Have you ever wanted to go from “car wash owner” to “ruler of a car wash empire?” If this piques your interest and you’re looking to grow your business (we all are!), franchising might be road for you.

As a franchisor, you get to decide how your business looks, feels and runs. Franchising your business is a way to scale and increase profit by selling the operations, procedures and branding that you’ve already created to a franchisee.

There are some key details you’ll want to consider before putting the pedal to the metal on a franchise. And know that SBS Accounting & Advisors has worked with car washes for more than a decade, and our team is here for you to help navigate the challenges and make the best decisions for your business.

Here are some key areas to consider when it comes to deciding whether to franchise your car wash business.

1. Consider Your Playbook

If you have a recipe for success, you need to be able to write it down. As a franchisor, you’ll effectively be handing franchisees a playbook for your car wash that they can replicate. You’ll need to document everything about your business model: equipment and overhead costs, supplier and purchasing information, accounting programs, standard operating procedures, pricing structures, hiring philosophy, and marketing strategies.

This means you need to be organized, with tried-and-true systems in place that you can share with franchisees. Part of what they pay for is the complete playbook and oversight from a franchisor, so you need to be ready to deliver.

2. Consider Your Brand

A strong brand paves the way for a successful franchise. Take a hard look at how customers view your brand and how you stack up against the competition. Ask yourself:

  • Do I have a brand people love? Are people loyal to my brand?
  • Can someone else recreate this same experience without me there?
  • What makes my car wash brand unique?

Define what makes your car wash different and how customers will know that they’re at your car wash – no matter what location they visit.

And if your plan is to start franchising close to your first location, take a hard look at the market opportunity. Do your research to ensure that the market isn’t saturated, so that your franchisees are set up for success.

3. Consider the Regulations

The Federal Trade Commission oversees franchises in the U.S. and spells out exactly what you’ll need to provide to potential franchisees in the Franchise Rule. The FTC’s primary concern is protecting potential buyers from unscrupulous franchisors by requiring accurate data and reporting.

The Franchise Disclosure Document you’ll need to create can run hundreds of pages long. It includes up-to-date information for potential purchasers on everything from lawsuits, to estimated expenses, to contact information for other franchisees. Individual states often have additional requirements for disclosure documents and franchise registration. It’s always a good idea to meet with your business attorney when it comes to legal requirements.

How to Decide Whether Franchising is for You

If you’re on the fence about franchising, wash away those concerns because there are other opportunities to grow your business.

For example, you can generate passive income by licensing your brand to other car wash owners, offer additional services at your current location, or open and manage additional locations yourself.

To choose the best path for you, consider your business playbook, brand strength and regulatory requirements. Franchising can be simple, easy to manage and lead to immense growth. It also has some challenges along the way, as noted above. And, of course, there are other routes to take for business success.

So, if you’d like to discuss franchising and scaling your car wash business, or take a look at other opportunities for success, don’t hesitate to contact us today. No matter how you want to take your car wash to the next level, we can weigh your options and find the best fit for you!