Car Wash Start Ups and How to Detail One

Car wash and detailing service


Thinking About Jumping into the Car Wash and Detailing Business?  Things You Need to Know Before You Get Washed Out!

Author: Jose Zavala

The Car Wash

Thinking about joining the car wash and/or detailing industry?  Not a bad business, if you could filter through all the regulations.  Either way, have no fear, it’s not as bad as you may think.

Rule of thumb, as with any businesses you will need to:

  • Register the business
  • Get the proper licensing
  • Research Industry, Regulatory, Labor Requirement

With California as our primary example. (The drought state) If you are in the car wash business, how does this impact you?  Are you in the mobile car wash business? Is your car wash self-service?  Is your car wash fully operated by employees?

Base on your answer, you will be subject to different types of Regulations.

The following are a few tips that might help you if you are operating, or looking to operate a full-service Car Wash in the State of California.

Successor Liability

“Labor Code Section 2066-Liability of Successor to Car wash Employer.” A caution notice was posted by the State of California Department of Industrial Relations, clarifying that if an entity (successor) is to purchase a pre-owned car wash establishment, ”A successor to any employer that is engaged in car washing and polishing that owed wages and penalties to the predecessor’s former employee or employees is liable for those wages and penalties if the successor meets any of the following criteria…” (Successor Criteria)

In plain English.  If you buy an existing car wash from a previous owner who owed employee wages, you may have to pay all those outstanding balances to the employees, if you meet the criteria.

Car Wash Bond

The “Car Wash Bond”, is critical path.  You, “CAN NOT,” operate a car wash without a bond.   Violations in this area could subject you to fines or incarceration.  The minimum bond is $150,000 which protect car wash employees.

In an article for, Surety Bond Authority, author, Greg Rynerson, explained the importance of this bond.  “The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement of the State of California Department of Industrial Relations mandates that car wash owners must get car wash bonds before they are eligible to receive a business license and legally hire employees.” Rynerson said, adding that, “A car wash bond ensures that businesses will perform in adherence to state regulations for their licenses and act by industry practices and standards.”

The Paper Work

Continuing, now we understand the two hoopla’s we must first consider. So what’s next? Yes, you guessed it. The “Paper Work.” Your California Car Wash and Polishing Registration Application must be completely filled out and sent back in. It’s a simple process. You have the option to either fill it out online or download it. Send it back via mail or digitally submit it. If you are a current owner, give yourself at least the minimum of 90 days, the state need to review your license. Don’t wait for the water to shut down with cars inside the car wash terminal.

All other forms, like worker’s compensation, insurance, local agency licensing, permits, tax requirements, registration fees, and any other applicable, “you need this and that” forms. It can be easily acquired by heading on over to, People OneSource’s, White Papers Library. Follow the links and you should be on your way to showering and sparkling cars in no time. Good luck!!


For more information, please contact us at:

or call us at (562)548-2371.

What People OneSource does for you:

Payroll:  We process your payroll, ensure that your employer taxes are paid timely, and handle year end necessities like W-2’s and 1099 reporting.

Human Resources:  We consult with you to find out what you need from your HR department, and implement it. From On Boarding to Employee Handbooks, we have everything you need to keep in compliant.

Benefits Services:  We administer your benefits. We handle your New Enrollee’s, Open Enrollment, COBRA, 401K, POP, Medicare and more.

Training and Risk Management?  We are the experts! Additionally, be it mandated courses, such as Title VII Sexual Harassment, or classes to help your organization run more smoothly, we have solutions for your needs.

PEOple OneSource

“Taking your Business to the Next Level”




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