Identifying The Driving Force Behind America’s ‘Car Wash Boom’

If there seems to be a new one opening up on every corner, here's why. Identifying The Driving Force Behind America’s ‘Car Wash Boom’ Giphy

News that is entertaining to read

Subscribe for free to get more stories like this directly to your inbox

If you’ve noticed an increasing number of car wash businesses opening up in your neighborhood over the past few years, you’re not alone. There’s clearly a trend underway, and analysts are looking deeper into the factors behind it.

Investors see an opportunity

Despite efforts to limit the number of cars on the road, American roads are dominated by automobiles. And many of those motorists are keenly interested in keeping their rolling investments clean.

That’s why commercial real estate experts like Jeffrey Circurel say there’s still plenty of upside for investors and entrepreneurs who want to get into the car wash game.

“Americans are moving to the suburbs and Americans want quality retail — and quality car washes come with that,” he said.

Plus, the shift toward subscription models has fueled even more optimism, since more customers are having their accounts automatically debited and providing consistent revenue for the businesses.

Taking a look at the recent and projected growth of the industry shows how far car washes have come from the humble self-service bays of decades past.

  • There are roughly 60,000 car washes currently open nationwide
  • The overall industry is valued at more than $14 billion
  • More car washes were built in the past 10 years than in all previous years combined
  • Some experts think the market will double again by the end of this decade

Some communities push back

While loyal customers and profit-driven investors see the car wash boom as a good thing, many local leaders and residents say the trend is having a negative impact.

Mayor Glenn Broska of Streetsboro, Ohio, explained why his town recently enacted a prohibition on future car wash construction.

“A car wash does not provide a lot of jobs for the community and they take up a lot of space,” he said.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee March 18th, 2024
Share this story: