Blogs Real Estate

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Perfect Location for Your Car Wash

The old adage is true: The three most important things to consider when buying property are location, location, location. And this is especially true when starting a car wash. Choosing the perfect location is a make-or-break decision that can determine whether your business thrives or fails. In particular, it is important to consider who your retail neighbors are and how they can help drive business to your location.

First, Consider the Big Picture

When weighing the decision on which city or town to locate your car wash, you need to begin by looking at the big picture. In general, the more vehicles that pass by your location, the greater your chances of bringing in new and repeat customers. Gathering traffic data from local or state government agencies for each of your potential locations can provide great insight into commuter flow. You’ll also need to research local zoning laws and regulations to determine if any operating restrictions may apply to car wash businesses. Consider property taxes as well and what municipal services are provided. Next, look at the demographics of the people who live and work nearby. A slightly older or upscale population with a higher-than-average income is more likely to make car care a higher priority. Finally, you’ll want to select an area that has strong growth potential.

Next, Take a Look at Your Retail Neighbors

Once you’ve selected an area for your car wash, it’s time to look at specific locations and the retail businesses surrounding each site. Each type of location comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Neighborhood/Convenience Site – These are the kind of locations that people frequently visit as part of their daily routine or to pick up items on the way home. But that means there may be less traffic during certain times of the day, and drivers may have more of the “get in, get out” mentality that comes with running errands.
  • Lifestyle/Power Center – These areas typically see less daytime traffic, so consumers are more likely to visit the location while out and about during the day. However, these areas are often eschewed during high traffic hours.
  • Regional Mall – Unfortunately, many malls are not the thriving attractions they once were, so today’s shoppers may not readily seek these areas out. Yet, if the mall is successful or undergoing a rebranding that will increase its popularity, this can be a great location since consumer traffic will be on the rise.
  • Highway Convenience – Commuters must contend with congested traffic, short tempers, and often, long, grueling commutes. Highway locations that are difficult to get in to or out of discourage patronage, while sites offering easy off, easy on access to hectic highways are exceedingly convenient for busy travelers.
  • Urban In-Fill – During the normal workday, countless businesspeople employed within urban centers consider these locations as a time-efficient way to get a quick car wash during lunch, or on their way in to or on their way home from the office. Unfortunately, car washes located in these areas may not be highly visible to those unfamiliar with the area, while urban traffic patterns add an additional challenge. Further, a location within the city may translate to slow evenings and weekends.

Finally, Choose the Right Partner

Weighing all the factors involved with selecting the perfect location for your car wash can be a challenge, so the most important thing you can do is choose a partner who can help guide you through the process. The Iron Fox crew of car wash specialists consists of advisory and technical teams with the experience and expertise in retail real estate site selection, accurate proprietary volume estimation tools, project development, and overall operational management. In addition, we maintain a professional network of architects, engineers, real estate brokers, and car wash savvy lenders to support your car wash endeavor. With Iron Fox, you’re never alone. From site selection to opening day, through the entire life cycle of your car wash business, we’ll be your trusted partner to help guide you every step of the way.

To find out more, visit

Leave a Reply