In Summary
  • Operating a car wash business in busy places like bars, shopping centres, restaurants or office areas that have spacious parking space. You will be assured of managing/washing about 10 vehicles each at a standard fee of Shs10, 000, writes Dorothy Nakaweesi

It may be one of those odd businesses, but it has the potential to usher you into millionaires club.
Car wash is not exactly a dream business for many people. However, if you do certain things right, it will guarantee you clean money and a showered fortune that you will never regret.
And here is how you can make it if you decide to start a car wash business.

According to Daniel Joloba the chief executive officer, Big Finance, a firm that does advisory and consultancy for small and medium enterprises, while sharing his expertise with Prosper Magazine : “There is no business which is not profitable. All you need to do is follow the right values of business. The same standards and values apply to a car wash business.”

How to raise capital
So then, what does it take to start a car wash business?
This nature of business comes in all different designs, ranging from self-service to automatic and full service, let alone hand polishing.
According to Newton Buteraba-the chief executive officer-House of Wealth, a local firm that offers business advisory services and motivational speaking, the investment capital one needs is between Shs200, 000 and Shs1m.

Business experts think that one can start small even without the sophisticated equipment as long as there is availability of water, the detergents, basins, buckets and towels.
“If you want to grow, start anyway even without the jet machine. With Shs200, 000, it can support you to start the business and then later reinvest,” Mr Buteraba shared.

However, just in case you don’t have a yard were to operate from, it may cost you more money to rent one.
And if you want to go it big, about Shs1m will be enough to help you purchase a jet pump machine. This costs about Shs500,000 on the market depending on its design.
Ideally, if you are operating in busy places such as bars, shopping centres, restaurants or office areas, these must have spacious parking space. You will be assured of washing about 10 vehicles each at a standard fee of Shs10, 000.
This means that on a daily basis you will be assured of Shs100, 000.

Blasio Nuwagaba, a manager at Desire Car Wash Experts Ltd, with four-year experience in this business, says car washing is one of the businesses one can start with less hustle but walk home smiling.
He said that on average they handle about 15 cars and each is charged differently depending on the size and the wash specifications.

“For small cars, for a full wash we do charge Shs10,000 and if the customer wants the engine to be washed too, then this cost him/her an additional Shs25,000,” Nuwagaba shares.
However, if it’s a big car in the range of Toyota Land Cruiser VX a customer parts with Shs25, 000. So if the engine is also cleaned then this will go up to Shs50, 000.

Just like any other business car wash business is not unique to challenges. According to Nuwagaba sometimes if one is not careful, theft is associated so much with car wash business.
“It could be the employees or people who have been scheming to steal or vandalise the cars you handle.” he shares.
He said that with this kind of challenge one needs to employ security guards and also be vigilant when customer vehicles are being handled.

When starting this business location must be one of the cardinal issues you should consider. Make sure you look out for a place which has high traffic areas, around shopping malls, bars or eating places.
And if these services are not available make sure you attract or start them because they will pull business.

“In case you don’t have money to start these off side businesses, then look out for a location where they are and rent or partner with the owners. This will help you to get customers,” Mr Joloba shares.
Secondly, because this business is based on using water, make sure the source of water flows naturally. If the location is good and has no natural water source, then don’t invest your money there because you will waste all your savings in buying water to run the business.

Because you are dealing with handling people’s vehicles, security should be key on your list of consideration.
“Customers leaving their vehicles under your care means they have trusted you and this is a brand for your business which you must guard,” Mr Joloba advises.