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How to Start a Car Washing Business: The Essentials

Most adults in Australia drive cars, so, when thinking about how to start a car washing business, providing customers with the best possible service should be at the forefront of your mind. 

Even if you are just a teenager, a car washing business in Australia could be a great way to source some extra income. This can be an incredibly profitable business if done right, so it is important to establish yourself correctly so you can start off on the right foot legally. Moving forward, you could even establish a car wash franchise in Australia. 

This post covers the first steps you need to know before you start your very own business.

Table of Contents

What is a Car Washing Business?

When considering how to start a car wash business in Australia, you should consider what sort of work you will be doing. A car wash business provides a service where you wash the inside and outside of customer’s cars. This can also include waxing services, drying and detailing. 

Getting Started: The Pre-Planning Steps 


Doing your research early on will ensure that everything is in order, when you launch your business. When starting a mobile auto repair business you are going to need equipment and tools, so  understanding what you will need and how much it will cost is a good place to start. You should also do your research to find the best deals to optimise the profitability of your business.

Another important factor to research is the cost of your services. In determining your price, you must look into your competitor’s charging rates. Ideally, the cheaper your services the more inclined customers will be to contact you. However, you must be careful not to make your services too cheap for two reasons. Firstly, you need to make sure that you are making a profit. Secondly, you do not want customers to assume that your prices are low because the quality of your services are compromised. 

Moreover, try to research what niche services you can utilise to make your car washing business more successful.  This will appeal to consumers and will enable you to choose your cost price since these services will be unique to your business.


It is important to choose an appropriate location where you can operate your business. As a car washing business, you should consider the range of locations you can operate from and maybe place a limit on where you are willing to travel. 

Develop a Car Washing Business Plan

Excellent planning will often lead to success. Using your research, you should develop a formal business plan to guide your business. This might include your:

  • Business objectives and goals
  • Business structure
  • Target market
  • Competition
  • Marketing strategy

You can always seek assistance from a professional accountant or business lawyer to assist you with this, if you aren’t confident in developing a business plan yourself. It’s important to revisit and review your business plan regularly.

Determine your Business Name

Now you need to decide on a business name. Once you decide on your name, you can check the availability of the business name you have chosen. 

If the name is available, you can then register your business as a trademark to ensure that you have the exclusive rights to your business name throughout Australia. 

Determining your Business Structure

You will need to decide on a business structure to establish your business plan. Consider whether you will operate as one of the following. 

  • A sole trader is someone who owns and operates a business under their personal name. 
  • A partnership is when two or more people come together to form a business.
  • A company is when you register your business as a separate entity from your personal affairs. 

You should contemplate which structure will work best for your business goals. It is important to know what the legal ramifications are of each structure and how they can affect how you operate. 

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Registering your Business

You need to register for a few things in order to make your business official. For instance:

Source Insurance 

Insurance is the most important step when setting up your business. It is imperative that you protect yourself and your business from any legal action. Firstly, you will need a type of public liability insurance, this will be beneficial for you and your business when customers or staff experience injuries on site or otherwise. 

Public liability insurance from insurance companies such as BizCover can help you protect your property and your employees from damage or injury. 

Additionally, you will want to ensure you have worker’s compensation set up for these instances. Finally, you will need a form of coverage for all your equipment to protect against loss, damage or theft. 

Hire Employees

You will want to consider hiring additional staff to help ensure that your business runs smoothly, especially as it expands. You will need to decide how many employees you are looking to hire and what type of employment they will receive. Will they be full time, part time or casual workers? 

You will then need the appropriate employment agreements drawn up and signed. There are different types of employees that you can hire, learn more about how they may affect your business in the Webinar below.

Marketing Your Car Washing Business

Now all you need to have a successful business is working on appropriate jobs. When considering how to advertise your car washing business to help you attract individuals or companies in need of car washing work you may want to implement a strategic marketing plan to cover all your bases. This will allow you to gain insight into your target market. 

It will also be beneficial in helping you understand what is the most effective marketing method to reach your target market. Some marketing methods you may choose to use include starting a social media page or putting an advertisement in your local newspaper. Another simple and effective approach of reaching new customers is through word of mouth. 

Having an online presence is important even for construction companies. Using websites like Shopify or GoDaddy can help you create a well-established business so that your customers can easily find you. Additionally, you should set up and maintain a website which means you need to consider any website terms and conditions to ensure that your customers are safe.

Considering the Law

When considering the law, it is first important to know whether you want to know how you can start your car washing business at home or if you will operate elsewhere. 

Qualifications and Licenses

The best thing about a car washing business is that you don’t need any formal qualifications to start. So, there is nothing stopping you from getting started.

Australian Consumer Law

In NSW as a car washing business in NSW, you will need to ensure your business complies with the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). 

The ACL covers most products and services bought in Australia and relates to consumer guarantees. Moreover, work should be done with due care and skill, fit for purpose, and completed in a reasonable timeframe.

If your business fails to meet any of these guarantees, your customers can request under the ACL to:

  • repair, replacement or refund; or
  • cancel a service; or
  • reimbursement for damages and loss.

To get up and running, you should consider these legal documents so that you can protect your business. Some documents you should consider include:

  • A Services Agreement can outline the service you provide so that your customer can know what to expect. 
  • A Employment Agreement can outline your employee’s responsibilities and their obligations to your business. 
  • A Refund Policy allows for you to inform your customers of your refund policy. 
  • A Tax Invoice allows you to create a formal request for payment and ensure your records are up to date. 
  • A Car Wash Waiver is a legal document that protects someone who wants to reduce their risk of liability.

How Lawpath Can Help

At Lawpath, we can help guide you through starting your own car washing business. One of our Experienced Lawyers can provide you with all the legal information and requirements necessary for your business to succeed. 

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