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If you're looking to start a business without too much of a risk with your capital then a mobile car wash business could be the right one for you. These days people are so busy they are happy to have their car washed at their local garage while it is in for a service or while they are shopping at the mall, and in most cases they are happy to pay a little bit extra for convenience.

Market Research

Who is your target market going to be as you have quite an extensive choice in the early stages, will you stick to just motorcars or go a little more niche and provide washing services to trucks, vans, lorries, artics. The mobile car wash industry in the US is currently about $7 billion which includes full and self service car wash facilities, including truck and bus washes. Since 2015 the rise in disposable income has allowed customers to spend a little more on services such as car washing, this rise is set to stay until circa 2020. Consider adding a niche to your profession such as car detailing, this is a process which goes far beyond the ordinary wash and wax and one which can be offered as an extra service. Detailing says it in the name, attention to detail and paying close attention to small details. It is a lot more time and effort but well worth the results and the smile and joy on the face of your customer when he/she comes to view the eye popping work you have provided. Professional detailers have developed many of their own tricks of the trade, including cleaning windows to producing super clean ventilation grilles!

Possible Target Markets
  • Business owners and staff
  • Retired people
  • Car dealerships
  • Families going to the mall
  • Travelling salesman
  • Home visits
Company Name

This vast market is very diverse and will continue to grow at a faster rate than the overall economy so plan for economical growth in this industry and create a name which will stand out in a crowd. What are your goals for this audience and are you thinking of new car owners or second hand owners, classic cars, dealerships, local businesses, have a look around at your competitors in all the market sectors before you decide.

Business Plan

Will you need financing for this endeavour, if so, a well laid out business plan will impress the bank, lay out your target segmentation, who will be your customers, what repeat business do you expect vs new business. How many days a week will you operate and is your business model going to be seasonal, have you considered the winter months when people are not thinking about washing their cars due to rain, sleet or snow, perhaps you can find products to promote for the lean months to encourage your audience to leave the comfort of their arm chair and go out into the cold for a car wash. Will you have a drive in car wash or will you be servicing cars at home, or both, plan costs of water for home washing, can you use the water at the home where the car is or do you need to take your own? Will you be separate entity or held personally or will you be considering an LLC. An LLC is advantageous as it also combines a personal liability feature of a corporation with the tax advantages of a partnership and sole proprietorship.


Without a doubt in this industry you will be required to purchase an auto business insurance plan. Do your homework, what is the best deal out there which offers the best cover for you and your customers. This is not something you should overlook, insurance for this type of business is not expensive when you consider you could be out of business or lose personal assets if your insurance is not correctly in place. Look for insurance which covers you for while you are working on the vehicle and while it is in your possession. If you are going to be hiring staff be vigilant and ensure you check all their paperwork before letting them loose behind the wheel.

Shop Location and Layout

An important aspect of this business and you will want to ensure that you consider the circumstances which cause people to wash their cars. Majority of your audience will be having their car washed while doing something else, like going to the mall, commuters and some travellers, however, alot of those won't leave a highway just to have their car washed. Get yourself set up in a popular spot where you would consider having your car wash business and count cars, this will give you a great idea of how much traffic is around and if your location choice is a good one.

Wholesale Warehouses

Will you be re-selling car accessories or car washing kits, perhaps you like the idea of selling steam cleaners are part of your shop inventory, check our prices and reviews on the best models out there. You will need to stock up on products for cleaning and washing and hoovering the interiors so perhaps you want to consider selling some accessories such as:

  • All purpose cleaners
  • Wheel and Tyre cleaning kits
  • Interior cleaning vacuums
  • Polishers and steam cleaners
  • Sponges, brushes and buckets
  • Pressure washers
  • Clay bars and detailing products
Make sure you have all the supplies and equipment for this industry and get them purchased and ready to go, such as: towels, car wash soap, car wax, tire shine, buckets, sponges, brushes, mini carpet shampooer, buffer/polisher, window cleaner, some pneumatic pressure washers, hose and a van. It is also advisable to have a portable gen set and water tank with your kit.

Market your Store

To get you started check into low cost and creative ways of promoting your car washing business, you will need some business cards producing so get yourself a good designer who can supply cost effective designs. You may also need some promotional material such as shirts, pens, keyrings and vehicle lettering. You may need to think about an online presence with either a website or social media accounts or both. Consult with a tech savvy friend or hire a local tech head to accomplish this with you. Contact your local chamber of commerce and tell them about you, you may find they have a monthly gathering where you could pop along and meet a potential audience. You could also consider a charity car wash where you donate your time and skills to a local organization, a great way to raise awareness for your business. Check out craigslist as you may event local events popping up that you can get involved with.