Tips for running a successful and profitable car wash business.
In any industry, learning as much as possible about new technologies can help small business owners become more competent, competitive and profitable. Updated equipment options in the car wash industry frequently offer a one-two punch that can help overall business. The first advantage provided will be increased performance pushed by upgrades. The other positive will be offering customers the added adaptability of new services.
The many advantages of self serve car wash bays
The self-serve carwash market has seen a number of new and popular features added to bays over the past decade.
Today, self-serve washing has evolved past a handful of coins, a coat of soap and a quick rinse. Automated car wash payment systems, along with an array of new options, have made customers want to spend more time in vehicle wash bays.
There will always be a segment of vehicle owners that prefer the do-it-yourself aspect of self serve car washes.
Many love to “baby their ride,” and, while rollover systems and tunnel car washes provide great results, these customers like the satisfaction of washing their own vehicles. This includes applying the different products to the vehicle and controlling the high-pressure spray to achieve a quality clean.
Self serve car wash operators can enhance the experience by not only providing a quality clean but by supplying soap with appealing colors and smells. “By delivering visually appealing wash features, customers spend more time in the bay potentially resulting in higher profits.
Customers love a new and innovative experience and that’s why constantly reinventing your car wash business with add-on services, new chemicals, updated payment methods and effective marketing will help a location maintain market share in the self-serve segment.
Increasing profitability in your self serve car wash facility.
Add credit card payment facilities.
To date, the most popular add-on feature for self service washes has been equipment that allows payment via a credit card swipe.
Both customers and operators can appreciate the simplicity and convenience of credit card payments. While some operators may object to transaction fees or monthly maintenance charges by banks or processors, these fees are outweighed by the increased revenue. Adding a credit card system to a bay will more than pay for the investment in the short term.
Customers will spend more time washing their vehicles after this upgrade, as most credit card systems utilise a “count up” versus a “count down” charging method. The self-serve bay timer will start counting down once the minimum payment is met when a cash payment method is applied. Typically, there is a “last minute” alert horn that goes off as time is running down.
With a credit card payment, the system starts counting up once the transaction has been authorised. Once the wash is completed, the customer is instructed to push a stop button to end the transaction and determine the final charge. This method keeps the customer from rushing to finish as there is no alert horn that instinctively hurries them up.
Integrate gift cards and loyalty programs
With the advancement in credit card technology, gift cards and loyalty programs are new options available for self service car wash facilities.
The integration of loyalty programs and gift cards can be used across all equipment in your facility. If designed properly, car wash operators can put gift card swipes in car wash bays, on vacuums, vending machines, air machines, mat cleaners and other compatible equipment.
This gives customers the flexibility to use any piece of equipment on the property with a single card.
Enhancing self serve car wash options
The most popular add-on service equipment for self-serve locations are tyre shiners, air dryers and vacuum stations.
There is nothing like rubbing the pad on the tires and seeing that rich, dark finish of a truly clean vehicle.
Air dryers in the bay are increasing in popularity because they finally give self-serve customers the opportunity to air dry a vehicle. Dryers have proven hugely popular in areas with a lot of motorcycles.
Creating a pleasurable customer experience
To increase profitability on your self service car wash site, consider how you can keep customers happy and in the bay longer. After all, you’re in the business of selling “time”.
Tips that enhance the customer experience
- Are the bays clean and well-lit?
- Does the gun or wand leak all over the customer?
- Do you have good pressure, soap, wax and presoak in the bay?
- How do the chemicals smell and look on the vehicle?
- Are garbage bins emptied regularly?
- Is the appearance of the facility overall clean and tidy? Are gardens full of weeds? Is there rubbish blowing around?
- Are vacuums working correctly? Do they do a good job?
- Is signage bright and welcoming or drab, faded and peeling?
- Are there multiple payment methods available?
Once you’ve ascertained that the customer is comfortable in the bay and moving around within your facility, additional profit opportunities can be evaluated.
What are customers saying about your facility?
It’s important you stay abreast of what customers are saying about your facility. Car wash operators should check online reviews, chat rooms, websites and social media groups where customers may be recommending, or berating local car wash businesses.
While the news may not be what you want to hear, use it to improve your services and outshine the competition.
And finally, good luck. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team. We’re here to help and work with you to make your car wash facility a success.
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Good Sight Car Wash Equipment Australia
We can assist in all aspects of the growth and success of your car wash facility, automotive dealership or car rental business including site assessment, car wash design, machine installation, service and repairs, and, importantly, ongoing support to ensure the success and growth of your facility.
We are Australia’s leading suppliers of car wash equipment. We have been offering Australia-wide sales & service since 1968 and were the first suppliers of automatic car wash systems in the country. Since, we have always been able to pride ourselves as offering a highly professional level of service and support to our clients.
Our compehensive range of car wash machines include:
- automatic (rollover) machines
- touchless car wash machines
- conveyors and tunnels
- self serve machines
- heavy vehicle car wash equipment
- car wash enclosures
- car wash design
- car wash equipment and accessories
Additionally, we offer a full range of vehicle wash services including car wash installation, upgrades and maintenance for car wash businesses, petroleum retailers, automotive dealerships, fleet and rental car businesses.