Mobile Car Wash Industry – An Overview of the Market Today

Mobile Car Wash Industry – An Overview of the Market Today

One way to get a foothold in the auto detailing market is through entering the mobile car wash industry. As with any new business venture, it is wise to get an industry overview before you make your final decision. This will give you a much better idea of potential profit, competition, future trends, target market, and so on.

Information and data are key to good decision-making. For example, uses of car wash industry statistics include getting a better understanding of the current trends and demand in auto detailing that you can use to your advantage. It will help you determine whether or not owning a business in the mobile car wash industry is right for you and a worthwhile investment.

About the Mobile Car Wash Industry

The mobile car wash industry brings a flexible service to the world of auto detailing. Instead of operating from an auto detail shop at a fixed location, a mobile car wash is a vehicle-based business. Owning a mobile detailing unit (or several units) allows you to go to the customer at their specified location, date, and time slot. This kind of car wash is hugely popular with those who want convenient, time-saving services that are easy to schedule. People now expect to research, schedule and pay for services through their phones. Read on to gain more insight into the mobile car wash industry.

Car Wash Consumer Trends

Firstly, are there opportunities for growth and profit in the automotive franchise industry? It is important to find out if people are still willing to pay for professional car wash services. According to industry research, yes, there is significant demand. Trends show that consumers in the United States increasingly prefer to have their vehicles washed for them instead of doing it themselves – an increase from 48% in 1994 to 77% in 2019. Busy schedules and rising spending power are contributing to this demand.

We must note that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted market growth due to the temporary suspension of certain businesses. However, Ibis World analysts forecast that the demand for car wash services will rapidly recover as people take to the road again and incomes expand.

Target Audience of the Mobile Car Wash Industry

Who uses the services of a mobile car wash? In the broadest sense, your potential customer is any car owner or car driver. Statista reveals there were 273.6 million motor vehicles registered in the US in 2018.

However, the target market of the mobile car wash industry is more focused on consumers who prioritize a convenient service. It allows them to schedule a car wash at a time and place that suits them. Meanwhile, they carry on shopping, working, or carrying out other planned activities. Mobile car washing services can take place at shopping malls, parking lots, places of work, home driveways, and so on.

In the mobile car wash industry, you can also target companies that depend on fleet maintenance for the running of their business. Hiring the services of a mobile car wash allows companies to get multiple vehicles washed on-site and back on the road as quickly as possible.

Furthermore, if your business has an online booking system it will make life easier for your customer to schedule a mobile car wash from their smartphone. Your target market includes Millennials and Gen Z, the two most tech-savvy generations, according to reports. You can also explore a niche target market for mobile car care. This includes caravan owners, boat owners, and aircraft detailing.

Market Share

Statistics reveal that the US auto detailing industry consists of around 62,000 businesses. Rollover/in-bay car washes account for the largest share (almost 50%) of the market and can be found at almost 30,000 US locations. Conveyor tunnel systems have the second-largest share of the market. Being aware of car wash industry statistics on the competition will ensure you enter the mobile car wash industry with your eyes open.

While automatic car wash systems might dominate the market, it doesn’t diminish the potential of a mobile car wash business. Indeed, you may have a better chance of success in a less crowded and competitive segment. For example, you can give yourself the edge over the competition if you are prepared to offer a more memorable experience. Taking the personalized approach when washing cars and building rapport with customers will help you to build a lucrative detailing business in the mobile car wash industry.

Flexible Business Model

If you look at automotive industry trends, you will notice that mobile businesses are popular because they are not restricted to a physical location or fixed 9-5 opening hours. This kind of flexibility in the mobile car wash industry appeals to the modern customer who is busier than ever. It also benefits you as a business owner. You will increase profits if you extend your working hours and serve more customers per day.

Mobile Car Wash Revenue

In terms of revenue, the mobile car wash industry can hold lucrative opportunities for those business owners who work hard. How much do car washes make in the mobile car wash industry largely depends on the number of mobile detailing units in your business. For example, if you own 3 mobile units, earning potential can be around $149,000 per year. You can increase revenue further with higher-priced add-on services such as paint correction.

Future Prognosis of the Mobile Car Wash Industry

Industry trends and forecasts predict an expected growth rate for the global car wash market of 3.16% from 2020 to 2027. It will reach $41.1 billion by 2026. Costs to enter the market vary considerably. Startup costs of a mobile car wash are much lower than that of an in-bay car wash. This will help you keep tighter control over your finances in your first year.

If you can make your mobile car wash an eco-friendly business, it will also help to boost your profits. Reports show that 35% of consumers are happy to pay more for eco-friendly services with Gen Z consumers driving the trend. For example, a mobile car wash that uses water-saving solutions, such as a steam detailing business, and organic cleaning products is a more attractive option to the environmentally-conscious consumer.

Elsewhere, the global mobile app (application) market is experiencing huge growth. Reports show that experts expect it to grow at a CAGR of 11.5% from 2020 to 2027. Apps for mobile detailing are helping to drive up business in the mobile car wash industry. See On-Demand Car Wash below.

On-Demand Car Wash

Where is the mobile car wash industry going in the next 5 to 10 years? It looks set to go from strength to strength thanks to its flexible business model and the latest developments in technology. A mobile car wash is perfectly suited to offering on-demand services. You can make your business accessible to customers via an app on a smartphone. An online mobile booking system makes scheduling a car wash and processing payment effortless. It also means less administrative work for business owners and more convenience for the customer.

Marketing a Mobile Car Wash Business

Utilizing technology in the mobile car wash industry does not end with apps. You can also reach customers through their smartphone with targeted marketing campaigns highlighting the convenience of a mobile car wash. Digital marketing trends in the automotive franchise industry include making the most of social media marketing on Facebook and Instagram. You can also boost your online business visibility with search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.


If you are interested in entering the market with a mobile car wash, you have the potential to build a very profitable business. Trade is not restricted to a specific location. You can take your mobile car wash to local business and residential communities. You can also tap into the on-demand car wash trend and drive profits up further. However, if you prefer the more traditional approach of a brick-and-mortar business, it would be wise to continue your research before investing time and money in a new venture.

Bear in mind, the growing demand for convenience and time-saving services are relevant across all industries. Moreover, the mobile car wash industry is perfectly tuned in to this demand. If you would like to learn more about the exciting opportunities available, check out the DetailXPerts franchise opportunity and request more information. We are a leader in the auto detailing franchise and offer a mobile unit option.

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