Do you know what every car owner wishes for but doesn’t want to get his/her hands dirty doing it? Washing their cars. It is tedious, time-consuming and all the more a chore that anybody would love not to do.
As of 2018, the United States of America had 276 Million owned cars. And the number of owned cars plying on the road is increasing on a daily basis. That puts the car wash industry in the USA at an estimated $10.8 billion in 2023 (Statista).
Just make a guess of the number of car wash establishments required to cater to this industry. According to a First Research study, the US car wash industry includes about 16,000 establishments with combined annual revenue of about $9 billion.
That is a hugely underserved market. Well, this is a time when there is an on-demand app for anything and everything. There is a crazy surge in the number of on-demand apps and an UBER for a car wash is a slick idea that will excite car owners. In fact, a handful of car wash startups like Washé has already successfully raised capital to scale on-demand car wash services.
When there is such a huge market open and all it takes an on-demand car wash app to crack it, don’t you want to give it a shot? But, before that, it is ideal to know how a car wash app works.
Log in: The user logs into the app using a social media sign-on or with email id
A request for a car wash is placed. Type of car wash is selected at the time of placing the request
Based on the user’s real-time location, the request for the car wash is matched to nearby located car wash service providers
Interested car wash service providers accept the request
The user gets a push notification indicating the request acceptance
The car wash service provider arrives at the user’s location as per the schedule for the wash
On arrival, a request for the car key is placed through the app
A pre-wash picture of the car is also taken through the app
The car washer completes the wash as per the service request
A post-wash car picture is taken and uploaded to the app
The user tracks the progress and completion through the app
Rate card for completed service is displayed on the app
Sounds easy? Well, it only looks so. A whole lot of technology whirs in the background to make a car wash app run smoothly.
Want to know how a car wash app is built? Read further.
A car wash app is quite distinct from UBER. UBER is for taxi booking. Car wash apps fare for booking a service. And hence, the features are also entirely different.
Here are the features that help build an on-demand car wash app.
UBER was able to make a splash across the on-demand industry and carve out a niche for itself because it had a neatly curated list of features. These features made it convenient for users to do everything — right from booking the cab to paying for it from within the app.
To build an UBER of the car wash, you must incorporate features that make booking a car wash convenient for users. Here are some such features.
1. Social Media Login: Nobody wants to remember usernames and passwords for each and every service that they use. It is difficult and mix-ups will happen every day. Logging in social media login credentials like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. makes it easy for users to create an account and log in to book a cab right away.
2. Add Car: A single user might want to wash multiple cars. Sometimes the user will want to use a single account to book car washes for the fleet of the entire family. By adding cars to their accounts, users can avail the service seamlessly and without any difficulty.
3. Manage Addresses: Users can create multiple addresses within their profile. The addresses can be labelled as home, work, or other favourite locations.
4. Wash Booking: Instant booking of car wash service from within the app. The real-time location of the user helps match the nearest car wash service, provider.
5. Payment Mode: Facility to choose between multiple payment modes like cash, credit card, debit card, in-app payment, etc.
6. Track Wash: Users can track the service at individual levels. Right from making the request. acceptance, pre-wash and post-wash images from the washer, service progress — ongoing or completed from the app dashboard.
7. Wash History: A time-stamped and dated view of all washes scheduled, completed or cancelled since the inception of the app usage.
8. Push Notifications: Push notifications that inform users about accepted washes, service provider reaching the location, retrieval of car key, wash progress and completion.
9. Washer Review and Rating: Uses can leave star ratings and text reviews for completed washes for each service provider. The star rating will be visible for other users when the service provider is shown.
10. Digital Wallets: In-app wallets that can be loaded with currency for digital payments.
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The washer is the service provider. Their success or failure is dependent on how fast and how better they are able to serve customers. Here are some features that can help washers win more bookings for car washes.
1. Add Service Location: A single car wash service provider can have service locations in a single location or in multiple locations. All service locations can be centrally managed from the app. The locations also help find users in near proximity who are looking for services.
2. Receive New Request: The washer will get a notification when there is a new service request near their location.
3. Accept/Reject Service Request: Users can accept or reject service requests based on their availability and convenience.
4. Upcoming Washes: When there are multiple washes queued up, the user can have complete visibility of upcoming washes from the app’s dashboard.
5. Key Request: The washers can place an official and documented request for the car key by placing a request through the app. The user will get a push notification for the same on the app.
6. Upload Pictures: The washer can upload pre-wash and post-wash pictures of the car to corresponding wash requests from within the app itself.
7. Update the Service Status: Once the wash service has been accepted, initiated or completed, the washer can update the service status within the app.
8. Wash History: A complete transactional view of all washes complete till date can be viewed from the app. Search functionality to find specific wash services provided can also be configured.
9. Request Payment: The payment for the washer is dispatched by the admin. Upon reaching a threshold amount as set in the app, the washers can raise a request to the admin to release the payment.
10. User Review and Rating: The washer can request for user review and rating as soon as the service is completed. The aggregated rating will be displayed when a new service request is raised.
Although not visible in the front-line, admins will be using the apps extensively from behind the scenes. They will be organising every activity on the app including adding new washers, managing user profiles, setting plans and doing many such activities. Here are some features in an on-demand car wash app that helps them do jobs with gusto.
1. Comprehensive Dashboard: A well-decked dashboard that makes it easier to manage the app’s activities from a remote location. The dashboard gives intuitive information about earnings, ongoing washes, upcoming washes, and so on.
2. Washer Registration: When a new user registers with the app, the admin can choose to accept/reject the registration. They can do a background check of the washer before adding them to the washer pool.
3. Create Car Category/Type: The admin can configure the app to showcase car wash services for various types of car categories and types.
4. Create Plans: To make a difference from other on-demand applications, the car wash app can be configured with multiple subscription plans. Each plan can be designed to have a category, multiple add-ons and pricing according to the service offered.
5. Washer Payout Request: Admins can set a periodical time limit for washers to raise payout request. The request can be approved or put on hold based on the time span or for other custom reasons. If approved, the same can be processed through a dedicated payment gateway.
6. Promotion Management: Surge pricing, holiday hours, seasonal charges — the options are many for the car wash app admin to promote the app’s usage. All the promotions can be centrally managed from the app’s dashboard.
7. Notification Management: Push notifications to improve the user’s engagement with the app. Too many notifications can make the app appear spammy. Too little apps can make the app look invisible amidst other apps. Admins can configure the number of notifications and the time period during which they have to be sent.
8. Customer Support: Amidst a sea of services, it is great customer service that helps a business stand out. Admins can set up multiple customer support modules within the app like instant SOS, phone support, social media support and so on.
9. Manage Rating and Feedbacks: While app reviews and reviews help monitor the quality of washer services, there could be rogue instances when users can overboard. In either case, the admin can monitor the rating and reviews given by users and admins to keep at the app’s rating neutral.
We live in times when anything and everything is sought after in real-time — on-demand. As customers, we want instant service. The success story of UBER is a testament to this fact. In fact, the same success story has inspired several types of on-demand services around the world.
The good news is, there is still room for more. Especially for a dedicated car wash app that can bring car owners and washers together. It provides several benefits like:
Instant car washing service for car owners
A convenient way of paying for the service
A new revenue channel for car washers
A surefire way to expand their business
For admins, it is a strategic move to make use of the market potential
In 2012, Facebook picked HTML as the web development framework to scale its website. 2 years the team realize that it was a grave mistake. They switched to React.JS which was quicker and also flexible enough to accommodate all the needs of the website. But, the two years setback was too big a loss to negate. Case in point: the choice of technology makes a huge difference in building an app, including a UBER for car wash app.
To develop an on-demand car wash app, several flexible and scalable technologies are required. Some such car wash mobile app development technologies that make the task easier are as below:
Cloud: Amazon Aurora or MySQL
Android: Java or Kotlin iOS: Swift and Objective C
Location: CLGeocoder and Google Place API
Payment Gateway: Stripe, PayPal (Braintree), etc and for saving cards- Card.io
SMS and Email: Twilio and AWS SES
2 Factor Authentication: Firebase
Push Notifications: Firebase
Real-time Analytics: Google Analytics and Crash Analytics-Firebase, Crashlytics
Backend: Codeigniter (Backend API), AngularJS (Backend UI), Node JS (Socket and Application API)
Who all can benefit from starting an on-demand car wash app? What are the business models that can possibly work in their favour?
Here are the top three options that are available readily.
The primary form of business that a car wash app can support is the aggregator model. The app owner(s) can act as aggregators who connects customers to car wash service providers. In return for the services, they can charge a commission from customers/washers or both.
McDonald’s became a global force in the restaurant business by leveraging the franchise business. The same route works fine for an on-demand car wash app as well. The app owner can offer franchises of the services to interested individuals who want to operate the same business model with uniform brand presets and standard operating processes.
Car washers largely work as individual businesses. A unique mobile app of their own can help them bring in more leads for business as well as loyal customers. There is no necessity to share revenue with aggregators or incur overheads like in franchise business.
An accurate estimate of the cost to build an on-demand car wash app is difficult to create. However, a ballpark figure can be arrived at by calculating the number of hours required for each phase of the mobile app development.
Here is what the car wash app development cost estimate would look like:
No: of hours
Total no: of hours (approximated)
Assuming the average rate per hour charged is £20, then the cost to build the app will be:
820 hours * £20 = £16,400
To get an exact value, replace £20 with the quoted rate per hour.
Building a mobile app requires a whole lot of resources. It is not just time that is at stake here. You also need the right team who know how to develop the on-demand car wash app without missing a beat.
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