Car washes are one of the most popular small fundraisers. They can be a good fast fundraiser for groups who don’t have time to spend planning big events. There is also little cost required to put on the car wash. You just need to make sure there’s plenty of supplies.

You need workers with lots of energy to work a car was fundraiser! That’s one reason that the groups that most often hold car wash fundraisers are cheerleaders, school bands, scouts and other youth groups.

Here are some tips to maximize your results:

1. Plan the date of the event at least a month or more ahead. Give your volunteers enough notice so they can plan on being there.

2. Sign up volunteers ahead of time, if appropriate have shifts. Have as many people working as possible. The more people, the more cars can be washed. This attracts even more customers.

3. Choose a location that is on a main street, easy to get to, and so people can see you washing cars from the street. Make sure there is an outside faucet and your hozes will reach. Fast food restaurants and grocery store parking lots are usually good bets. Contact the manager a the location to set up your car wash date.

4. In the parking lot where you hold your wash, set up a drive through lane. People drive their cars in a lane, pull up when it’s their turn and the car is washed. Then they can pull over to another area for the volunteers to dry the car. This makes the process faster. Have someone directing cars where to park, and have two lanes if possible.

5. What to bring on the big day: liquid soap, buckets, brushes, sponges, lots of towels, hozes with spray nozzles, signs, a bucket for donations. Instead of buying all your supplies, request donations from the members of your group. This will allow other people in the organization to help who would not otherwise be able to participate. (And your event makes more profit!)

6. Decide if you want to have a set price or by donations only. Requesting a donation is fairly common. On your signs, write donations appreciated. On the other hand, making a set price takes the guesswork out of it for the customer. If you make a set price, don’t aim too high. You may still receive “tips.”

7. You can also get higher donations if you offer more services, like window washing and drying and tire cleaning. The better the job is done, the higher the donation will be. You could make a set price for additional services.

8. Let people know what you are raising money for. Just so people know that the donation is for a “good cause” will encourage them to help.

9. Here’s a great way to boost your profits…sell tickets in advance. This would work especially well if you are offering deluxe services like vacuming and waxing. Then you can make a set price. Plus you would still get drive-by traffic. If you sell tickets, have a provision for a rain out. Will the ticket be vailid for a second day? Decide this in advance.

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Posted on 24 April 2005

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17 Comments For This Post

  1. Gina Jean says:

    Some cities require that you get a business license just for the one-time event, which can cost money and is a bother.

  2. emmy@car kits says:

    My friend had this car wash fundraiser back in Switzerland. It was really fun according to her. I’d like to participate in one if ever I get the chance.

  3. John Orton says:

    We did these for a little extra pocket money in the UK back in the 80’s greta fun and lost sof people would get involed.

    Not sure about other countries but in this day in age in the UK, you would now struggle to put on a goof fundreaiser that will make any money due to all the small and very cheap hand car washs around.

  4. Laura @ la car service says:

    I think car wash fundraisers are cute! I remeber we used to to them all the time back when I was a teenager!

    Cool Page,

  5. Jessica says:

    me and my friends are trying to do a fundraiser but we dont know how its will work out

  6. Stefania says:

    Nice greeting from to Car Wash.

  7. AliGirl8899 says:

    I think those tips could be used really in any fundrasiser, am I right?

  8. Interwest Safety says:

    I think that car wash fundraisers are a great idea as far as older children go. I wouldn’t want to try it with small children because it wouldn’t work. We used to do it all the time and the neighbors loved it!

  9. Ted says:

    I think car wash fundraisers are cute. You would now struggle to put on a goof fundraiser that will make any money due to all the small and very cheap hand car wash’s around. I wouldn’t have thought about planning out that much really but its great to have found this guide.

  10. Beth says:

    Hey everyone. My bestfriend and I are trying to plan a car wash for my friend to go to D.C. this year with us. We have everything mostly planned out. This really helped! If your in the Miami/Downtown area, and need a good car wash for a good cause in the week off March 13 to March 18, email me @


  11. Julia Mom says:

    It seems to me that this kiind of fundraisers suits only to teenagers, am I right?

  12. Heather says:

    I wouldn’t have thought about planning out that much really but its great to have found this guide. You would now struggle to put on a goof fundraiser that will make any money due to all the small and very cheap hand car wash’s around.

  13. Linden Method says:

    Hi all here are my few cents, i would suggest that about Rain, That’s a great point. You should have a rain date. Perhaps the following week or two to three weeks later. Three weeks later is good because you may want to do another fund raiser even if it doesn’t rain. Your group may need more money. If they had fun or you didn’t reach one hundred percent of projected earnings another fund raiser car wash might be the way to go. Make sure that your rain date doesn’t conflict with any big events either.BTW thanks all for their contribution and for the efforts for posting a very useful information i guess this tips will also help me for other fund raising options.

  14. sydney says:

    Hello! me and my best friends are doing a car wash! i love this website! will be on it in the near future! 🙂

  15. BethS says:

    Car Washes are a great idea, but where does the wash water go? If it is running down the storm drain then the soaps and dirt are polluting our waters. Be sure to look into how to get the wash water into the sanitary sewer where it can be properly treated. Lets raise money and protect the environment.

  16. Mercedes Services in Brisbane says:

    Really, I am much impressed with the content which you have shared in this blog. These tips are must be kept in mind while going for car wash.

  17. Johnson. says:

    I have a car wash fundraising coming up organised by me and my friends and its going to be fun. I am so happy am doing this for charity.

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. How to Raise Support for a Short Term Mission Trip | Shining Bright in Vegas says:

    […] Car Wash – The ever so popular car wash. It’s so simple and so much fun. When you do a “free” car wash and ask only for donations, you can be surprised at how much people are willing to donate to your cause. Most grocery stores or other places of business have an outside water line and will allow you to use their water. On a good weekend, this can bring in hundreds of dollars. […]

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