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Buying an old ugly car wash

Br9k22

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Hello everybody,
I am currently about to buy an old 6 bay self service car wash in the Houston area. It is on a highly traveled road in a commercial area, but it does not get many customers.
I suppose the reason for that might be because:
a.) there is no business signage whatsoever
b.) it only accepts coins
c.) there is no change-making machine or ATM.
d.) no attendant.
e.) there are empty bays in the back where vacuums used to be
f.) no automatic wash.

Does anybody think correcting any of these issues might bring more customers? And how much would it cost to convert the bays to accept credit cards/cash?
Any other advice?

Thank you
 

MEP001

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Are there like 15 other car washes in the vicinity in about the same condition? That's the norm for a car wash in Houston.

"Highly traveled road" is good. It's even better if it's at or near a traffic light and has good access for entry and exit.

"Commercial area" is not good. People prefer to wash near their home.

A) Signage helps, but if it looks like a car wash that's about all that matters.
B) It's Texas, that's also the norm unless it's in a high-end part of town.
C) Not having a changer is a big problem. On the other hand, having an ATM in Houston is like putting up a giant sign that reads "ROB ME."
D) Unless you hire an off-duty cop, you're probably better off without an attendant in Houston.
E) My guess would be the vacuums have either been vandalized beyond repair or stolen. It's Houston, so probably the latter. Moving the vacuums toward the street in better view will make them less of a target.
F) It's pretty difficult to make a profit on a SS-only car wash in urban areas of Texas because of the property taxes.

You can add Cryptopay to a SS car wash for as little as the cost of the hardware, which is $400 per bay plus $400 for the coordinator plus the cost of internet service, which you can do for as little as $10/month with a wireless hot spot.
 

Greg_T

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I'm on the wrong side of the world (Australia) to comment specifically, but I really like the idea of buying businesses that have been neglected but have some good potential, then adding lots of your own effort to get them up and active again. In the last 5 years we have been lucky enough to pick up an auto workshop, then later a 3 bay SSCW. In both cases, with lots of blood, sweat and tears, and investing any spare cash back into business improvements, we have been able to make significant improvements in the business bottom line.

So if you do your research and think the business has some potential, I think that old run down businesses can have great rewards.
 

Rfreeman

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F) It's pretty difficult to make a profit on a SS-only car wash in urban areas of Texas because of the property taxes.

But in TX you can always dispute your tax value to lower your taxes at the end of year. I spent 7 years in this industry lower values and taxes for many clients primarily in Tarrant Dallas Harris Bexar county. I wouldn't let this aspect alone deter you.

All my wash I contest my value each year and beat them as low as I can to save all that I can on my taxes. Every year I have recieved some type of reduction even if the value didn't change from year to year.
 

Earl Weiss

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Houston was where I saw the Changer and Venders "In Jail" There was a rebar cage constructed around them with an opening you could put a hand thru to insert $ and retrieve coins or product but it made it difficult to get a toll in there to break in. That was more than 10 years ago. Maybe this is an opportunity for CC Only.
 
Etowah

MEP001

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How bad are the property taxes in Texas?
Bad for car washes, since if the state has an income tax instead, car washes can just report it low. I don't know how it compares to other states that use it. You can't fudge property tax. Contesting it does work, but not every time, and not if the area is doing really well.
 

Rfreeman

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How bad are the property taxes in Texas?
Typically as a rule we used to say property taxes on all property, residential and commercial, property is going to run about 3% of the taxable valuable set by the county appraisal districts. So a wash valued at $500,000 your looking at around $15K in property taxes....prbly a little less. Tx is a non disclosure state so when propertys are bought and sold you don't have to report your purchase price
 
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