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Interested in the Industry

0 replies created 23 days ago
posted by nathand 23 days ago

Hello everyone,

I've been considering entering the car wash industry for a couple of years and have spent time researching some different options.

I have a background in industrial automation and have even done some controls work with existing washes in the past, so I feel like I have a thorough understanding of what goes on "behind the scenes" and feel confident that I'd be able to handle most of the maintenance. I've also got an interested, retired family member willing to help with the general up-keep as well as managing the business.

I'm currently looking at a town in Ohio close to my hometown, with a population of about 25,000. The town currently has a total of 18 self-serve bays and 5 touch-free IBAs spread out over 5 locations. There is also a sixth location with a tunnel and free vacuums. Within the last 5 years, the town has lost three washes (each with self-serves and IBAs) due to new retail development. With the exception of the tunnel wash and one of the self-serve washes, the others are all fairly "tired" and not very inviting.

I have located a couple of potential sites, but one in particular stands out to me. This site is a corner lot on a 4 lane road and is located 1/4 mile from a large chain grocery store that opened last year. According to traffic data, in 2016, the location saw an average of 22,700 cars per day. This location is currently home to a former used car lot/auto repair garage with 3 bays and a good size office. Due to the circumstances with the current owner, I suspect it could be acquired for less than the value of the real-estate.

I'm now considering whether it would be worth tearing down and starting over, or if the existing building could be converted? Has anyone been involved with a conversion? There are tons of changes that would have to be made for infrastructure, but the overall shape of the building seems correct. It should be fairly straightforward to build walls to divide the bays and to install rear overhead door openings to allow for a pull-through design. With current new-construction costs, the possibility of achieving similar results at a lower cost certainly is appealing, at first glance.

What do you guys think? Does it sound like a crazy idea to consider opening a new wash in this town? I feel that the town could really benefit from a newer, inviting wash with updated technology. I'm thinking start small, maybe one self-serve bay and two IBAs (possibly even a soft-touch, as the town currently has none and the tunnel is on the other end of town). I appreciate any thoughts or insight!

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