Teenagers always need money. Whether it’s the latest gadget, new clothes or funding a night out with friends, money is important. Instead of begging from your parents, why not start a car wash service to make money of your own? Learning how to earn money at an early age will benefit you for the rest of your life.
So, what do you need to start this new business? The first thing is a suitable location. The choice of where you’ll wash cars depends on a number of factors:
• The right location so you attract lots of passing traffic. Getting a car wash is often a spur of the moment decision.
• Once you’ve chosen a location, you need to make sure you’re allowed to use that space.
• Will you need a permit from your county clerk?
• Do you need to pay to use the space?
• It needs to have the right facilities.
• The main factor is whether you have access to water.
How many people are going to work in your car wash? The more the better, because it means you can wash more cars at the same time, or finish a car more quickly.
Age is no barrier. Naturally someone has to be in charge who is mature enough to manage the business side of things. But the people actually washing the cars can be as young as 12 or 13. If you plan to start a full-fledged business, you’ll have to confirm the minimum age in your region since there may be laws governing the age requirement. The county clerk would be a good place to check this information.
If you just want to hold an occasional car wash, the rules will be much more relaxed and you’ll likely be able to just set up shop and close up at the end of the day. It all depends on what your goals are.
The most economical way to run a car wash is for a group of friends to do it together. Then whatever net profit is made can be shared equally and some of it invested back into the business on supplies. Seek advice from a parent or teaching regarding keeping your financial records so everything is done legally. This is a low budget business so making a profit is easy if you get enough business. But you still want to do it right.
Let’s assume that you now have a great location. Maybe a closed down service station near the intersection of two main roads. You obtain the necessary permission and have checked that there are taps available for water. The next step is to decide exactly what services you will provide and the equipment you need.
Water is the logical first necessity. You need hoses to connect to the taps. They need to be a decent length so you can work on more than one car at a time if need be. Then you need some buckets, sponges and rags to wash and dry the cars, and some window washing tools like a long handled squeegee. You also need a decent soap to use for cleaning the cars.
Your plan should be to do exterior washes only for now and see how well the business goes. If successful, you can look at doing interior cleaning as well. If your team doesn’t have the money to buy the necessities, either borrow from family or friends, or see if someone can loan you the money until you earn enough to pay them back.
Once you have the key ingredients, it’s time to do some marketing. Make up several large signs to attract passing cars. Run an ad in the local paper, put notices up in shop windows and on community bulletin boards, email everyone you and your friends know and offer them a special deal to get the ball rolling, put ads in the school newsletter and on online forums, and ask your family and friends to tell everyone they know. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. Use it to the best of your ability.
Apart from everything else, you and your team should practice so you can clean cars efficiently and quickly while meeting a high standard. Offer to do your parents’ cars so you can practice teamwork. Decide who is better at washing, using the hoses and drying off. Divide the work equally and time yourselves so you know how long an average car takes to wash.
A car wash can be a fun and rewarding way to learn new skills such as teamwork, business management, and advertising. It can also teach you a good work ethic for when you start applying for other jobs in the future. And most importantly, it can help you earn the money you want right away!