Start A Car Cleaning Franchise In 2019?

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Start A Car Cleaning Franchise In 2019?

If you’re looking for an affordable franchise that provides you with a flexible and profitable business, there’s perhaps no better option than a car cleaning franchise. Here, we take a look at why such an investment is a good idea and which franchises offer appealing business opportunities.

The automotive cleaning industry

The automotive industries are among some of the best performing in the country. While vehicle manufacturing has suffered in recent years due to economic and political concerns, vehicle repair, rental, servicing, and cleaning services are booming. Approximately 2,540,000 new vehicles were registered in 2017, and more than 8.1 million used vehicles exchanged hands in the same period. This suggests that the industry is in rude health and is likely to provide work for vehicle cleaners long into the future.

At the same time, it seems as though changes are taking place regarding the maintenance tasks car owners expect to do themselves. In the past, washing the car was a chore that thousands of households would complete every weekend. Now, it seems as though drivers would rather have someone else wash the car for them. Studies have shown that approximately 80% of vehicle owners would opt to have their car cleaned by a professional as it achieved a better result for a reasonable cost. This indicates that the car cleaning market is large, but also continues to grow.

Five reasons a car cleaning franchise is a good investment

Investing in a car cleaning franchise is an excellent way to launch your own business, while also receiving professional help from experienced industry experts. Below, we take a look at five more reasons a car cleaning franchise is a good investment.

1. The industry is growing – As we mentioned above, there are more cars on the road than ever and no sign of this trend slowing down. This means that there’s plenty of demand for car washing services. Coupled with the fact that more and more car owners are willing to pay someone to wash their car for them, this suggests that a car washing franchise is likely to be a remarkably astute and profitable business decision.

2. Mobility means freedom – A mobile car cleaning franchise gives you the ability to work when you want and where you want. Essentially, it offers franchisees a more flexible professional life that allows you to determine the way in which you spend your time. The lack of a central office also boasts other benefits – when you’re not on the road, you’ll be able to work from home. This is ideal for those who want to run a business that allows for greater freedom.

3. Benefit from permanent advertising – The vast majority of mobile car wash franchises equip their franchisees with a van. This allows franchisees to transport their mobile workstation wherever they need it. However, it also has one other advantage – free advertising. As a franchisee’s van is decorated with the name, logo, and contact details of your business, it will act as a mobile advertising board, as well as a fully functional workstation. This means that wherever you go, you’ll be drumming up business at the same time.

4. Make the most of low start-up costs – Due to the way in which car-washing businesses require relatively little equipment, starting this type of franchise is remarkably affordable. Compared to other types of franchises, which can often require the investment of hundreds of thousands of pounds, car-cleaning franchises can often be launched for little more than £10,000. This makes it a highly attractive and appealing investment opportunity.

5. Start a business you can grow – Finally, car-washing franchises are an intelligent investment because there’s considerable opportunity for growth. As with all mobile franchises, it’s always possible to expand your business by adding vans to your company’s fleet of vehicles. Most territories can support a few vans before reaching the limit. When this occurs, there’s always the option to purchase the franchise rights to a new territory and begin building there.

Having examined why investing in a car cleaning franchise is such a wise move, we’re now going to take a look at which franchises present the best investment opportunity. Below are our top three car cleaning franchises.


Autosmart was established in 1979 as a manufacturer of high-quality automotive cleaning products. 40 years later, the company has expanded to become the market leader and now boasts more than 150 franchisees in the UK alone. The franchise has won numerous awards in recent years, including Best UK Franchise and Best Franchisee Recruitment at the British Franchising Association (bfa) awards.

To become an Autosmart franchisee, you'll need to raise £15,000 as an initial investment. However, it’s highly likely that you’ll have to raise further working capital to finance the growth of your business.


The AutoGlym franchise has over 50 years of experience in the industry and is one of the biggest automotive brands in the world. It also manufactures and retails a wide variety of cleaning products and accessories. The franchise is an accredited member of the bfa and won the Honest John Award for Best Exterior Car Care Product in 2017.

Launching an AutoGlym franchise requires a total investment of £50,000. Franchisees will also need experience in the automotive industry and an understanding of basic cleaning processes and practices.

Mobile Car Valeting

Our final franchise is Mobile Car Valeting. The business was established in 1986 and has honed its products and services over the decades. All franchisees receive the equipment they need to start their business and are trained to complete the mobile valet service to the highest of standards. The franchise estimates that first-time franchisees can earn £30,000 within the first year and around £75,000 in the second year.

Approximately £14,000 is required to launch the franchise; with roughly £8,000 of this as working capital. A large portion of this can be raised via an agreement with a major lender, though some of the investment will have to come from your assets.

Further reading

Car washing is big business. According to Datamonitor, UK car owners spend an estimated half a billion pounds a year on commercial car washing. And it’s understandable that a high-tech automated car wash can clean our cars better than we ever could, but curiously, we choose to pay others to hand clean our vehicles. Using the most basic of equipment – water, soap, bucket and sponge, the hand car wash has managed to capture about half of the commercial car wash market in the UK.

According to the Car Wash Advisory Service, the number of hand wash services have increased by 20,000 in the last 10 years. During the same period, the number of automated car wash machines more than halved, from 9,000 to less than 4,000. The perfection and finish that can be achieved by manual cleaning is superior to that of a machine, and so supply of car wash services has evolved according to changing demand.

It’s the simplicity of this business model that makes it a perfect candidate for a franchise opportunity. Easy to market and understand, a car wash business appeals to the 78% of Brits that choose to use hand car washes as they believe that someone else can do a better job than they can, for a price that’s right too. With the average cost of a car wash being an affordable £7, the ability to offer other services to customers willing to pay to have their car gleaming, means that there’s an opportunity to make a reasonable profit.

Mobile car cleaning franchise

Even better than having someone else clean your car for you, is surely for someone else to clean your car without you having to move it off the driveway. With ‘busy lifestyle’ and ‘being too lazy’ being cited as the main reasons for why Brits prefer to pay for someone else to clean their car, a mobile car cleaning franchise is perfectly placed to appeal to this market.

Here are two opportunities for you to buy into a mobile car cleaning franchise:


This is a mobile car cleaning franchise with a difference. Rather than providing cleaning services to the domestic market, this van based franchise sells and delivers over 200 leading cleaning products to the commercial vehicle cleaning trade. With over 100 franchisees already in the UK, this mobile car cleaning franchise is looking to grow by recruiting driven, determined and hardworking franchisees.

Every day promises to be different with your customer base comprising of car dealerships, haulage companies, plant hire, car rental and valeters. Combine this with the fact that Autosmart is seven times larger than their nearest competitor, with one in three trucks and one in five cars being trade cleaned with their product range, this looks like a franchise with a future.


With over 50 years’ worth of experience, this established brand started developing and distributing car cleaning products to professional valeters, garages and workshops in 1965. Following repeated requests from non-professionals, the product range was expanded in 1986 to incorporate the domestic car cleaning market.

And the quality of the products doesn’t seem to have diminished with time as the Autoglym Professional range of products has been awarded with ‘Cleaning Products of The Year’, at the Car Dealer Power awards for two years running. The award is voted for exclusively by car dealers and industry professionals, so this is a prestigious title that is testament to the product developers and the team of franchisees that sell and distribute the range all over the country.

A few reasons why

So, there are franchise opportunities out there, but what are the benefits of starting a mobile care cleaning franchise? Here are just a few reasons why:

  • The car wash market is growing and you can be sure that if there are cars on the road, the industry will continue to flourish. Cleaning the family car was almost seen as a leisure activity saved for a Sunday a generation ago, but now the chore is even shunned by teenagers on the hunt for pocket money. Lives are busy and people are happy to pay someone else to clean the car than get their hands dirty themselves. This all means that a car wash business can be a lucrative investment.
  • Owning a mobile car cleaning franchise also gives you greater flexibility. You can decide where you work, when you work and when you’re not in the van, the job will be predominately home-based. This flexibility allows you to run your business around other commitments and achieve the ultimate work / life balance.
  • Mobile car cleaning franchise businesses are on the increase and as well as offering flexibility for the franchisee, the van is a great way to advertise your car wash business. When you visit your customer’s homes or your commercial client’s offices you’ll save money on expensive promotional activity as your van will do all the hard work for you.
  • To start your business, a mobile car cleaning franchise is ideal as it’s straightforward to get started and the initial set up costs are relatively low. With only your van as the main expense to your business, profits are generated quickly enabling you to consider investing in a fixed premise for your car wash business too.

An established car wash business will offer you a steady source of income and the low investment costs that a mobile car cleaning franchise require mean that the opportunity is open to everyone. No specialist skills, knowledge or qualifications are needed to get started and you will have the ability to pick and choose the hours you work. This means that you can even work part-time, or operate just in the evenings and weekends, so that your business fits in with other commitments that you may have.

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