How Much Does a Self-service Car Wash Cost?

How Much Does a Self-service Car Wash Cost?


Self-service car Wash is a business that requires a lot of research before starting up. If you are looking to start one, you need to put in some initial work and capital. This capital will depend on the size of the car wash you want to build. If you already have the property lot, then your capital will reduce.

However, you may be wondering how much you need to budget in order to build your car wash. This article will discuss the costs estimate for opening a self-service car wash.

Costs involved in Opening a Self-service Car Wash

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If you want to plan your budget as accurately as possible, you should consider the costs of equipment. Equipment costs will vary depending on the brand, type of equipment, and whether you are building an automatic or self-service car wash. If you want to assess the equipment cost in your area, you need to contact various local equipment distributors.

You should compare the prices of the equipment you want. You can contact distributors via their websites. Also, you try looking through trade magazines to find equipment options and distributor options.

1.    Prepare a Cost Estimate

According to, Opening up a brand new self-service car wash business is probably more expensive than most people envision. Most times, the process takes a lot of time. Before you open a self-service car wash, you need to consider equipment and building construction costs. You will need to budget approximately $42,000 per bay to construct automatic units.

For one Automatic In-Bay Car Wash and three self-serve bays,  you will have to pay around the $700,000 and approximately $350,000 to $400,000 in equipment costs. These numbers cover everything from building & construction, wiring, plumbing, installation, soaps, softeners, etc. Basically, everything a self-service car wash business would need to start running.

If you do not have sufficient knowledge of the industry, the costs above might not be very clear to you. Therefore, we will discuss where all these costs come from below. They include:

  1. Construction Costs

Construction costs will be your biggest overhead if you want to set up a new self-service car wash business. Many people think it is as simple as hooking up to the water supply and washing cars. But it is not so.

  1. DA’s

You need to check what is in your DA and engage a designer who specializes in designing car wash sites. Designers provide useful services based on their knowledge during the process of opening your car wash. You will need to manage your design and construction right from the start.

  1. Council Regulations

Make sure you check out council requirements before building your car wash. Car washes need underground pits to handle the water requirements from local authorities. The underground pit ensures that contaminated runoff and sludge are collected and disposed to avoid polluting the stormwater drains. Make sure you seek advice from industry professionals during the process of construction.

How to Reduce Costs When Setting up your New Self-service Car Wash Business

There are several ways you could save up some money while setting up your new car wash business. I have listed a few ways to do that below(source).

1.    Take over an existing car wash.

Taking over an existing car wash helps you avoid all of the construction and set up costs. You will buy the business at market value with the aim of growing it. You can now remodel using new and updated equipment without having to spend on construction.

1.    Do not over-engineer the build.

A lot of people waste money by spending on elaborate designs. While this is good, it is not necessary. A simple construction would suffice.

2.    Get quotes for a fixed price build.

Know your council and DA requirements, or have someone on your team that does. We cannot over emphasize the importance of an educated team helping you in this process. A good example is a designer who misses the fact that some council requires doors on automatic car washes – this alone would add between $15,000-30,000 to your budget. You need to shop around on things like LED lights & alarm systems etc.

However, you need to know that cheaper is not always better. When it comes to car washing equipment, do not opt for the cheapest option. Doing this can cost you more down the road. You will have to spend a lot of money on repairs. You can always speak to other car wash owners and find out what works for them.

How long does the process of opening a Self-service Car Wash take?

If you have a motivated architect, the process should take around 12 months. Make sure that your design accounts for all council stipulations and that you have a reliable builder. Over the years, some setups have been completed as quickly as six months. Others have lasted for about two years. However, if you use someone who understands car wash design, the process will take a much shorter time than when you go in blind.

Is a car wash business profitable?

Yes! All you need is a well-designed site with high-quality equipment and a good location, and you are good to go. You should know that the Australian carwash industry is now forecast to be worth about $585 million. Between 2010 and 2015, the industry saw a 2.5% growth.  Because of environmental concerns and higher density living, services such as car washing are more popular. And car owners love the convenience of a self-service option.


Self-service car wash is a lucrative business. But if you want to open one, you will have to consider costs. You will need to budget approximately $42,000 per bay to construct automatic units. This guide contains the necessary information on the costs of opening a self-service car wash. Now, it’s time for you to use this information to startup.

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Author: Simon RobertEasyInfoBlog is a multi-author blog. We have experts and professionals in various fields who share their ideas and expert knowledge to help you with your daily information needs. Thanks for reading!

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