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Old 14th September 2020, 16:33   #31
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Default Re: Friend lost his job, wants to start a car wash business

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Originally Posted by 88_TANK_88 View Post
Plan your finances. Apart from initial setup costs, keep aside 3-4 months' running expenses. Try to avail cash credit from bank against Fixed Deposit.
I totally agree with your point. Any new business requires a minimum of 6-12 months cash flow. These are testing times, so peoples perception is always shifting. A lot of people may not prefer car wash as the vehicle will be handled by 4-5 people. This creates more fear. A steady cash flow for wages and expenses should be planned initially. When you are in market for 12 months, and survived, you are successful even if you have not made profits.

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Originally Posted by Raghu M View Post
Other services like polishing, interior and air (nitrogen) along with a good wash
Great idea, I have not seen any car wash which offers Nitrogen filling. This will open up more opportunities. You can sub-let some of the space to tire puncture shops. This will help in rent burden. However, if the space is small and cannot fit a puncture shop, just a simple free nitrogen refill should be enough. Outside puncture shops are charging 40/- for Nitrogen refills. If you offer this for free, it may add more value to customer. As I said previously, everyone loves freebies.

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Originally Posted by kits View Post
Where one person does the washing , next one drying and next one finishing touches. This way at least 3-4 cars will be moving and they will have a sense of progress.
This is very important. Take example of supermarkets, people take their own sweet time while shopping. When they reach kisok to pay, they hardly have any patience left. I would be happy spending 1 hour looking at progress on my car than waiting for 20 minutes and see no progress.

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Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
Serve something to eat. A puff, cake and a drink from a local bakery shouldn't cost more than 50/-.
Offering savories is good gesture, but these are special times. People are scared to touch anything. Maybe a green tea dip/coffee machine in a disposable paper cup being offered by a person who has washed hands in front of customer might help. Will barely cost 7-10 bucks.

Also imagine a situation where 1 customer is waiting for just car wash and spending 500/- bucks, where as another customer is availing a bundle of car wash + polishing + interior cleaning and spending 2000/- bucks. It would not be viable to offer savories to both of these customers. Imagine 5 customers waiting on a busy weekend.

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Originally Posted by roy_libran View Post
I have seen a friend dramatically fail in this very business, mainly because of labour issues and ability to recoup dues from frequent (but influential) customers.
Let him try and fail. At least he will have the satisfaction of trying. I burnt my hands 3 times trying to start a company. Each time it was a learning curve. I have no regrets. I tried, I failed and I moved on.

Playing safe will take us nowhere. A job can be done anytime, career gap is nothing new. Everyone will understand career gap during pandemic situations. I also agree that 95% of new business are failing. Odds are less, but lets push the odds.
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Old 14th September 2020, 17:01   #32
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Default Re: Friend lost his job, wants to start a car wash business

Firstly, congratulations to your friend for taking a firm stand and decision amidst turbulent times.

The biggest roadblock to setting up a traditional car wash facility will be the new NGT guidelines, which place severe restrictions on use of water.

Therefore, a better proposition would be to have mobile doorstep wash and detailing. Having experienced services like Eco Care Care, JustWash, here are a few things to remember that will help differentiate his offering from competition:

1. Battery driven/self-powered equipment: Most doorstep service providers expect to have an 5A AC power socket in the proximity of your car, but this is not always a given thanks to factors like unavailability of points to restrictions on use of common area facilities etc. If he can build and offer a battery operated setup that handles all the power needs to, say, vacuum and dry wash the car, this can be a USP in itself.

2. Loyalty pays: Nothing works better to business than to have a committed customer. I remember signing-up for an annual package at 3M for both our cars, thanks to the offer to cover the service I already availed under that same plan. Of course, the package would have to be flexible and enticing, and backed by great service too.

3. Start slow, scale gradually: If and only when they have the ability to sustain and keep up to committed appointments should they look at expanding. I have seen closely, new, enthusiastic ventures overcommit and lose credibility in no time. I'd even advise going slow on advertising themselves and let the word of mouth do the talking.

Wishing your firiend the very best in his new venture!
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Old 14th September 2020, 17:04   #33
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Default Re: Friend lost his job, wants to start a car wash business

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
Starting a new business from scratch. Hmmm. From the first post I get the sense that your friend and you have not run a business before. Check question -- Do you have business experience in the immediate family? If you are from a service family then running a business is usually 10X tougher than what you think it is.

I am not providing you advice on do this or do that. Ultimately it is your friend's call. But these are the questions he must honestly ask & introspect on without getting attached to the project. As an ex-businessman and one who is actively invested in a few even today my words of offer are as follows:-

=================

I believe a lot more homework is in order. Your friend may wish to examine other alternatives too. All the very best.
Thanks for the plethora of information provided, as always, Narayan sir.
Although I'm currently working and not in business, coming from a business family where my dad has spent 40+ years in business, I was going to note down few of the above mentioned points here.
Thank God, I didn't. It would not have been such comprehensive as Narayan sir has jotted down.

I remember dad saying all the time, "If you want to start your own business, take up a job in the same field and gain experience for few years. Then you would know the intricate details on how to run the business"
He had done the same when he started his career for ~10years before he started his own business.

Last edited by khan_sultan : 15th September 2020 at 15:55. Reason: trimmed quoted post
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Old 14th September 2020, 17:42   #34
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Default Re: Friend lost his job, wants to start a car wash business

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Originally Posted by ramnaresh_2000 View Post
Let him try and fail. At least he will have the satisfaction of trying. I burnt my hands 3 times trying to start a company. Each time it was a learning curve. I have no regrets. I tried, I failed and I moved on.

Playing safe will take us nowhere. A job can be done anytime, career gap is nothing new. Everyone will understand career gap during pandemic situations. I also agree that 95% of new business are failing. Odds are less, but lets push the odds.
That's the spirit Ram. Just love the way you put it. Failing after a full attempt gives us the satisfaction that will give us a great lesson and an experience to gain from. I am sure with all the inputs from the forum, you will indeed succeed. Good luck, do well!
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Old 14th September 2020, 20:00   #35
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Default Re: Friend lost his job, wants to start a car wash business

As some others have suggested, avoid heavy Capex if you can. Stay nimble and be ready to pivot to something else in case this does not work out. Godspeed.
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Old 14th September 2020, 21:20   #36
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Default Re: Friend lost his job, wants to start a car wash business

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Originally Posted by DeepeshKarnik View Post
The High Level Plan: Find a commercial plot(process completed), install a hydraulic lift, get the equipment installed along with a water recycler plant and get started ourselves with a few other guys we've already shortlisted. Two people do the wet work, 3 guys on the interiors and myself and my brother maneuver the vehicles and undertake the final polishing (because we absolutely hate it when the polish shines more than it should or leaves a residue or the "oh-so-quick" polishing guy misses places like the corners of the AC vent flaps etc.). We are not under-estimating the complexity of executing our plan, but don't see any reason why it would be very complex either.

As a novice team, we seek your thoughts and MORE importantly, what to be taken care of when putting everything together ? In terms of the legal obligations, what sort of documentation would be actually required?"
Sorry for his job loss, but maybe this too is a blessing in disguise.
In terms of the legal obligations, have the following suggestions for him:
1) He will need to register his firm. Suggest an LLP since it has easier compliances.
2) Shop & Establishment Act (if applicable in your state)
3) MSME registration if he wishes to avail of credit facilities from the govt, else useless in his case.
4) GST registration - He can do this once his turnover in any financial year exceeds 40 lacs, else leave it unregistered.
5) Insurance - For the machinery he's investing in, plus in case of damage to any vehicle or any harm caused to any of his employees.

Wish him all the very best from all of us at Team Bhp. Hope his new venture fares well. In any case, please advise him to keep a very tight control of expenses and resist the urge to spend on any unplanned items until the business is set. It typically takes 3 years for any business to stabilize, so he has to watch his expenses atleast until then. Godspeed !!!
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Old 14th September 2020, 21:41   #37
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Default Re: Friend lost his job, wants to start a car wash business

Look, what is your differentiator? How will your carwash be so apart that people "want" to use your services?
Besides in covid times, don't we see people putting a stop to non essential spending? And couple it with hygiene and sanitation needs, which prevent one from handing over the car to strangers?
Right now, I understand that your friend has lost a job, but jumping hurriedly into a business without proper planning is flirting with danger
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Old 14th September 2020, 22:23   #38
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Default Re: Friend lost his job, wants to start a car wash business

Hi. Sorry to hear about your friends job situation. But do tell him to take it positively.

I am an automobile engineer, have worked with only OEMs for the past 15 years. Quit my job in Nov 2019 and thought of taking a break for a few months and covid happened.

First things first,

There are 4 M's that ges got to follow:

MAN
MACHINE
METHOD
MATERIAL

In this process of car washing, Labour is very important and need special skills for handling blue collared labour.

Secondly, availability of water. Very important.

Thirdly, calculate the returns forst on paper before getting into anything. If someone comes up with a washing center nearby and charges Rs. 20 less, the folks will run to him.

Do consider the 4Ms before getting into anything like this.
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Old 15th September 2020, 00:24   #39
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Default Re: Friend lost his job, wants to start a car wash business

Sorry to hear about your friends situation, I hope things work out for him. Some great advice here.

Here's what I'd add from talking to the manager of a car wash from my neighborhood:
1. Most of their time was dedicated to express wash services from 2 FNGs on the same street and a real estate tycoon who owned a taxi agency which weren't very profitable
2. Detailing, PPF, ceramic coatings etc were high margin items which brought a lot of money from customers who were willing to pay
3. Having a shopping center close-by helps quite a bit. Many customers would drop the car, walk 200m to do their shopping/bank work and come back to pick up their car
4. Some local politicians and senior police officers can request for free washes for their cars/bikes
5. One needs to keep greasing the palms of the local authorities to keep the business running hassle-free

Good luck to him.

Last edited by landcruiser123 : 15th September 2020 at 00:48.
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Old 15th September 2020, 06:53   #40
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Default Re: Friend lost his job, wants to start a car wash business

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Originally Posted by ramnaresh_2000 View Post
Playing safe will take us nowhere. A job can be done anytime, career gap is nothing new. Everyone will understand career gap during pandemic situations.
Fully endorse this.

The issues I have seen with this business also include the lack of organization and consolidation. The local "Ramu" type service provider usually does 30 - 40 cars at the same complex. Consequently, someone on this thread already made the point, that doorstep service may be better. I would agree with this. Not only does it make logistics easier, but customer acquisition by attracting others in an apartment complex is both cheaper and faster.

The other aspect I have witnessed is a lack of communication. I wanted to change to a similar service provider in Bangalore, but was turned off, and continued with the same local service provider because of a distinct lack of communication and clarity on terms of service.

Here's wishing your friend all the best.
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Old 15th September 2020, 10:30   #41
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Default Re: Friend lost his job, wants to start a car wash business

Never wanted to reveal it here in this forum. But I have been in this panic since long time, of being in a financial crisis in case of job loss and started a car wash and detailing business last year. Things are never easy as they appear. Business was getting some progress gradually and then this pandemic arrived and destroyed all we have built. But i should say i have learned a lot and still determined to get through this.

I will never advise anyone to go for franchisee model. You have to shell out a lot of money and resources initially and you dont even know if you wil get the return out of it. Even I had a plan to open 3M Car care outlet, but their conditions and requirements were way out of my budget.

Customer base is the key. It depends on how mature and informed the customers are. Unfortunately, where I live, only a handful of people understand what a professional wash is. May be this might not be the case in a city like Noida.

Hiring right people matters a lot. Inspite of keeping a constant watch, I have seen them doing some shabby work. It damages the reputation of your business.
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Old 15th September 2020, 11:31   #42
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Default Re: Friend lost his job, wants to start a car wash business

Sorry for your friend, and glad that he has been enterprising and moved ahead. My only suggestion for him would be to spend wisely and try to be different (not just costs):

1. Giving confidence to customer (hygiene and ensure the staff is healthy - you know what I mean).
2. Sanitisation and anti-bacterial services for customer (just not surface/water cleaning).
3. Providing customer better service (appointment/mobility etc.).

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 15th September 2020 at 11:50. Reason: Typos and formatting.
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Old 15th September 2020, 15:43   #43
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Default Re: Friend lost his job, wants to start a car wash business

First, all the very best to your friend.
My first thought was that it is not a scalable business which seems to be the case given their insistence on polishing the cars themselves. I'd suggest them to write down policies and processes on how to do it, so that the quality is repeatable (by any of their employees). Second, having a convenience store/lounge etc. is an absolute in this business and I am sure they are working on it. Please have them analyze all options and come up with the best way to maximize revenue. The car detailing itself will be a commodity business and this lounge could become a differentiating parameter. A coffee/snack/smoke bar with big screen TVs, may be? OR, they could employ a couple of trustworthy drives to drive the car to/from customer's home/office.
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Old 15th September 2020, 17:24   #44
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Default Re: Friend lost his job, wants to start a car wash business

Hi, Just came across this thread ,first of all sorry to hear about your friends predicament right now times indeed are tough for one and all.Will give my 2 cents of advice as i am in the same line of work and hope it helps your friend in making a well informed decision.

1. You will not find many stand alone legit car wash facilities in delhi mainly because as per NGT rules car servicing facility which they also term as car wash, A consent to operate has to be obtained from DPCC (Delhi pollution control committee) for which you would have to have proper infrastructure in place with a working Effluent Treatment plant (ETP) . the cost of the ETP and proper drainage alone is a ball park figure of about 3-4 Lakhs apart from this the entire consent approval would set you back by 2 lakhs approx.
non compliance of this alone is a chalan of 2 lakhs and sealing of premises.

2. Once you have step 1 covered You purchase professional car washers vacuums and the basic commercial kit. There are many companies who you can choose from all the necessary equipment should fall between 2-3 Lakhs, You do not a Hydraulic lift now as most car washers provide an attachment for the Under body of the car known as a under body lance, makes no sense to install a lift these days. labour isnt much of a hassle one can start off with a staff of 4 boys and gradually progress. 4 guys should set him back by 50-60 k avg per month in delhi.

3. Running a car wash alone is a business in loss at max the footfall one may get is 10-20 cars on avg 500 per car and an avg of 2 lakhs tops a month and that to in great market conditions, rent salaries consumables electricity water etc etc will amount to more.

4. You absolutely need to have detailing facilities at the same establishment which will actually bring in the money to cover your overheads.

5. Going for any branded franchise today will set one back by 25-40 lakhs and is absolutely a crazy move at this juncture in my opinion, he would be better off starting as an independent establishment and testing the waters, he should keep his investment minimum so if god forbid one has to cut losses and move on , one is prepared.

for a basic car wash on a leased property he would have to shell out 10 lakhs approx to get the joint up and running with rent security deposit etc total ball park figure would be more also having an idea of this industry is actually important before jumping right in he should first get experience of a few months and see whether he is up for it and then take a call. Business right now is at 40-50% makes no sense right mow to jump in however if he has the cash reserves to do so and survive the next 6-12 months i have a hunch its going to be worth his while as a lot many are shutting shop have seen 4 guys go under in the last month itself.

wish him all the best
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Old 16th September 2020, 00:34   #45
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Default Re: Friend lost his job, wants to start a car wash business

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Originally Posted by DeepeshKarnik View Post
I stay in Sec - 16, Rohini and people who live nearby, know that the ONLY car wash with a hydraulic lift and a good team was shut down a few months ago (referring to Kali Mata Mandir Petrol Pump). The next nearest such car wash facility is in Shahbad Dairy; a long drive for the people from the nearby sectors.
Sorry to hear about the job loss and this is the worst fear nowadays for the salaried, which is sadly coming true for many.

I have a fairly good idea of Rohini area, and would like to give my 2 cents on your friend planning to start his business around sector 16. As he may well be aware, just 4 Kms away is a very big car market in Naharpur, Sector 7. The market has small shops providing all sorts of car parts and services, from denting, painting and heavy body repairs to polishing, waxing and fair number of car washing outlets. Although the shops are in crowded area and strictly for budget and bargain friendly customers, but some car wash outlets are present in nearby areas of Naharpur. I already know 2-3 places near that market that have hydraulic lifts and pretty decent workers. They charged between 300-350 bucks for mid sized car. The repair and service shops from Naharpur often send their customers to these car wash outlets, so they have steady flow of customers. Although last time I checked, there was some NGT order to shut the repair and service shops there and only selling of car parts was allowed. That was in January 2020 and after that I have not visited that area.

You have also said that after closing of that washing place near Kali Mata Mandir, the next one is in Shahbad Dairy area, and a Google Maps search shows that area is just 2.5 Kms away, give or take. I personally think 2.5 Kms for Shahbad Dairy or even 5 Kms for Naharpur area is not such a long drive in a car.

NGT orders can impact your friend too, and given that there already are options nearby, please think of a good reason for customers to choose your place, especially in the initial months. I will surely love to visit your friend's place whenever he opens, but that is because I got to know it here.

As many have suggested, I also think doorstep service will be better in current scenario. The reasons are-
1. No NGT issue to bother you as you have no fixed establishment and also no Municipality people to bribe.

2. No investment in land and building. That will save a ton of money, especially for land in Delhi. A decent second hand Omni or Eeco with all the necessary equipment will cost less.

3. You can offer many categories of services, like polishing and waxing, interior dry cleaning and washing. Offering all these services from your own shop will require large plot and much investment in fittings. But offering the same through doorstep service will only require setting up separate teams and vehicles.

4. In these Covid times and generally also, I will always avoid visiting a busy car washing place, and waiting to get my turn. Fixing an appointment online and getting it done at my place will always be preferred, saving lots of time. Just a little hassle of providing water and electricity connections.

5. One of the members has mentioned about RWAs creating fuss about waste water etc. But most of the people here already have hired car washers, who come daily to clean the cars. They also create small water puddles near the cars. So if you use water saving equipment or even waterless washes, it will not be such an issue.

All the best.
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