Whether you are looking to start a brand new self serve dog wash business, or you’ve got an existing business to which you’d like to add additional revenue; here are the Top Five locations for a self serve dog wash installation. We based this list on traffic potential, existing client base, dog owner density, and actual success of dog wash owners.
These are the top five self serve dog wash locations in no particular weighted order:
1. Car Wash: Adding a self-serve dog wash to a car wash is probably the easiest of all installations due to the water lines already being there. The dimensions of the self-serve dog wash allow for two or three dog washes to easily fit in one car wash bay. There is a ready stream of existing customers and many customers stop by the car wash with their dog after a day out hiking, camping or after work. The Car Wash is now a one-stop for washing the car and the dog. Aaron Voorhees owns Living Water Car Wash and installed a self-serve dog wash at his location and is planning on adding another. He says, “I build car washes around the country. One of my clients did a bunch of research and was putting it a self serve dog wash at one of their locations. We built a custom outside location with convertible walls for summer and winter heat in the winter. Everybody seems to like the open area. Initially it was the carwash that brought in most of the customers, but we’ve been doing a lot of guerilla marketing at hiking trails, dog parks, signs. etc. and now it’s brought business to my car wash. People will drive farther for the dog wash. I think it’s the quality and cleanliness of our dog wash. On a Saturday, we’ll do 15 dog washes a day.”
2. Laundry and Dry Cleaning: This location typically has a steady flow of dog owners who live in apartments and tend to be young singles or retirees. They are on the go and are use to paying for services for convenience. Being able to wash their dog while doing laundry kills two birds with one stone. For retirees, the ergonomic design of the self-serve dog wash makes it easy to wash their dog without bending over like you do when you wash your dog in the bathtub. Chuck Steininger owns Steininger’s Laundry & Dry Cleaning in Selins Grove, PA and currently owns one Self Serve Dog Wash. Chuck says, “Some people put their laundry in and then wash their dog, but the majority who use our self serve dog wash in are non-laundry customers. It’s another tool to market our dry cleaning and laundry as well. I get a decent amount of people who don’t dry clean or do laundry with us, but they’ll drive a little further to use our dog wash. Two to five miles is the typical maximum dry cleaning driving distance. We have a few customers coming from 25-30 minutes away. One has a dog wash near them but they like how we keep it climate controlled and clean. Our weekends are our biggest time. We’re probably doing about 14-18 dogs on a Saturday and again on Sunday. I really knew nothing about the business before starting. I got into it not knowing what to expect. About two years prior, I read a magazine article about what people spend on their pets and I said, ‘Wow! I have to get into that market.’ I do a lot of research and it took me probably two years to decide. I had some space and thought why not give it a try?I initially looked at the tub type and the dishwasher type thing, and was curious about the automatic type that Evolution offered. I narrowed it down to Evolution because the pumps looked commercial type and the quality. My customers tell me this a great idea. One lady said, ‘No more on my knees and dirt all over the bathroom.’ Everything has been extremely positive.”
3. Dog Care Facilities: Boarding and “doggie-daycare” facilities are perfect fits for self serve dog washes. A freestanding dog wash facility is the ideal turnkey business. Having a coin-operated dog wash or better yet, one that takes credit cards allows the business owner to literally run their business from their iPhone. The Evolution Dog Wash allows owners of their self serve dog wash to view shampoo, water, and real-time income via a convenient app. A typical 1500 square foot space can fit up to four dog wash systems allowing for up to 20 dogs an hour to be washed at an average of $10-15 per wash.
4. Apartment Complex: Many apartment owners average 5-10% vacancy rates. Why not dedicate one room to steady income by converting it into a dog wash facility. Not only does this add a conversion tool and more value to your leasing agent’s pitch, but just five dog washes a day pays for your expense. In today’s competitive upscale rental market, one more amenity often makes a difference.
5. Dog Park: Many public dog parks are looking for funding to help with maintenance. Having a self-serve dog wash at the dog park is a no-brainer. No one likes to take a dog drool covered dog home after a day wrestling with a dozen other dogs. A dog wash creates a healthier environment for the dog park and encourages better hygiene for the local dog community. Many municipalities cover their expenses through the dog wash system’s revenue.