Sunday, 1 December 2013

Professional Car Cleaning Services- An Opportunity

Dear Friends,

I certainly feel there are abundant of entrepreneurial opportunities available in public domain catering to the most of the basic needs. One such opportunity I have observed recently, not so thoroughly researched but has a growing potential as explained by the prevalence of high demand market catered by completely unorganised sector in this particular domain.

Need: With growing number of cars being owned by Indian society, the scene in every household, residential society, flats or any housing unit is the washing of cars by unskilled hired personnel. They use conventional techniques and tools, namely, bucket, tumbler(s), water hose/pipe and a dirty cloth pieces (which is some old discarded cloth of household). The technique is to wash dirt of every car with plenty of water normally using the pipe and wasting liters of precious ground water  in the process.Then, they clean the car with the cloth and then dry it using another or same cloth piece. the perceived result is shining car which may not be so clean from inside as well. In case, if he uses pipe/hose to clean the car, he leaves the pipe on again destroying natural resources.

Potential : With fast growth in automobile sector and high disposable income available, there is increasing number of cars available in every household. In metropolitan areas, this number goes upto 3 per house. With clustering of houses in proximity to each other, on an average 100 + cars may be available in a street or residential area/society. Hence, demand is huge and unlimited potential. On an average, in any urban area, residents pay anywhere between Rs. 500- Rs. 1000 per car for washing on daily/twice in a week or weekly basis.

Solution: McDonalds' restaurants across the world is using flush less toilets saving millions of liters of water every year. The toilets use some absorbing plate into the toilet which makes toilets odorless. Can't our young scientists design (could have been already designed) some gel/liquid/cleaner which applied through some mechanical/human technique get the dirt off and could shine cars. Besides, using handheld machines running on batteries could be used to vacuum cars from inside once a week thereby adding lots of value to consumer satisfaction. Trained, properly dressed personnel with clean backgrounds and loaded with appropriate tools can be hired to provide clean cars to needy consumers. Besides, i feel, a premium can be charged form consumers for expensive chemicals used (as substitute to water) which they will pay happily for environment conservation and water preservation. The professional service provided will also attract premium pricing. Cars can be classified on basis of their size, their engine capacity etc. so as to charge differently from different consumers, e.g. a Mercedes will be charged extra in comparison to Alto or a Swift.

Challenges: A few challenges do exist but can be tackled:
1. Water substitute
2. Trained manpower
3. Limited time slots- morning 6 to 9 and evening 6 to 9
4. Extreme weather conditions
5. Car washing centers have opened in every neighborhood- they charge Rs. 150 to 300 per car wash

This is just a rough draft  idea, the research is still to be done to fine tune the idea into a full fledged business idea. Would certainly appreciate your comments/criticism/appreciation/additions to the idea through comments to this post. Any takers?

Dr. Ashish Arora

P.S. It is rightly said, "necessity is the mother of invention". My car washing guy has actually left my assignment and I was driving a dirty car every day to work since last 15 days, so, this idea came to my mind.


  1. Great idea sir. Well my thoughts on this would be that water substitute for cleaning will be a breakthrough innovation in it self.
    Another way we can drive this is a cleaning service helpline could be established to book for next morning or anytime after two hours and professional people with their tools can clean the car at clients address be it home or office and could further sell cleaning products like wax/polish/shampoos/freshners etc. This could be a collaboration of service at door step with tupperware model of sales or personal selling. Further if a brand is established own product line could be launched and for service franchise model could be put into practice. Adding to that a monthly or annual subscription could be sold for cleaning and family plans for no. Of vehicles could be designed. Adding to that a basic check up of car could also be included. Lots of further brainstorming needs to be done...

    1. Thanks Puneet, initially the foucs must be on providing the basic car cleaning service, once the brand is established and a reasonable number of clients are in place, value additions as suggested by you can be incorporated.

  2. Washing centers could be a competition on price aspect but still once the brand and idea is established that will not be a problem. Extra efforts of people going leaving their cars or waiting there could play in our favor plus additional brand association could further satisfy ego and social self image.

    1. Right now, there is no substitute threat for household service of car cleaning. The company can rather forward integrate in the future by opening speciliased washing centers (only car cleaning and washing done) where cars are cleaned with target of max. 10 minutes as target. Speed will be the UPS.

  3. Kalra sir and we need to have a serious discussion on this...

    1. Any day, Any time, but we need to do some more research work on following aspects:-

      1. How much amount consumer is willing to pay maximum for monthly car cleaning?
      2. How many cars can one trained personnel can wash every day and per hour?
      3. Cost estimates for the cleaning materials?
      4. Training for personnel?
      5. Total initial capital expenditure?
      6. calculation of Break even point?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hello sir

    We can come up with new ideas like
    1 pick and drop facility to customers so that during thier office time car can be washed by someone
    2 monthly basis or weekly basis cards can be made and some discount should be given to loyal customers
    3 on an rotation some customers should be given free car washing service after 10-!5 car washes. It will create a courosity among customers for their lucky draw or lottery for availing free car washes.
    4 some sort of loyalty point system should be provided for some customers,so that they feel premium while availing car washing service

    1. agreed..can be done

      Point no.1 is little difficult...yet some arrangement can be worked out with ola etc.

      Point no. 2 is a routine business practice

      3. Point no. 3 has to be done only if quality of our service is not good...or if there is some competition is there

      Point no. 4 again is a customer retention solution...initially focus should be on customer acquisition..

      Thanks for your inputs...i appreciate your sincerety