Out Market The Fastest Growing Car Washes

Does it ever feel like you blinked, and now there’s a new car wash competitor next door? That’s because the car wash industry is growing at unprecedented speed.

Just check out how many washes the Goliaths have:

  1. Mister Car Wash: 440+
  2. Driven Brands: 410+
  3. Zips Car Wash: 300+
  4. Quick Quack Car Wash: 200+
  5. Tidal Wave Auto Spa: 170+

And by the time you read this, these numbers are likely outdated. That’s how quickly the industry is growing.

Yes, it’s getting crowded, but smaller washes can compete by finding opportunities and taking care of customers. Regional washes (those with one to 15 sites) are specially positioned well for a David versus Goliath moment, but more on that in a minute.

Large chains come with state-of-the-art offerings and marketing teams ready to rev up revenue, but they are focused on the new. Mister shares are dropping and Driven Brands is feeling the competition push. By focusing on growth, many chains have neglected standards and the local feel, which is where regional washes can shine.

As washes grow, it becomes difficult to track and tend advertising in all their markets. Instead, they will prefer trackable, digital ads that can be rinsed and repeated across the nation.

Regional washes can fill this void with creative marketing and better standards. You’re on the ground and know where to find opportunities that the larger chains won’t find. That could include partnering with HOAs and apartments, attending local events, and advertising with popular, local social channels.

You may never have the budget of a large chain, but creative spending can save the day. The good news is that regional washes typically have the best ideas because they are grounded in their communities and have more wash feedback from customers and employees.

Larger washes are running toward numbers. Often backed by private equity money, they are becoming increasingly interested in the bottom line. One chain, for example, took away detailing tools and started using much cheaper chemicals. Customers noticed and numbers dropped, effectively changing the company’s model from great service to profit off the masses.

But people notice. That’s why competition is driving customers away from their, and possibly your wash. Give customers a positive, value-driven wash, and they are sure to stay loyal.

Yes, the competition is getting stiff. But Davids can win the fight with better standards, cleaner sites, better customer service, more community outreach, and a customer-focused approach to washing.