Many times car wash fundraisers appear to be organized but since the volunteers running them have little if any experience they are chaotic at best. Organizational nightmares from the get go. It does not have to be this way if you properly plan your layout, signage and traffic flows to prevent unorganized disasters resulting in lost business and unhappy customers. Follow along with me as I discuss how to properly set up and run a car wash fundraising event and explain the preferred Car Wash fundraising websites Layout, Traffic Flow and Signage to insure the greatest success at your event.


You should call all important people in your group the night before your event. Make sure that you will have all necessary supplies, parent supervision and signage. Have everyone meet twenty minutes before the start time. Have your washer show up five minutes prior to washing. If you think you are going to have a lot of cars then try to find an area large enough for two rows of cars to go through at one time. That should be your wash area. Make sure your hoses reach. Try to get your hose to go all the way around both sets of cars. When things get busy you will be glad you set it up this way. You should have a drying area set up no less than three car lengths from your washing area. This way if someone gets picky with the drying and slows you down, they won’t hold up your washing area. If the washing area slows down, your line will get longer and people will just drive by and not stop in. It’s very important to pick a game plan, layout and traffic flow before you start. If cars start pulling in the wrong way or you try to change what you’re doing mid-stream, you have total chaos and you lose ten to fifteen minutes sorting things out.


Your layout is ultra important and inevitably determines how many cars you can wash. If you’ve done your marketing correctly, have a good location and sold tickets/pledges, you will have unlimited cars to wash. Now you must wash them efficiently. Remember, the more cars you wash, the more money you will make for your group. Your layout will change from location to location.


The single most important item in the operations side of your fundraiser is to keep the cars moving. Don’t let the line go out onto the street. It will cause an accident or the local police will tell you to move the cars or stop your fundraiser. It’s much better if the police officer stops for a donut at your bake sale or a hot dog at the booth. The easiest way not to get backed up is to move cars through at a steady pace. Fast enough to do a quality job but not too fast to lose tip money. Don’t let your supervisors start long in depth conversations with customers when there are cars in line. If cars start backing rapidly in the entrance area or start of your car wash, then form two lines. If your dryers start backing up, move them further from the wash area and allocate additional dryers, one at a time, until the problem stops. If people in the cars are hanging around after their wash, tell them to park off to the side or out of the way of the car wash proceedings.


Your signs should be poster board size, bright colors and hand written in bold black ink. The letters should be wide. Use very few words. The words should be able to be read from twenty to thirty yards away while driving in a car moving at twenty-five to thirty-five miles an hour. You should have CAR WASH in big letters and a positive word such as: Great, Big, Low Price, Wow, Cool and Best. You will need between eight and ten signs strategically placed around the intersection and a couple down the streets with the highest traffic that lead directly to your car wash fundraiser site, perhaps one-half mile or so away. Make three to four signs half size and use those as hand sign held up by kids on the street corners.


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