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  1. #1
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    Big Sky/Bozeman?

    I'm looking to get back to the mountains. I loved Colorado, but man did it seem "fuller" than ever on my last visit this past September. On the front range at least where it's been full for 20+ years.

    Been seriously looking at Bozeman and Big Sky. I spent 5 days in Bozeman in September and will be there for a week in February.

    At first glance it's clearly booming. Lots of shit being built in Bozeman. I have a commercial real estate buddy who I have known for 25 years living in Bozeman and doing some research for me. There are a couple options, but pretty spendy. (family has been in the car wash business for 40 years....it's not glamorous, but I know how to make some money doing it). Everyone is banking on speculation and obvious future growth. Some of the commercial prices are starting to scare me off, even though I know they are still good investments.

    Multiple people keep telling me (including my buddy in Bozeman who has been there 13 years), "Dude, you gotta build one in Big Sky!"

    We have a line on a lot there, but town is still really small and business wise, it might not make sense for 10+ years.

    Routinely, people was their cars when they are almost home, not before starting their journey home. Makes little sense to wash a dirty truck and then drive an hour back to Bozeman and have a dirty truck again when you get there.

    Then again, I could be totally wrong. People in different parts of the country have different habits/styles of how and when they wash their vehicles.

    I know housing is becoming an issue as well right?

  2. #2
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    I hear North Dakota is nice.

  3. #3
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    Wikipedia re: Big Sky -

    As of the 2010 census it had a population of 2,308.[1] It is 45 miles (72 km) southwest of Bozeman. This unincorporated community straddles the two counties, is not considered a town, and has no town government. The primary industry of the area is tourism
    Does not sound like a recipe for success re: setting up shop in Big Sky. Is this a detail car wash or coin-op?

  4. #4
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    Are you buying that guys painting biz from the other thread!? I hear it's 6 figure potential

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by KQ View Post
    Wikipedia re: Big Sky -



    Does not sound like a recipe for success re: setting up shop in Big Sky. Is this a detail car wash or coin-op?
    Yeah, the population is very small and like I said people tend to wash cars near where they live. 500,000 annual skier visits really doesn't mean shit since most of those people don't live nearby, or are driving a rental, or were shuttled in, etc.

    Self-service aka coin-op has always been a popular choice for do-it-yourselfers. Full service/detail has seen a big decline in recent years unless you are in the perfect market. It's weird. We recently converted two of our full serve locations to express because of somewhat declining numbers (way too much labor in full serve), yet another of our full serve locations only about 15-20 miles away is as busy as ever. Lines down the street most weekends, etc.

    The beauty of self-server or automated express tunnel is nearly zero labor cost. I can essentially run a location with several bays and a tunnel by myself. Bring in another guy when you get sick of working 7 days a week.

    The goal is to get a good lot with room to grow. Start out self serve with perhaps a short tunnel. Go from there if the demand grows or sell and move on to something else.

    I am mostly curious as to what the future of bozeman holds. Just seems like you can't go wrong now, but I did get the feeling that the car wash market was somewhat saturated. Then again, I was there in September and pretty much all the cars were clean. Winter is usually the busy time for the car wash market.

  6. #6
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    First carwash in big sky? Locals would use it a lot, as you said they don't want to do that during a Bozeman trip and then drive back. Seems like our small car wash in Victor stays pretty busy, but land cost is/was a different animal.
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
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  7. #7
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    Still, only 2500 actual residents just doesn't seem like enough to sustain yet. Maybe in the 5k range. How far off is that really? If I had deep pockets and time to kill I would just buy a lot and build it and wait, but I don't have that luxury really.

  8. #8
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    car wash in South Fork CO. is for sale. Probably do pretty good business with RVs and OHV's in the summer. Seems like all the small towns in the San Luis valley have car washes. Not Big Sky but more affordable living and good mountain activities.
    off your knees Louie

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by t-the-east View Post
    Are you buying that guys painting biz from the other thread!? I hear it's 6 figure potential
    I know that guy, he ain't lying.

    As for car wash in Big Sky, who the hell knows, you are the expert. Lotsa rich people live there though, which is good, but how often are they actually living there?

    And they use sand on the roads, so the annoying process of your car turning into a white salt lick during the winter doesn't happen.

  10. #10
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    Adding a dog wash bay seems to be the new thing. Or is it a dog wash setting on sprayer? I dunno. I use work hotsy for car, but have thought about doing the dog wash in warmer season.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteroom_Guardian View Post
    Still, only 2500 actual residents just doesn't seem like enough to sustain yet. Maybe in the 5k range. How far off is that really? If I had deep pockets and time to kill I would just buy a lot and build it and wait, but I don't have that luxury really.
    Yeah and how many of those 2500 are of driving age/own cars?

    We have two detail type car washes here in W2 which are across the street from each other located on the main road through town (SR 125). Both are always busy to the point of having lines. W2 population is 31K.

  12. #12
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    Your best bet is the vicinity of the Ousel Falls/Lone Peak Dr. intersection to catch the folks headed up to the YC/SP/BE etc. Even then, I doubt it's real feasible. What's the break even on washes per day?

  13. #13
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    You should probably consider the Sewer/water situation in Big Sky. I had a friend that started a coin op laundry and it was a bitch getting a permit to hook up.

    And the "Rich people" have property managers who wash their vehicles.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BFD View Post
    car wash in South Fork CO. is for sale. Probably do pretty good business with RVs and OHV's in the summer. Seems like all the small towns in the San Luis valley have car washes. Not Big Sky but more affordable living and good mountain activities.
    I just looked that up. Very interesting. San Luis Valley was always my favorite part of Colorado.

    Quote Originally Posted by muted View Post
    I know that guy, he ain't lying.

    As for car wash in Big Sky, who the hell knows, you are the expert. Lotsa rich people live there though, which is good, but how often are they actually living there?

    And they use sand on the roads, so the annoying process of your car turning into a white salt lick during the winter doesn't happen.
    They just use pure sand? No brine/cal chloride/mag chloride?


    Quote Originally Posted by SkiBall View Post
    Adding a dog wash bay seems to be the new thing. Or is it a dog wash setting on sprayer? I dunno. I use work hotsy for car, but have thought about doing the dog wash in warmer season.
    They were kinda hot for a minute, but really don't bring in much revenue to be worth it usually.

    Quote Originally Posted by KQ View Post
    Yeah and how many of those 2500 are of driving age/own cars?

    We have two detail type car washes here in W2 which are across the street from each other located on the main road through town (SR 125). Both are always busy to the point of having lines. W2 population is 31K.
    Any idea how much the basic wash is at either of those locations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bronco View Post
    Your best bet is the vicinity of the Ousel Falls/Lone Peak Dr. intersection to catch the folks headed up to the YC/SP/BE etc. Even then, I doubt it's real feasible. What's the break even on washes per day?
    It's tough to say, really lots of factors go into it. Somewhere roughly in the 50-100 washes per day range if you are running a touchless/soft touch machine in a tunnel. Lower if its pure self-service.

    Quote Originally Posted by bunion View Post
    You should probably consider the Sewer/water situation in Big Sky. I had a friend that started a coin op laundry and it was a bitch getting a permit to hook up.

    And the "Rich people" have property managers who wash their vehicles.
    So my RE broker in Bozeman is friends with the water guy in Big Sky (who also happens to be a broker). Obviously some sort of reclaim system is required as is the case almost everywhere we have ever built a car wash (oddly, Bozeman has ZERO restrictions on car washes!). Either way, we would never be that wasteful. Currently, our washes reclaim/recycle about 75-85% of the water used in an automatic wash cycle. About 10-15 gals of fresh water is used in a rinse cycle. Washing your car in your driveway wastes like 50+ gallons. This is one of the biggest misconceptions of auto wash vs. home driveway wash.

  15. #15
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    That doesn't surprise me about Bozeman. FWIW I live in 4 Corners and there is a coin-op just up the road that a friend of a friend managed until it sold. It still sits idle. Nearby is another coin op/drive thru that is usually very busy. $2.00 to do the minimum at the coin op. Next nearest coin ops are 7-10 miles away.

  16. #16
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    Just an FYI:

    Aspen's at least 2X as big as BS.
    It has one old three bay self serve with a single bay automatic.

    It's rarely busy and very few can even use the automatic, because almost everyone has some type of rack.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunion View Post
    That doesn't surprise me about Bozeman. FWIW I live in 4 Corners and there is a coin-op just up the road that a friend of a friend managed until it sold. It still sits idle. Nearby is another coin op/drive thru that is usually very busy. $2.00 to do the minimum at the coin op. Next nearest coin ops are 7-10 miles away.
    It's for sale and cheap, but the newer one caddy corner to it does all the business. The one for sale is on a tiny lot and has almost zero visibility from the main road.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shredhead View Post
    Just an FYI:

    Aspen's at least 2X as big as BS.
    It has one old three bay self serve with a single bay automatic.

    It's rarely busy and very few can even use the automatic, because almost everyone has some type of rack.
    I'd be curious as to what type of machine they use. I have a Thule with wide bars, bike rack, occasional packasport roof box and have never had a single problem running it through our different washes.

  19. #19
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    It's old. I don't think it's a major profit center for the gas station.

  20. #20
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    Is there not already a car wash out in 4 Corners? If not, that seems like a good spot
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteroom_Guardian View Post



    Any idea how much the basic wash is at either of those locations?.
    O's Hand Car Wash and Detailing

    The other place is called "9th Street Auto". It has poor reviews online but I know locals that go there all the time - locals with expensive fancy trucks, Audis and Porsches so... <shrug>

    (BTW 9th Street is aka SR 125)

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteroom_Guardian View Post
    family has been in the car wash business for 40 years....it's not glamorous, but I know how to make some money doing it.
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  23. #23
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    Well, I dont know about car washes here but I would think that everyone in YC/spanish peaks would already have access to one somehow. Those black suburbans are always clean.

    If you know anyone in the detailing business, its pretty ripe here. Most popular place in town (swiss detail) does an excellent job, but an interior detail on a standard size car is $200 and they are booked our for like 6 weeks minimum all year round.

    http://www.swissdetail.us/Services.html

    BTW, housing here is a bit silly considering the lack of jobs outside tourism/hospitality. Cheapest house in bozeman proper right now is 240,000 and it is a teardown shack (600ft^2) on a major thoroughfare. You just about need a car to leave the property as there is no pedestrian access to the lot.

    Land on the northeast side near the train tracks is hot right now. 1M+/acre

  24. #24
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    RE prices keep blowing my mind. The duplex I bought here in Jersey this past summer was similar in price, but a complete duplex so I have half rented out.

    It was one of the cheapest houses around. That listing you posted looks much more modern and cleaned up compared to my house lol. Shit, I would live in that "tear down" no problem lol.

    What about outside town, Belgrade, etc.?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteroom_Guardian View Post
    What about outside town, Belgrade, etc.?

    Starting to fill up, with everyone else who had a similar line of thinking.

    I've lived on the outskirts of town to save on rent, and I currently live in an apartment downtown. At least to me, they don't compare. With the price of admission so high and the compromise of living no where close to any major cultural centers, being able to get the most of town is one of its redeeming qualities. Otherwise, I would imagine there are places with just as good recreation access that are considerably cheaper to live. YMMV

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