The differing needs of coastal versus country car wash customers

coast versus country car wash

Tips for starting a new car wash business

When starting a new car wash business, it’s important you consider the differing needs of city and coastal customers versus those of our country cousins.

Recognising who your customers are and the environmental challenges associated with their location is the first step toward providing them with appropriate products and services.

Conveying to customers the importance of having their vehicles washed on a regular basis to prevent environmental damage, will increase customer patronage and, therefore, revenue.

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Coastal and city car wash equipment

Salt air, sand and pollution are commonplace in cities and coastal areas and can have a seriously detrimental effect on all vehicles including cars, motorbikes, RVs and even bicycles.

Scratches, rust, dirty bodywork and windows, are just some of the repercussions city and coastal living has on our cars.

As a car wash operator, it’s important you provide your customers with advice and vehicle washing equipment that reduces these environmental impacts on their vehicles.


Pressurised air or water, without brushing, is the best way to remove sand without scratching the paintwork. Vehicles with a large amount of sand are best to use self-serve, jet wash equipment or touchless machines. Brush rollovers should be avoided.

Salt air and salt water

Salt accelerates the corrosion process of steel parts and bodywork and it’s important that cars affected by salt air and salt water are washed frequently (once rusting starts, nothing can be done to stop it, only to slow it down).

To remove salt, a suitable pre-wash program is recommended with a chemical product added to remove stubborn dirt.

A special focus is necessary to effectively clean the underbody, wheel arches, tyres and rims.  Additionally, windows, glass, mirrors and the number plate area shouldn’t be overlooked.

Jet washes should be used to dissolve encrusted salt in hard-to-reach areas such as wheel arches.

Pollution and dirt

With greater population density in our coastal cities, pollution means our cars get dirty quickly and require more frequent washing.

New generation automatic rollovers now offer a better wash than ever with the ability to reach difficult areas.  New, high-pressure systems can access hard-to-reach areas while better chemical application cleans lower corners, sills and rear of the vehicle. A superior chemical spray has been integrated into the drying process. New software means a more intensive and intelligent scrubbing process and smoother machine movement.


City customers are busy and customers expect 24/7 convenience.  Facilities that offer great customer convenience, will have better retention simply due to convenience.

The addition of complimentary accessories like self-serve vacuums, deodorisers, pressurised air, etc, offers your customer greater time-saving and convenience.

rural car wash equipment

Rural and country car wash equipment

In the country and rural areas, the weather and environment have a very different, albeit just as detrimental, effect on your customer’s vehicles.

Country car wash operators need to be aware of these and provide appropriate vehicle washing equipment and solutions for their customers.

Bugs and insects

Insect and bug impact is commonplace in rural areas where customers often travel long distances on country roads.

Bug and insect removal from paintwork and windows is best done using a specially formulated pre-wash that will ensure a perfect finish and good visibility.

Sun and heat

Extreme heat and sun can damage exterior paintwork and interior surfaces like dashboards and seats.

Providing cleaning and polishing products available for purchase from vending machines can assist customers to keep the interiors of their cars protected from the harsh Australian sun and heat.

New-generation car washes include optional extras such as the application of wax, polish and protective coatings to protect exterior paintwork from sun and heat.

Dust and dirt

Dryer rural locations mean more dust and dirtier cars, particularly farm and transportation vehicles.

Pressurised air or water, without brushing, is the best way to remove dust and dirt without scratching the paintwork.

Vehicles with a large amount of dust and dirt are best to use self-serve, jet wash equipment or touchless machines. Automatic brush car washes should be avoided.

Vehicle size

While 4WDs are common in our cities and coastal areas, in the country they are commonly fitted with bull bars, aerials, floodlights, etc.

Car washing equipment must accommodate these vehicles without damaging accessories or machines.

Advice for your customers

Whether your car wash facility is located on the coast or in the country, it’s important that you convey to your customers that your facility caters to the specific car washing needs of the location – both inside and out.

Need help? For assistance providing the right car washing solutions for your customers, contact our friendly team for advice. We’re here to help.

Further reading


The carwash needs of coastal versus city customers

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