How to Advertise a Car Wash Business

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Americans buy millions of cars and light-duty trucks each year, and like everything else, vehicles get dirty. If you're considering launching a new business, these vehicle owners offer a large potential market for a car washing business. Once you’ve determined a location to provide your service, the biggest challenge will be attracting customers. There are several low-cost methods to advertise your car wash to your potential customers.

Identify your target market. Everyone who owns a vehicle is a potential customer, but your real target customer will be a certain type of person. Consider where your target customers live, whether they're predominantly male or female and why they would have their cars washed rather than doing it themselves. Describe your target customer in as much detail as possible--this will help you determine the best advertising message to create to attract those customers.

Design a flyer using the description created in Step 1. Use a graphic design program like Photoshop or Microsoft Publisher or a word-processing program like Microsoft Word or Open Office. The most important things to include are your car wash contact information and an incentive, such as a limited-time coupon or possibly a grand opening giveaway. Make sure your flyer has an attention-getting headline. Once you’ve got a flyer that you like, print 100 or more copies to distribute to businesses, apartments, shopping centers, and community centers close to your car wash location.

Create a public relations event to attract media attention. One way to do this is to partner with a local charity. Commit to donating a percentage of your sales to this charity and launch your partnership with a one-day event from which half the profits go to the charity. Attract media by creating--or having the charity create--a news release to send out to area newspapers, television and radio stations. Get charity officials to take part in washing cars, have speakers talk about the charity and what the money you donate will be used for and organize games and fun activities, such as a dunk tank.

Hire college students or other part-time workers to stand on busy intersections near your location with signs advertising your car wash. The "sign twirlers" can attract attention by wearing attractive beach wear, bright body paint or costumes (like a chicken or a duck) while they dance around and wave the signs.


  • Consistent, regular advertising is key to attracting new customers. Commit to performing one type of advertising action at least monthly.