The commercial car wash industry provides a community service, allowing customers to clean their cars in an eco-friendly environment specifically designed for the purpose. The industry has grown rapidly in the last three decades, with businesses evolving from simple car cleaning sites to multi-facility enterprises catering to a wide range of car owners.
The first semi-automatic car wash was reportedly built in the US in around 1946 and from this time the industry has grown to the thriving industry it is today.
The 1970s in Australia saw an enormous growth spurt in what was then a somewhat fledgling commercial car washing industry. The decades following have seen the industry grow and flourish exponentially.
Changes to the Australian residential landscape from the traditional quarter acre block to multiple dwelling and hi-rise apartments has reduced the capability of people to clean their cars at home. The commercial car wash has become a necessity for many.
Customer demands for convenience, particularly amongst post Baby Boomer age categories, have seen a once predominantly young male market become broader and include multiple age groups and sexes.
Car wash operators have met market demands by providing additional and compatible services such as dog wash and vending machines with a wide range of products.
Drought-induced water restrictions on car washing at home have led to a growing awareness that properly setup commercial car washes are good places to use to clean vehicles – quick, easy and not too expensive.
As a relatively new industry in Australia with an increasing percentage of the population using commercial car washes, there is still market share available for new ventures if the site is chosen with care.