Self Service Car Wash Trends

AutoLaundry News released its annual self-service survey results this May, pointing to rising inflation and plans to replace equipment throughout the industry.

The survey is conducted through a mailing of questionaries to random select subscribers who own or operate self-service car wash locations and follows years of similar surveying practices to produce industry benchmarks. This year, locations with in-bay automatics made up 51% of respondents compared to 49% without in-bay capabilities.

Some key takeaways from the survey include:


  • 27% of operators plan to add new equipment in the next 12 months.
  • Of the new equipment, in-bay automatics, vacuums, and LED lighting are all popular add-ons coming in at 16%, 11% and 11% respectively.


  • 65% of sites reported increasing their prices in 2022.
  • Of those sites that increased pricing, the average increase was 15.5%.
  • Vacuum prices increased from 27.3 cents per minute in 2021 to 29.9 cents per minute in 2022.

Business Trends

  • Spring and summer still tend to be the most profitable times for businesses around the country.
  • Saturday, Sunday, and Friday rank as the busiest days each week. Tuesday still remains the slowest.
  • 37% of customers show up between 3 pm-7 pm. Only 4% of customers show up between midnight and 8 am.
  • 30% of self-service washes have no employees on site, with 51% having a part-time employee, and 19% having a full-time employee.
  • Compared to 2021, 34% of self-service businesses saw an income increase, with 32% experiencing a decrease.
  • Labor, electricity, and water still top expense lists.
  • The average monthly gross income per bay is $1,810, and the average monthly grow income per vacuum is $331.

While car washes are still making money, revenues are starting to see dips year over year. This could explain the desire to upgrade sites and should include marketing strategies.

Read the survey here or click here to see past and full-service surveys.