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7 Best Car Wash and Detailing Trade Shows & Conventions (2024)

If you are in the car wash business in the United States at any level –from a convenience store owner, car wash owner, or mobile detailer, I wanted to take the time today to list a few of the best trade shows and conventions to add to your calendar.

If tradeshows aren’t your thing and you’re looking for training to advance your skill set, check out these 5 online training options I think are a good place to start.

Networking with other detailers and business owners is a great way to check out the latest technology and detailing products, and many don’t cost that much. In this post, I’ll break down these tradeshows based you should check out this year, when and where they are located, and a brief overview of the type of show or event!

1. SEMA

sema logo

SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) is probably the largest automotive show most people have heard of, and really a great place to be as an auto detailer. You will be exposed to SO many detailing products and is really quite the experience if you have never attended. All the big names in auto detailing will be there, as well as the IDA (International Detailing Association) which offers a certification day (which is pretty cool).

If you have a detailing business, it’s pretty easy to receive a badge and one of the better product-focused shows you can attend as an operator. You’ll be able to meet many of the product suppliers in the detailing industry you’re probably familiar with and is really one of the best opportunities to network with a lot of people and vendors. Plus, it’s always in Vegas :)

Date: November 5 – 8, 2024

Location: Las Vegas Convention Center —Las Vegas, NV

Ideal for: Auto detailers and specialty detailing shop owners

www.semashow.com

2. Southwest Car Wash Association Convention & Expo

scwa car wash logo

If you own a car wash of any kind and live in the southeast United States like I do, this is a great event to attend. This organization not only puts on an Expo each year, but they also help to lobby for car wash owners. If you are looking for a place to not only become educated in the latest and greatest technology but network with other owners and operators, this is the place to do it.

Date: February 8 – March 1, 2024

Location: The Fort Worth Convention Center —Fort Worth, TX

Ideal for: Car wash owners

www.swcarwash.org

3. Northeast Regional Carwash Convention (NRCC)

nrcc carwash logo

If you live in the Northeast and are a car wash owner, this is the convention to be at. As a car wash operator, this one is great if you are looking to attend helpful educational seminars in addition to checking out the latest tunnel and car wash technology.

This is one of the smaller shows if you are a car wash operator, and is made up of an alliance of volunteers from several New England States.

Date: November 6 – November 9, 2024

Location: The Atlantic City Convention Center —Atlantic City, NJ

Ideal for: Car wash owners

www.nrccshow.com

4. NACS

nacs logo

If you are a convenience store and car wash owner, NACS is a show you’re probably already familiar with. While not really a car wash show, it is great for networking with other convenience store owners to share ideas and explore new automotive products to include in your store.

Thinking about those wash-code-at-pump systems? NACS is the place to go. 

Date: October 7 – October 10, 2024

Location: Georgia World Congress Center —Atlanta, GA

Ideal for: Car wash owners

www.nacsshow.com

5. Mobile Tech Expo

mobile tech expo logo

If you are an advanced detailer who also specializes in paint correction or advanced methods, the Mobile Tech Expo is a great show for this. MTE is also known as the Mobile Auto Recon and Dent Repair Show. These events happen twice per year and are a great opportunity to learn from professionals in the detailing industry. You’ll learn how to deep clean just about anything as well as learn advanced detailing techniques.

This expo includes both an education day and 2 show days in an exhibit hall.

Dates & Locations:

  • February 1 – February 3, 2024 | Gaylord Palms Resort  —Orlando, FL

Ideal for: Auto detailers and shop owners

www.mobiletechexpo.com

6. The Car Wash Show

the car wash show logo

Put on by the International Carwash Association (ICA), this is a great medium-sized show for just about anyone in the car wash industry (as the name suggests!). Geared towards managers in the car wash and detailing industries, this show contains several sessions if you are interested in franchising, tips on making more money with your car wash, and much more.

If you are interested in anything from quick-lube franchises to car washes, this is the show for you. 

Date: May 13 – May 15, 2024

Location: Music City Center —Nashville, TN

Ideal for: Car wash owners

www.carwash.org/car-wash-show

7. Heartland Carwash Association

Heartland Carwash Association.

If you own and operate a car wash in the heartland of America, don’t miss the Heartland Product and Equipment Show! This show is perfect for owners looking to explore the latest products to include at their Carwash, and is a great opportunity to network and speak with successful operators throughout the region.

Date: September 17 – 18, 2024

Location: Mid-America Center —Cedar Rapids, IA

Ideal for: Carwash Owners

www.heartlandcarwash.org

Conclusion

As a detailer or anyone in this industry, trade shows are a great way to stay sharp, and pretty affordable compared to other industries I’ve been exposed to. These are not only great for checking out the latest products in detailing, but also awesome to attend just for the educational sessions on different topics.

Have any other car wash or detailing events that you really like that aren’t on the list? Let me know below.

Baxter Overman is the founder of Carwash Country and has been been cleaning up dirty vehicles for nearly 20 years. Since 2017, he's helped thousands of beginners see better results by learning the fundamentals of washing and detailing. He's on a mission to make the car wash process more fun...and way easier.

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