Can I Get An SBA Loan For A Car Wash Or Gas Station?

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If you are looking for purchase a car wash or gas station, you probably know that some lenders won’t touch that kind of deal with a 10 foot pole.  Fear not, readers!  While some lenders won’t, I have a relationship with a lender that is looking for finance both Car Washes and Gas Stations.

Why don’t some lenders finance gas stations or car washes?

When I was an underwriter, the bank I worked for did offer loans for gas stations and car washes once upon a time.  And then some borrowers stopped making payments.  And then the bank had to start foreclosure proceedings.  Once they took possession of the property, they tried to sell.  As part of most commercial real estate deal that involve properties like that, they perform an environmental assessment to ensure that the land on which the buildings sit is not contaminated.  Unfortunately, gas stations and car washes both can contaminate the ground.  Without getting too technical, when chemicals get into the ground, it ain’t good.

The problem with owning a contaminated property, or in the banks case, taking possession of a contaminated property, is that once you own it and find out that it’s contaminated, you get to be in charge of cleaning it up!  Fun, right?  Actually, not so much.  The reason it’s not so fun is this:  it can take years to remediate a contaminated property, and it cost cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so.  So as you can imagine, once that happens to a lender a few times, they can understandably get a little gun shy.

There also another reason why some lenders don’t want to finance specialty use properties like gas stations or car washes, and it has nothing to do with contamination.  The reason lenders don’t like them is that the are specialty use properties.  The problem with a specialty use property is that they are once dimensional in terms of how they can be used.  A car wash has very specific building, machinery, and equipment, none of which can be used for much else.  Compare that with a strip mall, or commercial building.  These property types can host all sorts of different businesses, which means there are many more potential buyers out there.  When you are trying to sell a gas station, you are limited to buyers who are looking to buy a gas station.

While the above might seem like a doom and gloom scenario, the good news is that there ARE lenders who will still lend to there business types in spite of potential issues that might arise.

Jason Milleisen can answer your questions about applying and being approved for an SBA loan.  Feel free to call (toll free 1-877-436-4533) or email me (   If you retain me to help you with your financing needs, I’ll give you a rebate after your loan closes equal to 10% of my commission, up to $500.

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