If running your own business appeals, and you’d love to join a growing industry, why not start your own car wash franchise? Car washing is a popular service in the UK, enjoying steady and recession-proof demand. If you become a franchisee in this industry, you could profit in no time. Read on, and find out how to set yourself up for success with a car wash franchise.
The UK car wash industry is worth an estimated annual value of £1 billion [Businesses For Sale], and if you’d like to make a career change with a car wash franchise and navigate that transition smoothly, this article is a great place to start. Find out what a car wash franchise does, why so many people are investing in the sector, and how you too can get involved.
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What does a car wash franchise do?
Car wash franchise businesses are either self-service, full-service or fully automated. At a self-service car wash, coin or card operated facilities are available to customers, and attendants are largely not required. At a full-service car wash, customer vehicles are cleaned manually by employees. And finally, at a fully automated car wash, customer vehicles are cleaned by automated machines, usually in a drive-through tunnel.
Depending on the franchise investment that you choose to make, you might find that the franchise you’re working with does things a little less traditionally. Usually, for example, car cleaning uses quite a lot of water, but popular car franchise No-H2O is revolutionising the car cleaning game with its water-free dry cleaning service.
Your roles and responsibilities will differ between investments and depending on the style of service offered. If you’re a full-service car wash franchise, for instance, you’ll either be completing the following tasks each day, or managing a team of employees as they complete the following tasks each day:
- Cleaning vehicles with high-pressure hoses
- Using cleaning products safely according to manufacturer instructions
- Cleaning windows, wheels, door handles and mirrors
- Vacuuming and shampooing car upholstery and carpets
- Waxing and polishing bodywork
- Applying gels and finishes to bumpers and trims
- Steam cleaning engines, frames and wheel arches
- Collecting and delivering vehicles/moving and parking vehicles on site
Why start running a car wash franchise?
There are many reasons to start your own car wash franchise, not least the fact that demand in this sector is so steady. People will always have cars in need of cleaning, and a desire to outsource this chore to professionals. Plus, since car cleaning can largely occur outdoors, the industry hasn’t been as negatively impacted by the pandemic as many others. Beyond demand, there are lots of advantages to running a car wash franchise, including:
- The chance to innovate with the times as technology advances
- The opportunity to enjoy an active, varied and exciting day-to-day work life
- The potential for regular, repeat customers and steady earnings
- The opportunity to benefit from extensive franchisor training and support
- The room for franchise growth down the line
How to start a car cleaning business in three steps
If you build your business on a strong foundation, you could thrive in the car cleaning industry. Just be sure to cover each of these three steps before you sign the franchise agreement and commit to a contract...
1. Assess the suitability of your transferable skills
The franchise business model is unique. In most cases, franchisor training and support negates the need for industry experience. That means if you’ve never worked in the automotive industry before, you could still absolutely thrive as a franchisee with a car wash company. But that doesn’t mean anyone at all can thrive in the industry. Certain transferable skills and abilities will set you up for success and, before you do anything else, you’ll need to assess whether you have these or not. Skills and abilities like:
- Attention to detail
- Manual dexterity and coordination (not necessary for fully managerial roles)
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team
- Customer service
- Organisation and time management
- Computer literacy
- Driving (not necessary for all roles, but definitely helpful for most)
2. Research the industry extensively
Knowing that you have a place in the industry and the skills you need to grow a successful car wash business, it will then be time for you to do your research. Look into all the available investments, and into your would-be competitors, and into the latest car cleaning and automotive trends changing the game in 2021. Stay ahead of the curve, and know exactly what you’re getting into. In terms of the latest industry trends, check out:
- Environmentally conscious cleaning methods (as touched upon above)
- The increasing use of automation
- The introduction of car wash membership programmes and loyalty schemes
- Booking and check-in technology
In terms of assessing franchise opportunities, pay attention to important factors like investment cost and available operational territories to help you narrow it down to the best of the bunch. Don’t forget to think about ongoing and operational costs, too, because one of the worst mistakes a first-time franchisee can make is to over-invest in a venture they can’t truly afford. Funding will often be available, so don’t forget to explore this avenue.
3. Do your due diligence prior to investing
Just as you wouldn’t buy a car without doing all your research and making sure you’re getting what you’re paying for first, you shouldn’t buy a car wash franchise without doing your due diligence. Ensure you’re fully aware of the franchise’s financial situation, of the franchisor’s track record, and of the estimated time it will take you to recoup your initial investment. Ask questions and get answers, leaving no stone unturned, before you sign a franchise agreement and head into business.
From a buyer's perspective, due diligence gives them peace of mind that they're making the right deal and have all the information they need to make a good purchasing decision. This information can include learning more about the company's existing customers and partner relationships, and either validates positive assumptions or alerts them about potential irregularities.
- Secure Docs
Running a franchise in the car wash industry could create a clean path to success
A car wash could be your next professional move, and it could be an extremely lucrative one. But if you’re not sold on the idea, don’t worry too much - there’s plenty more out there. Consider looking into the wider car care industry if you’ve not yet found the right investment opportunity. You could find your place at a car care accessories franchise like Autoglym, or a windscreen repair franchise like Screen Rescue.
Lily Sweeney, Point Franchise ©