If You Want To Know Why Car Wash Business Loans Are So Difficult, It’s Because Most Banks Don’t Like To Do Car Wash Financing! 

Yes, the cat is out of the bag. Stop the presses. You’ve gone to the bank where you’ve deposited your money for ten years and you’ve got this great car wash that you want to buy. Then you wonder why they are looking at you like you have three eyes?  Why Are Car Wash Loans So Difficult To do?

Here’s the deal.  Whether you are considering SBA financing, conventional financing or private financing for carwash loans, or if you’re looking to buy a car wash franchise, the fact is a car wash is considered a special purpose facility. It’s not like it’s an apartment building or an office building where a bank can hire someone to continue to run the place until a new buyer can be found or the property can be foreclosed on in case of default.  Banks don’t want to touch special purpose facilities in general just because of this one factor.

There are also two schools of thought with regards to underwriting car washes.  There is a movement across the country to drastically lower prices and drive in higher volume. Since the car wash industry has such high markup that is something that can be done.  However, what if you are not of that philosophy and someone drives you out of business because you are not price competitive?

In addiition, the way you might underwrite a tunnel wash compared to a rollover or a self-service car wash are totally different.  They are all a cash business to some level so reporting all of the income can be problematic to say the least.

You have to also ask yourself what type is the best type of financing.  In some cases, if you own multiple facilities, SBA and/or USDA Rural Development financing will not be an option. Truth be told, the best deal is usually with a smaller local bank… if they will do your deal, which in most cases, they will not.


You see, it’s an account executive’s job to generate loans. They’re not there to be a pretty face, at least they shouldn’t be!  Some are quite capable, some, not so much. A good rule of thumb if you’re talking to one is to just start quizzing THEM on the car wash industry and see if they know ANYTHING about it.  If they don’t, are you really going to have a lot of confidence in their ability to get you financing?

If you are already tired or reading you can apply through our short online application or you can simply email us a copy of an Executive Summary to info@carwashloansinfo.com.

Those nerdy, geeky bankers ALWAYS review your transaction based on the following criteria.


That is really the whole enchilada.  They’re not looking to lend because it’s the popular thing to do.

Capacity refers to your and the business’ ability to repay the loan. Capital refers to the money you are investing or have invested into the business.  Collateral is the security you are providing to guarantee the loan. Conditions focus on the purpose of the loan and are there certain conditions existing that will enhance or diminish the probability of paying back the loan.  Character refers to your personal credit, background, experience, references and other intangibles.

Each type of car wash financing has its distinct advantages and disadvantages.  Some people ONLY make their decision based on rate, term and/or points involved.  This frequently is the WRONG decision, unless you do not care about Return On Ivestment (ROI) or Cost Of Funds (COF).  By all means, don’t use that calculator of yours because YOUR CALCULATOR NEVER LIES.

In looking for financing, first you want to do deal with people that understand the industry more than on a cursory level. Banks and lenders don’t like to lend right now. Period.  Credit is tighter than ever. To add insult to injury, the government has required all banks to set aside more capital for potential default which in layman’s term means the same banks can lend less money for the same amount of money on deposit.

Second, wouldn’t you want to go to lenders that are actually doing and have recently done car wash loans?  We are in the business of knowing which banks and lenders have done and closed car wash loans as recently as a month prior.  It is possible that just because a lender did a loan for another business that they will not do one for your transaction, but logically, isn’t that the best place to start?

Third, half of the battle is in the presentation.  Lenders HATE getting financing packages from borrowers, mortgage brokers, realtors and business brokers that are poorly prepared, poorly organized.  Banks now will turn down loans if they think the borrower is disorganized because of new federal guidelines that require banks to set more money aside for default if borrowers do not provide financials and compliance documentation in future years.  They can actually have a performing loan that is not a profitable loan.

Fourth, especially when you’re purchasing a car wash, know if you’re paying too much! Because it is a cash business, many sellers go off what their business actually does as opposed to what they are declaring and you will inevitably pay too much for the business unless sellers are properly educated as to appropriate multiples for what is acceptable.

We could go on and on and on.  Bottom line, deal with someone that knows what they’re doing and has been doing it for years in this asset class.

To find out and pre-qualify for car wash financing and what options are available, please send the following information.  You can also email us an Executive Summary of your project to info@petromac.com and we will respond to your inquiry.

  1. Previous Year End Business Financials
  2. Current Year-To-Date Business Financials

For more information, contact us at:

(202) 478-0230 Voice
(202) 204-6057 Fax