How to start a carwash: Tip #1 on choosing carwash equipment: Determine your needs

Start with a well thought out business model, according to Robert Andre, president of CarWash College. If, for instance, your carwash is an express wash, you might want more dryers to further automate the drying process. There may be additional pieces of equipment that help dry the vehicle at the end of the carwash as well, such as machines that use friction for drying. If you want to open a full-serve with employees hand drying each car, less dryers are needed.

After the business model is drawn up, an equipment distributor will recommend certain equipment packages. These equipment packages, according to Andre, start with the most standard pieces, and then you can pick and choose from that package, what it is you want.

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Your wash’s potential wash count can help in determining the equipment needed. Larger wash counts will need equipment that can handle the throughput, Andre explained. An equipment supplier will usually recommend that a wash be built to handle the maximum amount of customers. And you as an owner will want to make sure your wash can handle the traffic at any given time.

Andre’s best advice when selecting equipment is to talk to another carwash owner. Either attend a tradeshow or travel to different sites, outside of your area.  

How to start a carwash: Tip #2 on choosing carwash equipment.: Get a good set of blueprints

Once the package is chosen, the supply company should create the drawings for you. They will include the equipment, the layout of the building, its size and the equipment room.

How to start a carwash: Managing your electricity

An equipment supplier should then be in touch with the architect and the contractor and will help with the layout during the planning process. Andre said each carwashes is not built off of a set of standard drawings and each one has its own unique set.

How to start a carwash: Tip #3 on choosing carwash equipment: Don’t panic as installation is easier than ever

Easier installation is a huge plus to new owners. Today, suppliers have made it so that the equipment is easier to install on-site, according to Andre. Equipment, such as a controller, is often delivered with most of the electrical work already done, which saves time and money.

“Today’s technology allows for some pretty cool things,” Andre said.