Gleam Car Wash Opening

Setting the standard for a more sustainable car wash.

If you’re looking for the template of how to start a car wash business, Gleam Car Wash might be the standard. The Denver-based car wash opened on August 24 at W 38th Ave. between Wolff and Xavier streets, and is looking to separate itself from the competition through modern amenities and community focus. Gleam hopes to transform the typical car wash experience from an unpleasant inconvenience into a comfortable, valuable involvement that leaves customers and employees proud of their work. Gleam paired with General Steel to accomplish this ambitious vision. Here’s how Gleam’s investment in its facility is paying dividends in the community as well as the world around us.

Gleam knew there was a need for opening a car wash on the south side of Denver. Some had referred to it as a “car wash desert”, referring to the lack of quality options. After deciding on its location, Gleam management turned its attention to the facility itself. Knowing they had limited space to work with, they decided to team with General Steel to produce a one-of-a-kind building. General Manager Casey Lemieux described his experience working with General Steel:

How to start a car wash business
  • We’re on three-quarters of an acre, and to put a car wash in that can run about 140-150 cars an hour, is difficult. General Steel came in, was able to devise an amazing building that let us take care of our people better. We worked with General Steel. They were very receptive to our needs and were able to take care of every facet that we wanted. It was very, very easy.

State-of-the-Art Car Wash Business Design

Gleam is the blueprint for a better, more sustainable operation.

How to Start a Car Wash Business with General Steel
Size82x58x12 (2:12)
Roof ColorGalvalume
Wall ColorStucco
Trim ColorGalvalume
LocationDenver, CO
Project ConsultantDenny Kirk
Project CoordinatorBilly Burnham

The final product is a state-of-the-art open bubble design that allows Gleam to get the most out of their space. “One of the things that we love is if you look down the center, or anywhere in the middle of this building, there is no support beam,” Lemieux added. That clear span design “allows maximum usage of the space” for Lemieux and all Gleam employees.

Opening a Cash Wash?

Gleam is the blueprint for a better, more sustainable operation.

While its facility, including a 135-foot tunnel capable of washing your car in about three minutes, is impressive, perhaps more striking is Gleam’s dedication to conservation and efficiency. Not everyone is aware just how wasteful standard car wash facilities and home washing can be. Gleam has invested significant resources into making its car wash business as efficient as possible.


That starts with Gleam’s water reclaim system – a 6,000-gallon holding tank that reclaims and treats nearly all of the water used on each car. This system allows Gleam to use less than 15 gallons of fresh water per car. For comparison, when cleaning your car at home, you use about 80-140 gallons of fresh water. Treating the reclaimed water also reduces the amount of toxic chemicals that escape into local waters, where fish and other wildlife can be harmed.

Gleam Car Wash Infographic

How to Build a Better Car Wash

Gleam Car Wash Business Infographic

Car wash business with LED LightingOther environmental considerations include variable frequency drives (VFDs), which ensure that all of Gleam’s motors use only the energy required for top performance. VFDs allow individual motors to increase power gradually and in tandem with surrounding motors so that no energy is wasted.

All of Gleam’s lighting applications are LED. When compared to fluorescent lights and traditional bulbs, LED lighting applications are much more energy efficient, usually measured in lumens per watts. LED lights typically measure almost 100 lumens per watt, while a fluorescent light measures around 65. A traditional bulb registers just 15 lumens per watt. Combined with their eco-friendly steel facility, Gleam is seeking to leave a lighter footprint than competitors.

Clean Cars and the Community

The community needs more than just a car wash.

Gleam Car Wash not only wants to help fill a need for a car wash in the community, they also want to give back as much as possible. That’s why they’ve sponsored two local charities that they believe in: Children’s Hospital Colorado and Groundwork Denver. For every Gleam Total car wash package, $1 is donated to Children’s Hospital Colorado. And for every Gleam Interior Total package, $1 is donated to Groundwork Denver, an environmental organization that promotes health and well-being in the Denver area.

Car Wash Business Community Charities
For Lemieux, a member of the Colorado Air National Guard, the partnership with the children’s hospital hits home. One of his troops’ oldest daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, making any donation especially meaningful. “We’re very happy to do this,” he said.

Opening a car washKeeping It Local

How you can support other local businesses at Gleam.

One of the most notable differences you will see at Gleam Car Wash, when compared to a standard car wash, is the modern waiting area. You might first notice the four big-screen TVs, but there’s more than that. Food, coffee, tea and even dog biscuits are offered from local Colorado companies as part of Gleam’s efforts to offer high-end services with a local touch.

Want to Learn More About How to Start a Car Wash Business?

Our team is ready to make your vision a reality.

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into opening a car wash. General Steel was proud to team with Gleam Car Wash to help them realize their vision of a forward-thinking, quality service facility, where you get more than just a clean car.

If you want to learn more about starting a car wash business with one of our metal buildings, call General Steel at 1-800-745-2685 to speak with a member of our team. You can also message us on Facebook or Tweet us @gensteel to get started!

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Opening a Car Wash Business - Spotlight on Gleam Car Wash
Article Name
Opening a Car Wash Business - Spotlight on Gleam Car Wash
Learn how a steel building helped new, Colorado-based car wash business, Gleam Car Wash, launch a green business model that gives back to the Denver community.
Publisher Name
General Steel
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