After researching all available car wash locations and finally deciding which car wash location they want to purchase, the buyer must create a checklist of competing washes in their chosen shopping area. There are many unique variables that a buyer must consider when purchasing a car wash location; An inexperienced buyer would be wise to consult with an industry consultant to help analyze and research the results on the following list.

1) Check the demographics of this chosen area.

2) Check the competition within a three mile radius.

3) Check the physical layout of each of the venues in competition.

4) Consult the type of competition in competition, Full Service, Exterior, Etc.

5) Consult the offers (price menu) for all services.

6) Check the appearance of each location.

7) Verify the handling of the client and the quality produced in the washes of the competition.

8) Check the type of discount on the site that is offered on competitor washes.

9) Check how customer friendly each competitor is.

10) Check with city planning to see if any new car washes have been approved in the area.

Compare all of the above with the location you are about to buy

Before engaging with the seller in a location they choose to purchase, it would be wise for the buyer to quietly do a thorough review of all aspects of this location by washing their car at this location multiple times during slow and peak periods as well. Record detailed notes on the salesperson’s presentation and how efficient and personable his sales pitch was to improve it each time. The vacuuming of your car, if offered, the quality of the windows, if offered, and the overall experience you received from all employees and management (ultimately, “end product quality.” This is the only reason why most customers patronize a particular car wash location.

When evaluating all of the above, a buyer should compare the results to the cumulative ten point list above. In short, know your competition and the situations you will be competing against.

In the evaluation process, a buyer seeking a turnkey operation should expect all of the above results to average between (8.5 to 10) on a scale of 1 to 10. With this being the case, the location would be performing well on all aspects and in most situations asking for a higher price for the business.

In the event that your results are below scale, in most cases this should be reflected in the amount of business at this location and therefore also in the price. The good news is that if you recognize the shortcomings of any location, in most cases they can be corrected.

Over the years I have inspected numerous car wash locations and have observed many different management/ownership scenarios. It has been my experience that many of the same locations were prime locations, producing high volumes and excellent dollar per car averages and these same locations at other times were in full regression. Think about it: In 99% of locations, the only difference was that management/ownership had changed and the current management lost focus on the one important ingredient: consistently producing an exceptionally clean car in a friendly environment. Customers will leave your for this level of service.


Once a buyer completes the itemized listing, performs an initial site analysis, and chooses to proceed to the buying stage, if the buyer is new to the car wash industry, it is recommended that they consult with a car wash agent/consultant. industry cars. The consultant/broker will help you determine what additional services could be added to increase total prospective gross sales. Car washes are adding full C-shops, oil change and light mechanics, state inspection, windshield repair, dent repair, and quick detailers, just to name a few. The buyer should also review with the consultant any initial deficiencies he found on his ten-step competitive area checklist, and any deficiencies he found during the intended site inspection.

The critical areas that affect the sale price of the location and are potential bargaining chips are as follows.

The lease amount offered if the property is not included. The remaining years on the lease, the rent and rent amount increases. Does the buyer accept structural responsibility? If so, the seller is obligated to assign the structurally sound lease. Building inspection is recommended.

Equipment, online and offline, should be inspected by a qualified car wash equipment mechanic; all equipment must be in working order upon passing the property.

Inventory, Soaps, Waxes, Chemicals and Retail Items, what is included and what is not.

Discount annual plans club plans and gift certificates that are still in circulation. Usually, a friendly formula will be worked out.

Buyer should review all wholesale accounts, if any, to determine what percentage of revenue is derived from them.

The buyer would review all income and expense statements, this is most critical, expenses are for the most part easily determined and income verification is best completed under the guidance of a broker/industry consultant. This industry broker/consultant will also be valuable in arriving at a fair assessment of the business. The car wash industry is a unique business in that there are many variables that could dictate the value, high or low, of a particular car wash location.

The next step assuming the buyer chooses to make an offer to purchase; the broker/consultant would assist the buyer with final sales price negotiations and, if successful, guide the buyer through the due diligence process. Assuming all goes well, the buyer must stipulate that the site be inspected with a phase one environmental inspection. The buyer must also obtain permission to retain the phone numbers dedicated to this intended location.

Lastly, get a good lawyer, I highly recommend finding a lawyer who is very familiar with the contractual requirements in selling a car wash location, it is also to the buyers advantage to use a broker who specializes exclusively in car washes. cars.

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