How to Set Your Car Wash Prices

Your car wash prices affect how your service is received by the market. Here are some tips to guide you on how to set your price list properly.

How to Set Your Car Wash Prices
How to Set Your Car Wash Prices
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Your car wash prices affect how your service is received by the market. Pricing strategies play an important role in the overall financial, marketing, and strategic objectives of your car wash business. A correctly-priced car wash service is a foundation of a prosperous business, while an incorrect pricing strategy can be detrimental for your car wash.

Here are tips to guide you on how to set your car wash prices

Know your objectives

Yes, you are a car wash service provider. But do not lose sight of the fact that your car wash is a business, first and foremost.  While it is good that you have a desire to provide service, you have to keep in mind that you are in the car wash business for the profit, too. Without the profit to cover your cost of products and service, you may eventually have to close shop. Then, you will not be able to provide the service.

Study your market 

Study your market
Study your market
img src: free digital photos

Once you are clear on the purpose of your car wash business, look at your market. When setting your car wash prices, find out who your customers are. What are their habits? Do they regularly have their cars washed? How much can they afford to pay? What is important to them in terms of service? Quality or speed? You also have to research on your competitors. Do you have plenty of competitors in your area? How much do they charge for the services they offer? These are some of the information that you have to gather to help you decide on your car wash price.

Determine the method in setting up your car wash prices 

There are generally four ways to establish your car wash prices:

  1. Cost-Plus Pricing – This is what many manufacturers use in setting their prices. With this method, you add all your costs, materials, labor and overhead and add it to your desired profit.
  2. Demand Price – This method uses the demand and perceived value of your service as basis of pricing. It also takes into account the optimum combination of volume and profit. For example, you pay a wholesaler less for products if you buy in huge quantities, whereas you may pay more to a retailer for less stocks. However, this can be difficult as you have to be accurate. You need to calculate how much you will have to charge to generate the optimum relation of profit to volume.
  3. Competitive Pricing – This approach involves that you how much your competitors charge for their car wash services. Normally, you would be compelled to set a car wash price that is lower than your competitors’. But you would have to be very careful not to fall into the mistake of underpricing. It would give customers the perception that your services are not of quality. And you also may not be able to sustain your car wash business with less or no profit at all. If there is a major car wash player in your area, you may follow their prices. On the other hand, if you have a unique or superior service that no one else has, you may consider charging more.
  4. Markup Pricing – According to, markup pricing is adding a constant percentage to the cost price of an item to determine its selling price.

Be aware of the risks

You have to be very careful that you don’t either underprice or overprice. As mentioned earlier, underpricing can make consumers think that your service is cheap. Overpricing may also drive consumers away if they can’t afford it. So you have to find the balance to make sure that your car wash price is just right.

Be on the lookout for new car wash ideas to increase profits

What you can do to ensure profitability is to offer other products and services that can add value to your car wash business. You can offer additional services like specialty detailing services and mobile detailing. You can also set up profit centers like a coffee shops, a pet wash, or a convenience store at your car wash. Leverage on social media and digital technology to improve your marketing strategies.  There are a lot of things you can do to add value to your car wash business and entice customers.


Do not forget to always review your prices. Whenever you introduce a new product or service, your costs change, your competitors change their prices, or when the economy experiences either inflation or recession, get back on the drawing board and review your prices. Revisions on your car wash price may be necessary. You also have to note that what you may have to revise are your fixed costs, direct costs, or desired profit. If you find that your car wash price is not competitive, you may have to lower down your costs or profit.

If you want to learn more about car wash price strategies, check out the DetailXperts opportunity. Setting prices is definitely one thing you will get help for from headquarters. The authority in auto detailing will assist you every step of the way.