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Buying A Self-Serve Car Wash Business: What Should My Expectations Be?

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Comments & Replies: 2     Views: 1658     Posted By: Peter Siegel MBA  



Topics: Buying A Business     Tags: buying a business



Owning and operating a car is a necessity for most Americans. Some use their vehicles to simply get from point a to point b, others use their cars to transport a large family or product for business, and some own fast, expensive sports cars to bring them joy on a daily basis. Whatever the reason is for owning a motor vehicle of any kind, keeping it looking vibrant and new is surely the best way to prove that you care about your assets. Taking pride in owning and maintaining a 4-wheeled asset is crucial when it comes to representing yourself in a professional manner.

If you are interested in owning a self-serve car wash, you are interested in giving people the opportunity to take care of a possession that may be the most valuable to them. Before purchasing a car wash of any kind, you must understand that the industry of car washing as a whole will provide you with plenty of competition. More importantly, depending on what your interests are, you will identify what kind of car wash you want to run. If you have determined that a self-serve car wash is the best fit for your needs, then you will want to look for a deal that is consistent with 98 percent of other self-serve transactions, and ensure that the car wash includes the real estate, equipment, and assets as well. You can determine the value of the car wash by multiplying the annual gross sales by a factor of anywhere between 3 and 5.

Car washes are almost entirely a cash business, with the average customer spending roughly $1.00-$2.00 for every 4 minutes spent washing their car. When doing your due diligence, you will want to make sure that the seller has kept accurate books for the past 3 years, as cash businesses allow for higher risk for the buyer. Only keeping a few months of business in the books can not only mean that the seller is shady, but that the numbers may not accurately represent the business being brought in year-round. Because the cost of washing your own car isnít very high, one way of maximizing your income without driving up your costs for customers is to have multiple bays. A good rule of thumb is to have 1 bay available for every 1,000 local residents, with the idea that every bay should bring in $250-$450 per week. The amount of money you make will be dependent on the easily-accessible location that you conduct your business in, your high-quality customer service, and your consistent and loyal clientele.


Excellent article regarding car washes. People who use self serve car washes are one of the most reliable customers you can find. It never ceases to amaze me that someone who makes 40 or 50 dollars an hour, will wash their car for an hour or an hour and a half when they can pay 10 to 15 dollars to have someone else do it in half the time. So, people who wash their car are going to wash their car, and unless they move, they will continue to use the same location over and over.

Unlike other business types such as restaurants or dry cleaners, a new competitor could pop up at any time and peoples tastes change as well. However, to see a new self-serve car wash pop up in your area, would be highly unlikely especially in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The point is, if you can ascertain that the sales figures are correct, you can more safely assume that the sales will continue similarly into the future at a more predictable fashion, as compared to other business types, and that is what makes self-serve car washes more desirable than many other business types.


  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses

Elizabeth McGovern: Escrow Services - SF Bay Area

McGovern Escrow Services, Inc., is a leading independent escrow company. We are a trusted partner with our clients, assisting them through the tangled bulk sale & liquor license transfer process. We provide attentive, quality & innovative customer service. Phone Elizabeth McGovern at 415-735-3645.

Mani Singh, Business Broker, Southern California

I have successfully represented clients sell & acquire multitude of businesses ranging from Gas Stations, Liquor Stores, Markets, Super Markets, Smoke Shops, Postal Stores, Restaurants, General Retail, Auto and Construction related. Phone me for assistance with selling or buying at 951-296-7646 Cell

Willard Michlin, CPA, Certified Fraud Examiner, Due Diligence Services

Willard Michlin, CPA #106752, offers buyers step by step training & assistance in doing Due Diligence Services when they are thinking of making an offer, or are in process of investigating a business purchase. He helps to determine the actual net profit even when there is cash. Call 800-864-0420.

Abdul Jobah, Business Broker, Central Valley, Kern County

As A Real Estate Agent, I offer my clients assistance with the sale or purchase of commercial properties and/or businesses. Please contact me if you are looking to sell or buy a Central Valley business. If at any time you have any questions please do not hesitate to call me at 661-703-3916.

Peter Siegel, MBA - SBA Loans, Non SBA Financing Assistance

For over 25 years I have provided niche business purchase financial advisory and loan placement services with SBA and Non-SBA Loans, Retirement Plan Conversions, Private Investors, etc. Financing amounts available: $20K to $7MM. Call today to get pre-qualified or receive financing: 866-270-6278.

Brian Loring, Business Broker - LA County Area

Broker since 2005, closing more than $150M in business & commercial transactions. I am the Owner of the San Fernando Valley office for First Choice Business Brokers in Burbank, serving clients throughout Southern CA. We help you sell your business quickly, confidentially and at maximum value.

Harry Sidhu, CBB, Broker - SF Bay Area, Central Valley, SAC Region

Assisting both sellers and buyers of businesses - dealing mainly with Liquor Stores, Grocery Markets, Gas Stations, Smoke Shops, Restaurant Related, Retail Related, Service Related. Serving SF Bay Area, North Bay, Sacramento area. Call Harry Sidhu, CBB for assistance at 510-366-6130.

Michael Davidson, Business Broker - Southern California

Los Angeles Business Broker providing M&A quality services for Small Business Owners. We leverage our technology and expertise to Simplify & Expedite the Business Sales Process. Matching the right buyer with the right business is how we define success.


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