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average income per self serve bay

12 replies created over 6 years ago
posted by jwtwrw123 over 6 years ago

I am thinking of purchasing a defunct 4 bay self serve, it has a wood roof/truss system that needs replaced, i think this is why it is bankrupt, I have figured a new steel roof with mansur is about $21000, but I was wondering what an average bay grosses per month, I know there are many many variables, just wondering average. Thanks


reply by crown over 6 years ago

Don't be fooled by what you may read in car wash magazines where they indicate average $'s per bay. It depends on what competition you have, how much you have invested, your anticipated expenses,location, are you in the north where you will have snow or in the south, how you intend to run you business, etc. There are alot of vaiables. A 4 bay with ample vacs and other vending machines should bring in approx. $48K gross., a six bay 72K, etc. These would be acceptable numbers. You will need the good vacs (and I mean good sucking vacs) and vendors. Don't go cheap on equipment. Is the bay equipment in good shape and will you provide spot free, air dryers, credit card acceptance, (all up to date stuff) etc. Consider adding an automatic if you can affort it and you think it will entice customers and pay for iteself. How will you compete with the competition. There is only one pie.
A new wash or reopened wash normally does not create new customers. You will get a portion of the pie, but will the portion you get be enough to sustain you and make a profit. How do you intend to sway the customers from your completition to come over to you ? It just doesn't naturally happen,unless you have something better than the other guy - price, service, quality of wash. A nice looking place helps a little. You will also have to advertise heavily.

Good luck

reply by Earl Weiss over 6 years ago

The above post works out to $1000.00 per month per bay. The industry mags were publishing closer to $1500.00 per month per bay. Acquired an 8 bay + tunnel 6 years ago. I don't think we have hit the $1000.00 / month / bay in the best month let alone as an average. But I have been told that when you pair bays with a low price EE ($3.50 Base) you will easily siphon 20% of the bay volume to the tunnel. It also doesn't help that the last 6 years have all had above average rainfall with Both the first and second rainiest on record as well as a couple being 20% above average.

It will likely take you a while to ramp up to the average plus there is no info as to what other repair / replacement costs you'll incur to make it marketable. After Debt service / rent / taxes and operating costs it could take a long while to recoup your investment.

reply by GregPack over 6 years ago

I will say this- excluding the published report by PC&D, I've been hearing 1K/bay since I got in the business-in 1992. Most owners in my area would be glad to get that nowadays. In my area bay revenues are stagnant at best or declining under conventional formats in actual dollars. Margins are compressing. There are some exceptions but I think the golden days of SS washes are over for many of us. This business is still pretty good to me, but I don't expect to hand off a viable SS wash to my kids when I retire.

Just a little cautionary note there.....

reply by jwtwrw123 over 6 years ago

I guess the one major thing I worry about is the self serve model still viable, and will it stay viable, I have a Mikes Express within 2 miles, but it doesnt have self serves. I would end up with about 80k invested in this wash, when updated, up and running.

reply by Earl Weiss over 6 years ago

While the low price EE will siphon demand from SS as well as other types of options from DIY to IBA there is a segment that like to do things themselves and will seek you out because the time they will save by not having to drag out ther own buckets and hoses is worth a lot more than the $2.00 -$3.00 to use your better and more efficient stuff (maybe more eco frindly as well) as well as being much easier in colder weather. You need to consider SS competition nearby as much or more than EE.

reply by Robert Roman over 6 years ago

The benchmark for wands has trended upward from about $950 in 1990 to a peak of $1,420 in 2000. Since then, it has trended downward to roughly $1,100.

As for purchasing a defunct 4-bay self-service and viability of self–service wands-only, I certainly would consider your proximity to a Mike’s. Mike’s is a flagship brand that practically owns the trade areas where its sites are located.

Mike’s doesn’t compete on the basis of low price. The basic automatic wash is $8.00 and the top package is $12. Vacuums are coin-operated, some sites do have wands. There are always attendants on hand to help customers. Mike’s offers fundraising. The company sells wash books and unlimited wash plans and accepts fleet accounts. Customers can buy online. If a customer is not happy, Mike’s will re-wash the car for free, guaranteed.

Considering Mike’s competes with a model that typically generates sales of $167 or more per square feet of store and you are proposing a wash that yields sales of roughly $44 per square foot, I might consider intervening with a different type of wash.

For example, if you invest this $80,000, perhaps the best you could expect would be sales of roughly $60,000 annually and that would be if you have all the modern day bells and whistles.

Why invest in a low return business and try to compete against someone that has achieved trade area dominance.

Instead, maybe it would be viable to tear down the building and put up an express in-bay with free vacuums or a small-scale flexible service wash or hand wash. Either of these models has greater sales per square feet of store than wands or in-bay combined and would fill an opportunity gap that Mike’s is known to ignore.

reply by jwtwrw123 over 6 years ago

You guys are always alot of help, if this wash hit 60k in sales a year that i Would more than meet my goal. I am hoping to get it paid for and then install a nice IBA, something like Autec, could I compete a little with Mikes, with an IBA? Thanks again.

reply by allen over 6 years ago

After My experience with a very nice 6 bay ss NO automatic on a major road that was bankrupt for other reasons supposedly and not the car wash performance I would only invest in a ss car wash if I could buy it for what I could get out of the land, period. If the business is not running and you dont have good stats on what it was doing when it closed ????
All you got IMOP is LAND minus the cost of REMOVING the carwash.
Luckily I have a very valuable piece of land that will be sold some day for a better use. My car wash barely pays the cost of keeping it open. So be carefull out there :)

reply by GregPack over 6 years ago

Compete: No. Can you co-exist in a market with Mike's? Perhaps, but other factors come into play such as size of the market, Gas Station IBAs and other SS washes in the market. There will be a certain (small) percentage of customers who will not wash in a tunnel for whatever reason, and that is the niche you will be going for.

Allen is right, if the wash is built on land with real market value and you get it cheap enough it might be worth a shot. If the wash is on a side street near a bunch of shuttered businesses I don't consider it to have land value. I don't care what an appraiser says. We are assuming the land comes with the wash. If not, I would probably pass on the deal altogether.

If you end up with 80K total investment and the wash hits 40K in sales you'll be OK. It won't be a cash cow but it will cash flow and provide you with some income, maybe 1K per month excluding debt service. If it grosses 60K steadily you will have a wash that you could probably sell for 150K or better as a functional business.

BTW, A picture is worth a thousand words.....

reply by ben lev over 2 years ago


reply by Earl Weiss over 2 years ago


I see you are from Canada. Is that Canadian $? Does it also include IBA revenue or just SS Income?

reply by crown over 2 years ago

Can't believe the 40-50K per bay per year. Bays must be on the toll road. Can't pass unless you wash your car.

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