In New England, owners of the best car washes tend to pass them over to family members or sell to known colleagues in the industry (ex. a good competitor or a supplier who wants to be an operator). Few properties are advertised but sometimes washes are advertised in the industry press or local papers. Also, since the washes tend to be family owned, there are few franchise opportunities. So, those trying to break into the business, often must start a wash from the ground up. Start by viewing the infographic, "8 Must-Haves for Opening a New Car Wash".
Good sources of information:
- Car Wash College www.carwashcollege.com
- For building requirements, and environmental considerations and restrictions, contact regulatory agencies in specific towns, the State Building Code, DEP, OSHA -- The industry is highly regulated on both on the local and state level (and federally by OSHA). Building specifications will vary from town to town. We are increasingly environmentally responsive (ex. much safer cleansers than a consumer buys, water recycling systems, waste water filtration systems, solid waste removal, etc.), especially in highly regulated states.
- Manufacturers/distributors of self serve equipment and the other special equipment and products needed to run a car wash (see industry publications and ICA web site): This is a very equipment and maintenance intensive business that requires a large initial investment. The best in the industry are becoming more and more computerized (ex. regulation of water and chemical use) and sophisticated. Check with local small business associations and chambers for business climate in your area.
- Talk to those in the industry but be considerate of their time (and the weather!)
- Attend a Regional Table Top Show*. These Shows provide an excellent overview of the industry close to home and an opportunity to meet people in the industry including experienced car washers and suppliers.
- Attend the Northeast Regional Carwash Convention. Every fall, the NRCC association of car wash associations in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic join together to put on a super exhibition of car wash products and services, and educational programs. Visit www.nrccshow.com for more details
- Become a part of the industry community:
If you attend association events, you will meet people and learn about the industry. Every Spring, NECA puts on a very lively Table Top Show* showcasing a wide range of products and services. The Show is preceded by a motor coach tour of car washes. On the second Monday in September, NECA presents a golf outing for fun and charity. As a result of this event, we have made substantial donations to a major charity. Our Fall dinner meeting features lots of networking and presentations on important industry issues as does our dinner meeting in early January. All of these events are open to the general public as well as our members. Please visit the calendar page for more details.