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Owning a Carwash

Old 03-05-2009, 03:37 PM
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Default Owning a Carwash

Does anyone here own an automatic carwash, such as Lazerwash or similar? I've been kicking this around for some time now, and I think this might be the right time. My location allows me to discuss openly here.

I'd like one on one communication if anyone is interested. I'll sign no compete your so worried.

I know this is not a popular discussion for a fishing board, but this place has proved to be a pretty good think tank if you weed out the nonsense, like any other public place..

Any pro's have any thoughts?
Old 03-05-2009, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Boehler View Post
... this place has proved to be a pretty good think tank if you weed out the nonsense ...

I hate it when I get called a "weed".
Old 03-05-2009, 04:12 PM
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I'm also interested in having conversation with those in the know. All professional courtesy applies. I'd like to do so privately.
Old 03-05-2009, 05:54 PM
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A good friend got into a fully computerized, fully automatic carwash and, two years later, would love to move onto other things. What I've learned:
If you offer detailing, its a Labor thing with unskilled people that are constantly changing.
Weather is a big factor, so your particular area's habit will make other people's opinions/experiences irrelevant.
Cost of local water and sewer and power is a BIG factor.
Without computer pay, employee theft will be rampant when you aren't there.
With computer pay, costs of operation will be high; especially when a computer pukes and you can't override the system.
It's a 24/7 operation. How bad do you want to be there forever?
If you offer full service, somebody will open up a quarter carwash down the street. No computer, no labor, no hard R&M costs.
If your business fails, you can't very well sell the land, can't sell the business, can't lease it out. Stick a fork in you....
How much pleasure will you get from doing this day in and day out??
Expect the car owners that will find "damage" and have you fix things.
Expect the employee that will file for race or sex or religion grounds.

Other than that, he says things are going just fine. He hasn't fished in a couple of years...wanna buy a boat?

I just re-read my post and...sorry to have sounded so negative about the business. My friend and boat dealers have one thing in common; they are making a small fortune....after starting off with a much, much larger one. Feel free to PM me.

Last edited by bamaboy473; 03-05-2009 at 05:58 PM.
Old 03-05-2009, 06:04 PM
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I have a good friend who has several around here.he just built a new totally automated one and as far as cost here it was close to 400k.if it was me I would look into a self service spray wash.way less cost and labor to run.his spray washes are only serviced 2 times a week.
Old 03-05-2009, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
A good friend got into a fully computerized, fully automatic carwash and, two years later, would love to move onto other things. What I've learned:
If you offer detailing, its a Labor thing with unskilled people that are constantly changing.
Weather is a big factor, so your particular area's habit will make other people's opinions/experiences irrelevant.
Cost of local water and sewer and power is a BIG factor.
Without computer pay, employee theft will be rampant when you aren't there.
With computer pay, costs of operation will be high; especially when a computer pukes and you can't override the system.
It's a 24/7 operation. How bad do you want to be there forever?
If you offer full service, somebody will open up a quarter carwash down the street. No computer, no labor, no hard R&M costs.
If your business fails, you can't very well sell the land, can't sell the business, can't lease it out. Stick a fork in you....
How much pleasure will you get from doing this day in and day out??
Expect the car owners that will find "damage" and have you fix things.
Expect the employee that will file for race or sex or religion grounds.

Other than that, he says things are going just fine. He hasn't fished in a couple of years...wanna buy a boat?

I just re-read my post and...sorry to have sounded so negative about the business. My friend and boat dealers have one thing in common; they are making a small fortune....after starting off with a much, much larger one. Feel free to PM me.
Second Responder: It's all yours now
Old 03-05-2009, 06:34 PM
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I supply chemicals to car washes.... Thats all I do for a living... I would not get involved in this business...

PM me with any questions, but its a really hard business and almost all of my customers hate the industry. Would you like a job that requires you to come to work on Saturday Sunday and Friday. Your only days off are rain days.

WME
Old 03-05-2009, 10:09 PM
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If you want to wash something, check out coin laundries. I owned 50% of one in the 90's and it was very profitable. One word though...LOCATION. I guess that word would apply to a car wash too.
There is an idea. How about a car wash and coin laundry at one location.
Old 03-06-2009, 01:47 AM
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I service and install automatic carwashes. Weather is everything. Location is important. The last month has been crazy busy, I've been working 70-80 hrs per week. Owners say this has been the busiest month in 10 yrs or more. Even with the fully automatic washes you will need to put in time, or have someone you trust work for you.

Even with everything being said about the economy, many customers are upgrading their equipment, and opening new sites!!! I don't think they would be doing that if they were losing money, especially now.

Well its 5am and I'm off to another 16-18hr day. I want all my customers to be busy, but I wouldn't mind a little slow down for a couple weeks!!!!
Old 03-06-2009, 04:01 AM
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Looked into building one on Topsail Island NC several years ago. Not feasible then due to the high cost of land and the town's wastewater treatment plant was failing and they didn't want to hook up another large user. I think both situations have changed now. You do need to look at water and sewer costs/issues.
Old 03-06-2009, 04:08 AM
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Location, location, location, however the best locations north or south will be very expensive to buy/lease. But could be a better economic environment to own one in think retirement housing zones. Having said that employees in retirement areas could be better, many seniors want something to do, but only want to work 2-3 days a week and travel weeks or more a few times a year. Senior citizen employment will not be the harder labor jobs but softer management, cleaning etc but they might/could/can do a better job for you and do it honestly, most will not need a benefits package. Still any business is a gamble
Old 03-06-2009, 04:22 AM
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My friend has gone door to door to local businesses and all the condos trying drop off coupons. They often get trashed within minutes.

He thought he would offer FREE Vacuums and put it on his outdoor sign. Lots of snowbirds use the quarter carwash down the street and then come to his place to get a free vacuum.

If you get a business, be careful what you have permanently incribed on your sign...

His biggest mistake with an auto system is that there's no way to wash boats. He wishes he'd put in a 2 bay quarter system, too.
Old 03-06-2009, 05:54 AM
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Best locations are near "the hood" ! Homies don't skimp on ther rides !



Good Luck !
Old 03-06-2009, 07:04 AM
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I work for the manufacturer of automatic carwash equipment, as has been said before location. I have seen people do really well or really bad and both were due to location more than anything. The sales of new equipment has slowed due to the economy but the sites that are up and running seem to be doing as good or better than before in my area anyway. The company i work for does rollover automatics that require minimal employees. If you have any more questions pm me and we can talk i can also but you in touch with our distributor in your area that should be able to help you more for your location.
Old 03-06-2009, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
His biggest mistake with an auto system is that there's no way to wash boats.
I always thought it would be neat to have a couple bays for boats. Higher ceilings for T-Tops and even a separate setting and hose for "muffs" for those who would also like to flush their engine(s).
Old 03-06-2009, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Shag View Post
I always thought it would be neat to have a couple bays for boats. Higher ceilings for T-Tops and even a separate setting and hose for "muffs" for those who would also like to flush their engine(s).
Just up from Surfside, Texas is such a car wash, including the flush attachment. But you have to bring a hose. This place is very busy on the weekends. I've waited an hour to wash my boat. Much better than doing it in the driveway with a hose and brush. And I don't have to deal with the dead bait and such.

Anyway, as far as a carwash, I wouldn't touch one in this economy. The reason McDonalds and Walmart are booming is because people are only spending money on cheap stuff and essentials. A clean car is not essential.

Read this. I think you're missing #3 right now.
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_b...customers.html

Last edited by CopyKat; 03-06-2009 at 10:59 AM.
Old 03-06-2009, 11:04 AM
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Sent this to my buddy who is big into car wash business-now as President of either state or larger car wash organization. Maybe he will respond



Biggest issues nowadays are the recycled water regulations that differ lacal to local
Old 03-06-2009, 12:25 PM
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Just ask Lenny Dykstra http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CGXqRsqr6I
Old 03-06-2009, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by CopyKat View Post
Just up from Surfside, Texas is such a car wash, including the flush attachment. But you have to bring a hose. This place is very busy on the weekends. I've waited an hour to wash my boat. Much better than doing it in the driveway with a hose and brush. And I don't have to deal with the dead bait and such.

Anyway, as far as a carwash, I wouldn't touch one in this economy. The reason McDonalds and Walmart are booming is because people are only spending money on cheap stuff and essentials. A clean car is not essential.

Read this. I think you're missing #3 right now.
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_b...customers.html
A car (or boat) that doesn't rust out from saltwater is pretty essential, too.
Old 03-06-2009, 04:16 PM
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I could warm up to that, a BoatWash with several bays open on weekends all bays and one bay during the week.

Great big Ice Maker in the lot for before they go out...coupon for the ride back, of course. $5 for 10 minutes, Soap and Rinse only. Trash bin for bait fish, guts, etc.

THAT would work around any town with a Pass.

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