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Five Questions to Consider Before You Sell a Car Wash

Posted On: / By: Brian Knoderer
Selling A Business

Over the past five years, the car wash industry experienced a steady 4.4% growth rate, as the economy continued expanding. With consumers now more inclined to purchase discretionary services, car washes may be an attractive investment for those seeking a new business opportunity. If you’re debating whether or not to sell a car wash, now could be a great time to cash-in. Before you list yours, learn the essential questions you should ask prior to selling. 

Prepare to Sell a Car Wash With These Questions

Whether you’re selling your business to take on another venture or retire, the sales process can be complicated. Before you list your car wash for sale, ask yourself these five important questions for a smooth and successful transaction.

  1. How will you exit the business?

    car gets cleaned through an automatic car wash

Every business owner should have a clear exit strategy in mind before selling. Whether you own a self-serve car wash, express car wash, or a full-service car wash, prospective buyers will want to understand how the business will operate without you. A solid exit plan should incorporate the following questions:

  • When do I plan on leaving the company?
  • Who are my potential buyers?
  • Does my retirement or new venture count on the sale of my business?
  • Does my car wash need any remodeling or machine replacements?
  • How will I pass on the transfer of ownership?

Answering these questions can help get you started on exiting your car wash business. Plus, it can help you catch and consequently address any complications that may arise along the way.

  1. What is the value of my car wash?

After finalizing the details of your exit plan, you should determine the value of your car wash. Although there are many ways to value any type of business, it may be in your best interest to hire a third-party appraiser, such as a broker or CPA. Professionals have the knowledge and experience to calculate an accurate asking price that you can confidently offer to potential buyers.

  1. What machinery and equipment will I sell with the business?

Next, decide which car wash tools and machinery you’re willing to include in the sales price. Purchasing high-powered sprayers, rollers, water hoses, and dryers can be costly for new owners. Adding expensive equipment into your sale price may entice prospective buyers and potentially raise your business’ value.

  1. How does my car wash compare with nearby competitors?

Before selling, it’s always important to look at other local car washes in the area and get an idea of how they compare to your own business. Those serious about buying a car wash will likely want to invest in one with a loyal customer base and reputable service. To help your car wash stand out from the competition, try implementing the following into your current operations:

  • Self-serve equipment, such as dyers and vacuums
  • Eye-catching signage and ads
  • Credit card readers
  1. How will I advertise my listing?

Even if your car wash has been operating for decades, you’ll still need effective advertising to attract interested buyers. Many small business owners find it stressful to keep their business running while trying to sell it. If you need help selling your business in optimal time and for top value, consider seeking a professional’s assistance.

Business brokers have the right skill set and market knowledge to help guide you through the sales process. For expert help preparing your car wash for the market, contact your local Sunbelt Business Brokers office. With years of experience, Sunbelt can help maximize your business value with a smooth process from start to close.


Brian Knoderer is the President of Sunbelt Business Brokers. He has over 20 years of experience as a business owner and managing business transactions. As a seasoned intermediary, Brian has successfully represented companies in a broad range of industries helping business owners achieve their desired exit strategy or growth initiative.

Brian is also co-owner of Sunbelt Indiana and Managing Director of MMI Capital Partners, a franchisor focused investment banking firm.

Previously Brian was involved in several entrepreneurial ventures as well as having held corporate roles in Franchise Development for Prime Hospitality and Choice Hotels.

Brian is a graduate of Ball State University with a degree in Management Information Systems and earned his MBA from Butler University. He has received the Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor (CM&AA) designation, holds both the Series 7 – General Security License and the Series 63 – Uniform Securities Licenses, and is a licensed Real Estate Broker. He has been affiliated with several organizations including the Entrepreneur Organization, a Member of the International Business Brokers Association, Venture Club, and a Board Member of The Entrepreneur Institute.

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