For many Nigerians, the purchase of a car represents more than the solution to mobility problems. It is the fulfillment of a dream, the symbol of social achievement, and even access to leisure for the family, with the possibility of traveling to the beach, park or the home of relatives.
In addition to the desire to take care of personal assets, the lack of time and restrictions on the use of water for car washing in condominiums are factors that lead many owners to use car wash services in specialized establishments.
Why start a car wash business?
If you are thinking of a business you can start with a simple budget, but one that will pay you a good return on your investment and you will not need professional skills or certification, starting a car wash may just be the business for you.
More so, the car wash business is recession-proof, as people will have to wash their cars, regardless of the state of the economy.
However, there are some factors that you need to consider before starting your car washing company, such as the type of car you plan to wash, the specific type of service (self-service, hand washing, mobile, automatic or a combination) that you would offer, your equipment and labor costs amid all the other factors.
Getting into the car wash business
As with any business idea, the first thing you need to do is conduct a feasibility survey in the area in which you will operate your car wash business, to determine how viable the business would be in that area, depending on the competition, demographics and several other factors.
To get an accurate and unbiased report, you may need to hire a reputable business advisor to help you accomplish this task. This will allow you to enter the industry with realistic expectations. The article below will help to clarify more about how to start a car wash company in Nigeria.
How to set up a car wash business in Nigeria
1.) Car wash business capital
While it may seem like the car wash business is simple, if you do not have the necessary funding to start that business, it will remain just a business concept that will never materialize.
This is where your business plan comes into play, as this will help you to convince investors about the seriousness of your car wash business and therefore allow them to invest in the business.
Therefore, some of the financing options that you can explore when obtaining seed money for your car wash business are;
• Funding with personal savings and selling personal shares
• Obtaining a loan from the Microfinance banks.
• Providing subsidized loans by family and friends
• Fundraising from private investors
• Bank loan application
2.) Best location for car wash business
Location is a key factor in the success of a car wash. Research indicates that up to 8% of companies close because they were poorly located.
Thus, deciding where to locate your car wash business is very important, as this can be the difference between your business becoming a success or a failure.
You must quote your company in places with heavy traffic, shopping center and residential area; and those locations must be visible and accessible and must allow your car wash business to grow and expand.
The ideal is to install yourself in places of less competition or close to the suppliers of complementary services to yours (ex: car workshops, gas stations, etc.). Also opt for visibility. As the saying goes “Whoever is not seen is not remembered”. If the consumer does not see the service offering on the spot, it becomes more difficult to find that same service.
The location chosen for your car wash business should be one that is able to accommodate the vacuum and drying areas, the pump room, the bays and the administrative offices.
Remember that, in most cases, you will not wash just one car, so the space can accommodate more than one car and also cars waiting in line to be washed.
3.) Structure to mount a car wash
The structure of the project will vary according to the equipment used (manual, tunnel or rollover) and the area available for the installation of the business, which also determines the capacity it may have in terms of machinery.
The operation of a manual wash, which uses high pressure manual washers, requires a waiting and service area (service line for cars waiting to be washed), one or two washing boxes, internal cleaning area and drying of the body separate from the washing area and check out.
The entry of vehicles in the wash must be done on the opposite side to the exit of the cars.
The layout (lay out) of the project is a very important factor since the areas must be installed following the flow of the washing operation, allowing the movement of employees and equipment, thus making work more efficient and productive.
4.) Technical details of labor
The car wash business is one that requires finances, equipment and human resources to be successful, and in order to start this business, you will need to ensure that you have the necessary financing that will enable you to purchase the best equipment.
However, if you are starting your car wash business on a limited budget, you may be able to purchase some of your equipment as well used, but you will need to ensure that it is in good condition.
A car wash business is a consumer-centered business, so you must have capable hands who understand the business and are not just punctual, but skillful and have excellent communication skills.
5.) Equipment needed for car wash business
The equipment needed to run a standard car wash business depends on the type of services you intend to offer your customers. Some of the equipment is;
• High pressure washers,
• Mobile washing systems,
• Self-service equipment,
• Cleaning solutions,
• Spotless rinsing,
• Vacuum cleaners,
• Water filtration,
• Water heater, boilers and extractors.
6.) The service delivery process of a car wash company
The delivery of services for a car wash depends on the type of service you are offering your customers. If you intend to wash your cars by hand, you will have less costs than those using automatic machines to wash your cars.
Washing the car with your hands is a business that requires a lot of work; however, customers generally don’t mind paying a premium price for their cars to be hand washed, as this usually involves washing the exterior and interior of motor vehicles.
Automatic car washing depends on the use of equipment that normally needs to be washed and be replaced every ten years. However, when using an automatic car wash, the waiting time for cars is generally short, as machines work faster than the human hand. Costs are also relatively inexpensive for an automatic car wash.
There are other services that can be offered in car washing and are detailing services like washing sealants, waxes and carpets that can be done to help maintain or improve the appearance of a car.
Offering this additional service will be very convenient for your customers, as they will be able to wash and detail their cars at once.
7.) Marketing strategies for car wash business
The marketing of a business is very essential, as it not only helps to generate revenue for a business, but also allows the business to increase awareness of your brand thereby attracting more customers to it.
Before deciding what type of marketing strategies would be effective for your business, you will need to conduct thorough market research that will allow you to know your target market, understand them and know what they expect from your car wash business.
If you are just starting this business, you may need to check out how your competitors are conducting their own marketing. Knowing what your competitors are doing and improving what they are doing will make you stand out and allow you to gain a large share of the market in general.
Possible threats and challenges you will face when starting a car wash business
Challenges and threats are an integral part of running any business, and the car wash business is no different.
So these are the challenges and threats that you are likely to face when starting your car wash business;
• Intense competition,
• An unseen location that will lead to a low number of customers,
• An economic crisis that will cause many people to prefer to wash their cars or not to wash them as regularly as they should etc.