How to start a car wash business in Kenya

The amount of traffic in the Kenya roads has increased significantly. The number of vehicles gracing our roads is projected to continue growing as the middle class continues to grow. Here in lies a disguised business opportunity. Apart from it been a menace in form of the dreaded traffic jams that city dwellers have come accustomed to it could prove to be a business in disguise.

Youths can capitalise in this motor vehicle ownership boom. These vehicles will need some cleaning every once in a while. This will directly result in demand for car wash services. How you seen how packed this places can get?

With an average of Ksh.100,000 you could be a proud owner of one of these units. From there you can possibly expand your network. Alternatively, a group of youth can partner in the venture after securing funds from the likes of Uwezo Fund and the Youth Enterprise Fund (that is trusting that the funds still operate).

The following is a highlight on some of the fundamental things you need to set up in your journey to becoming a proud car wash business owner. A breakdown of the associated cost has also been presented. Note that this article will focus mostly on starting small. Capital can become a hindrance to most individuals.

How to Start a Car Wash Business

  1. Identify A Yard and Buy or Lease It

The ideal location for a car wash is an area where the prevailing living standards enable residents to own and maintain personal cars. For ease of access and maximum exposure go for a yard that is situated on a busy road ideally on levelled terrain. Avoid areas with physical obstructions like trees, ditches or electric poles. If possible, focus on areas near shopping malls, churches and other public facilities.

  1. Rehabilitate The Land
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You can’t start a car wash in a bush or in the middle of some shady looking joint and expect it to perform well. You have to rehabilitate the site to make it conducive and secure for car owners. Start by removing any barriers, then fence it, level up the ground, dig trenches and so on. If money allows it, convert the ground into concrete. Then put a “Car Wash Coming Soon” banner somewhere and move to step 3.

  1. Apply For License

The most basic form of licensing required to start a car wash in Kenya is the single business permit which is issued by the county government. Price for this may vary from one county to another with Nairobi and Mombasa being the most expensive spots in the country. Other than that, if you’re planning to start a really big car wash you may want to get clearance from NEMA.

  1. Get Equipped

You will need a source of water; this can be piped or acquired from a natural source and stored in a 1000+ litres water storage tank. You can also acquire a car washing machine (petrol-powered), a vacuum cleaner and detergents. For a really small start, you can start with a few buckets and cotton hand towels and buy the sophisticated machines later as your business expands.

With those 4 steps completed, you’re ready to start.

How Much To Invest

The following serve only as estimations to guide you:

Expense Approximate Cost
Yard rent Ksh.15,000
Rehabilitation Ksh.10,000
Licenses Ksh.20,000
Equipment Ksh.50,000
Marketing Ksh.5,000
Total Ksh.100,000


Just How Profitable Is A Car Wash?

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On average a small car wash business that has just started can handle 15 cars per day (weekends are peak days). The average price of cleaning a car is Ksh.200. In addition you can offer services like carpet cleaning, night parking and restaurant to bolster your margins. Overall, a well-run car wash business in Kenya can rake in Ksh.130,000 per month with a net profit margin of 40 percent.


Car wash business is a safe bet especially for anyone who is in employment (or another business field) looking to explore a new arena. Its risk potential is quite low and there is massive potential for it to grow given the fast rising number of car ownership in the region. However, just as with any other business it requires a great deal of patience, strategy and timely judgement.

Mr. Felix
A Math Nerd and a Computer Geek. Currently a Windows 10 Insider. Interested in AI, big data and AR/VR. Takes a keen interest in developments in the tech, business and social media spheres.

Mr. Felix

A Math Nerd and a Computer Geek. Currently a Windows 10 Insider. Interested in AI, big data and AR/VR. Takes a keen interest in developments in the tech, business and social media spheres.

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