Avoid buying a Gas Station or Car Wash For Your E2 Visa

Written by: Patrick Findaro
Last Updated by Rocio Somoza: May 16, 2024
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This is Patrick Findaro with Vetted Biz, and today I’m going to talk a little bit about why you should not buy a gas station, a car wash, or any of those related businesses as there’s just a lot of competition in that space. Let’s go through quickly the top four reasons why you should avoid a car wash for sale business. Maybe you’re browsing on a site, and you see listings for car washes for sale, and you like the simplicity of the business. 

That same simplicity that might have attracted you to the car wash business, no big surprise, attracts a lot of competition for people that want a business where there are minimal employees, where people are just pulling up to the business, and getting the service done.

Top four reasons why you should avoid a car wash or gas station business for sale

1. Heavy competition:

Many entrepreneurs are entering this industry, for the same fact that you might. It might have piqued your interest, it’s that it’s relatively straightforward to manage and run. So, as a result, many local areas around you might have already a few car washes established. Here in Miami, it’s like every block there’s a car wash. And then leading into the second reason not to own a car wash business is the seasonality and the unpredictable nature of the business.

In Miami what can happen, as in other areas of the country, there can be bad weather. Or there can be days that it rains every day for a week or two weeks. And people aren’t necessarily bringing in their cars. Also they feel like they’re getting a wash done every other night. In addition, hurricanes pass through Miami. So you could have a period where for a week, two weeks the last thing on people’s mind is getting their car washed. In other locations with snowy or rainy climates, it might be a difficult business to predict your revenue. And thus your profitability for a car wash.

The fluctuating nature of the business and the seasonality of the business in certain areas create quite a problem if you’re looking to buy a car wash here in the United States. 

Car wash, white car, wash the car with foam at the car wash. Self service car wash.

2. The high maintenance cost:

It’s a very capital-intensive business where you have to spend a lot of money on equipment. Then you have to maintain that equipment. So, when the equipment breaks, it can be very expensive to call maintenance personnel. And perhaps they’re going to charge you an hourly rate, and then those replacement parts.

3. The fluctuating and seasonality of the business:

And then if you have to replace the whole system, which generally, is going to happen every few years. It’s going to be a very expensive proposition. You might even have to take a loan out to finance that large equipment purchase. So, that’s the third reason I would not invest in a car wash business is the high maintenance cost related to it.

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4. The machine downtime: Again:

You’re in a rural area, a suburban area, and it’s a Sunday, and your car wash business shuts down, one of the main equipment shut down, good luck getting a technician right away. It might take a day or two. When the machine is not running, that’s a lost opportunity for you to make money. And that can be extremely costly, such is the case with the maintenance cost. So, time lost waiting to have that equipment fixed means that you’re losing profit, sales, etc.

It’s going to rely a lot on having the right technicians in place and ensuring that you have reliable technicians to fix the machines that falter. But also for peace of mind.

Do you want to be dealing with that on a Saturday evening, or Sunday evening, especially if you got in the car wash business because you have a full-time job that you couldn’t allocate full time to this endeavor?

Many times, too, there’s not enough margin to run the business fully autonomously. You’re going to have to work 10, 20 hours a week in the business, and it’s usually going to be in funky hours. 

Summary review

Four reasons that I would take as the top reasons to avoid a car wash for sale listing that you might find. And not even entertain the idea, is one, heavy competition across the United States.  Two, the heavy maintenance and machine cost. A very high maintenance cost, I should say. Three, the fluctuating and seasonality of the business, and then four, the machine downtime. When something does break, not only is it going to cost you money to fix it, but it’s also going to cost you revenue and sales from clients.

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