The car wash industry is a dynamic and evolving market. As we enter a new decade, small- to medium-sized businesses are in an interesting growth period with an assist from innovation and technology, They can, however, face myriad challenges to keep up with expansion and address the changing needs of their customers and business initiatives. Business owners are finding new ways to overcome obstacles to invest in their company’s growth, and equipment financing is an area that growing entrepreneurial businesses are exploring.

With equipment manufacturers bringing next generation products to market, car wash operators are always searching for the best equipment, the best technology, and the best locations to build their sites. This convergence of getting the best equipment, finding the best property, and running their day-to-day operations puts a lot of demands on business owners’ capital resources, which for many are their bank lines and cash.


Fortunately, there are several avenues for operators to take in balancing and managing these demands. These include personal equity, traditional bank lines, as well as equipment financing. Most business owners get started by investing their own money to get their business up and running. Their bank lines played an important role in securing their real estate to build out their site.

When it comes time to purchase the equipment needed to support the business, many car wash owners have recognized that using their cash and bank lines may not be the best solution.

Cash is critical for day-to-day operations of a car wash business, and owners sometimes choose to preserve their bank lines for additional real estate acquisitions. Shorter-term equipment financing can play a role in helping business owners acquire car wash equipment, better match the useful life of it, and, best of all, potentially have the car wash “pay for itself” by cash flowing each month.

The benefits of using equipment financing include no substantial cash outlay, the avoidance of credit line depletion, the ability to align payments with revenue generation, and possible tax savings that may substantially lower the cost of the car wash equipment. With Section 179 and equipment financing, car wash operators can leverage the tax advantage for their business by not having to use their cash, yet, still get the tax benefit.

Additionally, working capital loans can provide cash that can be used for virtually any business need. These small business loans can help cover the expense of consumables used at car washes including cleaning and polishing products, high-performance drying towels, detergents, and other items.


When choosing a lender, there are several important areas for a car wash owner to consider. Does the lender you are considering offer:

A Simplified Credit Process

Is financing a cumbersome process requiring a lot of financing information and paperwork?

Look for a lender that has a high application-only threshold. Look for no-financials-needed up to $250,000. This allows for a quick turnaround to lock in equipment promotions and saves you time since you don’t have to pull together financial statements.

Easy Financial Documents

Some lenders have complicated financial paperwork. Choose a lender that knows the car wash industry and has streamlined the documents. Simple documentation that is electronically delivered to expedite the financing process can make it seamless.

Ability to Finance Bundled Costs

Look for a lender that offers 100 percent financing that includes soft-cost financing. This enables you to include items such as tax, shipping, and other items. This means you can avoid up-front or out-of-pocket expenses. Ask your lender if you can include 30 percent to 40 percent soft costs.

However you choose to grow your business, it’s good to know that you have resources to help you achieve your goals.

Paul Hagner is the vice president sales for Ascentium Capital, a national direct lender that specializes in financing for the car wash industry and is a proud member of the International Car Wash Association. You can contact Paul at (720) 219 3211 or via e-mail at For more information visit Ascentium.Info/CarWash2020