How Much Does It Cost To Open a Car Wash Business?


Opening a car wash business can be an excellent way to start your own small business. However, it is important to understand the costs involved in order to make an informed decision about whether or not this is the right venture for you. In this article, we will discuss the startup costs associated with opening a car wash business.


Cost of Property

If you need to buy property to build your car wash, this will be one of your biggest expenses. The cost of the land will depend on the location and size of the property. In some cases, you may be able to find a suitable piece of land for sale at a reasonable price. However, in other cases, the cost of the land may be prohibitive.

If you’re purchasing a pre-existing car wash, the cost of the property will be included in the price of the business. The average price of a car wash business is $1 million.


Cost of Construction

If you’re building a car wash from scratch, you’ll need to factor in the cost of construction. This will include the cost of materials, as well as the cost of labor. The total cost of construction will depend on the size and complexity of the car wash. To read more about construction costs, read our article about the subject.


Equipment Costs

In order to operate a car wash, you’ll need to purchase some basic equipment. This includes items such as hoses, pressure washers, and air compressors. The cost of this equipment will vary depending on the quality and quantity that you purchase. The typical costs for the most common car wash equipment are:

-Hoses: $70-$190

-Pressure washers: $300-$2,500

-Air compressors: $700-$1,500


Advertising Costs

You’ll need to spend some money on advertising to let potential customers know about your car wash. The cost of advertising will vary depending on the methods you use. Some common methods of advertising for a car wash include:

-Newspaper ads: $50-$2,700 per contract, depending on location, audience size and number of runs

-Radio ads: $200-$5,000 per week, depending on location, audience size and number of times aired

-TV ads: $2,000-$50,000 per 30-second commercial, depending on audience size and number of times aired

-Social media: $0-$500 per month


Labor Costs

In addition to the cost of your own labor, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of any employees you hire. The cost of labor will depend on the number of employees you have and the wages you pay them. For example, if you have two employees who each make $10 per hour, your labor costs would be $20 per hour. In addition, you will want to factor in additional costs related to taxes and insurance for employees. 


There are also some general overhead costs associated with running a car wash business. These costs include things like utilities, insurance, and rent. The exact amount you’ll need to budget for overhead will depend on your specific situation.


License And Permits

Depending on your location, you may need to obtain a business license and other permits in order to operate a car wash. The cost of these licenses and permits will depend on the regulations in your area. However, the typical cost for a business license is about $100-$200.



It is also important to factor in the cost of insurance. This is because car wash businesses are considered high-risk and therefore tend to have higher insurance rates. The exact cost of insurance will depend on the type and amount of coverage you purchase. But, you can typically expect to pay $1,000-$3,000 per year for car wash insurance. 


Initial Inventory and Supplies

Finally, you’ll need to purchase some initial inventory and supplies for your car wash. This includes things like soap, towels, and vacuum cleaners. The cost of these items will vary depending on the quantity and quality of items you purchase. But, you can typically expect to spend $500-$1,000 on initial inventory and supplies.

Car Wash Business Startup Costs Calculator

Enter your expected startup costs below and then click the “Calculate My Startup Costs” button. We have included estimated/typical startup costs for each category, but feel free to modify our figures to reflect your specific business needs.

Purchasing location
Build out of location (interior and exterior design and construction fees)
Franchise fees
Furniture and displays
Car Wash and detailing equipment
Licenses and permits
Legal fees
Establishing website, logo and social media accounts
Cash registers and Point of Sales systems
Initial marketing expenses and grand launch
Initial inventory and supplies
Cost to pay and train staff before opening
First and last month's rent and first month's utilities fees



In conclusion, there are many factors to consider when determining how much it costs to open a car wash business. The biggest expenses will be the cost of the property, the cost of construction, and the cost of equipment. However, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of advertising, labor, overhead, licenses and permits, insurance, and initial inventory and supplies. The total cost of starting a car wash business can range from $500,000 to $5M.