources you need to thrive in the car wash industry.

Step 1: Identify a problem

The first step is to find a problem that many people have that you feel you can remedy.

Unfortunately, you can't just start providing car wash services and expecting people to purchase them. That’s not a viable business strategy. New car washes pop up every day, and consumers aren't going to throw money at every new small business that emerges. A more successful business strategy is to provide customers a compelling reason to procure your services.

Finding a compelling reason might be challenging.

To begin, you must identify a pain point, which is a business concept that describes an issue that many people have that causes them enough pain or discomfort that they seek out a solution to it. Typically, consumers will either design a solution for themselves or pay someone else to do it. You want your car wash to be the solution.

But you can't just replicate the sales strategies and services of other car washes in the neighborhood. Instead, you must pinpoint local consumer needs that your car wash can uniquely address. Are people in your region seeking full-service car wash or automatic car washes only to discover that there isn't one within several miles? Do people seem to be receptive to the idea of a self-service car wash? Is there a high concentration of car washes in the neighborhood that all use the same outdated sales tactics? Do all the car washes in your neighborhood provide the same service packages? 

Take an interest in the problems expressed by local vehicle owners. Their needs and desires, as well as the information they offer up to you, will benefit your car wash in its early stages. Do customers want a full-service car wash? Do other car washes overlook car-detailing services? Do consumers want greater choice in the products sold at car washes so they can use them at home? Do consumers desire waterproof waxes, air fresheners, or other premium products? Do customers prefer a traditional car wash with nice employees and excellent customer service versus an automated system with no human interaction?

After speaking with numerous people, some common problems should emerge, and you could add questions about them in future surveys. Ask about the extent to which these problems bother consumers. Inquiring about other car washes will provide you with information about the car wash industry, consumer satisfaction with other car washes, vehicle cleaning products and services that are currently popular in your area, and services that people expect from a new car wash. You can decide on a problem to attempt to resolve based on this feedback.

How do you choose which problem to focus on?

The Lean Startup Method unfortunately doesn’t include a simple formula for determining which problem to solve. However, the following three suggestions should help you easily choose your problem:

  1. Choose a problem that a large number of people share. Is there a lack of car washes in the area? Do they not sell the products and services that customers really want? Do people want more self-service or automated car wash options?
  2. Choose a problem that causes “pain.” You don't want to resolve a problem that no one is concerned with. In fact, if no one is concerned with it then it isn't really a problem! The more trouble a problem causes people, the better it is for your car wash business. Do people want a quick, automated car wash that allows them to clean their vehicle and then go about their business? Do they want more car-detailing services?
  3. Choose a problem that you believe you can solve. If customers want a cutting-edge touchless car wash with all the bells and whistles, this isn't an easy challenge for you to tackle right away. What you can provide, though, are personnel that can wash cars for customers, making easy work of keeping their vehicles clean.

The primary objective of this phase is to choose a problem that impacts a large number of people, causes pain or difficulty in their lives, and for which they are desperate enough to pay for a solution.

Step 2: Build a community

The next step is to create a community for your car wash business. This community's members should be individuals who have been impacted by the problem defined in the first phase. Fortunately, our technology-driven society makes it simple to establish an online community. Social media is an excellent resource. Start a Facebook group, a Reddit forum, or an Instagram profile for your business. When you finish this phase, you will have formed a community of individuals who are impacted by the problem you've recognized, are interested in solutions to that problem, and will become a pool of prospective clients. While creating your community, you'll also work on designing your new car wash's brand and sales strategies, in addition to conducting critical market research. If you used the traditional startup process, all this research and effort would take three steps to accomplish, but with the Lean Startup Method, you can accomplish it all in one easy step.

While online communities are fantastic, it's also a good idea to have a variety of community alternatives for your business, so create an offline community as well. You can do this by forming a club or meetup group with regular gatherings. When compared to online communities, offline communities offer a number of additional benefits, such as more personal face-to-face contact with community members and receiving real-time feedback. Interacting with community members in a physical setting may help clients feel more connected to you and your company, leading to a more favorable impression of your new car washing business.

Another option to think about at this stage is visiting local business organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, to learn about the different perks they may provide your small business.

Reasons to build a community:

  • You have the opportunity to learn more about the problem you recognized in the first stage and get a better picture of how it impacts residents of your community.
  • It gives you a platform to begin establishing your small business's brand and marketing strategy, and it enables you to test them on prospective clients.
  • You already have a client base in place before you launch your business. This gives you an edge over company owners who chose the traditional startup method and then have to build a client base from scratch.
  • By establishing a community for your car wash, you open the door to obtaining small business financing for your business before it formally opens.

How to build a community:

  • Create and promote a Facebook group by discussing subjects of interest to vehicle owners and enthusiasts, various car-detailing techniques, sharing interesting car washes from all over the world, and even car-related memes. You'll see that your community grows as you post more content, comment, participate in discussions, and engage with it.
  • Make Twitter polls for people to participate in. People like interactive material, and enabling customers to express themselves is a solid strategy to gain followers while also building enthusiasm about your small business.
  • Post photos from automobile events and shows, cruise-ins, and other car wash ideas and fundraisers to your social media sites.
  • Use social media platforms to network. Reach out to other car wash owners, other business owners, automotive enthusiasts, and local officials since these connections can help your business. These connections may supply you with useful information regarding the car wash industry, such as the application process for business licenses, state legislation, state compliance regulations, utilities laws, zoning, and other important topics.

Creating an online community for your car wash business enables people to share their thoughts and offer feedback. The coolest part for you as a business owner is that customers will gladly offer you this information. They'll tell you all there is to know about other car washes, as well as your own—good or bad. They'll tell you all you need to know about the services they already use, how much other car washes charge, how pleased they are with other car washes, and what they want to see from a new car wash. This never-ending supply of essential information is why it is critical to complete this step.

Building a community is also beneficial since it offers free advertising for your company. Members of your community will engage with your posts, and the more they do, the more prominent it will become, growing your company while also raising brand awareness for your company. People will enthusiastically join your community if word spreads that you apply consumer input to better your products and services and actively engage with your community, which will give people a positive overall impression of your company as well.

Step 3: Identify a solution opportunity

Unfortunately, just recognizing a problem is insufficient to resolve it. The next stage is to figure out how to fix the problem you've discovered.

During your market research and community building, ask your community members about the car washes they currently use, their favorite products from other car washes, the marketing strategy used by your rivals, and how happy they are with the services and products provided by many car washes. Your community is an excellent venue to ask these questions and begin brainstorming potential solutions.

Some questions to ask include other car washes' sales and promotional tactics, what types of car washing or cleaning products they sell, whether they have a loyalty program, whether they've visited their car wash's website, what kind of information was available on the website, and whether they could easily make online purchases or register for subscriptions.

Learning about other companies' sales strategies, the types of products and services that people want to purchase and how they use them, and visions of their ideal car wash can assist you in developing your business and identifying your target market. This information will help you in brainstorming and identifying a solution to the problem you've chosen to tackle.

Step 4: Develop a solution

The next stage is to create a solution that your business can supply. This may require some effort and imagination since the perfect solution will be one that meets the demands of your community and that people enjoy enough to pay for.

How to develop your solution:

  1. Consider the answers that your company may be able to supply. If customers have complained about car washes not providing enough of a certain service or product, it should be the first product you add to your inventory. If customers want a car wash with experienced personnel that are easy to chat with, it should become part of your brand.
  2. Request feedback on your proposed solutions. Your solution must fulfill the needs of your community, so how others see it is essential. Your solution should ideally be something that the majority of your community appears to believe will actually solve their problems, and you must discover something that the majority of your community favors. This is a wonderful opportunity to speak with other car wash owners to see whether your solution idea is practical.
  3. Develop and refine your MVP (minimum viable product). This is the product or service that costs the least, is the easiest to create, and will generate the greatest amount of profit for your business.

The ideal solution will address your community's problems, have low manufacturing costs, and be simple to distribute to clients. The design and creation of an MVP for your business means that your products and services will be less expensive to create, and as a result of the removal of the financial burdens that the traditional startup method places on business owners, your business will be more likely to flourish in its first year and beyond.


The next step is the measurement phase. By measure, I mean scientific measurement. Instead of getting a measuring tape, imagine it to mean “experiment” or “test.” During this phase, you will conduct several tests to see if your idea is realistic.

Step 5: Test your MVP

Once you've developed a solution, verified that your community is satisfied with it, and generated your MVP, it's time to put it to the test. Experimentation is a big aspect of the Lean Startup Method, so you'll be doing a lot of tests for your company as it grows.

When creating your MVP, there are several aspects to consider, including state and federal regulations, licenses and permits required to set up booths or stalls, and zoning issues. However, one of the beautiful things about the Lean Startup Method is that if you decide on an MVP that doesn't work out, you can always go back to the drawing board and restart the process to identify one that does.

It may be counterintuitive to test your MVP before seeking funding for your business, but in reality it makes sound financial sense. If a financial institution were given two separate candidates for funding, one which had already done extensive market research, built a community full of potential customers, and demonstrated that its products would sell, and another that had only a dream and a hunch, which would the bank be most likely to lend to? Most financial institutions would provide money to a tried-and-true business.

Testing your MVP may seem daunting, but it’s really quite simple. It may also help spread the word about your company, so it’s a vital aspect of the Lean Startup Method.

There are a couple of ways to test the MVP of a car wash business. Have you ever participated in a car wash fundraising event? You can actually do something similar to test your MVP. Buy some different soaps, sponges, squeegees, and all the equipment and then go set up shop in a parking lot, at a fairground, or anywhere you can get permission to perform car washes. Offering a free car wash to customers at car shows would be an excellent way to get lots of business and feedback. 

You could also rent out a space to set up a self-service car wash that people can drive up to, pay to wash their cars, and then leave. This is a good way to build up a returning loyal customer base because they know your business's location and can not only return there, but also direct their friends to it. 

Discuss your services and products with your customers. Are they satisfied with their whole experience? Do they like the scent of your air fresheners? What is their favorite fragrance? Is there a particular soap or wax that they prefer? What do they think of the washes you provide? Would they return to buy additional services?

If many consumers give your items excellent reviews and indicate they will return, this step was a success. It didn't go well if there were few takers because, let's face it, if you're offering free car washes, there should be a large line of people and excitement in the air.

Step 6: Sell your MVP

Now that you've tested your MVP and learned a little bit about your market, it's time to sell it. However, using the Lean Startup Method to begin selling your MVP is less thrilling than your dreams of operating a car wash.

This is the last stage before receiving feedback on your product and seeking financing for your business, so it's important that you do it right. By completing this stage, your business will have an instant advantage over car washes that were launched with the traditional startup method. This stage will demonstrate that you can sell your products, that your business is profitable, and that you’re worthy of financing.

Of course, because you don’t have a brick-and-mortar establishment yet, selling your MVP is going to look a little different. It's quite easy to get together a crew of employees to provide car washes. You can do flash events where you go to different businesses (like major call centers or offices) and ask permission to sell car washes to employees and patrons. Set up a station at car washes or other outdoor events. A lot of people appreciate a good hand-wash, which is why car washes make great fundraisers. Be sure that you choose friendly people with bubbly personalities who are also professional and competent to represent your business and provide these car washes.


The last key objective of the Lean Startup Method is “learn.” After you've developed your business idea and tested it to determine whether it's a viable choice, you must get feedback to see what other people think about your solution. With this input, you can enhance your services and expand your company in a manner that your customers will appreciate.

Step 7: Get feedback on your product idea

You've already established and connected with a community and customer base for your car wash, recognized a problem that impacts your community, presented a solution to the problems people in your community experience, and created, tested, and sold your MVP by the time you reach this step. Going through this process means you know which marketing methods perform best for your business and how much money you can generate with it. The next stage is to obtain feedback on your product idea. Here's how you can use community feedback to grow and succeed in business:

  • Ask your community members which products they prefer, what they appreciate about your products, how they compare to rivals, and what they would want to see more of.
  • Pay careful and focused attention to consumer comments. Do your customers have a positive sales experience with you? Do they like the fragrances of the products you use? Are your products effective in cleaning cars without leaving streaks? Which of your services is the most popular? What is the one item that keeps coming up in comments on your website? Would they appreciate a loyalty program? 
  • Use the comments from your community to enhance various aspects of your business. Doing so will guarantee that your business is tailored to your customers' needs over time, which means they will be more happy with your products and services.

Much of this information is available on social media. Create polls on different social media sites or a survey for your website or landing page to begin. Read online consumer reviews about your company as well, since they are often rich in information about how you can enhance your products and services.

Once you've collected and reviewed all the feedback, and you believe you have a good idea of what your customers want, it's time to implement feedback-inspired adjustments to your company. Clients will be happier if you make improvements to your products and services at the request of your community, and happy clients lead to greater overall business success.

Keep an eye out for new marketing methods, deals, and promotions from rival car washes and automotive parts retailers. Each new deal and significant shift in marketing approach is an effort by your rivals to resolve issues voiced by your community. If these efforts fail, you'll know to avoid them. However, successful efforts suggest that you should use similar strategies.

This research, as well as the input you acquire from your community, can assist you in growing and expanding your car wash business. It will also assist you in competing with other car washes, which will be incredibly advantageous to the overall profitability of your company.

What’s next? 

So you've demonstrated your ability to effectively manage a car wash business, conducted research, and gathered consumer input to enhance your products and services, all of which will help your business grow in the future. Now is the time to explore upgrading your business from a glorified fundraiser to a brick-and-mortar car wash, whether that's self-service or automated. 

This entails getting all the appropriate licenses and permits, as well as adhering to state laws and regulations, in order to build the establishment of your dreams. With all the expertise you've gained from completing the Lean Startup Method process, writing a decent car wash business plan detailing business expenses, selecting a business name, and securing capital from a financial institution should be a snap.

Once you have the funding to build your ideal car wash, you will still have a lot of work to do.

You should obtain an employer identification number, or EIN, from the IRS since you will need to hire employees. It's also a good idea to set up a business bank account for your car wash.

It is critical that you choose a business structure for your company. There are several choices, such as partnerships and sole proprietorships, so don't rush into this decision. Check out my article on How to Form an LLC for additional information on how an LLC may help preserve your personal assets and keep them distinct from business assets.

You will also need the services of a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or company that receives mail and legal documents, such as service of process, on your behalf. Check out my article on the Best Registered Agent for more information on registered agent services.

Choosing a physical site for your car wash is a serious decision that should not be carelessly made. Aside from the conventional commercial issues like visibility and foot traffic, there are also legal considerations and regulations to consider. You'll have to deal with zoning requirements as well as utility regulations. It is critical that you choose a site that complies with all of your state's laws and regulations.

Here's a list of some additional things you'll need to do to make sure your car wash is a success:

  • Hire employees: It’s very important to choose a team of employees that you trust for your new business. Here are some of the positions you should consider hiring for: general manager, car wash attendant, cashier/sales associate, automotive technician, customer service representative (to ensure exceptional customer service), detailer, maintenance technician, business accountants, marketing manager, and IT professional. 
  • Follow state requirements: In many states, car wash owners are required to comply with a variety of regulations to maintain compliance with state laws. These include, but are not limited to, licenses and permits, workers’ compensation insurance, taxes on certain products, and general liability insurance or business insurance.
  • Hire a security team: Robbery is a concern wherever cash is involved. A self-service car wash usually has a lot of cash floating about, but even in automated car washes, people can pay with cash. This leaves your business vulnerable to several types of crime. You should hire a strong security team to protect your business, your money, your staff, and your goods. Apart from on-site security guards, it's a good idea to look at cutting-edge security systems and software. You'll also want to hire an inventory manager to keep inventory theft to a minimum. An inventory manager is a valuable team member since they will always know who ordered, stored, reported, and distributed your products, and they will collaborate closely with your security team.
  • Find the right vendors: It’s important that you stock quality products at your car wash because vehicle enthusiasts are understandably picky about what they use on their prized possessions. This means you’ll have to work with great vendors. This doesn’t mean you should simply find the cheapest vendor on the market. You need a vendor that can provide you with quality products that your customers will love. 
  • Switch on the utilities: Now that you have a physical site, it's time to turn on the utilities. Electricity, water, gas (or another heating system), and air conditioning are all necessary.
  • Business software: Before you soft-open your car wash, it’s time to get some good business software. Good business software can help you keep track of every sale you make and manage taxes, inventory, and payroll, and more. In short, business software can make running your business far easier. Check out my article about the Best Business Software to learn more about what software can do for your business. 
  • Acquire legal advice: There are a lot of legal considerations when it comes to professional car washes. Cars cost a lot of money, so any automotive product or service is subject to angry customers if something goes wrong with a customer’s vehicle, and angry customers can potentially mean legal problems. Any time legal problems pop up, it could mean a huge setback for your business. But online legal services are a great way to get legal consultations without needing to choose a lawyer, make an appointment, etc. To learn more, check out my article about the Best Online Legal Services.
  • Experiment with your products: Just because customers love your existing product catalog doesn't mean you should set your service list in stone. Offering fresh products and services means that your customers will have access to new experiences and may come away with a new favorite product. To keep your service list interesting, introduce new products, services, or scents on a weekly or monthly basis. If one of your promos is a success, try making it a regular part of your menu.


Congratulations! It takes a lot of effort to learn how to start a car wash. The fact that four out of every five firms formed using the traditional startup method fail within the first year adds to the anxiety of starting a business. But by using the Lean Startup Method to launch your car wash business, your establishment will have a greater chance of success. The following are the stages to starting your business using the Lean Startup Method:

  1. Identify a problem.
  2. Build a community.
  3. Identify a solution opportunity.
  4. Develop a solution.
  5. Test your minimum viable product (MVP).
  6. Sell your MVP.
  7. Get feedback on your product idea.

When you finish the final step, the process isn't over. You will repeat the build, measure, and learn process many times over the life of your business to assure its continual success.

Starting a car wash is tough no matter which startup method you choose. But if you have goals of addressing your community's car wash needs and the will to see them through, the Lean Startup Method will provide you with the reassurance that your business will be more likely to succeed.

Congratulations once again, and best wishes with your car wash!

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