So here's my idea so far. I've noticed a void in the market. Here are the current car wash businesses and their pros/cons:
gas stations: cheap ($10), open 24hrs. Terrible wash, car ends up being scratched. Mediocre chemicals/shampoos used. Only exterior wash and interior vacuum/wipe service available.
low grade private car wash shops: cheap ($10-$15), equal to or slightly better service than gas station car washes. Mediocre supplies/chemicals used, car wash isn't professional, just a guy with soap and rags, no technique or knowledge. Close shop early (about 8pm), no area where customer can wait while their car is being washed.
high grade car washes: excellent service, extensive list of services provided (exterior wash, stain removal, detailing, etc..). Rather expensive, some go up to $80/wash, close early (7pm), most of these shops are located in one area of town, so it is an inconvenience if you are living far from that area.
My idea is to offer best of both worlds, and a mobile wash. A high grade wash with a medium grade price
relatively cheaper pricing (~$40/wash)
open 12hours (10am to 10pm)
mobile wash– I come to you and wash while you're at home/work
I don't need to rely on customers power/water source, so I am truly mobile. (Generator + water tank).
There are some companies that do that, and they use steam to wash the car. It is a good idea, since there is no water run off or shampoo to carry/dispose of, but they are expensive and I personally think it damages the car paint.
I plan to have an advantage over my competition by being more systemized. Everything is documented, with procedure list for all services (how to wash exterior, how to polish metal rims, how to remove stains, do and don't list, etc..). Also my staff will be trained to know why and how things are washed they way they are, and not just following a step by step template aimlessly.
Also, by having 2 sets of equipment, 2 staff can split the car halfway and wash their half, this way I save about 25%-30% of the time, which can be used to squeeze in more cars (an extra 4 cars/month for example)
Another idea to have is develop an app where the customer can book a service, select date/time and get notified when the job is finished. They can also leave feedback once the car key is delivered back to them.
Marketing also comes to play, as residents are unaware that such services exist, which is why they go to the default gas station car washes, and if I could convince them by choosing me (coming to them) and why my way is better than the gas stations, I'll have quite an advantage.
My main issue right now is start small. I'd prefer covering the whole city, but logistics is an issue. I don't have that big of a capital to purchase multiple vans and pay the staff salaries, so I'm starting with 2 vans that operate within a 20sq-mi area.
Also since I will be operating 12 hours, with 1 hour each for lunch/dinner, and taking into account time traveled from one location to another, I can wash an average 20 cars/week. This comes to $3200/month in revenue if I'm operating at full capacity, which leaves little for profit when I account salaries, fuel, car payments, rental, etc..
I can't figure out how to make good money from this business, I feel it would be a lot of work for little profit. Or am I doing something wrong?