A car wash business is one of the simplest, low startup cost business to run in Zimbabwe. It has a few requirements which are not demanding or straining. This business is for someone with a lot of free time but loves to interact and meet people. You can earn income while busy catching up and making new friends. You should carry out market research and have a car wash business plan before you venture into this business.The following easy steps will guide you on how to start the car wash business.

What you need


It takes time for a car wash business to be successful. Therefore give in your best to make sure that at least you select the right location to build and operate your car wash business from. In choosing location consider competition, population and car counts. Drive around and check your target area and check whether it is a high or low traffic area and the type of businesses that operate there. This will help you understand the market you want to operate in and what to expect. Check if there is a good water connection and how you can make sure that several tapes are installed. Harare has water challenges. Choose an area with good water supply or perhaps consider alternatives such as borehole or you may install a tank.

Purchase the appropriate equipment

Look for an affordable wholesale where you can get your supplies and the equipment you need. Now that you know exactly the type of services you which to offer, write down a list of all the equipment you need and the equipment you have or can source easily. When purchasing your equipment for your car wash business, assess between cost and quality. Sometimes you do not have to compromise much on quality by purchasing the cheapest equipment. You may need to purchase the following equipment for cleaning and deodorizing, brushes, sponges, buckets, vacuums, polishers, vapor steamer and pressure washer amongst others.

Assess your market

If you have carried out a proper research you would know that you need to know who your target market is. It may be a corporate body which brings in their executives cars for a wash every week, a trucking company, schools which bring their school bus and stuff cars or individuals in the community who have cars.

Check competitors

Take some time to drive around checking the car wash businesses already in existence. You may also get your car washed at one and see how they do it. Perhaps you may identify the difference in the type of services they offer and the type of services you wish to offer. Gather information on the number of customers who get their service, whether they market their car wash business and how, their prices, is their car wash in a better state, are their customers loyal, is the car wash in a better standard than the car wash you wish to build. You may differentiate by offering add on services which your competitors do not offer. This widens your car wash business target market.

Management and employees

The number of employees required for a car wash business will depend on the size of your car wash business. This type of business is customer oriented and as such it would require individuals who are efficient, punctual and with good communication skills. Employees must be friendly and accommodative.

Types of services you can offer

Combining and mixing services could a long way in satisfying your client’s needs. For example you can combine interior and exterior cleaning.

Interior Car Washing

Interior car washing services include trash removal, window cleaning and thorough vacuuming. For cars with leather seats you may offer surface wipe downs. This service will leave the leather impressionable and looking brand new. The following are the add on services you should consider providing

  • Scratch removal
  • Shampoo seats and carpets
  • Mold removal
  • Clay bar treatment
  • Car wax
  • Headlight restoration
  • Leather conditioning
  • Cleaning of the engine

Exterior Car Washing

This is the most common and it is basic car washing, removal of tar and bugs and claying the paint. The car’s exterior rubber tires and rims have to be properly dressed and cleaned.


Pricing should reflect the type of environment you are operating in and it should not be far off from that of competition. If you decide to set yourself apart from competition by charging a high price, you then need to maintain high standards of quality and professionalism. Questions such as why would someone be prepared to pay a higher price for your service, can your target market afford such a price and what makes your business unique will help you assess whether such a move is worthwhile. Car wash prices in Zimbabwe range from $5 to $60 depending on the nature of services being offered. See a flier below showing some of the prices of a car wash business (Fastman Car wash business) based in Harare.

Car wash business

Payment Methods

Due to cash shortages, Zimbabwe is slowly adopting electronic means of doing business and for everyday use. It is better that you provide other forms of payment such as Ecocash, credit cards and bank transfers for your car wash business. The latter is facilitated by mobile banking and it allows you to transact at a cost of only $1 . This mobile platform of transferring cash is called ZIPIT. The money reflects instantly in the recipient bank account. All the banks offer ZIPIT instant money transfer to other banks via the mobile banking menu. 

Market the Car Wash business

You need to put in a lot of efforts to make sure that the community knows about your cash wash business. Print out fliers and even rely on word of mouth after offering discount washes to for example the first ten cars to arrive to your car wash on particular days. Promotional efforts during the first days of operating help draw attention to your business. Offering free WIFI to customers will also attract clients to your business. Create a website for your business. Use the social media e.g. Facebook to market your business. 

Make you that there is a regular routine manner which the car washers follow in washing the cars. Shortcuts may cause dissatisfaction especially if two customers note any differences.

Capital for Car Wash Business

In Zimbabwe, a car wash business can be set up in the cheapest way possible. Your car wash can be manual or automated depending on your target market and the amount of capital you have. Most car wash businesses in Zimbabwe are manual and not automated. If funds allow, you may build an automated car wash and this would require more capital. You will need to rent a space and refurbish and put attractive signage. You can start a small car wash business in Zimbabwe with only $500-$2500. 

Profitability and costs for a Car Wash Business

At first profitability may not be achieved since you may offer services at promotional price in order to increase your client base. Unlimited drive ins may help you earn steady income. May sure your prices are attractive enough. Your operational costs are very low and include rent, salaries, water, and cleaning supplies and thus you can make good profits. Work towards nurturing a large client base to push your revenue upwards. For a small car wash business, you can make monthly profits of $500-$2000. 

We wish you the best in your car wash business. Check out more business ideas and our collection of business plans. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to receive notifications of new posts in your email.

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