Car Wash Worker
Car Wash Worker
Education and Training None
Salary Median—$8.41 per hour
Employment Outlook Good
Definition and Nature of the Work
Although it takes a manager and at least two other workers to keep a car wash in operation, most companies have eight employees besides the manager. In large, busy car washes there may be even more. Because car washes specialize in fast service, workers must be willing to work quickly and steadily. Teamwork is important.
Workers see that cars are driven onto the washing-machine tracks properly and ensure that washing proceeds without problems. Some workers dry and polish the cars, while others vacuum the rugs and upholstery. Many car washes have cashiers who collect money from customers inside the car wash office; to speed service, workers at some businesses collect the money right at the car window before customers drive their cars into the washing machines. Most car washes also offer car waxing, and some sell gas.
Managers are responsible for hiring and supervising workers, buying supplies, and seeing that safety standards are met. Some managers maintain and fix their own car washing machines; others depend on outside mechanics. Broken machines can shut down their operations, so quick repairs are essential.
Education and Training Requirements
While most managers have no educational requirements for their workers, many prefer to hire high school graduates. Beginning workers are usually trained on the job.
Managers must have high school diplomas, plus business experience or business school training. Mechanical skill is also valuable.
Getting the Job
Job seekers can apply directly to local car wash managers. High school students may be able to get part-time jobs. Experienced workers who want to become managers can apply for cashier or assistant manager positions.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
Car wash workers can become cashiers, assistant managers, or managers. Some workers become owners of one or more car washes.
Employment growth for car wash workers is expected to be as good as the average for all occupations through 2014. Openings regularly occur when workers become managers or leave the field. Turnover in the field is high.
Weather is an important factor in the car wash business. On rainy days business may be slow. In clear weather workers may have busy, hectic days. Workers who polish and vacuum cars may be exposed to hot summer sun and winter weather. The work can be tedious.
Most employees work eight-hour days, sometimes in rotating shifts. Evening, weekend, and holiday work may be required.
Managers spend part of their time outside directing their workers, but they also perform office duties such as paying bills and interviewing job applicants. Their responsibilities may require more than eight hours each day.
Earnings and Benefits
Earnings vary, depending on location. In 2004 the median wage for all car wash workers was $8.41 per hour. Managers earned significantly more, depending on the size of the operation and their specific duties.
Where to Go for More Information
International Carwash Association
401 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Benefits vary greatly. Some employees receive health insurance after they have worked at the same car wash for more than one year.