Car wash

8 Steps to start a profitable car wash business in Nigeria

Let me share with you how to start a car wash business in Nigeria with small capital, including the tools you need, regulations and other key things you have to put into consideration.

First thing I want to point out: The cost of starting a car wash business can vary significantly, from low to high depending on the kind of car wash business you want to start. That means that the cost can shoot up very high if you want to get started in high standards with the state of the art equipment.

It now depends on the scale of your choice and the capital you have in place. You can decide to start small or big as the case may be. But no matter how you want to start your carwash business, the following are essential:

How to start a car wash business

  1. Finance (money/capita)
  2. Strategic location
  3. Learning the business
  4. Approval from Authorities
  5. Water Source (Borehole or Well)
  6. Power source
  7. Car was equipment
  8. Car Wash Business Plan

1. Finance (money/capital)

This is the first thing you consider before going into any business, not just a car wash business alone. Your finance will determine if you will be starting on a large scale or a small one, you will need the finance for the tools needed for the business and other miscellaneous expenses. Regardless, you will need a minimum of at least two hundred thousand Naira (200,000).

2. Strategic location

Lagos traffic
Lagos traffic
Photo via:

One of the most important things to consider after the finance is the business location. The location of your car wash business will definitely decide if you will make it or not. Choosing a place near busy streets or areas with regular vehicular movement is surely your best bet. You may find filling stations around who are willing to give space for hire. Transports often patronizing these stations will most probably be your first customers.

3. Learn from other car wash businesses

Without the needed expertise, going into a business without any idea may be destructive and may lead to business failure. To succeed in this business, please visit as many other outfits as possible, where you can see the type of equipment they use, the number of customers they can attract, the strategy they use in promoting their business and how the business is set up generally.

4. Get approval from authorities 

The next thing to do is to get approval from authorities where the business is. Of course, you can’t build a car wash business without informing the authorities. Prepare every document that may be needed and reasonable explanations for possible questions. There won’t be any problems if the drainage and gutter system can handle the sewage.

5. A water source (borehole or well)

Car wash water jet
Car wash water jet

Water is the life of a car wash business. Make sure there is a constant supply of water regardless of the weather or power condition, make every effort to sink a borehole or dig a well. Also, make sure the borehole or well is clean all the time, you may lose customers if they see their vehicles being washed with dirty water.

6. Power (electricity) source

Power generator
Power generator

You need power for the smooth running of your car wash business. At least, you need power for pumping water via the borehole or well. You can get a generator that can power the borehole when needed and other essential machines that need electricity.

7. Car wash equipment

To start a car wash business, you need some essential equipment:

  1. Overhead tanks to store water during scarcity (You can pump enough water and store them up in a case where you are using the electricity from electricity generating companies)
  2. Detergents or car wash liquid soaps that are friendly to cars’ painting layers. This is important because getting just any detergent may be harmful to cars’ paintings. Customers may realize this and you could be in trouble and also lose customers
  3. Washing systems, such as a conveyor tunnel or self-service wands
  4. Essential chemicals, such as cleaning and spot-free solutions
  5. Dryers
  6. Vacuums
  7. Blowers
  8. Brushes
  9. Towels
  10. A payment processing system (POS or any other convenient option)
  11. Other tools such as buckets and mops

8. Car Wash Business Plan

You should have a business plan for your car wash business. Many people who delved into a business often do not think that a business plan is necessary but I can tell you that it is very important. Most plans work for large-scale businesses while small-scale ones are much easier to operate. Having a plan keeps you on the right track. Below are some of the things you can consider in making your business plan.

  1. Analyse the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) of your business
  2. Determine your target set of customers: mainstream drivers or high-class car owners?
  3. Draft your advertisement or promotion to attract more customers: this can be done offline through leaflets, newsletters or online via ads on media and the internet.
  4. Project or audit the expenditure and sales for the first few months to know exactly how to run a car wash service, there are so many factors you can learn. Be open to every advice you get but be selective in adopting them.

*** Are you aware that there are many lucrative businesses you can start with very small capital? See the list of profitable small business ideas.

Why carwash business is a profitable business in Nigeria

There are just so many cars in Nigeria and the number tends to keep increasing as Nigeria advances further in development and income for the citizens. Especially the cities, you can observe that there has been an increase in the number of car owners as the day goes by. Take Lagos for example; in the bid to beat the traffic to work every day and also, for the sake of mobility at any point in time, most of the average income earners own a car. Same applies to other cities in the country.

Do you ever wonder why the traffic never seems to end even in areas with good roads? Do you also wonder how these vehicles manage to look shiny and new even with the busy schedule of millions of Lagosians?

If you have asked yourself these questions, then there is a business opportunity in solving a problem for these car owners while you make some cool cash with it.

Most of these car owners are very busy with the usual day to day activities that they have little or no time to clean their vehicles, and when they can’t? A carwash is the next port of call.

Before now, carwash business was considered a dirty job and only meant for boys on the street because of how soggy and unkempt car washers look, and the crude ways through which they get the job done. However, with the right orientation and planning, carwash business seems to be a promising business and can be a tangible source of income to anyone who is determined to take it seriously.

Just like every other business startup, starting a carwash business comes with responsibilities and things that need to be put in place before you can be a proud owner of a carwash business.

Some of the key things you need to put in order before starting a carwash business are what this article has dealt with above.

Now you can take action. Start your car was business!

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