Starting Budget for a Car Wash Business in Kenya 

 July 20, 2016

By  BTK Staff

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With the increasing number of cars on the Kenyan roads, car wash business in Kenya has attracted hundreds of youths into the business. Though the business requires perseverance, it’s a fun and profitable business if you have a good location.

Just like other potential businesss, you will need to budget for various items that are needed for the car wash to be operational.

Before setting up a car wash business in Kenya, you will need to consider the location of your business. Ideally, it should be located near busy locations and must be accessible. Such areas may include busy roads, malls, supermarkets, residential areas, car bazaar as well as bar and restaurants.

Startup Budget:

Standard car wash: Kshs 30, 000 – Kshs.50, 000.

Slightly advanced:   Kshs.80, 000 – Kshs.200, 000

Advanced setting:   Ksh.300, 000 – Kshs. 1,500,000.

Necessary equipment

Pressure washing machine

There are different pressure washing machines available in the market. They are differentiated by brands, capacity, type of fuel and whether brand new of used.

Before buying a machine, first consider the projected number of cars you will be serving, budget and how busy you will be. This will help you choose a durable machine that ‘dies’ after serving a few cars.

However, if you are on low budget, you can start with a low capacity model and upgrade as the business expands.

Further, consider the fuel type that you prefer. Is your proposed location connected to reliable power? Are there frequent power outrage that may disadvantage your business? You can choose between the petrol powered or electric powered models.

However, the electric powered car wash machines are the most preferred due to their superior performance though they cost more.

Also, consider other premium features that come with a particular model. The may entail spray gun, weight, pressure options, anti-twist systems, dust blasting and other functionalities that will enhance service delivery in your car wash business.

Lastly, before buying a pressure washing machine, let the seller know your preferences, budget and other specifics show that he can recommend several options and chose what fits your preferences.

The machines are available in leading Electronic Supermarkets, Hardware stores and in dealership stores. Some of the popular brands include Karcher, Wasp, Honda, Pioneer and Aico. The cost ranges from Kshs.18000 to Ksh.100,000.

Water Tank

Water tanks come in different capacities of 1000l, 3000l, 5000l or 10,000 litres. Choose your desired capacity depending on water reliability in the area and projected number of cars you will be service. A bigger tank will be better. The cost ranges from Kshs.10,000 to Kshs.50,000.

Vacuum Cleaner

When purchasing a vacuum cleaner, specify that you want a vacuum cleaner for a car and for commercial purposes since there are different vacuum cleaners for home use with limited usage. Depending on the brand, the price ranges from Kshs.5000 to Kshs. 30,000.

Buckets, Brushes, Squeezer and towels

Price ranges from Kshs.2000 to Ksh.5000.


Most car wash businesses go for the normal detergents found in general shops and supermarkets. However, there are specialized detergents found in some local stores. These detergents are perfumed making the car wash stand out from other competitors. The cost ranges from Kshs.3000 to Kshs. 5000.

What are the services offered at Car Washes?

  • Body washing
  • Interior
  • Upholstery
  • Dusting
  • Under wash
  • Waxing
  • Buffing
  • Engine wash
  • Carpet cleaning

Charges from a standard Car wash in Nakuru Town

(This charges may be higher depending on the location of the business and costs incurred)

Items Price in Kshs.
Small car  200
Bus  500
Lorry 500
Motorcycle  50
Interior  150
Upholstery  100
Engine Cleaning 250
 Carpet Cleaning
Biashara Talk table showing different car wash service prices.

Success Factors of Car Wash Business

  • Location- A good location will attract more customers and therefore higher revenues. A good location should be near a busy road, supermarket, residential areas and other areas mostly flocked by car owners and drivers.
  • Car wash Management- The staff should be friendly, outgoing and organized. A well-managed car wash business will result in increased revenues, happy clients and satisfied staff.
  • Service- Exceptional car wash service will attract new clients, retain current clients and serve as a marketing tool for the business.
  • Variety service- Where the business offers extra services beyond the normal body wash, the clients are likely to spend more and thus higher revenues. These extra services may include upholstery, engine wash, waxing, etc.


  • County License- Budget for at least Kshs. 15,000 for the annual license. This will be higher or lower depending on the county and business location within the county.
  • National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) – A car wash business in most cases does not require NEMA license but once in a while the officials might check in to confirm water usage or drainage. This applies especially when you are operating near a river or road reserve.

Final Word

Car wash business in Kenya is a low-risk business and very profitable considering that most motorists are willing and able to pay a fair price for premium quality service. With a good location and good car wash staff, the chances of success are higher.

BTK Staff

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