Car Wash Loans – Don’t Get Hosed Trying To Get Car Wash Financing

In today’s financing environment, it really doesn’t matter what type of financing one is trying to obtain, it is more difficult and the process takes longer. That is fact. Car wash loans certainly fit this mold. Car washes can be cash cows. Depending on the type of car wash (rollover, tunnel or self-service) profit margins can be in excess of 90%! It is is also a cash business. The long and the short of it is, if you’re looking to buy an existing car wash, there is a good chance you might not looking at the numbers the site is actually doing based on the tax returns. Some of the newer car washes are including more profit centers such as oil and lube changes without having fuel. In general, it is easier to get a loan than it is to get financing for a gas station or convenience store with a car wash. While there are potential environmental concerns at a car wash, from a lending point, it does not compare to potential environmental problems at a gas station.To add insult to injury, coming to a city near you, it’s Discount Wash! (No, that’s not the name of a chain). Because the profit margins are so high in the industry, some companies have gotten the idea to come in and charge significantly less and still make a lot of money. It has really upset the applecart in many cities and some long existing businesses are no longer IN business. Many of the newer ones that are being built are charging the same to do a high end tunnel wash than you might spend at a rollover after filling up at a gas station. That is very hard to compete with. So you have to look at the business and figure out if it can still make money if you are charging significantly less and still make money with the anticipated volume increasing.From a financing point of view underwriters and credit officers will have their own biases and prejudices. The typical requirements exist when it comes to financing from the point of view of down payments, industry experience, good credit, cash flow etc. An argument can be made that the industry experience is not as important as some other businesses. The reason for this logic is it is not like a gas station in the sense that you have to constantly be looking at what your competitors are doing on a daily basis because your competitors are not going to be changing their prices daily. Plus because of the high profit margins, it is easier to take the hit if the margins temporarily drops.People are keeping their cars longer now so people are also taking better care OF their cars. This is only a win-win for operators.A car wash loan can be very attractive to a smaller local bank because of the depository relationship that may be required. As with all commercial financing, the more organized you are in your presentation, the more likely you are to obtain financing. Sloppy packaging sends a message to a loan officer or an underwriter. Sloppy packaging means sloppy business practices. Sloppy business practices means less profitable businesses.

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