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Key Considerations when Designing a Car Wash Blog Image

Five Considerations When Designing a Car Wash

Americans have a love affair with (clean) cars. For most of us, our car, SUV or pick-up truck is the second-most expensive item (after a house) that we will purchase and maintaining that shiny investment on wheels is high on our weekend to-do list

While some enjoy pulling out a hose, wash mitt and soap to give their “baby” a customized shine, others opt for a quick, convenient trip to the local car wash.

As a commercial architect our designs serve many different purposes: hotels, restaurants, travel centers, and more, but our car wash segment has grown by 71% over the past 3 years!  As our experience in this market continues to grow, we have identified five key considerations that should be taken into account when designing a car wash.

According to the 2021 County Business Patterns program, there were 18,520 Car Washes with paid employees in the United States, 25.7% or 3,787 more than in 2012.

More than 8 million vehicles visit at car washing establishments each day!

Table of Car Wash Market Growth from 2020-2030


Location, Location, Location

One of the most critical factors to consider when designing a car wash is the location. A car wash should be situated in a high traffic area, easily accessible to customers. The location should also be visible from the road to attract passing traffic. The site should have enough space to accommodate vehicles and ensure that customers can easily maneuver their cars in and out of the facility. Other important factors to consider include the availability of water, drainage systems, and electricity.


The type and quality of equipment used in a car wash can significantly impact the success of the business. The equipment should be durable and designed to handle the volume of cars that will be washed. It is essential to invest in high-quality equipment that will not only provide efficient and effective cleaning but also reduce the risk of damage to vehicles. Some of the essential equipment needed for a car wash include pressure washers, vacuums, and water treatment systems.

Design and Layout

The design and layout of a car wash play a crucial role in attracting customers and ensuring their satisfaction. The design should be visually appealing and incorporate elements that make the facility stand out from competitors. The layout should also be user-friendly, with clear signage and easy-to-follow directions. It is important to ensure that the layout allows for a smooth flow of traffic, minimizing wait times for customers.


The success of a car wash also depends on the quality of the staff. The staff should be well-trained and knowledgeable about the equipment and cleaning processes. They should also be customer-oriented and able to handle customer inquiries and complaints. It is essential to hire staff who are reliable and have a strong work ethic. It is also important to have a clear system for managing employee schedules and ensuring that there is adequate staff coverage during peak periods.


Finally, robust marketing is essential to the success of any car wash business. It is important to develop a strong marketing strategy that effectively promotes the business to potential customers. This can include a combination of digital and traditional marketing methods, such as social media advertising, search engine optimization specifically focused on local search, and print advertisements. It is also important to maintain a strong online presence by optimizing your website for search engines and providing clear information about the services offered.

Designing a car wash that stands out in this competitive market requires careful consideration of several key factors including: location, equipment, design and layout, staffing, and marketing. By taking these factors into account and developing a well-thought-out plan, car wash owners can create a successful business that attracts and retains loyal customers.

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