Car washes are popping up all over Citrus County | Local News
With the explosion of car washes in Citrus County, there is no longer any excuse for driving dirty vehicles.
Caliber Car Wash has announced that it will soon be opening its second county location at the northeast corner of County Roads 491 and 486 in Lecanto. He already has one along State Road 44 in Inverness.
A Tidal Wave Auto Spa express car wash is also building a facility near this intersection, next to the Culver under construction.
Construction of Beth’s Car Wash on US 19 near West Cardinal Street is well underway.
These new facilities follow the April grand opening of Big Dan’s Car Wash at the intersection of State Road 44 and US 19 in Crystal River.
So what is driving this trend?
These all have one thing in common: they’re big, offer car wash clubs with monthly and annual membership packages, and state-of-the-art car wash.
And car wash owners are cleaning up the profits.
AutoLaundry, the industry trade association, said car washing has always been big business. But in recent years, massive amounts of acquisitions and consolidations fueled by an influx of private equity have transformed the once mom and pop-dominated industry into a major investment sector, the association said.
With the proliferation of these large chains, “it is becoming increasingly difficult for (small independent owners) to compete with the continued consolidation that is occurring in the industry, even in small markets.”
Low overhead, high return
The US car wash services market size was valued at $14.21 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow by 4.8% from 2021 to 2028, according to a market analysis report by Grand View Research.
There is little overhead for car wash owners. Customer cars are washed using improved technology and drivers vacuum their own vehicles. Apart from the teller at the counter, there are few employees.
“The demand for car wash services has grown over the past decade due to their increased convenience and a wider range of budget and luxury options,” according to Grand View.
Busy schedules and time constraints have also driven drivers to professional car washes.
The report says growing environmental regulations prohibiting residential car wash practices are expected to expand the customer base of professional car washes and increase demand for services.
Today’s facilities also use sophisticated water recovery systems that allow the car wash to reuse water multiple times. This allows the car wash to only use soft water when absolutely necessary (such as a final rinse) to ensure a clean, dry car.
While many gallons of water are used during an average car wash, only 9 to 15 gallons of soft water are introduced during any given wash cycle, according to the Western Carwash Association.
“That’s at least a 65% reduction in water use compared to home washing and most likely much more than that,” the association said.
These car washes also require an Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) from the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
The citrus market is ripe
“While car washes aren’t something the county is looking for for economic development, their developers seem to have determined that Citrus County is a good market for them,” said Josh Wooten, president and CEO of the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce.
Customers seem to like the subscription model or car wash packages and it gives owners a predictable revenue stream, he said.
“You hear complaints about the proliferation of car washes and fast food outlets, but that just confirms that Citrus County has been discovered,” Wooten said. “They build here because there is a market for their service or product.
“The jobs created by these establishments do not come from the targeted sectors that we hope to attract for high wages, but if they choose a properly zoned property, they have every right to develop it as they see fit,” he said. -he adds. “They’ll get a tax bill in the mail, just like the rest of us.”