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28 Mar
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Cost of Setting Up a Carwash Business in Kenya

Everyday, Kenyans are trying to make ends meet. Business opportunities are scarce and starting your own business to sustain yourself seems like a viable option. Kenya’s middle-class is growing steadily meaning disposable income is available to have access to items considered luxury in years gone by. Today, there are majority of households with a vehicle. With access to motor vehicles comes with opportunities to provide services or goods that will keep the vehicle in good working condition. One of the services one can provide is car washing.

Car washing in itself comes with different categories of washes, including:

  • Outside body washing
  • Interior body washing
  • Upholstery
  • Dusting
  • Under wash
  • Waxing
  • Buffing
  • Engine wash
  • Carpet cleaning comes as an additional service not necessarily related to vehicles


With increased car numbers on the Kenyan roads, car wash business has attracted many players who have the perseverance to see it start and have chosen a good location for the business. Like any prospective business, a business plan is a vital document of lay down the foundation on what to offer and challenges and opportunities available. A business plan also highlights the marketing strategy, expected bottlenecks and how to solve issues as they arise.

Before starting the business, ensure your location has enough traffic or close to homes and easily accessible where possibility of having clients is increased. Other areas are busy road junctions, malls, supermarkets, car bazaars as well as eat-outs, bars and restaurants.

Necessary Equipment

Pressure Washing Machine

This is the main item for use. They come in different brands, capacities, how it’s powered (fuel or electric) type and conditions (new or used). The machine to buy should be able to serve the traffic expected without getting overheated and lockup. In a business sense, you can start from low budget machines and upgrade as the business grows and expands to accommodate the increase in the traffic of vehicles in need of the service.

Preference is given to electric powered because of superior performance as compared to those of petrol though one should be prepared to pay more for the same.

Also, consider other premium features that come with a particular model. These 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 choose what fits your preferences.

The machines are available in leading electronic shops, hardware stores and in dealership stores. Some of the popular brands include Karcher, Wasp, Honda, Pioneer and Aico. The cost ranges from Kshs.18,000 to Ksh.100,000.

Water Tank(s)

Unless directly connected to a water source like a river, one needs a steady supply of water and this can only be done with a well-sized water tank. The bigger the better as the size can be dictated by expected traffic and the reliability of the connected water. Tank sizes can range from 1,000 liters to 10,000 liters, with costs varying from Kshs. 10,000 to Kshs. 50,000.

NB: Some have access to streams and rivers hence have a direct and constant supply of water. Care should be taken that they should not discharge any affluents into the water bodies. The workers of county governments nad NEMA should ensure such areas are protected from pollution.

Vacuum Cleaner

Ensure you get a commercial purposed vacuum cleaner as it’s got more usage options and longevity span. Depending on the size, brand and other functionalities, prices of a vacuum cleaner can vary from Kshs. 5,000 to Kshs. 30,000.

Vaccuuming a Car Seat

Buckets, Brushes, Squeegee and Towels

The most used items are under this category.  Buckets for collecting water and using during handwashes, brushes for scrubbing, squeegee for cleaning window glasses and towels for dusting and drying areas that shouldn’t be wet and as one prepares for waxing and puffing.

Such items vary in costs from Kshs. 100 per item. Depending on how many are required, overall costs may range from Kshs. 2,500 to Kshs. 5,000.


Specialized detergents for cars are available at local stores but most car wash businesses prefer the normal washing powders or locally made water detergents because they latter better. Specialized detergents have fragrance infused for a better smell and are made with ingredients that aren’t corrosive to color paint or interior seat-covers.

The total cost can range from Kshs. 3,000 and Kshs.5,000.

Service Charges

For any business, you need to have your planned cost list to ensure that you have positive returns on your investment. Knowing how much to charge can help you know when you’re likely to break even and the expected profits after that.

Item Cost (Kshs)
Small car 200
Bus, lorry 500
Motorcycle 50
Interior wash 150
Upholstery 100
Engine cleaning 250
Carpet100 – 150
Table 1: Charges for Services at a Carwash Business


The county government charges for licensing the business is another consideration for the business. Operational licenses cost about Kshs. 15,000 per year, but might be lower in more upcountry counties.

If operation is near a river or road reserve, the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) may check for inspection and confirm water usage, drainage and discharges into the bodies and its surroundings.


Carwash business is low-risk and very profitable as the price charges are fair and affordable by most motor vehicle owners. A good location and staff can make for the better service and returns, ensuring a starring success.

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