Fueled by an increasing desire for convenience, the car wash business is booming. In fact, two-thirds of Americans visit a car wash between once and twice a month, totaling billions of washes each year.
The industry is currently valued at $14 billion, and is expected to reach over $20 billion by 2028. It’s no surprise that investors are jumping in left and right to soak up the suds. But with high costs to enter this business, it’s crucial to understand who goes to car washes so you open in the right locations.
Using our free MobilyticsPro tool, Buxton dug into one of the largest car wash chains in the United States – Mister Car Wash. So, let’s take a look at the high-level foot traffic trends for the brand overall and five top-tier sites.
Mister Car Wash Overview
Since opening in Houston in 1969, Mister Car Wash has grown to over 400 locations, with major markets in Texas, Florida, and California. More than 300 of those locations are available for analysis in our free MobilyticsPro tool, as shown on the map below.
From March 2021 to February 2022, overall visit volume (determined by the number of mobile device pings at car wash locations) for Mister Car Wash trended up over the same window from the previous year.
Let’s examine these visitors in more detail. The observed Mister Car Wash customers are more likely than the average person to be business owners, to own homes, and to have a household income of between $100,000 and $150,000. This information is important to know when searching for markets to expand into. If a potential trade area is comprised of similar customers to that of a successful location, then the new site is more likely to succeed.
Top-Tier Mister Car Wash Locations
Now that we’ve examined the Mister Car Wash brand as a whole, let’s study five locations with high foot traffic volume.
1. 5075 S. Midvale Park Road, Tucson, Arizona
This Mister Car Wash location in Tucson, Arizona recorded well over 500,000 mobile device pings in the selected time frame, which is more than the average recorded visit volume for the brand as a whole.
Of these visitors, the majority came from within a drive time of 21 minutes. This means that three-quarters of all the customers at this car wash drove less than 21 minutes to get there.
2. 1038 Gessner Road, Houston, Texas
Next on the list is this Mister Car Wash location in Houston, Texas, which also saw a visit volume higher than the average Mister Car Wash location. Of these mobile device pings, around 40% came to this location two or more times during the year. Additionally, this location had a drive-time trade area of 26 minutes, putting it on par with the average Mister Car Wash in an urban area.
3. 4002 Buffalo Gap Road, Abilene, Texas
The third car wash we looked at is also in Texas, but this one is in Abilene, a community in West Texas. It’s worth noting how many visitors came to this car wash from communities outside Abilene, like Merkel, Clyde, and Tuscola. Despite this, most people still came from within 18 minutes.
4. 2619 Mount Vernon Avenue, Bakersfield, California
Next is this Mister Car Wash in Bakersfield, California. This location had the smallest drive-time trade area of 16 minutes, but—of the locations we studied—it also had the customers with the highest average income.
5. 1725 W. 11 Street, Tracy, California
Rounding out our list of locations is this car wash in Tracy, California. Tracy is the smallest community we looked at, and like Abilene, pockets of customers came from outside the area. Even so, most visitors came from with 19 minutes.
The Bottom Line
Before opening an express tunnel car wash, or any other business, it’s important to understand the types of customers who visit other locations of the same brand or similar brands. Doing so will help ensure you open a homerun location and find success. But it’s also important to look beyond foot traffic data. While it can provide valuable insights, it doesn’t present the full picture.
Like what you see here? Buxton’s Express Solutions goes deeper—including analytics on current and actual customer interactions captured from over a million real customers at 5,000 express car washes. To learn more about how the Buxton Platform can help you access on-demand insights about market opportunities for the express tunnel car wash industry, get in touch with one of our experts.