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Building Car Wash from Scratch

1 reply created about 1 year ago
posted by stelan about 1 year ago

Hi fellow washers, I'm an american retired and living most of the time in central mexico in a city of about 2.5 million people. there are about 10 express automatic car washes in the area and a bunch of small hand washes, the automatic ones are divided into some weird hybrids and some conveyor ones.
The hybrid ones are typically just an arch, perhaps chinese or european made that do the soap application and brushes only, the drying and detailing is all done by hand afterwards, in mexico people are not used to vacuum or clean the interior themselves, they expect all to be done by the car wash employees (no diy-free-vacuum culture) even all gas stations are full service, nobody pumps their own gas.
the conveyor ones are some kind of mini tunnel of about 35 or 40 ft max. again with lots of labor after the tunnel, all prep heavily due to the poor performance of the arches or tunnel equipment but they do provide a decent wash, I see many problems with their operations but the do get packed specially friday, saturday and sunday,some of them up to 1000 cars per day their interior vacuum and cleaning is very slow but they have a bunch of detail stations, I have spent up to 40 minutes at every wash I have been, about 3 minutes in the arch or tunnel and over 30 minutes after, they do have many employees (cheap labor as minimum wage is about 5 bucks a day) they do rely on tips as people are used to leave a dollar or so per car, so in terms of comparison with the us industry it is different (weird to me).

Anyway I own a few business here and there and one of them is a manufacturing plant for automated equipment (cnc machines, structures, etc.) I'm an engineer (and a car builder as a hobby) I had a couple of car wash businesses back in the day when I was going to college and I have a plan to build my own express one 60 ft. long tunnel. When I say build my own I mean build my own brushes, mitters, foamers, flat belt conveyor, from scratch, I have been designing it and planning for manufacturing so wish me luck. I will be documenting the process for entertainment purposes so stay tuned.



reply by AutoWashUSA about 1 year ago

Good luck!

That is one big project. How about the electrical? Wiring, etc? Do they offer 480 volts, 3 phase, etc?

As for equipment, most Latin American countries are half century behind and their governments tax heavily all imports, from equipment to small but needed parts. Labor is cheap but you get what you pay for as well, as the culture is not exactly based on Ethics.

Isn't the clientele different as well? The cars themselves (smaller) and is there a culture of keeping cars clean? Interesting adventure for sure, I hope you achieve success quickly, who knows, that might be a virgin market waiting to create the next millionaire.

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