The security of customers, employees, and property should always be a top priority for car wash owners. Strong security can prevent property damage, create efficient communication, and create a safe experience for car wash customers. Setting up a good security plan can be a challenge if you don’t have the proper experts around you. As a security expert for more than 20 years, I have helped car wash owners and other small businesses create security plans that keep staff safe, customers safe, and property secure. Here are a few tips to help car wash owners step up their security game.


            Strategically install modern security cameras. Security camera placement is one of the best tools a car wash owner has to effectively identify trespassers and provide proof of a crime to law enforcement. Security cameras will most likely be the only form of physical evidence you can provide. That is why is it imperative to have the right number of security cameras and have the right placement strategy for them.  

            Security cameras should be installed at every entrance, every exit, in the office, by the cash register, in the vacuum space, and in any parking lot. You should place security cameras in spots that make it difficult for a person or employee to steal from your car wash. You should have a trusted employee or security guard watching the security monitors.

            Jason Fischbeck, owner of smart automation installation company Automated Environments in Mesa, AZ, said car wash owners have a couple of different options to choose from when it comes to security cameras. “Car wash owners can either go with digital or analog security cameras and both are good options,” he said. “Personally, I would install digital cameras since you can store old footage to the cloud and car washes tend to need a decent level of video storage.” Fischbeck recommended analog cameras if you are looking for a more cost-effective option.


            Many car wash owners choose to neglect physical security guards at their car wash. They feel if they have the right security cameras then they are doing their due diligence. However, while security cameras can provide you with physical evidence of a crime, they can’t really prevent a crime from happening.

            A physical security team is a better deterrent and should be watching the store at night to prevent damage to your property. Some car washes have shut down due to repeated theft and vandalism.

Having one guard hold down the fort at night can save owners a lot of money.

            The guard should be in uniform so anyone who is thinking about causing a problem can clearly see you hired security. They should be periodically watching every entrance and exit point at your car wash to ensure no one is trespassing.

            I would recommend hiring a security team even if you are on a tight budget. The cost of repairing a vandalized car wash is likely going to be more than the cost of hiring security.


            Every employee at your car wash should have a two-way radio. They are an effective tool for mass communication during any emergency because you simply push a button to communicate.

            Stewart McClintic is the owner of, a two-way radio wholesaler in Phoenix, AZ. He said it is ideal to communicate an emergency via two-way radios. “Two-way radios are a great way for car wash employees and security to communicate during any emergency because you can use private channels with an earpiece to keep conversations confidential and you can quickly communicate an issue with the push of a button.”

            McClintic said car wash employees can use digital or analog radios but they should always have at least two channels of communication. Analog radios cost less and have less delay time between communications. Digital radios are better for establishing private channels. Have every member use an ear piece so your team can have private and hands-free conversations. 


            The safety of your customers and team is always the most important part of any security plan. A good security plan means your security guards know how to deal with trespassers and aggressive people in a way that puts human safety above property. Car wash security guards are almost always unarmed and their main job is to observe and report an incident to law enforcement.

            They should let a trespasser know they are not welcome at the car wash and that they should vacate the premises. A guard should verbally engage in a firm but nonaggressive manner. If the trespasser refuses to follow instructions, then security should contact law enforcement. Unarmed security must never physically engage with an individual committing a crime. Unarmed guards have no means to defend themselves. Physical escalation will increase the likelihood of your staff, security, and customers getting hurt, especially if the perpetrator is armed.

            Implementing the right security plan with the right security team is a vitally important step for your car wash. The right security can keep staff and customers safe from harm as well as deter the destruction of your property. Assemble the right team, create a good plan, and get the right equipment and your car wash will be safe and secure.

Bill Herzog is the CEO of Lionheart Security Services in Tempe, AZ. He is an expert in private business security and has more than 25 years of law enforcement experience. You can visit the company on the web at