Moving your carwash can be a challenging but exciting time. Your business can grow in a new location and reach new customers. That said, relocating can bring headaches on top of your carwash’s daily tasks, but having a checklist can make the process easier.
Think about why you’re moving
The first tip is to think about why you’re moving. Some business owners relocate their shops without considering the short- and long-term effects. They rush the process and cause more harm than good for their company. Common reasons for carwash relocation include:
- Better markets: Markets ebb and flow with highs and lows. The area you opened your business in may have seen a decline in population or a shift in demographics that no longer work in your favor.
- Taxes: A tax change is another primary reason a professional detailer may move their business. You may find different tax rates in another city or across county lines directly affecting your operation. The long-term gains could be worth the move.
- Cramped spaces: Sometimes, a business has grown significantly since its grand opening. You may have lucked in with a growing market surrounding your carwash. The growth has led to a shortage of space, and you need more room to accommodate this surge.
Know your budget
One of the critical parts of moving your small business is the financial aspect. If you’re relocating to a new area, you should research tax laws, how the real estate market looks and the outlook for growth over the next decade.1 You’ll also need to think about insurance and maintenance costs for the new building. In addition, moving expenses will also need to be factored into your budget.
Determine if you should buy or lease
The next thing to determine is if you’re going to buy or lease the new building. This inquiry will go a long way in your search for a location. Each has pros and cons, but it depends on your carwash, the area and how much capital you have.
One significant advantage of buying a property is you can build equity. Buying means you own 100% of the building, and the value of your business goes up. You’ll also benefit from capital appreciation over time, depending on supply and demand. However, buying means a high upfront cost you’ll have to pay out of pocket. Losing liquidity may be something you can’t afford right now.
Leasing a property for your carwash could be a better option. You’ll have a lower upfront cost, meaning more liquidity. Another positive is flexibility because you can move when the lease is up, reducing the worry of selling if you have to. A downside of leasing is that rent prices have soared in recent years, leading to an increase in delinquency among small-business owners.2
Find a suitable location
Once you’ve decided on a budget, you can start looking for properties for relocation. There are many factors to consider to make the best decision for you, your employees and your customers. You’ll want to consider traffic patterns when searching for a new spot.3 Roads where the traffic moves slowly could be optimal because drivers will more likely see your signs and advertisements.
You’ll also want to consider your clients and suppliers for the new spot. How easy is it for them to access your business? Are there other carwashes and detailers in the area? Lastly and maybe most importantly, you’ll want to get input from your employees. Their insight can be valuable in your new location. You could send them to the sites to inspect the properties so they can see them firsthand.
Make plans for the move
After finding a location, you’ll want to start planning the move. This process will take a while, so you’ll want to cover every base. Moving starts with the truck or trailer you use to transport your equipment. Make sure to do your research on trailers before committing to a purchase.4
Establish a timeline for how long you think the move will take. It’s better to overestimate rather than underestimate this. Supply chain issues, weather and other factors could delay the transition, so be careful with the schedule you set for moving. If you’re downsizing your carwash, you may need to rent a storage facility to hold your extra equipment and supplies.
Stagger the move
Moving workplaces can be challenging for any carwash or small business. You may want to stay open as long as possible during the transition to keep earning money. One strategy for maintaining an income stream while transitioning is to stagger the move.
Staggering lets you operate two carwashes simultaneously for a short time. Two locations may be hectic for a while, but it could be the most practical decision for your business. This allows you to continue your workflow and income stream as usual when you transition. During this time, you could gradually move machines and other equipment, so you don’t have to close completely.
Alert customers of the move
Before you start or complete the move, you’ll want to ensure everyone is aware, especially your clients. After all, customers are the backbone of your carwash. Give them notice as far ahead as possible so they’re prepared and can spread the news to others.
Use your social media pages early and often to give updates on the move. The number of social media users has increased steadily over the last decade and will continue to rise.5Use your Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok accounts to ensure everyone knows you’re moving and where to find your new carwash location.
Update all cards and websites
Updating customers on your new location is essential, and now you need to do the same for any business cards, brochures, billboards and advertising outlets in the area. You should emphasize changing your address on Google because you don’t want customers heading to the wrong location on their GPS.6 Updating your address will help your search engine optimization by giving the most current information to internet users.
Contact the IRS
Another entity you should notify of your changes is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Let the IRS know your address changed so your tax information stays updated.7 After the IRS, you should also ensure the city or local government knows you have moved.
The local tax collector and zoning office will need your new address to confirm your tax information is ready to go so you can begin business immediately.
Ensuring a smooth transition for your carwash
Relocating a business can be laborious, especially for a carwash. You could be moving down the street or across town, but the transition will be stressful either way.
To ensure a smooth change, plan the move diligently and don’t rush. Your customers, suppliers and employees will appreciate a well-thought-out plan that serves everybody well.
Oscar Collins is the founder and editor-in-chief of Modded, where he writes about cars, car trends and auto news. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for frequent updates on his work.