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Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

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  • Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

    I know Bruce said he had a few laundromats a while back, no one mentioned car wash.

    Are these a good business to start up or buy?


    (also looking into a hosted PABX business)
    home is where we drop anchor


  • #2
    Re: Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

    Family had a car wash (brother still has it). Early Spring, winter (when not too cold) and late fall are good for business. Summer, not so much. Lot of checking and rechecking. Not something you can make a living off of, but a good supplemental business.
    Rules of Repair:
    1. If it ain't broke, give me a hammer, it will be!
    2. You only need 2 tools in life - WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move, and it should, use WD-40. If it moves, and it shouldn't, use Duct Tape!
    3. If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.

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    • #3
      Re: Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

      If by car wash you mean the coin operated ones, then like aspeck said I doubt you could make a living of of it. Now the car wash I go to is a full service one where you just stay in your car and the track pulls your car through. They also have gas, a detailing service, small dent removal, upholstery and carpet cleaning. The works. But I imagine it would be big $$$$$$ to buy.
      Crews Inn II
      1997 Carver 325 Aft Cabin
      Twin Crusader 350XLi's


      I would like to pass away like my Grandfather, quietly in his sleep. Not screaming like the passengers in his car.

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      • #4
        Re: Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

        Self-Serve car washes are all cash money - Nuff said.

        LK

        1997 Sea Ray Sundancer 250 5.7EFI / BIII

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        • #5
          Re: Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

          When I was up north last fall we went to a country kitchen style restaurant, the basics, hardy style foods.
          In the restaurant they had a laundromat, so kind of a captive clientele for those doing their clothes, as well there was a big truck/car wash.
          I thought that this triple combo was a great idea and I am exploring the options.
          home is where we drop anchor

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          • #6
            Re: Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

            Anybody see Breaking Bad?
            2003 Chaparral 183SS

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            • #7
              Re: Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

              I would NEVER do it again with a laundromat!!!!!

              My main issue was having to lease my building and maintenance. Dealing with different landlords every few years was not fun.

              I do know a lot about fixing washing machines, dryers and coin changers now though!
              1998 Wellcraft Eclipse 24 Cuddy
              Volvo Penta Duo-Prop 7.4L "LK"

              2006 Sun Tracker Party Barge 21
              Mercury 90 4-Stroke FI
              "Common sense is not very common"
              "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." -- John Wooden

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              • #8
                Re: Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

                one big problem with a car wash is the way some places/area's bill for electric. most car washes also do detailing and use alot of kwh during the weekend then hardly use any kwh during the week. if you pay on demand/use then that doesnt matter much but if you pay on peak load then thats a huge electric bill for the month. if you live in a area where people can and will pay to have the car cleaned then it might be worth looking into it. most buisnesses are location location location. a laundromat in a rich area wont make money and a car wash in a poor area wont make money.

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                • #9
                  Re: Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

                  The self serve car wash of my choice probably does well until it rains.

                  I know this doesn't make sense as it rarely rains here. As soon as it does every young guy with a 4 wheel drive thinks they are off road racers and tear it up in the dry lake bed or remote area of town. So much mud is left under the sign that reads "Excessive Mud Removal Not Allowed" that you can't use the bays until the 9-Noon attendent cleans them.
                  1992 Seaswirl 250 SWL-744DPEAMH

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                  • #10
                    Re: Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

                    Not sure if your plan is to buy an existing business or start a new one. If buying existing, you are going to have to do research to see what they go for. Typical price is a multiple of the gross income. For a coin laundry, its pretty easy to estimate because you can look at water bills and do a calc on the amount of water each wash takes. I have no idea how you would figure gross on a car wash. Like the coin laundry business, there is probably an association you can ask questions of.

                    Don't even think its a business that you can just go and collect money from. There will be a bunch of maintenance. I would consider calling some that are not for sale and would not be your competitor to see what they think of the business and what the drawbacks would be.
                    1998 Wellcraft Eclipse 24 Cuddy
                    Volvo Penta Duo-Prop 7.4L "LK"

                    2006 Sun Tracker Party Barge 21
                    Mercury 90 4-Stroke FI
                    "Common sense is not very common"
                    "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." -- John Wooden

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                    • #11
                      Re: Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

                      I will add that if you are putting in a car wash, you better be mechanically inclined because there is a lot of electrical, plumbing, and pump issues to deal with. At least once a week there is some issue ... Whether you are changing out a coin changer, fixing a leak, or rebuilding a pump. Then there are the coin jams, etc. wet, cold, coins don't like to travel through a changer very well.

                      water freezes when it gets cold (no duh!) which creates other issues. Not trying to talk you out of a car wash, they can be profitable, but think of your location, your seasons, and how much would you be able to attend to it. A self serve car wash needs checked several times a day. Then you get to deal with the vandalism, etc.

                      they are a cash business and can produce a nice supplement to your income, however.
                      Rules of Repair:
                      1. If it ain't broke, give me a hammer, it will be!
                      2. You only need 2 tools in life - WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move, and it should, use WD-40. If it moves, and it shouldn't, use Duct Tape!
                      3. If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.

                      Comment



                      • #12
                        Re: Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

                        As for the Laundromat/restaurant, this will take some time to learn about, pro and cons. (location, location, location)

                        And the car/truck wash as well, we do have a couple of real requirements here that are not met I believe. Although we have a couple of car washes here there are none that are really big truck with trailer friendly, in the larger centers they have bays were the driver can get under the rig/trailer to clean the frame ETC.
                        And all you guys in the northern areas know what its like with the salt build up on your vehicles.

                        We have 1 major HWY west-east(trans Canada) and a secondary north to south (and there is no truck stop of any kind)
                        home is where we drop anchor

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                        • #13
                          Re: Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

                          In my town, they are strange in that they don't allow things like auto parts stores and there are about 3 total car washes none of which are self serv. I don't know how exactly they discourage these things but in a shopping meca like few other certain things inexplicably don't exist. In the winter here in MN, the car washes are either closed because it is too cold or closed because it finally got warm one day and it broke and is closed. Keeping your car clean and managing the salt is a huge time committment. During the season when you need the car wash they are closed far more than they are open. That would at least make me think about the opportunity cost.
                          2003 Chaparral 183SS

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                          • #14
                            Re: Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

                            Originally posted by jkust View Post
                            Keeping your car clean and managing the salt is a huge time committment.
                            That is why it works best for me to just get a good surface coating of dirt before winter and then wash the truck in April
                            2012 Malibu VTX 5.7 Monsoon 350HP
                            2009 Ram CC 5.7 Hemi

                            www.oldjeep.com

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                            • #15
                              Re: Is a car wash or laundromat a good or bad investment?

                              Originally posted by oldjeep View Post
                              That is why it works best for me to just get a good surface coating of dirt before winter and then wash the truck in April
                              Now that's funny right there!

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