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How to Buy an Existing Car Wash

Buying an existing car wash

How to Buy an Existing Car Wash

When buying an existing car wash business there are so many things to consider. Once you have found a car wash for sale that interests you, this is a good time to take a look at the legitimacy of their business practices, their financial history, and their company reputation. When you buy an existing business, you are buying all of their history, both good and bad. It is best to make sure you are purchasing a business that already makes you proud.

What You Need to Know When Buying an Existing Car Wash Business

Following Federal and State Regulations

Car wash companies have many federal and state regulations that they are required, by law to follow. You may want to seek out professional advice from a lawyer in order to make sure you are aware of all regulations your potential car wash is expected to follow. Once you have educated yourself, look into the company’s history. Has there been any violations reported? Are they in 100% compliance with environmental regulations such as waste water and disposal guidelines? Have a checklist of issues you would like to cover when investigating the company. The car wash business should be forthcoming and happy to inform you of any information you should require.

You next step should be to look into the business taxes. If the car wash company has a pile of unfinished books and unfiled taxes, that is a headache you do not want to inherit. A company with this baggage should not be trying to sell to begin with, so this is a huge red flag. Once the government and credit bureau decide to hold the company and its owner responsible for their laziness and lack of organization, they will not care that it was not your lack of record keeping. Do not tie your name to a car wash company that has slacked in this end of business management and do you due diligence.

Reputation of the Existing Car Wash

Now that we have the legal issues out of the way, let’s talk about reputation. What kind of a reputation does this company have in its local neighborhood? With the introduction of social media into today’s business marketing and management strategies, it is very easy to get a feel for the community’s thoughts and opinions on your potential investment. Unfortunately using an “Under New Management” sign will only do so well. Sometimes it is very hard to undo the damage that poor public relations and local opinions have caused. It is far easier to maintain customer happiness than to change their mind.

Assuming this company has a good reputation in its community, ask yourself, why are they selling the company? Talk to the owner and learn from them. Ask about current market conditions that they have been experiencing. Take a look at their sales trends and the overall health of the market in their local area. Is this a community of professionals who take pride in the appearance of their property? Why not take a drive around the local area with the owner or business manager in order to get a feel for the types of people that surround you. Look at the state of their homes and vehicles. Pay attention for indications of community values such as compost and recycling, water conservation, posters and signs on local boards. All of these are key indicators of whether or not your purchase will be a successful and profitable endeavor.


Buying an existing car wash company can be an exciting venture. Just make sure you have all the facts about the business so that you don’t buy someone else’s headache.

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