Car Wash Investor Guide

Evaluating the Competition

You must evaluate the existing washes in the area you are planning to
locate your wash. If the existing washes are up-to-date and well kept,
careful consideration must be given as to whether there is enough
consumer demand for an additional wash. Keep in mind that automatic
washes are usually not considered as competition, and need not be
taken into account. When looking at the existing wash facilities in
your area, you must be very objective. Do not allow your personal
preferences to affect your judgement. Look at these washes as though
you were a customer who had never used a self service wash before,
then ask yourself these questions:
1. Are you attracted by the outward appearance?
2. Does the wash look bright and inviting?
3. Is the wash busy?
4. Is there trash laying around the carwash lot?
5. Are the trash containers overflowing?
6. Is there excessive mud on the wash bay floors?
7. Are the bay walls dirty?
8. Is there enough room for cars to line up conveniently?

The appearance of the wash is very important. New customers will very
rarely come into a dirty looking wash. They will also shy away from a
wash that looks unused. Once inside the wash, you must judge the
services offered. Does the wash facility have:
1. Enough pressure to clean effectively?
2. Foaming brushes?
3. Spray wax?
4. Pre-soak?
5. Tire cleaner?
6. Shutoff type, high pressure wands?
7. Hot water for soap and wax cycles?
8. Heated, ice-free floors in winter?
9. Mat hangers?
10. Coin acceptors that take quarters, "loonies" and "twonies"?
11. Last coin alert features?
12. Digital time display readouts?
13. Colourful, easy to read instruction signs?
14. Vacuums with good suction?
15. Bill changers?
16. Vending machines?

If the answer is "no" to any of these questions, then the wash is not
performing to current industry standards and is vulnerable to
competition.

The final test is to wash your car using all the services offered at
the wash. After doing so, let your car air-dry, then ask yourself
these questions:
1. Are the painted surfaces clean, film-free and shinning?
2. Are the tires clean? (Whitewalls should be white and black walls
should be black)
3. Are the bumpers and chrome bright?
4. Are the windows spot-free?
5. Is the interior clean?

Any "no" answer above means that this facility is turning out an
inferior wash. Given a choice, new customers usually do not return to
a carwash that does not get their car clean.

Next Section: Property Costs

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