Revving Up Car Wash Standards: How to Start Business in Finland
Revving Up Car Wash Standards: How to Start Business in Finland
Posted 2024/04/23 by Ieva Bublytė-Babelė

The demand for innovative car wash solutions rises in Europe, creating favorable conditions for a vehicle cleaning business. While the road from a business idea to actual profits might be a long one, introducing a high-tech car wash experience has the potential to revolutionize the industry.

The burgeoning demand for car wash services in Europe parallels the growing purchase rates of vehicles. From January to July of 2023, new car registrations in the EU surged by 17.6%, totaling 6.3M units. With multiple players in the dynamic car wash field, the lucrative market is calling for advanced technological and sustainability-aimed solutions to stand out as a leader. 

At the moment, many car wash facilities across the region offer outdated vehicle cleaning experiences that lack efficiency and fall short of sustainability measures. PRO BRO, the fastest-growing international franchise network of express car washes, is aiming to change  Europe’s car wash practices. Express tunnel car wash facilities that cut chemical consumption in half, reuse 90% of the same water, and reduce the washing time from an average of 480 seconds to 96 are well-positioned to bridge the gap in the Finnish vehicle care industry.

Finland’s eco-mindedness paves the way for sustainable car wash

Currently, the country’s car cleaning market is valued at EUR 214M, and a rapid expansion is on the way with the value estimated to reach up to EUR 408M by 2030. Additionally, in 2022 Finland was the third in Europe in terms of passenger car rates — there were 661 cars per one thousand inhabitants, while the EU’s average was 560. 

According to Kristijonas Minelga, Head of Business Development and Franchise at PRO BRO, Finland’s stable economy, a high standard of living, and a culture that focuses on vehicle care have created favorable conditions to offer premium yet affordable car wash services that exceed basic cleaning and change car owners’ habits through innovative experience. 

“There’s a gap in the market for express tunnel car washes. Finland tends to have fewer express tunnels compared to automatic gas station car washes which indeed creates a potential niche for fast, high-quality car wash service,” Kristijonas Minelga added. “Solutions that use less water and environmentally safe products contribute to Finnish eco-conscious standards, creating a demand for sustainable car cleaning experiences.”

Finland’s colder climate also offers a competitive edge for express tunnel car washes as harsh weather conditions tend to drive customers indoors. At the same time, throughout long winter months, the salt and sand sprinkled on the roads stick to the car, therefore cars require regular washing and waxing to prevent salt-induced corrosion. 

Hurdles afflicting site construction

PRO BRO is well aware of the challenges the car wash construction process presents, including lengthy bureaucratic dealings. For instance, due to Finland’s eco-conscious attitude, car wash businesses need to familiarize themselves with the country’s environmental protection standards and legal requirements, among numerous other regulations. 

“Once a suitable location is found and lease conditions are negotiated, the business needs to obtain a construction permit which might take up to 1.5 years. The construction itself can last from seven to twelve months and the equipment is installed within two or three months.  Therefore, depending on the business model, complexity of the concept, and other circumstances, it would be realistic to expect a process spanning over two or three years until the business can start the operations,” the expert maintained.

On average, an express tunnel typically takes around two or three years to become profitable from the operations and about five or six years to recoup the investment and generate profit. However, the actual profit margins also depend on many factors: the business model, the type of car wash services offered, and exclusive features like full automatization or a water recycling system. Starting to make a profit can be even harder without having any related experience, especially if large investments in innovative equipment, high-tech systems, and convenient locations are made. 

New entrepreneurs should also factor in residents’ preferences for commuting via public transport or in their vehicles, as well as their use of a metro network and walking habits.

Partnering up to launch business faster

That said, investing in a pre-developed car wash franchise significantly expedites the process. The franchise owners can benefit from tailored premises, territory, and equipment solutions as well as technological innovations like apps, memberships, license plate recognition, and data monitoring tools. The partner’s expertise in location selection and marketing comes as an added bonus to comprehensive training on car wash operations. 

“It takes time to successfully launch a new model of car wash business that would have the potential to disrupt the market. Entrepreneurs need to focus on multiple aspects simultaneously: introducing the new car wash to the market and educating the potential clients fast, avoiding detrimental mistakes, and at the same time profiting from the business,” Kristijonas added. “These challenges are what often drive entrepreneurs toward becoming franchise owners. Opting for a franchise helps save time and resources while also bringing the support from an experienced partner in every step of the process.”

The success of the car wash business depends highly on a strategic location — near main roads and intersections, in lower speed limit areas, close to shopping centers, or densely populated residential spots — and smart use of the latest technologies. Having the option to lean on extensive experience in selecting a high-traffic spot that would help capitalize on good visibility and customizing the facility with desired washing equipment are some of the benefits that come with being a franchise owner. 


PRO BRO is the fastest-growing international franchise network of express tunnel car washes. The company employs cutting-edge technology to create a next-generation cleanliness culture where the vehicle is washed in 96 seconds. Four different-sized express tunnel models have varying capacities for car wash: the MAXI model alone is capable of servicing around 500K cars per year and a network of five car washes can clean up to 2.5M cars annually. With more than 26 years of experience in the sector and over 700 employees, PRO BRO is the largest specialized car wash and premises cleaning network in Lithuania. 

Posted 2024/04/23