Woman finds success with mobile car wash business

By Shirley Hawkins

Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES — Kalalah Harvey, 29, is one of the few women in Southern California who owns and operates her own mobile car wash business.

Harvey founded The Wiz Wash in 2018 washing cars in her backyard as a hobby and it wasn’t long before word quickly spread about her fledgling business. Cars began lining up for her services.

“When I first started out, I charged $10 each for a car wash,” said Harvey, a Cal State Northridge graduate who has a degree in recreation and tourism management.

Wiz Wash recently placed third place in the Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation business pitch competition. Harvey won $500, which she hopes to use to market her business.

“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Harvey, who named her business after her nickname, ‘Wiz.’ “I was attracted to the low startup costs of starting a car wash business,” she said.

Wiz Wash offers a wide range of services.

“Our team uses the highest quality products and equipment to ensure that your vehicle looks and feels its best,” said the entrepreneur.

Today, Wiz Wash’s prices range from $50 to $500 per car depending on the extent and type of service. She drives her van to the customer. 

“The car wash business can be very profitable,” Harvey said, adding that her clients usually find her on Instagram.

Harvey is keen about hiring residents from the community. 

“I hire teens from 12 to 18 from my neighborhood to help me in my business,” said Harvey, who said one of her passions is inspiring local youth.

She strives to instill valuable qualities in them such as work ethic, discipline and business ethics. She is proud that many of the young people she employs have been motivated by her success and aspire to start businesses of their own.

She also expands their life experiences by showing them different areas of the city.

“Many of them have never been out of their own neighborhoods, so I pride myself in exposing them to other parts of the city,” Harvey said. “I also want to start giving out startup fund scholarships to them in the future to help them start their businesses.

Harvey’s business has attracted clients throughout Southern California — from Watts to Beverly Hills — who seek her services and she occasionally gets requests from celebrity clients. 

“Jimmy Iovine, the music producer, introduced me to rapper T.I., and I washed his car,” Harvey said.

Raised by her great grandmother, a local child care business owner in South L. A., Harvey said her great-grandmother always emphasized the importance of possessing a good work ethic and making sure to “show up every day.” 

“She passed away in 2020 at the age of 83,” said Harvey, recalling that her great-grandmother was a great inspiration in her life.

Harvey is also grateful for the help she received from her brother, who helped to develop her business plan.

The entrepreneur is eager to provide a location in the future where she and other entrepreneurs can generate income and conduct business.

“I know many hard-working individuals who are in the food business, fitness, bartending, cosmetology, fashion business and much more,” she said. “One of my goals is to have us set up in one space where everyone can network and win together.”

Harvey said she is meticulous when it comes to washing and detailing every car that comes her way.

“When we detail a car, we go into the cracks and crevices, we reach places that the owner doesn’t see,” she said. “We shampoo the carpet and sanitize the interior of the car with the steam cleaner. We provide scratch removal, shine up the headlights, and clean the engine.”

Estimating that she has washed thousands of cars since starting her business, Harvey was asked which car she is partial to the most. She didn’t hesitate.

“I love Astin Martins,” she said with a wide grin.

The Wiz Wash can be reached online at thewizwash.co.

Shirley Hawkins is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers. She can be reached at metropressnews@gmail.com.