Service Business

How to Start Car Wash Business In Nigeria

Car wash business

Do you want to start a car wash business? Even if you are already operating one. I have some vital information for you that would help you make it more profitably. You will also get to know how to manage it successfully, even if you are working or doing other businesses.

In fact, one of the major challenges of starting car wash business is how to manage it when you are not around. But I have solved all that for you with a simple method taught me by one of my new friend.

One of my readers and a friend now, who happen to own and operate four car wash businesses in Abuja and Lagos gave me the secret of his success. He’s also planning to open 16 others across the country, thereby making it a total of 20 car wash businesses under one brand name.

You will get this detail and more from this article. I have obtained very important insider secret of operating car wash business successfully. You will be better equipped to start a car wash. After reading this, you won’t need to read any other article on car wash business before you start.

Planning Your Car Wash Business

Now that you are thinking about starting a car wash business, its ideal you do the first things first. Don’t take it for granted, unless you are only going to start washing cars yourself and not planning to do it as a business that can thrive on its own even when you are not there.

I have a few recommendations and I will advise that you take it seriously as well. The first thing is to write a business plan for it. You may not do it yourself. You can get a consultant to write one for you.

It’s always better to put down the idea in a good plan before starting any business. It would help you come up with a better and cost effective way to start the business.

The second advice is to know your location very well. Human and vehicular traffic are important for the business. People who pass by would one day recommend those with cars looking for where to wash.

If you are going to locate off a busy location or in an area where there are many other car washers, make your place unique and offer better services. This should be articulated in your business plan as well.

My third and last advise is to research other car wash businesses in your location. It’s important to know who your competitors are, how formidable and prosperous they are currently doing in the business. If you are planning on multiple locations, hire a consultant. It would cost money but it will get you the best result than you could get on your own.

How to Make Car Wash Business Work

Car wash business is one of the simplest startups anyone can invest into. You don’t need to acquire any particular skill or qualification. You don’t necessarily need to get government permit or license before you can commence operation.

But you can’t ignore the fact that ones you open, town planning or local government authorities would come after you. So, do the needful by constructing a good drainage system to channel the water for disposal in a better way that won’t damage infrastructures like road or the drainage system.

What you only need is to understand how the business works, and raise the required capital to setup your spot. However, there are no particular startup cost for car wash business. Everything depends on who is starting the business, your location cost implications, types of car washing equipment, and how much you really have to invest in the business.

The financial requirement is not that much either. You can also start small while you grow the business big. There’s also the option of multiple locations, which is the real deal for business. The more locations you can setup the more income you can generate from the business.

As simple as the business mode might seem, it’s a great money spinner. I will explain better in another subhead. But the idea is a simple one; customers only need drive their cars into your car wash, while you give them the best wash possible, and they pay for it handsomely.

Car Wash Business Models

Sometimes the problem hindering people from starting their car wash business is the lack of knowledge. What most startups have in mind when starting this business is usually the conventional car wash model. And when they can’t afford the cost, they quit their dream.

Let me show different car wash business models you can start. Stop limiting yourself. Some of this models can be started with just buckets, sponge, soap and water. You can find all these items in your home right now. So, you won’t say I don’t have capital. I have given you the capital outlay for some car wash business model.

Let me explain them briefly:

  • Conventional model
  • Estate model
  • Supermarket model
  • Multi town model

The Conventional Car Wash Model

This one is still the real car wash model. You will need a good space. How big depends on you. But it’s better to have a bigger space to park and wash more cars at the same time, if the demand is high in your location.

You will also need a car wash machine. I will explain more when I’m sharing tips on starting the business, since I want to focus on the conventional car wash model.

The Supermarket Car Wash Model

This is also known as the mobile car wash. This model targets offices, schools, hotels, hospitals, supermarkets, churches and event places. You provide your services to the car owners who either work there or visiting. For example, there’s no government ministry that doesn’t have more than 50 cars visiting in a day.

The idea could be conventional where it’s permitted or just mobile car wash business. You can even have a custom vehicle, with built in water tank and car wash equipment.

The Estate Car Wash Model

This model is partly a conventional model and partly supermarket model. The target is estates. You setup inside the estate to target those living in the estate. In most cases, you would need to get the approval of the estate managers or association.

Some estates already have spots allocated for car wash business. You can also offer house to house car washing to some customers.

Multi Town Car Wash Model

This model is the multi application of any of the other three models that I have shown you, but in a multiple location. This model is good for those who are setting up car wash as a full fledged business entity. They have a registered company for it, have good budget for good locations and can manage multiple car wash with multiple model applications successfully.

It can be a combination of any of the three other models or just the operation of one model in multiple locations. The idea is just to create car wash business in more than one location. Like the example of my friend who gave me all the information I’m sharing with you, and he has 4 car wash locations, one in Abuja and three Lagos.

Huge Demand For Cash Wash

There’s huge demand for car wash business in Nigeria. According to a report by the Bureau of Statistics, which is published by Nairametrics, there are about 11.8 million licensed cars in Nigeria, at the last quarter of 2018.

Number of cars on Nigerian roads hit 11.8m in a year

Also in the same period, a total of 75,446 cars were newly licensed. That means an estimated annual number of 75,446 cars are added yearly. Now, with over 11 million cars needing washing, mostly on regular basis, that creates a huge demand for car washing.

Moreover, Nigeria is a rain forest zone, which means we see much rain every year. That increases the number of times cars would need washing. Forget about those who wouldn’t mind washing their cars themselves, during raining season everyone tries to use the car wash regularly.

The tires are the worst places to wash in a car. They are even worse during the rains. Not to forget the interiors that gets dusty during the dry season because of bad roads and high winds blowing dusts and particles into the car.

So many reasons car wash is profitably huge if you decides to get into it. But you still need to keep reading to get all the full gist on this business.

Car Wash Profit Potential

If you are going to start car wash business, it’s okay to know the huge potential in this business. Most people look down on car wash business. For them, it’s a business for the low lives. If you were thinking this way before, I’m about to make you change your mind.

Take for example, the cost of washing one car is between N500 to N1,000. Not forgetting washing the interiors, engine washing, radiator washing and vacuum cleaning of interior. A car wash can also include rug and upholstery chairs washing as well.

Although, what may be going through your mind is how much can a cash wash business make in a day? Relax, don’t be in a hurry, it’s cool money. Let me do a little calculation for you. We would use the general rate of N500 for one car wash, and a regular day sales report.

Car wash business

Car washing in progress

So, let’s say 10 cars is washed in the morning and another 10 cars in the evening, making a total of 20 cars on a regular day. During the weekends, from Friday’s to Sunday’s, the figure is much higher, like between 30 to 45 cars washed per day. But we would use 30 cars per day during weekends.

That means for a week, we have a number of 80 cars washed from Monday’s to Thursday’s, while a total of 90 cars washed from Friday’s to Sunday’s. When you add the two together we have a total of 170 cars washed per week.

For the 4 weeks in a month that would be 680 cars washed in a month. If you multiply that with N500 revenue per car washed, you should have made N340,000 in one month.

Types Of Car Wash Business Operations

As you plan to setup your car wash, it’s equally important that you know the different types of operations, so you can pick what’s good for your location. The different operations are:

  1. Full-service car wash
  2. Exterior conveyor car wash
  3. Self-service car wash
  4. In-bay automatic car wash

Full-Service Operation

This operation involves washing of the vehicle exterior and also having the interior vacuumed. The customer is paying for a clean wash, inside and outside of the car.

Exterior Conveyor Operation

This kind of operation is a drive through operation. The customers stays in the car and are being pull along an automated conveyor, while it washes and cleans the exterior of the car only.

Self-Serve Operation

This kind of operation allows car owners to wash their cars themselves. I bet if this option can ever work in Nigeria, considering that Nigerians prefer to be served and paying for it. So, I won’t recommend this option for your car wash operation.

In-Bay Automatic Operation

This kind of operation can also be manual. The central idea is that customers choose the kind of service they want and that’s what is paid for. If they want only the exterior washed or both exterior and interior that’s what they get for a specified fee.

That includes engine or radiator washes. Or just pick what they want and it’s done for them. Most car wash in Nigeria operate this way, excerpt that most of them are manual operations too.

Car Washing System/Equipment

Your main investment after location is the washing system. This is what controls, speeds up and perfect the washings. A standard car wash should have this system. But depending on the size of your washing bay or the number of washing points you want, the cost may differ.

Also, this equipment is customized to your needs, like 4 points Washing bay or 8 points, as you want it. That determines the price as well. It’s even better you discus with the company directly to specify your need and get a custom cost for your cash wash business.

CLICK HERE to get your custom price for the washing system.

The systems generally consist of:

  • Pressure Pump
  • Expansion Tank
  • Control System
  • The Hose Reels with Nozzles

You should visit any standard car wash business to see how their operation works.

Simple Setup Tips For Beginners

Inasmuch as you want to setup a standard car wash, you can start small and grow it big with time. The main investment here is your location. Most car wash are road side businesses. You should find a good spot along the road where you can setup.

Here are some of the items and costs you would need to get started:

  • Washing system – N60,000
  • Cleaning and spot-free solutions
  • Vacuums – N35,000
  • Brushes – N1,000 for one
  • Towels – N500 for one
  • Water borehole (price varied)
  • Power generator – N30,000
  • Storage tanks – N30,000
  • Buckets – N700 for one
  • Bowls – N100 for one

Hiring And Workers Payment

Another important aspect of business is the workers and their salary structure. Although, it’s common knowledge that workers in car wash gets paid only on per car washed.

No monthly salary for them, and you don’t have to worry about paying them at the end of the month. That’s the reason they jostle for cars as customers arrive.

It’s a good payment system, so you don’t worry about salaries at the end of every month. You can focus on your other logistics to deal with and exclude salaries from it. However, what you may have to consider is the sharing formula between you and the workers.

The commonly agreed structure is 60/40. Every car wash owner agrees that it’s the acceptable standard. You can also find out what’s obtainable in your area. If not, this formula is good. For example, if a car is washed for N500, you take N300 and the worker takes N200.

So, you as the owner of the business takes 60%, while the worker takes 40% of the revenue from each car washed. That way the workers go home with their daily pay at the end of everyday.

Smart Management Style

One more important thing I need to address properly is the management. The conventional way has been to seat there with the workers and monitor what’s going on. But that won’t work if you have other business or you are also employed somewhere else.

And you can’t even let someone run it for you because they never give accurate account of their operation. It’s the fastest way to bankrupt the business. So, what other way has been working for others?

Here’s what my friend who I have told you about, that operates 4 car wash operations told me. When ever he sets up a new ones, he would manage it closely for some months. That way he would know how much it can generate monthly.

After that he would outsource it to a competent manage, who would be delivering an agreed sum at the end of each month.

That way he also removes himself from daily expenses and costs, while the manager bears those cost. But the managers profit is any amount above his monthly delivery target.

For example, if a car wash revenue is around N180,000 monthly, he would outsource is for a guaranteed N100,000 monthly. The manager takes the remaining N80,000 or more if he makes more. But the manager bears the daily operational costs as well.

I can also suggest that you can structure the payment weekly. If the manager should deliver N100,000 monthly, it can be done weekly at N25,000 each week. It would help you ensure the manager doesn’t fail to meet payment timelines.


There’s so much so share about car wash business but I have to conclude it here for now. You can also drop your comment and observations in the comment box and I will respond as soon as possible.

From what I have shared with you so far, there’s huge potential in the car wash business for anyone to tap. And for those of you who are employed or busy with other things, I have also helped you with a proven management style that would make it easier for you to invest now.

Finally, don’t forget to do your own little research. Don’t be in a haste to invest without proper guidelines. Like I have advised, package a business plan.

Avoid building any business without a building plan. It may seem like it’s not necessary unless when you need a loan, but it’s more than just a tool for asking for loan.

Chinedu David
About The Author: Chinedu David An inspiring writer with several years of experience in journalism, consulting and training. Worked with Success Digest magazine for over a decade. Founded MyStore - an online store in 2013. Trained several startup entrepreneurs in telecom sector, LPG (oil & gas), and on Cryptocurrency investment. A born again christian, who's committed to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ with passion. Drop a comment below and he will respond to your query. He can also be reached via email: or Call/Text/WhatsApp: 07087770518
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