Choosing the Best Site Location, Equipment Supplier and Building Design

Published in America’s Car Care Business, February 2007

Many car washes I’ve seen built recently look more like the Taj Mahal than a place to clean a vehicle. They are beautiful in appearance, but cost a fortune to build! I have to wonder how much the bank owns and how much the investor owns. I have spoken with many new wash owners who are anxious when considering their “break-even cash flow point.” As I survey these beautiful facilities, I see so many areas where they could have saved money on the design and construction, which later would translate to less time worrying about how they are going to turn a profit. It is possible to have a great-looking building and at the same time have a project be economically feasible for the ultimate end result… CASH FLOW!

As a new or current car wash investor, this article series is designed to help you ask the right questions, research important topics, and carefully review some hidden information so you can maximize profits on this investment. There are several major points to consider when taking a project from inception to cash flow. Part I of this series will cover how to choose the best site location, equipment supplier and building design. Part II will take your project from construction completion to cash flow using effective marketing techniques.

Choosing the Site Location

Designing a wash begins at a stage I call Visioneering. How successful can one location be over another? Don’t just look at the demographics, also look at traffic patterns, local businesses and geographic strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (marketers know this as a SWOT analysis).

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