Starting a Car Wash Business in Nigeria

Starting a Car Wash Business in Nigeria

A car wash business requires significant investment, good planning, and attention to detail in order to make the business profitable. With the right location, good marketing, and top-notch service, you can draw in numerous customers who need their cars washed quickly, efficiently, and at a good price. The business is not limited to a particular class of the society. Youths, graduates, unemployed, businessmen, women, investors etc. can start a car wash business and it is a viable venture.

Starting a car wash business involves:

  • Planning the car wash,
  • Opening the car wash,
  • Running your car wash venture.

Planning Your Car Wash

A successful car wash business begins with research and can easily be setup if detailed feasibility study is carefully carried out. It is a business that can be handled from one person up depending on how big you plan to start. You also need to be updated on every latest trends and technologies to acquire a better understanding of the industry.

  1. Research the car wash business:
  • Knowing the average car statistics in your area could help you predict success for your business.
  • Talk to car wash owners, car wash suppliers, and car wash equipment retailers. In order to understand the car wash business from all sides so you know what you are getting into.
  • Find out what the demographics are in your area.
  • Read business publications to find out what the newest materials and equipment are.
  1. Investigate your competitors (within a 5-kilometer radius):
  • What services do they offer?
  • What are their prices?
  • How do they market their business?
  • How often are customers using the services?

Take notes as you investigate the car washes because you may need to go back and review them as you make plans for your car wash. Also pay attention to the other businesses around the car washes. If a car wash has a high volume of customers, what are some of the factors that are contributing to this?

  1. Draw up a detailed business plan.
  • Market analysis demonstrates your knowledge of the car wash industry and the results of any market research and analysis that you have done. Who are your customers and what are their purchasing habits? What are the risks, strengths, and weaknesses involved with opening a car wash? What is your projected revenue based on the current market and future market trends?
  • Description about your car wash business and why you think it will be successful.
  • The organization and management: Detail the structure of your company, and the qualifications of your team.
  • The marketing and sales portion should clearly outline your marketing strategy. How will you get customers? What avenues will you use to reach them? What is your overall sales strategy?
  • The product or service: Outline exactly what services you will be offering. How does your car wash business fill a void in the market? Why would people want to use your car wash as opposed to other car washes?
  • The equity and funding section: Details exactly how much money you will need to start your business and what financial resources you are going to invest or have already invested in the business.
  • The financial information is very important and should be reviewed by an accountant or financial planner. Include your personal financial information, any existing businesses you have, projected income for three years, and certification that your information was reviewed by a 3rd party.

  1. 4. Investment capital:

You can finance your new car wash through bank financing, a SME loan, or through private investors.

  • A bank loan requires a loan-to-value ratio of 75%. You will need to come up with 25% of the fair market value and the bank will fund the other 75%. It will be harder for you to secure bank financing if you have never owned a business before.
  • The start up costs wash range from =N=500,000 to =N=5, 000,000 depending on size, location and type of equipment to be used.

You will also need to have some cash of your own saved up to secure financing from others. The best way to do this is by presenting your business plan to your potential investor and show how your idea can be a viable business.

  1. Location:

Deciding on a particular spot to cite the business is another step that requires careful consideration. Don’t locate the business out of sentiment as this might push you out of business. Get a place where there are lots of vehicular movements. Be easily and visible accessible from the road, allow for expansions and business growth, and have enough space for cars to line up.

  • Your sign is visible to drivers for at least 30 seconds. Ideally, traffic should travel past at no more than 50-60 km/h, so drivers have time to see your signage and make that split-second decision to have their cars washed.
  • Choose a venue large enough to accommodate wash, vacuum and drying areas, and the office.
  • Check state regulations, if you need a special permit, obtain it before you buy or lease your venue.


Opening your car wash

  1. Get the necessary permits and licenses:

After deciding on your location, the next step is to get needed approval from authorities where the business falls. The authorities (State EPA) must confirm such area has good drainage and gutter so that dirty water won’t flood the road.

  • In addition to a business license, you will need a federal tax identification number and possibly a value added tax license, and income tax withholding.
  • Insurance requirements for your car wash business.

Once you get all of the necessary permits and licenses, keep track of your renewal dates and make a copy for your business records.

  1. Materials and Equipment.
  2. Water system (Borehole and Tanks): water is the livewire of any car wash business.
  • Borehole or well –Take every effort to sink a borehole or dig a well. Make sure the well is treated on a regular basis to give clean water suitable for vehicles.
  • Overhead Tanks – the tanks would be strategically placed to store water for any period when there is none available.
  1. The equipment you buy will depend on the type of car wash you have decided to open and the services you offer.
  • Buckets
  • Brushes,
  • Towels,
  • Vacuums and blowers,
  • Compressor and pumps,
  • Chemicals (e.g. cleaning solutions, wax, spot free rinses, protectants, etc.)

Make sure the retailer/distributor of your equipment is available to service your equipment when needed. Equipment usually lasts for between 8 to 10 years.

  1. Power – you can generate electricity by using a medium size generator. You need it to power the compressor, pumps and also the borehole to produce water as at when due. You also need power to illuminate your surroundings when it’s getting dark.
  2. Market your business:

Use a multifaceted approach to advertise your business that includes flyers, posters, radio ads and an online presence. The signage for your car wash should be colorful with clear messaging. Make sure that people can easily see it from the road. Also, develop relationships with other small businesses located near your car wash.

  • Social media is an important aspect of marketing these days. Set up a website and establish a presence on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure any of the paper items that you have include links to your social media account.
  • Consider starting a loyalty program. This will encourage repeat customers instead of people who use your car wash service one time and never return.
  1. Hiring employees:

A car wash business is very customer-focused. Your employees should be

  • Punctual,
  • Efficient,
  • Skilled,
  • Excellent communication skills.

As you conduct interviews, pay attention to body language and communication skills to get an idea of how the person will interact with coworkers and customers – since you need lots of humility and self-restraint when dealing with customers. Some of your customers might have gone through some tortuous moment in traffic; they are ready to flare up at the slightest provocation. Treat your customers well and you’ll have constant supply of cash.

  1. Open your car wash.

Last have a soft opening of your car wash, think of it as a party and social event to generate publicity.

  • Invite friends and neighboring businesses
  • Give away free car washes and promotional items.

Running A Profitable Business

  • Add services.

Many car washes have combined other services and businesses with their car wash to increase revenue. Additional services will make your car wash more attractive to customers and help your car wash stand out from the crowd. Restaurant, pepper soup joint, a barbershop, or even an enhanced waiting area (e.g. cable television, free soft drink, comfortable place to sit, etc.) are possible additions. Ask yourself some questions before you invest in an add on service

  • Do I have enough space or will I need additional space?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What will be the return on my investment?
  • Will people buy this service?

  • Offer express detailing services.

Express detailing services are services (e.g. wax, sealant, carpet shampoo) that can be done in 30 minutes or less and are done to maintain the appearance of your customer’s vehicle. Because you already have the space and equipment, you can offer these services at a lower price than a freestanding detail shop. It is also more convenient for your customers to have their car washed and detailed at one location.

  • It is important that you complete the detailing portion of your services is completed quickly. The speed and low cost of the service make it attractive to your customers.
  • Make sure that you advertise your detailing services to your customers.
  • Check the prices of other car washes in your area that offer these services so that you can be competitive.
  • Use text messages to contact customers.

Text marketing is a low cost, effective way to market your business to your customers. Your customers will redeem mobile coupons at a much higher rate than printed coupons. Even if a customer does not use a coupon, you are still building your brand and making your business known.

  • Choose a keyword (e.g. water, wash, clean) and advertise by saying, “Text water to 12345 to get special discounts, specials, or coupons.” You could also say “Text 12345 to get =N=150 off your next car wash.”
  • It only costs =N=4.00 to send a text message.
  • Text your customers once a month with a special message.


  • Plan regular specials during off-peak hours to keep customers coming back.
  • Many of your customers will be local, so be sure to focus your marketing campaigns on your immediate area and be kind to others.
  • Keep all the equipment in your car wash well maintained; including any on-site laundry facilities used for towels in hand dry services.
  • Check out car wash business associations for information on this industry.




The start plan of the proposed business “Goodwill car wash” comprises the following;


The business will be located at an area that has been carefully sited by the entrepreneur. It is an area of land where a spot facility for basketball, lawn tennis and swimming pool that has been abandoned for almost a decade is located. The entrepreneur seizes this opportunity to re-establish the place and use it for the said business.


 The business seems to be capital intensive, so the entrepreneur seeks to employ the effort of investors and finance bodies. The business is to be established on a partnership deed.


The entrepreneur is set to approach corporate persons to fund and invest their money in the business. The persons are going to determine their expected return. The partners are going to contribute money to acquire the fixed asset and current asset of the business. The entrepreneur also intends to finance the business with the help of finance institutions such as Bank of Industries and L A P O (Live Above Poverty Organization), Benin City.


The car wash and relaxation spot business is going to be registered under the corporate affairs commission (CAC) in compliance with guiding of the companies and allied matters Act of 1990, on the 27th of October, 2016. It is going to be registered as a business enterprise operating under a partnership deed.


The entrepreneur has taken time and effort to consult individuals who will be helpful to the successful implementation of the said business. Raise funds and receive dividends from the business.


The area to be used for the proposed car wash is an abandoned sport facility located at ihama road, GRA, the area is a residential area and it is full of luxury hotel bars and event center. The entrepreneur sees the place as a place where the business would be located and plans to pay for lease annually (guaranteed for ten years), after which there will be a review for another ten-year lease.


The entrepreneur is planning a promotional sale to begin the proposed car wash business, which will also advertise the car wash business. When a customer washes his car /bus/jeep, internal and external wash, he or she qualifies for a raffle ticket. When a customer spends more than =N=3000 (three thousand naira) to wash his vehicle, he is entitled to a raffle ticket.

The entrepreneur will contact the business CEOs of the companies listed below and discuss with them with the intention of help from them in cash or kind.

  • LAPO Microfinance, Dawson road, Benin city
  • Light Way Nigeria LTD, dealers of tile, 20, new Lagos road, Benin city
  • Omegatron phone plaza, dealers of all types of phone, laptops and accessories, 47 Airport road, Benin city
  • Cutz – 10, Barber shop, 105,sapele road, Benin city
  • Fortune hairdressing salon, 120,sapele road, Benin city
  • Midway Electricals and appliances, 25 Akpapava road, Benin city
  • Okonkwo Enterprises, dealer of all kinds of grains, 27, Lagos street Benin city
  • Openness Textile shop, Oba market road, Benin City.

The businessmen offered to sponsor the raffle draw, offer cash prizes and goods to qualify winners of the raffle draw. This in turn will be a good opportunity for these dealers to advertise their products or goods to the public using this medium.


  • To provide quality vehicle cleaning service to our esteemed customers.
  • To ensure customer protection


  • To be the car wash and talk of the town
  • To maximize profit and gains for the business
  • To offer car wash services that they can seldom find elsewhere
  • Employee satisfaction
  • To engage in expansion, upgrading and diversification


  • Increase in yearly sales by at least 50%
  • Increase in yearly profit by at least 50%
  • To maximize profit
  • To have at least 500 steady customers
  • To provide service to customer’s taste, matching price with quality service
  • To ensure quality entertainment service
  • To ensure employee satisfaction
  • To ensure customer satisfaction


  • Re-establishment of the business premises
  • Embarking on start-up promotional activities and reduction in price during public holidays and festive periods.
  • Advertisement and publicity through handballs, souvenirs, raffle draw competition, sharing of flyers to newspaper vendors, sign posts and sign board, sticker shared to commercial /private driver, business operators and school.
  • Painting of the venue with attractive colours.
  • Providing good waiting conditions: cable net subscription, good relaxation facilities and good ventilation
  • Recruitment of security guards
  • Creating a healthy and conducive environment
  • Recruitment of operational staffs


The entrepreneur intends to use a land sited at Ihama road, in GRA, Benin City. This is an abandoned property that was previously used as a sports center. It has a sport facility for basketball and lawn tennis court. The entrepreneur intends to pay for the landed property on lease cost annually with a 10-year lease agreement.


The entrepreneur intends to re-establish the proposed premise site into a car wash. Since this premise was formerly a sport premise, some engineering and technical work will need to be carried out to achieve the objective of re-innovation.


This include drawing a building plan for the re-innovation of the of the business premises. The work will require the skill of a building project manager, materials, supervision, skilled and semi-skilled workers to achieve the task. By implication the work will include;

  1. Renovating the security post and generator house,
  2. Renovation of the existing building for office, store and convenience,
  • Building of shield for cash wash staff,
  1. Other technical works i.e. industrial cleaning, borehole reactivation and flushing, welding and installation of tank stand and overhead,
  2. Supervision,
  3. Miscellaneous.


The car wash is presumed to offer car-cleaning service to customers at an affordable price. Goodwill car wash will position itself as the premier handcar wash that will serve the GRA area. Other services intended to offer at the customer-waiting hall (relaxation spot) include a variety of entertainment services – TV set, sound system, cold water and drinks for sale.

The services to be offered will be printed on a notice board for customers to view as well as the prices for each vehicle cleaning operation.

We intend to deploy the services of car wash boys and an operational manager to manage the car wash department. A soft waiting-relaxation spot will cater for customers waiting for their cars to be washed.


Our proposed car wash will offer the following services;

  1. Washing of cars, bus, jeeps, and vans.
  2. External washing, which includes; body wash, chassis wash.
  • Internal washing which include; rug wash, carpet wash, upholstery wash, perfuming after internal wash.
  1. Engine wash (steam wash), full engine wash, radiator flush.

Accordingly saloon cars, buses, jeeps, big jeeps, van, small and big all have categorized price.


A:        Saloon Cars



Estimated no per day Estimated sale per day Estimated sale per month Estimated sale per year
External cleaning 500 20 10,000 220,000 2,640,000
Internal cleaning 350 8 2,800 61,600 739,200
Internal/external 800 12 9,600 200,000 2,400,000
Full engine wash 1,200 5 6,000 130,000 1,560,000
Radiator flush 400 2 800 18,000 180,000
      29,200 690,000 7,519,200

B:        Small Bus and Jeep



Estimated no per day Estimated sale per day Estimated sale per month Estimated sale per year
External cleaning 600 15 9,000 180,000 2,160,000
Internal cleaning 350 7 2,450 53,900 1,185,800
Internal/external 900 20 18,000 350,000 4,200,000
Full engine wash 1,300 10 13,000 286,000 3,432,000
Radiator flush 500 2 1,000 10,000 120,000
  43,000 879,000 11,097,80

C:        Large Bus and Big Jeep



Estimated no per day Estimated sale per day Estimated sale per month Estimated sale per year
External cleaning 800 10 8,000 176,000 2,112,000
Internal cleaning 350 1 350 7,500 90,000
Internal/external 1,100 21 23,100 508,200 6,098,400
Full engine wash 1,500 5 7,500 120,000 1,440,000
Radiator flush 800 1 800 9,600 115,200
Rug cleaning only 350 15 6,300 75,000 900,000
Upholstery cleaning only 200 3 400 4,800 35,000
Chassis wash only 400 10 4,000 85,000 1,020,000
  50,450 986,100 11,810,600


In every business, there are ups and downs i.e. sales will boom in a certain period while in some periods it will be slow especially during the raining season; but in few cases car wash may boom in the raining season where roads are muddy. However the case we intend to employ a market strategy to maintain a steady patronage of customers that will enjoy our service rendering through our unique package. They can seldom find anywhere else with our service.


  • Service of experienced personnel
  • Customer security assurance
  • Sales of quality services
  • Cable TV subscription and quality visuals
  • Quality sound system
  • Safety and security
  • Improved customer service behaviour
  • Incentive to customers such as;
  1. Yearly promotion services and bonanza
  • Best patronizing customer prize
  • Best cooperate dressed customer prize
  • Best traditional attire customer prize
  • Best luxury car customer prize

Other consolation souvenirs on which our logo will be placed or printed

  1. Raffle draws on public holiday and festive periods
  2. End of month and quarterly sales bonanza.

This will be done to ensure we meet our objectives, keeping our customer glued to our business outfit.  We intend to organize three shops for business owners that will customers to become aware of our car wash; such business owners we intend to allow are;

  • A barbing saloon
  • A hair dressing and Beauty salon; and
  • A laundry service business.


For our advert, we intend to employ some advert strategy that will be less costly to administer. Television advert, newspaper advert seem to be expensive for a startup, so the strategy we intend to use include the following;

  • Radio advert in a programme that has a lot of followership this can be done for three to four weeks. Monday to Friday
  • Sign board advertisement
  • Fliers shared to passerby and to newspaper vendors
  • Posters on strategic locations in the city
  • Promotion and sales bonanza where customers will be given raffle ticket for patronizing us.

And it is scheduled to commence from our opening date, for the first three weeks of operation, after which there will be a raffle draw where prizes will be won.

This will further help to advertise the business and hence help to meet our target and objectives.


The proposed business is a small-scale firm; however, it will recruit a few staff for the day-to-day operation of the business. The following are staff with their designation, numbers, assignment, their function and qualifications.


The entrepreneur of the business will hold this position


The entrepreneur is a holder of a B.Sc. certification in Economics and Management from a recognized tertiary institution.

SALARY          =N=35,000


  • To oversee the business operation in the venue
  • Disbursement of cash to the bank
  • Organizing and controlling of resources
  • Financial supervision
  • Signing of wages and salary bill
  • Other necessary function
  • Book keeping and keeping of files


Certificate in computer engineering and networking (with training skills) and at least a years working experience in the field.

SALARY          =N=25,000


  • To monitor the movement of persons, customers and staff in the venue.
  • Detect and report security threat to management and the police.
  • Environmental safety function.
  • Monitor transaction activities
  • Other necessary duties



At least an OND in any field of study

SALARY          =N=25,000


  • Adequate book keeping of transactions
  • Organizing and controlling
  • Preparing wages and salary bill
  • Report unpleasant practice for disciplinary action
  • Disbursement of cash to the bank
  • Reimbursement of cash from the bank
  • Other necessary function



           At least an SSCE holder can apply

            SALARY        =N=15, 000


  • To be responsible for book keeping
  • Accepting payment from customers
  • Disbursement and re-imbursement of cash
  • Payment of salaries and wages to staff
  • Other necessary function


The security guards are going to be three personnel to guard the area. They are to run two shifts, day and night respectively.

            SALARY     =N=15,000 – =N=25,000 respectively based on their qualification


  • Safe guard the facility
  • Safe guard life and environment
  • Report any security threat to the administration or police for necessary action
  • Directing car owner on how to park their cars in a proper manner
  • Ensure security of customers car
  • Switching on of security lamps
  • Other necessary function


6          CAR WASH MEN

These personnel are expected to clean cars for customers. However in terms of numbers, the entrepreneur is not certain as to the amount of wash men needed to wash cars, it depends on how busy the car wash is.


Earn as you wash. This is based on the number of vehicles they wash. The entrepreneur intends to pay the car wash boys 200 -300 hundred naira for each vehicle washed, but this is also subject to negotiation before he finally agrees on a prize. They will be entitled to free lunch and supper especially on weekends, booming sales, public holiday, and festive periods to motivate them. As well as extra allowance, based on the discretionary of the administration.



Designation Number Amount per head Monthly pay Annual pay
GM (Administrator) 1 35,000   35,000    420,000
Server Administrator 1 30,000   30,000    360,000
Operations manager 1 25,000   25,000    300,000
Security guard 1 1 20,000   20,000    240,000
Security guard 2 1 18,000   18,000    216,000
Security guard 3 1 15,000 15,000 180,000
Financial secretary 1 15,000   15,000    180,000
Total     158,000 1,896,000

The organization intends to remunerate the staff it will   recruit into the following positions and thus their monthly pay is presumed as follows;

The General Manager and operations manager are going to be given targets. If they meet their targets they are going to be entitled to bonuses. The target are quarterly and yearly targets. If the car wash does not make profit at all they may lose 25% of their salary.

The server administrator is going to be given targets and is entitled to semi – annual and annual bonuses.


        REQUIREMENT                                                                   AMOUNT (=N=)

  • Giant tarpaulin                                                                   120,000
  • Buckets                                                                                  5,000
  • Brushes & towels                                                                   5,000
  • Hose                                                                                      8,000
  • Water pressure machine                                                      95,000
  • Stand by generator                                                              85,000
  • Gee pee tanks                                                                    120,000
  • CCTV system /installation                                                    85,000
  • Computers                                                                         100,000
  • Fire extinguishers                                                                20,000
  • Furniture /fitting                                                               150,000
  • Television set                                                                      80,000
  • Cable TV + subscription                                                     10,000
  • Sound system                                                                     30,000
  • Fans                                                                                    20,000
  • Sanitary tools                                                                       5,000
  • Fridge                                                                                75,000
  • Bar accessories                                                                   2,000
  • Refuse bin /drum                                                               3,500
  • Miscellaneous                                                                  10,000


Fueling 5,000 60,000
Pre-paid electricity 6,000 72,000
Wages/Bonuses 200,000 2,400,000
Salaries 158,000 1,896,000

(Soap, wax, protectants etc.)





Taxation   150,000
Adverts /promotions   100,000
Maintenance /repairs   10,000
Transportation 2,500 30,000
Overtime /allowance   50,000
Employee incentive    
Utilities 3,500 40,000
Insurance 10,000
Donations to charity   20,000
Bank charges 1,200 12,000
Interest payable
Bank overdrafts 18,500 200,000
  414,700 5,290,000



                        Amount    (=N=)
Renovation 700,000
Incorporation 150,000
Lease 100,000
Consultation 25,000
Fixed asset 1,028,500
Adverts /promotion 100,000
Contingencies 50,000
Running Cost (2 Months) 829,400

The business is capital intensive to setup, the entrepreneur intends to employ the effort of investors to partner the said business and earn dividends in return for their contributions. By implication, the goodwill car wash and relaxation spot is to be based on a partnership agreement, written, signed, stamped and documented.


Investor                      Amount    (=N=)
Entrepreneur 750,000
LAPO Micro finance 750,000
Light way Nigeria LTD 750,000
Okonkwo enterprises 750,000


There will be a partnership deed for the business but before then the following agreement shall apply as follows:

  • Partners are to contribute equal amount of money to the commencement of the business.
  • Partners are liable to the profit and gain of the business.
  • Partners are liable to bear the loss of the business i. e. if the businesses incur loss they bear the loss, no dividend will be shared.
  • Partners will not be entitled to interest, additional capital contributed before ascertaining profit.
  • Partners will be charged 5% of interest on drawings of capital contributed.
  • Partners will be given 5% of interest on additional capital contributed during the course of the business.
  • There will be a 5% profit retention ratio for reserve.


Businesses are expected to generate profit for owners. But in some cases /season a business may experience recession. In the light of this preparations are on ground cater for this. The business planner had decided that during period of sales boom, money would be set aside for reserve and re-investment.

Alternatively, when the business is experiencing a recession beyond limitable extreme, wages and salaries will cut down, including allowance and administrative overhead to keep the business in operation.

The amount of money set-aside during the sales boom will be transferred into a CONTIGENCY FUND and will be used to finance the operation of the business when it is experiencing a short fall in revenue generation.


When the amount of money set aside during the sales boom of the business, to supplement expenses and operation while patronage is low, and cannot meet the amount required to keep the business while business is experiencing recession the business will be temporally shut down to avoid running into excessive debts.

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