All motorists in South Africa need their vehicles maintained and washed on a regular basis. It is not unusual to find more than one vehicle in many households. Since cars are relatively affordable in South Africa, there has been an increase in the number of cars being bought. As a result, the need for car wash services will continue to rise. Busy schedules and time constraints continue to prompt more people to use professional carwashes instead of cleaning their cars at home. Therefore, opening a car wash business in South Africa is profitable. This kind of business is suitable for a wide range of business owners, whether you are a retiree looking to invest your pension or a private equity firm that wants to own multiple car wash businesses. A car wash is a relatively easy business to setup and can provide you with a comfortable long-term income stream.  As long as they are cars on the road and more are being bought, there will always be a need for car wash services. With more than 450 000 cars being sold each year, the demand for car repairs, maintenance and cleaning keeps going up. Opening a car wash business in South Africa is profitable. Cars are an important asset for a lot of people however, very few people have the time or enjoy car cleaning chores. This article will outline how to start a car wash business in South Africa, and the car wash business plan – PDF, Word and Excel.

Business Model

There are different kinds of car washing business models you can consider venturing into. The simplest one is the hand car wash. This type of car wash is the most simple and affordable. You do not require a lot of tools and equipment with that simple model. The second car wash business model is the self-service car wash. With this kind of car wash, people pay you to use your specialized equipment, such as vacuum cleaners, high pressure water, and detergents, to clean their cars. This kind of car wash model requires more equipment and tools, and it is much more capital intensive than the simple hand wash. Car detailing is also another business model you can consider venturing into. With car detailing, the car can be washed by hand, but the goal is to bring the vehicle back to a pristine condition, as if it were brand new. Hand wax is applied, the windows are left to gleam, plus the tires and dashboard must also sparkle afterwards. Some businesses offer car detailing only, while others provide it along with regular car wash services. The last car wash business model you can consider is offering automatic car wash services. With automatic car washing, a computer-managed system is used to process each car through automatic pressure washing. Automatic scrubbers and brushes are used together with high pressure water sprays to clean the vehicles. It is important to note that this type of car wash requires more capital and can be more difficult to set up than other car wash business models.

Market Research

After deciding what your business model will be, you must conduct thorough market research. Studying the car wash industry will help you understand your ideal customer. In addition, studying the market will help you see your competitors’ weaknesses. If you have that information, you can easily set yourself apart by filling the gap that other car wash companies may be missing. By all means, try to get a feel for the local car washes within the area you choose to set up shop. Find out about the number of customers your competitors have, how they attract them, and if their customers are frequent users. Local competition can threaten your business, so you must select a location with a reasonable distance between you and your competitors. When studying your potential customers, ensure that you group them accordingly to understand them better. These groups can be based on age, marital status, average income, and spending habits. You should do this in order to devise the different ways you will communicate with them. Segmenting your potential clients will help you narrow down the group you want to target.

Location & Premises

The locations and premises of your car wash is an important decision to make before you start your business. It’s also important that you locate your car wash close to your target market. Consider the amount of road traffic, and find an easily accessible location where people can stop and quickly get your services. There are several possible locations, including shopping centres, malls, and the CBD. Opening a car wash close to places that typically have potential for traffic will be ideal. You also require the car wash bays or tunnels where the cars will be during the car washing process. 


You need various equipment for your car wash business. The equipment you will need for your car wash business will largely be contingent upon the type of car wash you want to start, and the services you want to offer. The equipment needed includes High pressure pumps, Vacuum Cleaners, Dryers, Washers, Water hoses, Blowers, Car Wash Tunnels etc.  Buying the car wash equipment will be your biggest expense when starting up a car wash business in South Africa. You may consider buying second hand equipment in-order to lower the startup costs. Your car wash business plan should cater for the costs of purchasing equipment.

Products And Services

Your target niche will determine the kind of products and services you will provide. Also, these products and services will be determined by the type of car wash you decide to open. You can operate as a car detailer whereby your workers will be washing the cars, open a tunnel wash where most of the car cleaning is automated, or make your car wash a self-service car wash where customers have full control of the car cleaning process. Whichever facility you decide on opening, ensure that you provide quality car cleaning services. In order for your business to be profitable make sure that you make use of the right equipment and car cleaning habits for both the interior and exterior car cleaning services even if you operate on a low budget. It is always best to invest in the right cleaning products so that you can provide the best possible service to your customers. Your car wash business plan should outline the various products and services you will provide.

Competitive Analysis

There are a number of car wash businesses in South Africa, given that it is one of the easiest businesses to set up. As such, you should make it a point to research who your direct and indirect competitors are. Take the time you need to research other car wash businesses and figure out what makes them tick. See if you can emulate the positive aspects of your competitors and offer a better service where they fall short. You can simply do this by having your car washed at one of your competitors’ shops to get a feel for how they run their business.

Staff & Management

As a customer-centric car wash, it’s important that you hire employees that are friendly and efficient. Your car wash employees should be passionate about serving your clients. If you want to hit the ground running it’s better to hire a team of people who have experience in the car wash business. Your employees should be able to make use of car wash equipment and products and provide quality services and your staff members should be able to serve customers efficiently on a regular basis.  Inexperienced staff members may need to get extensive training before they can be given car cleaning tasks. The equipment and machinery used at car cleaning facilities can cause serious injury so it is important to take proper precautions. Depending on the size of your car wash, the actual number of your staff will vary however, you will need a reasonable number of cleaners, security, office staff, as well as management. Your car wash business plan should cater for the salaries and day to day operational expenses of your business.

Some of the day-to-day operations of a car wash involve:

  • Washing Cars
  • Communicating with customers
  • Security, monitoring the facility and customers vehicles
  • Managing Staff
  • Marketing and advertising

When it comes to handling and cleaning vehicles you should always remain aware and alert at all times. Car thefts and hijacking are a serious problem in South Africa, thus you should ensure that your premises are always under tight security. Vehicle theft can be damaging to your business. In addition to security, employee and customer safety are important when running a car wash. It is also crucial to adhere to the industry related health and safety regulations. These safety measures cover the cleanliness of your environment; how your staff members should make use of the equipment plus the handling of chemicals and car cleaning detergents. An unsafe facility can be a great risk, that is why adhering to health and safety regulations is important.

Marketing And Sales Strategies

Once you have a clear picture of who you are targeting, you need to come up with ways to make your services visible. Consider how you will position yourself to attract customers. One effective way to market your car wash is by communicating what your potential clients value. Think about what will set your business apart. Are you going to be cheaper than your competitors? or are you going to focus on the value that potential clients will obtain from your car wash? Another important factor is where you intend to market your business. Take advantage of social media, flyers, and the reviews you get from your clients. Use traditional banners or signage, particularly in and around the area where your car wash is located. Consider giving out free washes after a certain number of visits or to first time clients to drive traffic to your business, especially when you start operating. To avoid losses, make sure that your free offers and discounts are not too frequent.


Most people will agree that cleaning a car at home does not compare to the service one might obtain from a car wash. The country has about 30% of its households with their own vehicles, thus it’s obviously viable to open a car wash. There are over 12 million registered cars in South Africa, this is according to data from National Administration Traffic Information System (eNatis). This a a huge market base for car wash business.

The need for car wash services is driven by car purchases and the general increase in consumer spending. Since more cars are bought yearly, the need for car cleaning services will also increase. There are a lot of cars on the South African roads and since a lot of vehicle owners prioritise taking care of their possessions, more cars will be visiting car washes. There is a number of organisations with a fleet of vehicles that need maintenance and cleaning on a regular basis. Also, there are plenty of car rental companies, taxis and bus companies in addition to a number of individuals that require car cleaning services.

Keys to Profitability

There are a number of factors that can improve the profitability of your car wash business, one of which is your staff. Your staff members, especially your salesmen or attendants, are the first point of contact. If they are not trained well and fail to provide a good customer experience, it can negatively affect your revenue. It is critical to stay current with industry trends in order to be proactive in your strategies. Remember to stay on top of the revenue coming in and the costs you incur running your car wash business. Lastly, the location of your car wash has a huge role to play when it comes to the success or failure of your business. Find a location that is easy for people to locate and has enough space for parking. Before you choose the location for your car wash, drive around your target area and pay attention to the traffic, the kinds of local businesses, as well as the surrounding neighborhood.

Is A Car Wash A Good Investment?

The car wash industry is a competitive industry with a number of large and small car wash companies dominating the market. However, it is still possible for you to own your own car wash brand or even go the less risky route by becoming a franchise. Many might find operating as a franchise limiting but being a franchisee can help you operate your business as part of an existing chain. Of course, building your own brand from scratch can be more rewarding if done well. Whatever route you decide to take, investing in a car wash can be a profitable venture, but obviously, this will depend on many factors such as your target market, costs and management. Apart from the obvious advantages of becoming financially independent and becoming your own boss, running a car wash can be a rewarding way of uplifting your community.

Given that the South African market is one of the leading emerging economies on the African continent there is potential for high growth. The country has been growing steadily over the years, and a car wash is one of the easiest and cheapest small businesses to start. Whether you are a young entrepreneur, a professional seeking to start your own business or someone who needs a retirement plan, investing in a car wash is something worth considering. One thing that can set you apart before investing in any venture is developing a business plan. A well thought out business plan will help you in both the short and long term. Also, there are various risks associated with running a car wash, like any other business venture, your car wash business plan should clearly outline these risks and the different ways to minimise them.


For an in-depth analysis of the car wash business in South Africa, purchase our car wash business plan. We decided to introduce the business plans after noting that many South Africans were venturing into the car wash business without a full understanding of the industry, market, how to run the business, the risks involved, profitability of the business and the costs involved, leading to a high failure rate of their businesses.

Our business plan will make it easier for you to launch and run a car wash business successfully, fully knowing what you are going into, and what’s needed to succeed in the business. It will be easier to plan and budget as the car wash business plan will lay out all the costs involved in setting up and running the car wash business. The business plan is designed specifically for the South African market.


The car wash business plan can be used for many purposes including:

  • Raising capital from investors/friends/relatives
  • Applying for a bank loan
  • Start-up guide to launch your car wash business
  • As a car wash project proposal
  • Assessing profitability of the car wash business
  • Finding a business partner
  • Assessing the initial start-up costs so that you know how much to save
  • Manual for current business owners to help in business and strategy formulation


The business plan includes, but not limited to:

  • Market Analysis
  • Industry Analysis
  • 5 Year Automated Financial Statements [ Income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, monthly cash flow projections (3 years monthly cash flow projections, the remaining two years annually),break even analysis, payback period analysis, start-up costs, financial graphs, revenue and expenses, Bank Loan Amortisation]
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Risk Analysis
  • SWOT & PEST Analysis
  • Operational Requirements
  • Operational Strategy
  • Why some South Africans in the car wash business fail, so that you can avoid their mistakes
  • Ways to raise capital to start your car wash business in South Africa

The Car Wash Business Plan package consist of 4 files

  1. Car Wash Business Plan – PDF file (Comprehensive – 92 pages)
  2. Car Wash Business Plan – Editable Word File (Comprehensive – 92 pages)
  3. Car Wash Business Plan Funding Version – Editable Word File (Short version for applying for a loan – 46 pages)
  4. Car Wash Business Plan Automated Financial Statements – (Editable Excel file)

The financial statements are automated. This implies that you can change eg the cost of chemicals, salaries etc, and all the other financial statements will automatically adjust to reflect the change. 


We decided to make the business plan affordable to anyone who would want to start the business, and the price for the pre-written business plan is only 500 Rand.

We have several payment methods which you can use.

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The business plan package is a zipped compressed file containing the PDF, Word and Excel documents. To open the package after downloading it, just right click, and select Extract All. If you have any problems in downloading and opening the files, email us on and we will assist you.

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Click Buy Now below to purchase. After you have purchased, you will instantly see the download link for the business plan package on the screen. We will also email you the download link. Get instant access to the business plan now!

If you want to purchase multiple business plans at once using Instant EFT then  click here: Business Plans Store

The business plan package is a zipped compressed file containing the PDF, Word and Excel documents. To open the package after downloading it, just right click, and select Extract All. If you have any problems in downloading and opening the files, email us on and we will assist you.

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