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The State of the Self-Serve Car Wash Industry: A Deep Dive in 2024

car wash feasibility study

The self-serve car wash industry is gleaming! Based on a recent survey by Auto Laundry News and,the segment is experiencing a wave of optimism and positive growth. Here's a breakdown of the key findings:

Revenue on the Rise: Good news for car wash owners! This year, a record-breaking 58% of respondents reported an increase in revenue compared to the previous year. This is a significant jump from just 34% in 2023. Even better, fewer operators are facing financial woes. Only 10% reported a decrease in revenue, the lowest percentage in over a decade!

Investment Plans Sparkle: Operators are reinvesting in their businesses. Overall, 33% of respondents plan to purchase new equipment within the next year. The most popular upgrades? In-bay automatics and point-of-sale systems are at the top of the wish list. Interestingly, LED lighting seems to be reaching saturation with very few operators planning further investment, likely because most facilities have already made the switch to this energy-efficient technology.

Positive Industry Outlook: The survey also captured the sentiment of car wash operators. An overwhelming majority used terms like "excellent," "vibrant," and "growing" to describe the current state of the industry, significantly outnumbering any negative terms. This bullish outlook is further fueled by 90% of respondents having internet access and 55% boasting websites, making them more competitive than ever.

Seasonal Shifts: The data also provides insights into customer behavior. Unsurprisingly, summer reigns supreme with the highest percentage of business (35%), followed closely by spring (25%). Weekends are prime car washing times with Saturday leading the pack at 23%, followed by Sunday (17%). Interestingly, the lunchtime rush extends to car washing with the 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM window seeing the most activity (29%).

The Self-Serve Advantage: The survey also sheds light on the competitive landscape. While some self-serve car washes share locations with in-bay automatics, a healthy majority (60%) operate independently. This independence allows them to potentially offer lower prices and cater to a customer who prefers a DIY approach to car care.

Looking Forward: Expansion is on the horizon for many operators. While building a new location is an option, the majority (64%) are considering purchasing existing car washes. This trend suggests further consolidation within the industry.

Overall, the self-serve car wash industry is in a bright spot. With increasing revenue, planned investments, and a positive outlook, this segment of the car care industry is poised for continued success.

Are you looking for a feasibility study on self-service car wash? MMCG is a car wash feasibility study provider serving the whole US. Contact us today for an initial consultation, free of charge.


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