Pollen Season Helps Car Wash Industry Thrive in SC County


Welcome to pollen season.

That means index fingers scrawling “wash me” on dirty car hoods and rear windshields all over upstate.

To avoid any embarrassment, a quick car wash can keep your vehicle clean during the peak of pollen season in early spring.

Early spring is the busiest time of the year, and it drives much of their sales and volume boom, said business owner and operator Ashton Hines. of Papa Bear Car Washes for ten years, located throughout the upstate.

“We are seeing a significant increase in ticket volume and average due to pollen,” Hines said.

Customers who normally spend $10 to $15 for a wash increase their ticket purchases to $20 to $25 during pollen season, she said.

“The word soap is an insult,” Hines said.

Chemical blends – not just foams – make the difference in protecting car paintwork from pollen, mud and grime.

Tire shine, honey glaze, and pina colada explosion are some of the combinations that keep ragweed out of cars and trucks.


Have you noticed an overwhelming amount of new car washes in the upstate region?

One expert attributes any overcrowding of more washout areas to development and population growth in a specific region or area.

“The car wash industry was once a well-kept secret in the business world,” said Christopher McKenna, private consultant and COO of various car wash companies in Los Angeles.

“Secrets now.”

McKenna estimates that from the 1970s through the mid-1990s, people were unaware of the kinds of profits a car wash business could bring in, ranging from 20% to 50% per year.

He said he’s been watered down somewhat over the past 15 years.

But, he warned, many people have been shut out of the industry because it costs too much.

To start a car wash business, McKenna estimates, it would cost nearly $3 million without land already acquired.

There are four types of car washes in the industry:

— Express: Washing through a tunnel, can self-vacuum after washing

— Flex: customer can wash and vacuum, specific area for interior services

— Full service: the customer can drive the car, clean the exterior and interior

— Self-service: Gas station, roadside, park and spray vehicle

An express car wash is the most popular type of industrial model on the market, McKenna said.

For growing upstate car wash businesses, McKenna has seen similar market clashes occur, such as in Phoenix, Arizona, where nearby car washes have engaged in price wars. , dropping from $5 to $4 to stay competitive.

“People who build on each other will eventually spread unrest,” McKenna said. “No one will earn the money they might have.”


A basic, affordable and convenient car wash is the best option for removing road film, bugs and pollen, said Jacob Repokis, owner of six Tiger Wash car washes in the upstate region.

Tiger Wash in Pendleton offers a self-service operation, $1.50 per wash.

It doubles as a laundromat, but the car wash portion peaks during the time

High pollution begins in mid-March and lasts for about a month or two, or at least until the end of May.

The upstate geography and location make it a particularly bad place for allergies and pollen, Dr. Emmanuel Sarmiento said in a 2019 Greenville News article.

Repokis said his car wash business is not a multi-million dollar operation.

“The only time we produce enough volume to sustain it is during pollen season,” Repokis said. “If we didn’t have a pollen season, we wouldn’t have enough to support ourselves.”


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