You Need To Consider What Type of Life You Want Before Deciding on What Type of Wash To Build

4-16-16 Pittsburgh, PA

When I first became interested in the car wash business, I was most interested in passive income opportunities. The self-serve car wash business model seemed to meet most of my “lifestyle” requirements in that it did not require employees and all day management. You could build it, maintain it, keep it clean, and pick up your money each week. Most of that held true (although the maintenance was a bit more than I expected). I receive many emails about starting full-serve and flex-serve washes. In my opinion, these segments of the car wash industry are completely different, in that, the daily fulfillment of your service becomes much more of a full time job. While I have never owned a full serve or flex serve wash, I know that the hassles of managing employees makes it a much different business than the self-serve car wash segment of the industry.

The guy who bought one of my washes back in January 2014 converted it to a conveyor flex wash. It requires at least one, possibly two employees to keep it running. He owns about 10 other self serve washes and now this one flex wash. In a recent conversation with him, he mentioned that his initial reaction to owning one of these washes was that the hassles of this business model were not worth the additional volume he is getting from the wash. From his reports, he is doing two to three times the volume I was doing at the wash because of his higher thru-put capabilities and his more aggressive pricing. He also questioned the profitability of each wash compared to his self-serve model.

When I receive questions from new investors about the full serve and self serve segments of the car wash industry, I usually respond that I do not have any experience on these business models but I feel confident that my site selection qualifications would hold true for any segment of the car wash industry (and for any retailer for that matter). I also let them know that the full-serve and flex-serve conveyor models require much more of hands on management of the business and it depends on what they want their lifestyle to be like once they open on what model they should choose.

You will want to learn the fulfillment requirements of any business you choose.

Happy Car Washing!


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