BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In the November feature, “The tale of two carwashes,” contributing writer Buzz Glover discusses how the right location can ensure optimal operations.

“Location is the first topic I typically discuss during consulting calls and a subject I wish I knew more about when deciding to build my first two carwashes,” shares Glover in the article.

While high on the list, explains Glover in the article, traffic count is only a small portion of the overall factors for a good retail site, and many other considerations are required before settling on a location.

In the article, Glover shares a sampling of a checklist, customized for the carwash industry, he developed of what real estate developers look for when selecting a commercial property. This list features questions owners must ask when searching for a new location, which include:

  • Traffic count and traffic speed: Is traffic count over 20,000 or under 20,000 cars per day? Is traffic speed over 35 mph or under 35 mph?
  • Competition: How many of the same carwashes types are there in a one-mile, three-mile and five-mile radius? How many similar carwashes are in the same radiuses, and how do they price their wash packages?
  • Access to location: Is it a “hard corner” lot? Is it on a divided highway? How many traffic lights are in front or nearby? How many entrances and exits will the site allow? Is there a turning lane to enter? Does it have enough room for “stacking” of cars on busy days?
  • Visibility: Is the location visible from the road? Is it visible from both approaching directions by 500 feet or more?
  • Shopping district: Is the location in a shopping district? How many national franchises are located nearby? Are there any strip malls, malls or shopping centers located nearby?
  • Community population: How many people and homes are nearby? How densely populated is the three-mile radius around the potential location?
  • Community growth: Is the surrounding area growing or declining? Are property values increasing, decreasing or stable?
  • Community profile: Are there many apartments nearby? Are there many single-family homes with one-car garages or street parking?
  • Weather: Is the location in a part of the country that makes cars dirty? Are roads salted during the winter season? Is there salt from nearby water? Is there any dust or dirt from wind?
  • Property price: Does the price for the property make sense for a carwash, and is it the “best use” for the property? Will the price of the site allow the economics of the wash to make sense?

“Most, if not all, potential locations will not meet every criteria listed above,” asserts Glover in the article. “However, you can almost always eliminate a location if it fails to meet the majority of the above guidelines.”

You can find the entire November feature on location selection here.