A car wash can be a lucrative business. But here’s the thing—it is not a business you can enter lightly. If you are looking to start up a company on a shoestring, you will need to find a different profession. Constructing a car wash building and incorporating all the equipment and features it needs to work is not cheap. In this guide, we discuss the costs in detail.

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How Much Does it Cost to Build a Car Wash?

We have seen a huge range for the cost estimated to build a car wash. On the lower end, we have seen prices estimated at around $50,000 to $150,000. At the upper end, we have seen costs above $2 million. Many cost estimates fall somewhere in between (i.e. around 1- 2 million).

We are pretty sure in cases where we see $50,000-$150,000, someone is just listing the actual cost for the car wash building itself and nothing else.

This is not the full list of all the costs associated with building and opening a car wash facility. You will also need the water treatment, vacuum, hvac systems, etc… You can easily see how the costs easily can end up exceeding $1 million when you add them all together.

Key Point: You will typically spend between $350,000 and $500,000 constructing a complete car wash business. The kit itself is only about 1/3rd of those launch costs.

Factors to Consider

Now that we have gone over the basic cost ranges for constructing a car wash building, let’s delve into some of the factors that can impact the pricing.

1. Size

The larger the building you construct for your car wash, the more it will cost. The good news, however, is that the cost per square foot tends to decrease when building larger structures, so they are more cost-efficient in some respects.

Should you build a larger car wash? It is often a good idea. It may stand out more from the road, drawing more customers. It also gives you the opportunity to offer additional services.

2. Materials

Both the types and quality of materials that go into building a car wash can have an impact on the cost to build the structure.

While there are a few different options, a metal car wash building can be a great choice. In particular, we recommend going with a steel structure. This is a very strong material that can handle all kinds of weather. It is also fireproof and not susceptible to pest damage like wood is.

The maintenance required to keep it in great condition is minimal, allowing you to save money in the long run and focus on running your business without unnecessary downtime.

3. Features

There are a lot of features and options for customizing a car wash building. For example, you might decide to include a room for equipment, choose a special finish, or add extra doors, etc.

The more elaborate the features you choose for your car wash, the more expensive it will be to build. That said, it can be worth it to pay more for features that will help your car wash stand out, and/or make it easier to work there.

At the same time, there is no need to go overboard buying features you do not need. With thoughtful decisions, you cansave tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the options you choose for your facility. For that reason, you may need to spend extra time on the planning stage before you commission a metal building company or choose a kit for your car wash structure.

4. Company

Different metal building kit companies offer different pricing for comparable structures. For that reason, it is wise to request custom quotes from a few different manufacturers. That way, you can be sure you are getting the best deal for your money.

Keep in mind that there may be good reasons for higher pricing with some companies, i.e. higher quality materials or additional features that you want or need. That means that the lowest price is not necessarily the best price. Your priority is to shop for value.

5. Labor

After your metal building kit is shipped to you, the prefabricated structure will require assembly at your site. That means you will need to contract someone to handle the labor.

The metal building kit manufacturer may be able to connect you with someone, or you can shop around for a contractor yourself. Prefabricated metal buildings are relatively easy to erect, so in some cases, there might even be aspects you can take care of on your own. Regardless, the cost of labor can vary quite a bit.

You will pay a lot less for the labor to assemble a prefab car wash building than you would to construct a traditional structure, however—so even if you pick a more “expensive” contractor, you should be in good shape here.

6. Equipment

Finally, as we explained earlier, a huge part of the cost to build a car wash facility is not the building itself, but everything that is needed inside in order to wash cars and other vehicles.

So, you are going to need to spend as much effort shopping around for great deals on equipment as you are going to spend on making sure you are building a cost-effective, high-quality structure.

Build Your Own Car Wash Now

If you have the financial resources to handle all of the costs that go into building a new car wash, go for it. It can be a rewarding business to operate. To get started, complete our simple form for our recommended companies to request a customized car wash building quote.

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