Financing for Eco Express
Trying to find sufficient capital for a large project such as an Express Wash can be daunting. With the recent tightening of the credit markets, finding easy credit with little equity can be a challenge. Conventional financing typically requires 25-30% of unborrowed cash with the bank financing the remainder. Even using an SBA loan, they require 15-20% - 10% base equity, 5% for specific use building and 5% for new business. So, on a $3 million dollar project you can expect to need $600,000 to $1,000,000 in cash depending on the financing route taken.
If you are lucky enough to have that kind of dough sitting around, great! However many people will have to work with partners to raise sufficient capital for a project of this magnitude. Besides finding partners with cash, you have to ensure they are people you feel comfortable working with for a long time. Part of this entails determining whether your business goals are the same. Some investors may prefer a build-and-flip approach by building a car wash, operating it for a short time, then selling it for a profit. Others prefer to operate it for the long term. Some want to build the cheapest possible wash, then maximize short term profits. Others prefer to build a classy facility and continually reinvest. Whatever your goals and plans are, make sure your partners are on the same page.
Eco Express Wash is owned by four equity holders, each with car wash experience. One owner has owned several self-serve/automatic washes in the past. Another is the current owner of a self serve/automatic and a self serve. The last two are owners of Hi-Performance Wash Systems. Together we found that our vision and operating goals were the same; namely to build and operate a world class facility that would be highly profitable in the long term for us. Our plan was to bring 30% cash to the deal, while seeking conventional bank financing for the rest.