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Flex Car Wash: What You Need to Know

What You Need to Know about Flex Car Wash

Flex Car Wash: What You Need to Know

A flex car wash meets the consumer trend for a more personalized car wash experience. Some days, your vehicle might need more than a quick clean. If this is the case, you’ll need additional auto detailing. Moreover, you’ll want it done in one place because it is more convenient, right? This is where you need car wash services that offer more choice – and the flex-serve style of car care fits this description. To help you decide if this car wash is for you, we outline how it works and what you need to know.

If you want a convenient car wash that also prioritizes eco-friendly cleaning, download our Eco Wash Benefit Guide:


What is a Flex Car Wash?

A flex car wash, or flex-serve, is an express exterior wash with optional extras and aftercare services. What sets it apart is its flexibility (“flex”). This term refers to your freedom to choose from various service offerings that meet your preferences and budget.

Instead of just sticking with a 3-minute express wash, you can “flex” your choice by selecting specific services such as tire shine, and bug removal. Additionally, you can request interior detailing, including upholstery and carpet cleaning. To sum up, you can drive off after your express wash, or you can head to the aftercare center for full service car wash offerings.

How It Works

It operates much like traditional automatic car washes but with the added flexibility of service options. No two car washes are the same, but here is an idea of how it typically works:

  1. Select your car wash options. The price point starts at a basic exterior wash. Then you pay more for triple foam, waxing, tire shine, and interior cleaning.
  2. Pay the attendant or at the kiosk depending on the car wash setup.
  3. Like a drive through car wash, you enter the wash bay or tunnel and stay in the car while automated machinery washes your car exterior. This typically includes a pre-soak, wash, rinse, and drying.
  4. Exit the automated car wash and head to the aftercare area if you’ve requested additional services such as waxing or interior cleaning. Here, you jump out of the car and let the car wash attendant take over, vacuuming and cleaning your car interior, etc.

Flex Car Wash Pros and Cons

Like any automated car wash business, a flex-serve wash has advantages and challenges. Here is a look at the pros and cons:


  • Customization: You can tailor your car wash experience to suit your preferences.
  • Convenient: Enjoy the speed and convenience of an automatic car wash with access to multiple car care offerings in one place.
  • Cost: You can enjoy a personalized car wash within your budget, provided you don’t overspend on multiple add-ons.
  • Save time: The flex-serve helps streamline the wash process. Select the services you need and skip add-ons like waxing or interior cleaning if you’re short on time.


  • Too many options: Sometimes, the “flexibility” becomes too much! With multiple options and packages to choose from, the decision-making process takes up your valuable time.
  • Extra costs: Splurging on detailing extras and premium services can easily cost more than you planned.
  • Quality: Delivering consistently high-quality services can be challenging, especially in busier facilities with a smaller team or untrained staff.
  • Wait times: Depending on the popularity of the car wash and the number of customers choosing custom services, you might have to wait a while in line.
  • Water usage: An automated express car wash uses quite a lot of water. If you want to do more for the planet, try a waterless car wash.

Download Eco Auto Wash Benefit Guide_Car Interior Cleaning

Brands of Flex Car Washes

There is no shortage of flex car washes across the country. Go online to search for the nearest one. Most websites have a search feature where you add your zip code to find a car wash in your location. Here are some examples of the most popular ones:

  • Washman offers a 3-minute exterior wash and blow dry in a soft cloth car wash, plus various add-ons, including interior detailing.
  • Autobell also offers flex options. Choose from various exterior packages, from a quick “ride-thru” express wash to an exterior special with topcoat protection and tire gloss. Then, you can customize your wash with extra services such as interior cleaning, polish, and rain-repellent treatments.
  • Splash Car Wash has multiple flex variations, such as an express exterior wash, a 15-minute full service wash, and hand wash services.

If you like the flex concept of an express exterior wash with additional offerings, but want to be more involved, places like Tommy’s Express Car Wash offers self service car wash options. You can use on-site car vacuum cleaners to refresh your interior.

When to Use and When to Avoid

When using a flex-serve, here are some tips to help you make the most of your time and get value for money:

  • Use the flex wash if the equipment looks well-maintained. If you have concerns about automated equipment causing swirl marks or scratches on your exterior paintwork, opt for a hand car wash You can also try a touch-free laser car wash or a brushless car wash.
  • Use if you know what you want and like tailoring your car wash experience to your needs. But if you prefer a simpler experience where you don’t have to choose from multiple options, head to a traditional 24 hour car wash.
  • If you’re short on time, avoid peak hours during the day. For example, if other customers all request add-on services at the aftercare center simultaneously, this can slow things down.
  • Give it a miss if the place looks disorganized. The aftercare center should be well-stocked with detailing supplies such as vacuum cleaners, towels and high-quality products from a professional car wash supplies list.
  • Avoid if you’re on a tight budget. If you’re tempted by the add-ons, you can spend more than you want. Instead, try a do it yourself car wash.


How much do you want to spend? You can spend the minimum on an express wash or select add-ons, which cost extra. Here is an idea:

  • Basic exterior express wash, $10-$12.
  • Standard wash, triple foam conditioner and clear coat conditioner, $18-$20.
  • Advanced exterior wash, plus undercarriage wash, tire shine and wax, $20-25.
  • Exterior wash and interior dusting and vacuuming, $40.
  • Exterior wash and upgraded interior detailing, from $90.

These prices will vary between service providers. Some may offer deluxe packages that cost hundreds of dollars. It depends on your “flex” options and how long it takes.

If you love maintaining a clean and shiny car, then joining an unlimited wash program for a set price could be a more cost-effective way to enjoy a car wash. Ask your local flex wash provider if this is something they do.

Download Eco Auto Wash Benefit Guide_Call the Experts

Is a Flex Car Wash a Good Business Opportunity?

Market research estimates the global car wash industry will grow at a CAGR of 6.7% from 2023 to 2031, and sales revenue could reach US$ 68.9 billion by 2031. So, there is a demand for car washing services. Assessing the following points can help you decide if this is a good business move for you:

  • Flex car washes appeal to an increasing number of consumers who like customization and convenience. Offering a range of services and packages can attract a lot of people. Based on this demand, another type of car wash to consider is mobile car wash franchise.
  • The key is to take advantage of upselling opportunities. Add-on “flex” services such as waxing, interior detailing, and protective coatings can generate additional revenue.
  • A full service and detail can’t be done in under 15 minutes, as most flex car washes claim. A full service requires more time and attention to detail. Therefore, be mindful of what you promise your customers. People expect consistent quality of service.
  • A flex-serve relies on automated equipment for the express wash, which isn’t always the most environmentally friendly option. If you want to build a green business, think about an eco car wash franchise.
  • You need a team of trained and reliable staff to help you deliver the add-on aftercare services after customers exit the automated express wash. So, you must ensure labor costs don’t drive up the price of your flex service too much. Otherwise, customers will go elsewhere for a better deal.

If you’re a hard-working entrepreneur, the growing car wash industry creates opportunities for someone like you. But before starting a flex car wash business, do your market research and write a solid business plan. You also must choose the right location. You can also consider a car wash franchise, which relieves some of the pressure of starting a business on your own.


To sum up, a flex car wash prioritizes customization and convenience. You can choose a quick express wash, or you can spend more and select tire shine, interior detailing, or a wax treatment, etc.  If you find a reputable place with great reviews, it could work out well for you. However, be mindful of automated equipment, such as a brush wash, if you are precious about your paintwork.

If you love a convenient car wash and personalized service, DetailXPerts mobile detailing is a good fit. Our detailers come to your location to deliver exceptional car care based on your preferences. Also, we are a green business. We use steam cleaning technology to transform your car exterior and interior using minimal water and planet-friendly wash products.

To learn more about our eco-friendly mobile detailing, download our Eco Wash Benefit Guide:

Download Eco Wash Benefit Guide_Get Consistent High-Quality


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