The best answer to that question about a car wash franchise depends on your comfort level with taking risks. Every business has risks involved and car wash franchises are no different, however they do offer a unique opportunity in a cash business.
There are a few things you must consider before diving into the car wash franchise industry. The first decision is to decide what type of car wash franchise system you want to own. You have the option of a fully automated system that does all the work for you or you can choose to have a partially automated system that will require employees to finish the work. At first glance the fully automated one seems like the most logical choice but having more running equipment can mean more expensive things that break down and need fixing. Don’t forget that if your machines are down, cars aren’t getting washed and no money is coming in.
Choosing the right location for a car wash franchise is practically the most important thing you can do, and I’m talking more about cities than specific locations. Seattle rains about 300 days per year and people aren’t really interested in washing their cars there. On the flip side, sunny southern california barely has rain and people in socal really want to keep their car looking clean.
In talking about cash flow for a car wash franchise, one immediate hurdle is the initial franchise start up fee which ranges anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000. Typically they are in the $20,000 – $30,000 range. Some franchise fees are even non-refundable even if you decide to not buy the franchise. Make sure you find that out before you put any money down.
Another major cost of owning a car wash franchise is the royalty payments. They typically range from 3% – 6% of gross sales, not net profits. Some franchises have minimum monthly revenues no matter what happens in your business. So if you have some slow times or it rains 14 straight weekends in a row, you still gotta pay the minimum requirements.
Don’t forget that other typical car wash franchise expenses include equipment, signs, working capital, advertising fees, etc. Equipment could be anything from chemicals to car accessories to cash registers.
Bottom line is that owning a car wash franchise for cash flow is a proven business system as long as all factors are taken into consideration and smart business choices are made.