Connect with us

Business Ideas

How to Start a Car Wash Business: The Ultimate Guide

Published

on

If you’re considering starting a business, there are plenty of reasons why a budding entrepreneur might want to know how to start a car wash business. After all, car washes are in high demand. More than 2 billion take place each year in North America alone, and more than 72% of people report going to a car wash versus washing their own vehicle at home.

There’s more to a car wash business than merely making vehicles sparkle on the outside, too. The services car washes can provide range from washes to detailing and waxing to vacuuming and more. With so much to offer, starting a car wash business can provide an entrepreneur with a worthwhile business opportunity that can create steady revenue streams.

How to start a car wash business

If you’ve ever wondered how to start a car wash business, you’re far from the only one. There are pros and cons to starting your own car wash business of course, and plenty of financial considerations you’ll have to factor in. But if the math adds up for you, starting a car wash could be a great opportunity to be your own boss (and make the town’s vehicles sparkle, too). Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Write your business plan

No matter the industry, opportunity, or location you have in mind for a new company, you have to start with a robust business plan before getting your operation off the ground. A business plan outlines your aspirations for your company, financial projections about the costs involved, industry research, and more.

In fact, a solid business plan does much more than just detail how you plan to get your company off the ground. It also provides you with a general roadmap for how you will run your business on an ongoing basis as well. Think of a business plan as your template for beginning your business and keeping it focused on a specific goal (or goals) after it takes off. You may even want to update your business plan from time to time so it reflects the changing goals and financial needs of your business.

Last but not least, you’ll likely need a solid business plan for financing and small business loan applications as well. Lenders want to know what your business is about, how it makes money, and what your overall vision for the enterprise is. Business plans make it easier for lenders to get this information in one helpful guide, which, in turn, makes it easier for you to make a compelling argument for why you need the financing you seek.

Developing a robust business plan doesn’t have to be a difficult undertaking, either. This is true even if you’re not the most confident writer or a math prodigy. Your typical business plan follows a conventional format. In fact, there are even business plan templates out there to make the process even easier.

Step 2: Get your car wash business registered

Once you’ve got your car wash business plan drafted, you’re going to want to get your company off the ground. But before you can dive in, you’ll need to take care of some additional preparatory work. Some elements of this are obvious, such as coming up with a business name. Other parts are a bit more complex, such as registering your business entity with the state and getting a federal tax identification number. Here’s what you need to know and what to do in order to get your business on the right side of the law.

Set up a business entity

Before you get busy washing and detailing vehicles, you’ll need to set up a business entity to make sure you’re operating within the full regulatory requirements of the town and state in which your business will be based. There are several kinds of business entities, each with different advantages depending on your operating circumstances and needs.

A limited liability corporation (LLC) is a popular option for most kinds of businesses. LLCs make it easy to set up your business, pay taxes, and give your personal assets some distance from your business’s financial operations. Plus, you can determine how you pay business taxes as well—even opting to pay them as part of your personal tax returns if you so choose.

On the more complex end of the spectrum are S-corps and C-corps, which both allow for more control over how a business pays taxes (but require a more complex governance structure and more rules about how business owners can pay themselves).

Step 3: Obtain business licenses

Every municipality is different when it comes to licenses and permits for businesses. It’s crucial to register for each if your location requires them, as they help enforce a set of standard practices between businesses. Perhaps more importantly, your state or town could shut down your business if you don’t have them. Remember that ignorance of the law is no excuse for not following the law: Be sure to check with your local secretary of state’s office or chamber of commerce to make sure you have everything you need. The SBA is another helpful resource to make sure you have all the licenses and permits you need.

One specific consideration for car wash businesses are regulations around waste containment and mitigation. Most states and local governments place strict rules on car washes aimed at controlling their waste water and grit-trap waste disposal, the air emissions allowed from customers’ cars, and the proper storage of fuel tanks. Operating a car wash is an inherently dirty business, and often requires the use of harsh chemicals. These rules help dictate what kinds of mitigation efforts are required for your business to reduce environmental harm.

Step 4: Get business insurance

Just about every kind of entrepreneurial effort benefits from having comprehensive small business insurance. The kind of insurance, as well as the breadth of your policy, depends largely on the kind of company you operate.

In the case of car wash businesses, there is a ton that can go wrong—and in the event of an accident or damage to a customer’s vehicle, you’re going to want to make sure your insurance can pick up a big portion of the bill. You’ll want to make sure your car wash business has good general liability and workers compensation insurance, at the very least. Talk to a business insurance agent or business lawyer for more specific information about your individual needs.

Step 5: Separate your business finances

Once you’ve set up your business registration, obtained any required licenses, and have insurance in the works, your next step toward starting a car wash business is setting up your company’s finances. The first step is making sure that your business has its own checking account, so that you’re able to keep your business and personal finances separate.

You might be wondering why it’s so important to keep business and personal finances separate. After all, the business is your business, right? Well, there’s more to it than that. You’ll need a business bank account in order to protect your personal assets. If you operate as an LLC, separate business banking accounts will prevent creditors (and, in the event of legal action, those who sue you) from being able to come after your personal assets as well as those of your business. Plus, having separate business accounts will make it easier for you to keep track of your company’s financial performance, pay taxes, and track your cash flow.

Once you have a business bank account, you’ll also want to find the best business credit card for your needs. You’ll use this card for all of your business-related spending, and depending on which one you choose, you can also receive cash back, travel rewards, 0% introductory APR, and more to help make the most of your money.

Step 6: Consider small business financing needs

Buying the machinery needed to operate a car wash can be expensive. So can keeping everything in working order on a regular basis. The equipment involved in most car wash businesses can cost more than $30,000 for a touchless system, and even more basic setups can still cost several thousands of dollars. Whether you choose to buy or rent your equipment, you may still find yourself in need of financing to get everything that comes along with getting your car wash business off the ground.

Thankfully, there are plenty of financing options out there that can make it a little more affordable to get your car wash up and running. Whether you need one large loan, rolling credit for incremental purchases, or financing that’s designed to help you buy equipment, there’s a solution out there.

If you’re able to get a Small Business Administration loan, more commonly known as an SBA loan, you’re in luck. These types of loans provide large sums of cash to qualified applicants at low interest rates and with generous repayment periods.

This can be an excellent option for small business owners who have an existing track record of success with other business undertakings, have good credit, and can show that their business will be viable over the long term. One of the most popular SBA loan options is the SBA 7(a) loan program. These loans can total up to $5 million, and can be used to raise working capital, refinance other loans, or even renovate your business.

Another type of loan, the SBA 504/CDC loan, on the other hand, is designed to help small businesses purchase large, expensive items that they might need for their operations, or even for things like commercial properties. This can be particularly helpful for car wash businesses, as much of the requisite machinery tends to be on the expensive side (and most certainly qualifies for the conditions of this loan program). You can borrow up to $5.5 million through this program, and have anywhere from 10 to 20 years to pay back what you borrowed.

Finally, the SBA microloan program can be a great option for new or smaller-sized businesses that need loans up to $50,000. These loans are great for companies that need smaller sums of cash to get themselves off the ground. Plus, borrowers can take up to six years to repay what they’ve borrowed, which is better than other non-SBA loans in most situations.

Business term loans

Getting approved for an SBA loan can be a pretty difficult thing for most small business owners to accomplish. That doesn’t mean that you’re out of luck with regard to getting small business financing, though. Another great option for accessing the funds you need to help move your car wash business forward is a business term loan.

Term loans provide borrowers with a lump sum of cash that they can use for appropriate business purposes. Your business may be a decent candidate as long as it’s been in business for a while, and both you and your company have a good credit score. The interest rate, payout terms, and the amount of money your lender provides will between applicants and businesses.

Equipment financing

Similar to the SBA 504/CDC loans, equipment financing can also help you obtain the money you need in order to purchase equipment and machinery that you may need to operate your car wash. These loans provide an attractive option to small business owners who may not have enough of a credit history, time in operation, or have bad credit. Instead of basing the loan approval on the track record of the borrower, equipment financing provides an alternative model for serving loans.

Borrowers approach their lender with the price of a piece of equipment, and the lender then provides the small business owner with the money needed in order to make the purchase. The borrower then pays back the loan, plus interest, over a set period of time. If the borrower can’t make payments, the lender will repossess the equipment purchased with the loan. This means you don’t have to offer up collateral to get the money you need, either, which can be great for businesses that are low on cash but big on financing needs.

The bottom line

There are plenty of boxes to check off when you’re starting your car wash business. But, taking the time to do it right is crucial. You’ll save yourself the headache of doing more paperwork when you’re knee-deep in running daily operations, and will prime yourself for success down the road too. Knowing how you intend to operate your business, what your financial needs are, and how you’re going to satisfy them all can put you at a distinct advantage.

With these steps toward starting a car wash behind you, you can move on to the next phase, like finding the perfect location, hiring employees, and marketing your new business to the community.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

Advertisement

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Business Ideas

How to Kick-Start Your Online Clothing Resale Gig

Published

on

With the recent rise of resale apps like Depop and Poshmark, the idea of selling old clothes online is becoming more fashionable. Many people have turned clothing resale into a lucrative side gig or even a full-time job, gaining thousands of followers and making dozens of sales per week.

The secondhand-clothing market is projected to more than triple by 2030, according to a 2021 study by reselling platform Mercari and research firm GlobalData, as more fashion enthusiasts clean out their closets and search thrift stores to find valuable pieces to resell.

But whether you have a collection of band T-shirts or office attire, finding success on these platforms takes time and effort. Before diving into your closet, there are a few things to know.

You set your prices

Unlike consignment and resale shops, you can price items yourself on an online platform. Before listing a piece of clothing, look it up on multiple platforms to find out what it’s currently selling for. Depending on age, condition and brand, prices can vary widely.

You can also take advantage of direct messaging to negotiate with buyers and use features on apps like Depop and Poshmark that let you accept offers and create multi-item discounts.

“Sales can be sporadic,” says Andres Castillo of Los Angeles, who sells rare designer pieces through Depop, eBay and Instagram under the name Debonair Vintage. With rare or high-value items, it may take a while to find the right buyer, especially if you’re looking to break even or make a profit.

There’s a big time commitment

“I treat [reselling clothes] like my job,” says Eve Perez, a full-time student in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who sells under the name Fitsfinesse and was featured in Teen Vogue in 2021 for her Depop success. She responds to messages daily, on top of taking product photos, sewing custom pieces, and packaging and shipping orders.

Communicating clearly with first-time buyers is essential: “If you don’t build that relationship, then you won’t get sales and returning customers,” she adds.

Although you have control over the prices, reselling online takes much more time and energy than selling to consignment stores. According to Depop, sellers who list consistently — around 15 items per week — sell more over time.

“It takes a lot of time and dedication,” says Castillo. Top-notch sellers have to learn to take eye-catching photos, understand shipping rates, negotiate over text, and research brands and trends to make the most of their inventory.

Overhead costs add up

Yes, you can set your prices — but there are a few overhead costs to factor in. Online resale platforms charge commission fees, plus additional fees for shipping through the platform or accepting payments through a processor like PayPal. Depop takes 10% of every sale and eBay takes 15%; Poshmark takes $2.95 for items under $15 and 20% for items over $15. PayPal, which integrates with Depop, Poshmark and eBay, charges another 3.49% plus 49 cents per transaction for payment processing.

On top of that, you’ll need to pay for packaging, label printing and possibly storing inventory including bins, hangers and shelves. Top sellers also recommend adding a personal touch in shipments, like free stickers, small accessories or a thank-you note. When all those costs add up, you may find that only higher-value items are worth listing.

You can cut costs by reusing shipping mailers and boxes, and printing labels at your local FedEx or UPS store instead of purchasing a label printer. Or, reduce shipping costs for buyers by bundling several items into a single shipment, which can motivate buyers to purchase more from your shop.

The social aspect is a priority

The most successful online resellers have one thing in common: a strong personal brand. Finding your niche and building a loyal following is essential to long-term success on a resale platform.

“It’s like Instagram, but for selling,” says Perez, who focuses on curating a consistent aesthetic and marketing her shop on social media platforms like TikTok.

Castillo grew his business by catering to a very specific market: vintage designer collectors, specifically for Moschino and Chanel. He sells across several platforms, using his Instagram to rent pieces out to stylists for photo shoots and red-carpet events. Though he targets a fairly small community, his narrow focus helps him reach his ideal buyers.

Other top sellers on resale platforms can be seen taking a similar approach, with shop themes ranging from band T-shirts to vintage gowns. “Lean into your personal taste,” says Castillo. Even if you don’t have a curated collection to sell, personalized packaging or a unique photo background can help your items stand out.

Both Perez and Castillo emphasize the importance of cross-linking social media platforms to reach as many potential customers as possible. Creating a dedicated Instagram Business account and following other online sellers and designers can help drive buyers to your shop. Check popular pages for trendy hashtags and add those to your posts. Making the time to promote on social media can help transform your closet into some serious income.

Advertisement

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Business Ideas

Turning Your Hobby into a Business? Here is What You Need to Know

Published

on

Do you dream of one day quitting your job and following your passion in life? You can do it! Many successful entrepreneurs turned their hobbies into profitable businesses.

Do you have a hobby? Doing the things you love keeps you engaged with life, gives your mind a focus, and helps you enhance your concentration. Investing time in your hobby also provides you with a great way to relax, unwind, and relieve daily stress.

photo credit: Giulia Bertelli / Unsplash

You shouldn’t be ashamed of your hobby even if your friends and family don’t share it. Only because they find interest in something else doesn’t mean that no one in the world shares the same interests that you do. In fact, millions of people engage in the same hobby as you do daily.

So if you thought that no one shared your enthusiasm for this activity until now, think again. Whatever activity you can imagine, millions of other people on the planet are doing it as you read this article.

If you’re one of the individuals who wonder how they can transform their hobby into a successful venture, this article provides information on how to start a business based on the things you love.

Do a Self-assessment

Do you know what it takes to turn your hobby into a lucrative business? Do you have the required stamina and energy to take the necessary steps and transform it into a venture? Yes, it would be nice to spend your days doing what you love and making money, but make sure you don’t ruin your hobby by transforming it into a business. You started pursuing it to blow off some steam, but you could take its charm away if you add a lot of pressure on it to deliver money.

Research to understand what starting a business in this sector implies and make sure there’s a paying public before you bet the farm on it. Running a successful company requires plenty of work and responsibility, two things that could take the fun out of your hobby.

Plant hobby as a business

Test The Idea

If you decide that you have what it takes to turn your passion into a business, the next step is to test the concept by starting a side hustle. When the profits reach a level that allows you to cover monthly bills and support yourself, you can quit your job and pursue this venture.

However, don’t leave your present job if your side gig doesn’t make enough cash flow to last you at least two years. Be ready for the shock you’ll get when you turn from getting a monthly salary to having to pay taxes yourself. To make sure that you won’t worry about housing, food, or monthly bills, save up at least two years of living expenses.

Research

Before investing time, money, and effort into starting a business, take a look at the market and see what your future competitors are doing. Research the niche online, on social media and among the public to see what customers expect from you and what other companies provide.

You can research the market on your own or hire a professional company to do it for you. It’s recommended to work with specialists because they know the aspects that require extra attention and can help you determine if starting a business in this niche is worth it.

Make a list of your biggest 10 competitors and analyse their activity to figure out what they do to position themselves as leaders in the industry. Check their website, evaluate its functionality, and have a look at their Google ranking. Remember that people start searching for a product or service online in the present digital world, and it’s crucial to rank high in search engines to reach your ideal customer.

After doing research, you’ll have a clear idea of what you’re dealing with in terms of competition.

Reading small business plan

Write a Business Plan

The business plan serves as a blueprint for your company, and you’ll definitely need it if you want to apply for a loan. However, don’t skip creating a business plan because it’s quite useful in starting your venture, even if you don’t seek funding. Research shows that the business people who make a detailed business plan are 16% more likely to develop a profitable business.

Here are some elements your business plan should include:

  • Financial plan
  • Executive summary
  • Business overview
  • Management team
  • List of services and products
  • Marketing and sales plans
  • Marketing strategies
  • Metrics and milestones

If you want to transform your hobby into a profitable business, you need to take it seriously and write a complete business plan.

Build a Brand

Branding is essential when trying to build an easy-to-recognise business. It would help if you had a unique business name and logo that match your company’s personality and values. Pick brand colours that resonate best with your target audience, and craft a message they resonate with.

You can use free online tools to create a logo and elements for your business cards and advertising materials. Canva is such a solution that provides access to a huge library of elements.

Digital aisles

Establish a Strong Web Presence

In the digital era, all businesses need an online presence to attract attention and reach their target audience, no matter their size or specific. You should create a website that allows you to present the benefits your clients get if they purchase your products and even create a shop page that allows them to buy online. However, establishing a solid web presence extends beyond creating a website. It also implies creating and maintaining the page, connecting it to social media profiles, and posting regularly on the blog.

Your purpose is to brand your company as an authority in the industry that also provides valuable pieces of advice beyond selling products.

Try to be consistent in how you present yourself to your public because you need to establish an image. Your web presence and brand are the main elements that impact your company’s identity and help loyal clients differentiate your products from your competitors.

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Business Ideas

Q&A With Dr Ryan Shelton on Starting Up a Natural Healthcare Business

Published

on

”Dr Ryan Shelton is the Medical Research Director For Zenith Labs. He believes that there is a way to help sick people with natural treatments complimenting the conventional pharmaceutical approach. He has created a regimen of natural treatments consisting of holistic and complementary medicine, and it’s all backed up by science-based research.

Dr Ryan Shelton had dreams about being a doctor from a young age. His love for helping people inspired him to study the human body and how its internal and external environments change it for the better or for the worse.

Dr Shelton’s path to becoming a doctor was anything but typical. His undergraduate education focused on biochemistry and genetics. After attending medical school for one year he withdrew to “think in slow motion” and received another degree in Philosophy. He left because he disagreed with the way doctors were being taught to practice medicine. Dr Shelton believed that the better way to treat his patients was to heal their whole bodies rather than just treating the symptoms.

After receiving his Philosophy degree, Dr Shelton understood how important it would be to be able to treat or prevent chronic diseases holistically. He returned to medical school, where he earned his Naturopathy Doctorate. Now, Dr Ryan Shelton gets to follow his passion by helping his patients achieve their best overall health through natural remedies.

With chronic disease being on the rise, Naturopaths like Dr Shelton want to do their best to try and stop it from spreading by treating patients holistically. He does this by turning their food into medicine first and using natural remedies to increase their overall health. His goal is to balance his patient’s systems, and he passionately believes that his ultimate goal is to help his patients achieve optimal health.

Dr. Ryan Shelton’s work with Zenith Labs has helped him attract patients interested in pursuing wellness rather than focusing solely on disease care. His successful medical practice complements this passion, as does the company he founded. Whether you’re looking to improve your overall wellness or just want an alternative to the traditional pharmacological regimen, Dr Ryan Shelton has a plan for how to help you.

Hello Dr. Shelton, can you briefly tell us who you are and what you do?

Currently, I’m the medical research director for Zenith Labs and a Naturopathic Doctor with a successful private practice. I am also the Wellness Director and on the admissions team for a behavioral therapeutic program.

For the last few years, I’ve been running an online supplement business where people outside of where I am can get the same kind of advice that I give to my in-person patients from anywhere in the world. I do my best to promote a concept of total wellness and natural health solutions.

I have developed several natural health regimens over the years based on my research. I’m working hard to teach people that everything else will follow if they improve their overall health.

Please describe your company in a few words

Yes, it is a company, but really what we’re trying to promote here is a culture. Sure, we could go online and sell supplements till the cows come home. Lots of people do that. This naturalistic approach has been my life’s work ever since I was in medical school. I initially left medical school because I felt that the traditional way medicine was practiced was to treat the symptoms rather than treat the whole person.

I’m working hard to use my company as a vehicle to teach my customers and patients that they can improve their total body health, which makes healing other symptoms easier.

What is your company’s biggest achievement in recent years?

The surge in online business, I would say, has been our best achievement in recent years. When we first moved into this space, I felt like the company wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. We did traditional promotions and bought advertising, but nothing was really getting us over that plateau.

Just when I thought I might have to just let it go, word of mouth started spreading, and it spread like crazy. Satisfied patients were telling other people about what they’d experienced by using these treatments, and those people turned out in droves to get these benefits for themselves.

In what direction do you see natural healthcare going?

The coolest thing I think I have seen recently is that natural medicine is becoming more and more mainstream all the time. For a long time, people who preferred natural remedies were seen as “uninformed” or “Weird.”

Nowadays, people are flocking to find out what natural remedies they can incorporate into their own life. We’ve all seen so many odd things come from big pharma over the past ten years, so is it any wonder people are looking for a way that they can take charge of their own health. It will become much more focused on environmental medicine, lifestyle medicine, and anti-aging medicine.

We will begin using natural treatments not in response to crises, but rather to promote a level of optimal health not yet seen in the general population.

Natural medicine
photo credit: PhotoMIX Company / Pexels

Which recent developments in your industry do you find exciting?

The way in which people seem to be flocking to natural medicine. It’s no longer on the fringes of people’s thoughts. I see people take a more open-minded approach to learn about things that natural healers from around the world have known for centuries.

The general attitude that people have, that they want to discover things for themselves rather than just taking the proscribed wisdom as gospel, is really exciting. I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to being able to reach more people than ever before.

Again, environmental medicine and anti-aging, natural agents specifically targeting your unique specific genes and DNA to promote optimal health. The days of degeneration and disease are hopefully going away soon.

What keeps you motivated?

My vision. It’s been front and center in my mind since I was a child. I watched so many of my older relatives that suffered from chronic conditions just wither away with the traditional medical approaches. I knew there had to be a better way, and I feel like I’ve found it.

What keeps me motivated is the drive to bring what I’ve found to as many people as possible, so maybe they won’t have to watch their loved ones suffer as I did.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the health field?

Hang in there. It’s the best advice I could give anyone. Medical school is tough, and it should be. Then you’ll have your residency and boards, which are brutal. Becoming a doctor is a privilege that we, as a society, only bestow on those who have proven themselves to be the best at what they do.

If being a medical professional is your dream, then hang in there, and fight for it tooth and nail until you’ve achieved your dream.

Thanks for your time, Dr Shelton!

This post was originally published on this site

Continue Reading

Trending

SmallBiz Newsletter

Join our newsletter for the latest information, news and products that are vital to running a successful SmallBiz.