written by Sourish | April 12, 2021

How To Start A Car-wash & Bike-wash Business? Here Are 9 Steps You Should Follow

The automotive industry’s growth and increasing demand mean that there will always be an increasing number of bikes and cars. Like all machines, they need maintenance, and a simple wash is a part of it. As people’s lives get busier, they have less time to wash their cars and bikes. They would rather pay a service centre to do it while they do more important things. This opportunity allows businesses to open a bike wash and car wash business in India. 

Also Read: 10 Tips for Successful Money Management for A Profitable Business

The 9 Steps You Should Follow

  •  Getting the permits and licenses needed

Car washing businesses need several licenses and permissions from the local authority, and the type varies based on the city. For example, water license is a major one as it is the highest used resource. Most businesses have cut off limits for piped water, and a car and bike wash will obviously need a lot more than that. Therefore you would either need special permits to use more water, or you would have to buy water from tankers. Here is a list of other necessary items: 

  • Business registration. 
  • Check with the nature of the land and whether a car wash is permitted in it. 
  • Trade license from the local municipal authority.
  • Plans for waste treatment and disposal and approval from Pollution Control Board.
  • Tax liabilities for the business.

2. Choosing the type of car washing business

There are two types of bike and car wash you can choose based on your budget and your approach to building your business. 

  • Door-to-door car wash facility
      • In a door-to-door car wash facility, you will offer your services at your customer’s house. It is a good business opportunity for those with a small budget and to grow their brand. You only need a little investment and can have a smaller office to store your equipment. 
      • The most important part of this business model is hiring loyal employees who have to be thoroughly verified on their background, reliability and skills. This business type is growing in popularity as more people do not want to drive to the car wash and back.
  • Car wash centre
    • This is the classic car washing business model where you are set up in a popular area, and customers come to get their cars washed. It requires a good amount of investment in both the area and the equipment. A car wash will have to be large enough to wash several cars and have different sections for different services. 
    • If you wish to have a bike wash in the same place, you will need more space to accommodate those. You will also have to spend more on the staff and skilled employees who can do the job well. 

Also Read: 15 Best Online Business Ideas to Start with Less Money 2021

3. Making a car wash business plan

Your business plan will help you start a car wash as it will have all the necessary information, from the smallest details of the business to the exact cost of setting up your car wash. A good business plan will help you do things smoothly and in order.

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4. Location for a car wash

  • The success of your car wash depends largely on where it is located. Studies show that about 80% of car wash customers come from within a 15km radius of the location. Therefore the place you pick must have a large population of car owners. It is even better if you open in an area with residential complexes.
  • Locations on the main roads that have an exit to a smaller service road can work well, as most people driving by will notice your business. They can quickly drive through your car wash and be on their way home or to work. Avoid setting up in a location with narrow streets. This will not only create problems for your neighbouring businesses but will also discourage potential customers.
  • A bigger factor to consider is the size of the plot for your car wash. Even an average-sized shop will need around 1500 square feet of space to accommodate different sections, a workshop and parking space for waiting cars. Real estate can be costly on main roads. So choose carefully.

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5. Review your competition

  • Look for local car washes in the nearby areas and gather as much information as possible about their business. Learn how long they have been there, the services they offer, their pricing and how loyal their customers are. You could find information on what services they lack that their customers would like to have included. You can then offer these additional services to attract customers and get more business.
  • However, be careful to make sure that there are no car washes in your area. Another car wash business in the same area can give you strong competition by matching your offers and attract customers back.  They might react faster and may offer services very cheaply, which could hurt your business. 
  • If your area has another car wash business, you could also look into targeting a corner of the market. It could be customers they are missing out on, such as car washing service for the premium cars in the area or additional offerings that might bring customers to you. 
  • Once you are ready to start your business, you can offer your services at a lower price and slowly increase as you grow. A final insight you can gain from assessing the competition is whether it is worth opening a car wash in the area at all! 

6. Car wash set up cost in India

  • Several factors go into determining how much it would cost to set up a car wash. The biggest one is your investment in the machinery and equipment needed for the job. Automated car washing equipment can cost between Rs. 20- 30 lakhs. 
  • The second biggest chunk is the rent for the space in which you are setting up. Even going with a minimal space as big as 2000 sqft on the main road will cost you Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 1 lakh in rent per month. 
  • Salary for the staff, depending on the number of employees, can go as high as INR 60,000. 
  • Obtaining permits and licenses can cost between INR 15,000 to INR 20,000.

Also Read: What is Time Value of Money? Concept, Definition and Examples

7. Purchasing equipment 

Equipment is at the core of all car washing services. Here are all the types of equipment you will need in your business: 

  • Automatic car washing machine: These are stationary machines that will have to be installed at your facility. The washing is done automatically by rotating scrubbers that go all over the car. This will be the most expensive equipment you will need to install your car wash. 
  • Portable car washers: These are highly mobile units that are an essential part of your mobile car wash business plan. The units come with a compressor that delivers a jet of high-pressure water with which a range of washing function can be performed. Even a basic bike water wash will require a high-pressure water hose and the related pumps and water storage tanks. Therefore these are essential for all automobile washing business.  
  • Vacuum Cleaners: You will need industrial grade vacuum cleaners to clean the interiors of cars and clear them out at the end of a wash. 
  • Consumables: These are items that will get used up regularly as you run your business every day. They include car washing liquid, car polish, wiping cloths, sponge, wax, etc. 
  • Water tank: Since your rented plot won’t come with an underground sump or water storage tanks, these are definitely a must to act as reservoirs. Unless the plot has a bore well with an good amount of water supply, you will do well by storing most of the needed water in tanks. At a minimum, you will need 6000 to 10,000-litre water tanks to ensure a steady water supply. 

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8. Hiring employees

  • An equally important part of your business is the employees who can do a great job at all the tasks. You might have to hire 5 or more people to carry out various tasks. Among them should be at least one with some technical experience dealing with vehicles and three others who will help with the washing process. 
  • If you decide to hire a manager, the person should do all basic managerial tasks, including finances and accounting. Another important requirement is that all should be able to drive a car. You will have to train them in operating machinery, basic safety drills and pleasant customer interaction. 

9. Marketing your business

  • In this digital age, no business can do without marketing. Therefore, all car wash business plans in India must have a marketing strategy to get their name out there. Print and mass media advertisement even before your grand opening is a must to get the word out to the locality.
  • Once you start, have a social media account from day one and post regularly about the activities going on. If your customers' consent to it, post a picture or a short story about how happy they are with your service. It is also a great idea to add the background introduction and story of all your employees so your customers know who they are meeting at your car wash and develop a sense of trust.

Also Read: What is the Khatabook Digital Business Card Feature? How Does it Help Small Businesses?

Conclusion

Starting a bike and car wash business can be a profitable business in India depending on the location, services offered, and the business model you use. If you have a car wash, then having a bike wash along is essential to make the best of your resources and get good business.

FAQs 

Is the Car wash business in India profitable? 

Yes, it is definitely profitable. How well you do in it depends on many factors such as the area where you are set up, your business model, the services offered and the demand for it in your city.  

Is it safe to take the car to a car wash? 

Automated car washes are generally safe as they mostly run your car through spinning brushes that does all the cleaning. If you are taking your car to a wash right after a dirty run through mud and muck in the countryside, then you can expect minor wear on the paint.    

How often should cars be washed?

Washing your car once in two weeks is a general rule of maintenance. If you aren’t able to do that or even have the time to hose it once a week at home, then take your car to a wash at least once a month. 

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