7 Pricing Strategies for Your Car Wash Business [+BONUS VIDEO] - DetailXPerts Franchise (2023)

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to pricing strategies in the car wash business, mostly because the business world never sleeps. It is constantly evolving, reflecting the mood of the market and recognizing consumer trends. Pricing strategies reflect change, circumstances and competition. The age and stage of your car wash business and your ultimate goals will also shape and form pricing strategies. For example, if you are a startup, lower prices may help your car wash services to penetrate the market, whereas an established business may set pricing at a premium. Take a closer look at the different pricing strategies to find out how and when to use them in order to future-proof your business:

Different Pricing Strategies for Your Car Wash Business

1. Set Lower Prices for Market Penetration

If your goal is to attract customers to your new car wash business, grab their attention with special introductory offers. People take notice of great products and services at an affordable price. Note, affordable or “lower” prices do not mean under-priced or prohibitively cheap (never undermine the value of your services). To get your car wash off to a great start, be transparent about pricing strategies and be clear about what you are offering. For example:

  • Set a time limit. Make it clear that the lower prices are for the short term only.
  • Remind customers that services or products offered at a lower introductory price will be sold at a higher price later. It highlights the value of the discount while subtly reminding customers that “lower” is not forever.
  • If you succeed in attracting new customers, don’t lose them. Encourage customers to share contact/email details so you can inform them of special prices and offers as and when you run marketing campaigns in the future.

Be realistic about your car wash prices. If you go in too low for too long, you will lose money. You may also risk losing customers to the competition when you raise prices at a later date.

2. Check out Competitive Pricing Strategies

As you move past initial introductory pricing strategies and settle into the running of your car wash business, competitive pricing strategies are an option – you set your prices based on what the other car washes in town are charging. If you charge the same as them, you don’t have to overthink your pricing. This allows you to focus on growing your business while working on ongoing marketing and pricing strategies to increase profit margins. There are other competition-based pricing options, too:

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  • Tempt the customer with a bargain – set a price below your competitors.
  • Impress the customer with a high-end quality car wash package – set a price above your competitors.

Competitive pricing has its pros and cons. You don’t want to hurt your bottom line by pricing too low and you don’t want to lose customers by pricing too high. Matching competitors’ prices might seem the simple solution but it doesn’t give you the edge or make you different in the long-term. Ultimately, you want to find out ways to make your business stand out from the competition. Read about “Value-Based Pricing”, below.

3. Pay Attention to Cost-Plus Pricing

As you work out how to set prices for auto detailing, never lose sight of your costs. Once you have a firm handle on what you are spending, you can add a mark-up to determine prices for your car wash services. Cost-based pricing (sometimes referred to as mark-up pricing) is a fairly straightforward pricing strategy, providing you do your sums correctly. However, be aware that fluctuating costs can impact your profit margin. Fixed and variable costs include:

  • Employee salaries
  • Overheads including rent and electricity
  • Types of insurance for your car wash
  • Cleaning products, waxes, protective clothing, etc.

If you decide to open another car wash in a different location, cost-plus pricing is a good way to settle into a new market and familiarize yourself with customer demand and what people are prepared to pay in this location. Once you get a better idea of your target market, you can think ahead to more value-based pricing. When it comes to pricing, nothing is ever set in stone. If sales slump because pricing strategies are not working, change them.

4. Create Value-Based Pricing with Added Services

If your goal is to charge higher prices as you grow your business, create car wash packages that really stand out. Research your target market to find out what your customer is willing to pay. Bring that little extra to your products and services to convince the customer that they are getting good value for money and something unique. This can be achieved by offering value-added services, such as:

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  • Engine steam cleaning
  • Interior steam cleaning
  • Odor removal
  • Tire detailing
  • Specialist paint protection
  • Eco-friendly products

If you wow the customer with extra services at fair and reasonable prices while showing off your detailing skills, this will make your business more attractive. Create unique car wash packages. Add-on services are a great way to boost auto detailing revenue while also strengthening your brand.

5. Explore Tiered Pricing Strategies as You Grow Your Business

Whether you are working out profit margins for your car wash business or exploring pricing strategies for a truck wash business, be mindful that customers like options. Tiered pricing allows your customer to choose between different versions of your car or truck wash services to suit their requirements and budget. For example, different detailing packages can range from a quick exterior wash to a luxury exterior and interior detail.

If you own a truck wash business, you also have the option of charging per square foot for an exterior wash. However, set prices will keep it simple for the customer, especially when it comes to interior cleaning where there are extras to consider, such as stain removal, air sanitation etc. A set price means no hidden costs or extra calculations. As you set up your tiered pricing, make sure you:

  • Don’t confuse the customer with too many options – ideally, stick to 3 or 4 car wash packages.
  • Clearly outline what each package includes – make sure the customer knows exactly what they are paying for.
  • Give an idea of time – how long does each car wash service take? It gives the customer a perception of value. For example, higher prices are justified if the professional detailer has spent much longer on the job.

Encourage and listen to feedback from your customers. Observe which car wash package price is the most popular. If your goal is volume of sales with a quick car wash, then focus on promoting the lower end of your tiered pricing packages. If you want to expand the luxury interior detailing side of the business, work out how much customers are willing to pay at the top end of your tiered pricing strategies.

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6. Reward Customers with Discount Pricing Strategies

If your goal is to improve customer loyalty, then you might want to treat your regular customers to an occasional discount on detailing services. It is a show of thoughtfulness and appreciation, which is important when connecting with customers on a more personal level. Special discounts or rewards could include:

  • Money off car wash gift cards
  • Complimentary detailing service upgrade
  • 10% discount off a car wash package

Also, you can use discounts to mark milestones and celebrate your car wash success, whether it is one, five, or ten years and more in business. Share the moment with loyal customers who have supported you along the way. Pricing strategies like this make the customer feel special, encouraging them to feel connected to your brand and a part of your success story.

7. Pricing at a Premium for an Established Car Wash

If your goal is to be recognized as a high-end or luxury car wash business, then go the extra mile with the services you offer. As your car wash goes from strength to strength, you can look to raising your prices. Strong brand awareness and customer loyalty are key to successful premium pricing strategies. These factors enable you to focus on the “perceived” value of your car wash services, not just cost-based pricing. Pricing at a premium, however, only works if you continue to run your business at the highest standard. For example:

  • Provide excellent customer service.
  • Share your knowledge and expertise with the customer; this helps to define the value of your car wash packages.
  • Create a brand for your car wash business that makes a strong connection with your customers.
  • Offer bespoke detailing services that are not readily available elsewhere.

If you continue to impress your target market with a premium service, such as a range of high-end car wash packages that have the edge over competitors, customers are more likely and willing to pay higher prices.

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Here is how Terry Cleveland, a DetailXPerts franchise owner in St. Petersburg, FL, plans to maximize on the uniqueness of his service in 2020, as this pricing strategy commands:

Overall, there are several different pricing strategies to consider and no doubt you will experiment with different ones as you grow your business. The key is to create the right balance for your business and your customers. If you focus on offering your customers the best possible car wash around, your pricing strategies should fall into place.

If you are keen to explore new business opportunities, check out the DetailXPerts car wash business opportunity. We help our franchisees set their prices, too, as well as providing ongoing training and support.

(Video) DetailXPerts: Automobile Detailing Is What We Do – And We Do It Best!

Don’t forget to follow DetailXPerts’ LinkedIn page for more business and franchise news and updates. We enjoy hearing your thoughts and feedback on the latest conversations.


What is a SWOT analysis for a car wash? ›

According to brw.com, a SWOT analysis identifies a company's value in the community, as well as how a carwash is different from its competition. It helps owners formulate goals and objectives.

How do you attract customers to your car wash? ›

5 Tips to Attract More Car Wash Customers
  1. Use the Internet and Social Media. ...
  2. Implement a Frequent Buyer Program. ...
  3. Host a Fundraising Event. ...
  4. Make up Contests and Giveaways. ...
  5. Offer a Referral Program to Your Car Wash Customers.
Jan 22, 2013

How do I start my own car wash business plan? ›

How to Start a Carwash: 5 business plan writing tips
  1. An executive summary.
  2. A company description.
  3. A market analysis.
  4. An organization and management breakdown.
  5. A description of the service or product line.
  6. An overview of your marketing strategy, a request for funding (if applicable)
Apr 14, 2016

How can I make my car wash more profitable? ›

5 Secrets to Generating More Revenue at Your Car Wash
  1. Carefully calculate the base wash price. There is an exact operator cost for a single car wash. ...
  2. Price car washes for the area you serve. ...
  3. Add features to enhance the wash. ...
  4. Turn an errand into an experience. ...
  5. Incentivize customers to purchase a membership.
Mar 13, 2020

What are the disadvantages of car wash business? ›

Owning a car wash involves more than washing clients' vehicles or buying a turnkey operation. One of the greatest disadvantages to owning a car wash is the complexity of this type of business and how expensive it can be to repair specialized car wash equipment when pieces break.

Do a SWOT analysis before you start a car detailing business? ›

Do a SWOT Analysis Before You Start a Car Detailing Business. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis is a way for you to understand your own strengths and weaknesses within your company alongside external opportunities and risks.

How can I get clients fast? ›

How to Get Clients
  1. 1) Find clients through your workplace.
  2. 2) Find clients through business organizations.
  3. 3) Tell friends and family you'd like more clients.
  4. 4) Advertise for clients.
  5. 5) Get clients through your personal activities.
  6. 6) Get clients through referrals.
  7. 7) Get clients through social media.
Jun 25, 2019

What makes a good car wash? ›

The Best Car Wash

If you look to minimize impact on the environment, soft-touch may be your best choice. If you want the least wear on your finish, touchless may be for you. If you want the car to shine like new and desire detailing service options, look for a hand wash.

How much does it cost to start a car wash? ›

Carwash Build Construction Costs Summary
Cost ComponentLower EndBase Costs
Planning & Permitting$75,000$175,000
TOTAL - KNOWN QUANTITIES$2,045,000$3,110,000
Consulting and Other Third Parties$0$250,000
Real Estate and Land Costs$500,000$1,250,000
15 more rows
Feb 22, 2022

Is a car wash a good investment? ›

Opening a car wash at your store may not seem like a profitable business venture at first, but a car wash can turn out to be a great investment. Whether you want to stay competitive, need extra income or are looking to attract new customers, a car wash is a great opportunity you don't want to miss.

What type of car wash is most profitable? ›

Full-Service Car Wash

It's the most costly among car wash types, but it also can earn the highest profit. The average charge for this car wash is $15, which is also more than double the cost of an in-bay automatic car wash.

How much does it cost to invest in a car wash? ›

Easy Investment

Typically, car wash investors spend about $2-4 million in capital with the biggest variance being in real estate costs. Fortunately, you have options for getting your startup capital.

How do you manage a hand car wash business? ›

How to Open a Hand Car Wash and Detailing Business
  1. Plan Your Business Concept. Decide on a business concept. ...
  2. Prepare a Business Plan. Write a business plan. ...
  3. Find a Location. ...
  4. Research and Purchase Supplies. ...
  5. Obtain Liability Insurance. ...
  6. Find Your Customers. ...
  7. Build Fleet Business.
Mar 3, 2019

What is the advantages for a car wash business? ›

One of the greatest benefits of owning a car wash business is that you are your own boss. You will have the freedom of making and implementing your decisions without having to seek permission from another person. In the car wash business, the individuals you work for are your clients and not your employers.

Why is it important to car wash? ›

Your car comes into contact with a lot of debris: dirt, bugs, bird droppings, salt and grime. If left untreated, these deposits could eventually eat away at the finish and paint, damaging the metal beneath. A run through the car wash will eliminate these deposits.

Is it good to wash a car everyday? ›

While washing your car improperly can damage it, washing it as often as you'd like won't hurt your vehicle, even if you do it every week. Keep in mind, however, that if you wax your car you may need to reapply that wax after each wash depending on how well it holds up.

How do you do a full car detail? ›

Car Detailing 101: How To Detail Like A Professional - YouTube

What tools do I need to start a car detailing business? ›

Top 10 Auto Detailing Essentials
  • Buckets. ...
  • Car wash hand mitt. ...
  • Applicators and brushes. ...
  • Foam cannon. ...
  • LED auto detailing light. ...
  • Vacuum and blower. ...
  • Plastic razor blades. ...
  • Drying tools.

What is a good name for a detailing business? ›

20 More Auto Detailing Business Name Ideas
  • Immaculate Detailing.
  • Classy Auto Detailing.
  • Polished Look Auto Detailing.
  • Detailed-Oriented Car Care.
  • Shine and Sparkle.
  • Perfect Finish Car Detailing.
  • Shine My Ride.
  • Clean and Classy Car Detailing.

What makes a customer happy? ›

Happy customers are people who value your brand beyond the initial purchase. They trust that your company is aligned with their needs and is committed to helping them achieve their long-term goals. Any business can make its customers happier.

How do I convince someone to buy my product? ›

6 Ways to Persuade Customers to Buy
  1. Know the difference between a benefit and a feature. ...
  2. Use vivid but plain language. ...
  3. Avoid biz-blab and jargon. ...
  4. Keep the list of benefits short. ...
  5. Emphasize what's unique to you or your firm. ...
  6. Make your benefits concrete.
Sep 28, 2012

What words attract customers? ›

So here you go, here are 10 words customers love to hear when making a decision:
  • Free.
  • Exclusive.
  • Easy.
  • Limited.
  • Get.
  • Guaranteed.
  • You.
  • Because.
Aug 2, 2016

How do you win clients? ›

11 ways to win new clients in 2021
  1. Pick up the phone.
  2. Ask for testimonials, reviews, and referrals.
  3. Ask friends and family.
  4. Get PR coverage.
  5. Create a free resource.
  6. Attend online events.
  7. Use social media.
  8. Raise your profile as an expert in your field.
Feb 1, 2021

How do I get free clients? ›

How to find new clients online
  1. Leverage your current client base for referrals. ...
  2. Follow up with “lost” leads. ...
  3. Consider your SEO strategy. ...
  4. Create insightful content for your website. ...
  5. Consider using a lead capture on your website. ...
  6. Launch a lead-generation campaign. ...
  7. Use social media wisely.
Aug 18, 2021

How do you land your first client? ›

How to Find Your First Client: A Guide
  1. Educate yourself. The first key in getting clients is to know your market. ...
  2. Get an online presence. ...
  3. Leverage social media. ...
  4. Network. ...
  5. Use inbound marketing. ...
  6. Pet personal. ...
  7. Demonstrate value. ...
  8. Be consultative in your approach.
May 18, 2022

Do car wash brushes scratch paint? ›

The dirt and contaminants inside the brushes are then brushed against the car paint, which leads to scratches and swirl marks. So yes, car wash brushes also scratch car paint for all the same reasons as mentioned previously concerning the issues with brushes.

Do Touch car washes scratch paint? ›

Sadly, the answer is potentially yes. While some types of car washes are worse than others, any time you wash your car—even if you are carefully hand washing it—you are essentially applying an abrasive and/or harsh chemicals to the paint finish and the risk of swirls and scratches in the finish is always there.

What is the best car wax? ›

Best Car Waxes For 2022
  • Meguiar's G7016 Gold Class Carnauba Plus Premium Liquid Wax : Best Overall Wax.
  • Mother's California Gold Pure Brazilian Carnauba Liquid Wax : Best Carnauba Liquid Wax.
  • Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Pro Graphene Spray Wax : Best Spray Wax.
  • Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax : Best Soft Wax.
May 2, 2022

How do you start a car? ›

How To Start And Stop A Car - YouTube

How can a teenager start a carwash business? ›

How To Grow + Make Money Car Washing | Teen | Full Guide

Are car wash owners rich? ›

The Houston Chronicle, reporting on a survey conducted by Auto Laundry News, a leading car wash industry publication, said that profits can range from $55,000 to $100,000 per year for a self-service car wash to $500,000 to $900,000 for a full-service business.

Is a car wash passive income? ›

It gets better. Owning an automatic car wash allows you to earn passive income by having your fully automated car wash bays clean the vast number of cars that are on the road each day.

What should I know before buying a car wash? ›

Must-Know Questions Before Buying a Car Wash
  • What type of car wash are you purchasing? ...
  • Where is the car wash located? ...
  • How much traffic does the wash see on every day of the week? ...
  • Is all of the equipment in working order? ...
  • Do you have an exit plan?

What is the target market for a car wash? ›

The target market for a car wash includes people who have a need to keep their car clean but are not willing to do the work themselves. However, even within the car wash target market, different people have different reasons for going to the car wash.

How can I increase my car sales? ›

7 Ways to increase car sales no matter well you're already doing
  1. Increase your availability. ...
  2. Analyze your pricing. ...
  3. Be smart when stocking your inventory. ...
  4. Offer unique customer incentives. ...
  5. Streamline your daily routine. ...
  6. Improve your team's communication skills. ...
  7. Monitor accountability.
May 30, 2018

How do you manage a carwash? ›

7 Car Wash Business Tips to Improve Your Bottom Line
  1. Step 1: Eliminate Unscheduled Repairs. ...
  2. Step 2: Eliminate Labor. ...
  3. Step 3: Reduce Operating Costs. ...
  4. Step 4: Improve Wash Consistency. ...
  5. Step 5: Get in Control of Marketing. ...
  6. Step 6: Increase Average Ticket. ...
  7. Step 7: Increase Customer Frequency and Loyalty.
Jul 13, 2017


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