Car wash site selection is a complex decision often made without proper planning or sufficient information. Your due diligence and interface with a professional car wash advisor, in conjunction with industry data like the International Carwash Association’s Study of Car Wash Consumer Habits and Attitudes, should allow you to develop a scientific approach that supports your car wash business model. Armed with comprehensive data, you will rely less on intuitive decisions and more on factual information.
You should always begin by formulating a plan. The location you choose should fit into the plan. Don’t pick a location without writing a business plan first. This is a common mistake often made in the car wash industry. Sometimes an investor already owns a piece of property, or has selected a piece of property and now wants to place a car wash business on it. Too often, the business that they want to place on the property is either not the best use for the parcel, or is not the business they want to own and operate. In both cases, the investor is not well matched with the investment that has been made.
Whether it is one of your primary objectives or not, you want to select a site that will appreciate in value. There are great sites and deals to be found in and around every market. Unfortunately, car washers are often looking for the same site characteristics as many other businesses such as fast food restaurants, banks, chain sit-down restaurants, and brand name retailers. Competition for parcels is fierce. Therefore, you don’t want to waste time.
There are three primary profiles that you should examine to assist you in the hunt for a site: