Tips for running a successful and profitable car wash business.
In today’s market, self-serve owners should remember two important steps for operating a car wash facility. The first is taking advantage of the latest equipment. The second is utilising proven marketing tactics.
Self service car wash marketing tactics.
Tying in with the site and equipment upgrades, increased marketing activity should be utilised to promote the refreshed wash site.
Messaging promoting the new wash options should explain the hows and whys involving the methods of modern self-serve washing.
Additionally, your marketing messages should promote the advantages of self-serve washing and attempt to answer technical questions before the customers ask them.
Self service car wash equipment technology
The benefits of injector based technology.
New self-serve systems on the market are 100 per cent injector-based. Chemical injectors are a type of proportioning system that use the Venturi effect of a converging/diverging nozzle to convert the pressure energy of a motive fluid to velocity energy.
This effect creates a low-pressure zone that draws in and entrains a suction fluid. This fluid under high pressure is converted into a high-velocity jet at the pumping station and dispensed to the bay for wash application.
This single pump operation allows the carwash operator to deliver all ranges of pressure from one single source, with greater consistency and reliability, and to provide precise control for chemical delivery, ensuring the ability to control costs. Each mode of the car wash may be adjusted for the specific water and chemical mixture ratio for correct pressure and temperature needed at the bay.
This type of pump can be compared to other dispensing designs such as dosing systems, air pumps, peristaltic pumps, etc. These examples each have pulsing and pumping qualities. Other systems are less consistent in chemical mixture ratio, have higher chemical consumption and create less consistent quality for carwash results.
A smaller pump footprint.
Another advantage new self-serve equipment can offer is a minimised footprint. Systems that require less space are designed with consideration for the higher land costs.
Compact systems allow the carwash operator or investor to control the level of expense for the property and for maximising the use of overall equipment room space.
The newer pumping units are more compact and require less space, as they provide all services from the same system. Older self-serve systems included separate high and low-pressure systems that were spread out in an equipment room. The requirement of having more equipment also meant the older systems were less efficient and required more service to maintain.
This smaller footprint is possible due to certain systems’ “dual circuit” design. This technology eliminates additional pumping equipment, resulting in increased durability and product life, especially in harsh environments.
Further, this design enables continuous chemical flow not only at low pressures but on the high-pressure modes as well.
Easy to install and easy to maintain.
Car wash facility owners still using older style self-service machines will be excited to learn that some new systems are 100 percent pre-plumbed and pre-wired, and constructed of high-quality, 304 stainless steel.
New systems are simple to install, and all inlet and outlet ports are easily maintained.
Chemical waste is another issue that new self-serve systems can address. Some options offer a “zero waste” hose system that allows users to easily switch between wash chemicals, and the changeover time between modes is virtually undetectable by the carwash customer. This means the customer can switch between modes with the assurance that each chemical is right at the bay and ready for application.
This type of system can eliminate the long purge time between chemical modes that is required with single-hose self-serve systems. Older systems must purge all chemicals from inside the equipment room before a new chemical can be supplied to the bay. Dressler notes that the chemical savings can be substantial with this type of upgraded hose system.
Finally, new designs can utilise a VFD-controlled motor and durable plunger pumps. In these modern systems, there are no other pumping components such as dosing equipment, air pumps or peristaltic pumps required for operation.
All consumables are delivered to the bay from a single source: the small footprint pumping station. This is an improvement, as years of experience in the car care industry have shown manufacturers that many separate low-pressure designs have shorter lifespans and may cause multiple interruptions in the car wash delivery system.
Advances in foaming technology.
Upgraded foaming technology on new self-serve systems provides superior foaming qualities during low-pressure modes. This allows the chemicals to attack the dirt on vehicle surfaces.
This technology is most effective because the aerated chemical reacts with dirt and essentially lifts it from the surface, allowing it to be rinsed or removed during the next phase of the wash process.
This type of innovation allows for the highest standards in wash quality and substantial savings in chemical consumption when compared to non-foaming systems and applications.
As an option, foaming systems can be configured with a brush service to help provide even higher quality wash results. For areas where the vehicles are extremely dirty, the addition of a foam brush will aid the customer in removing the thick road film and heavy solids that are harder to remove. Often, such brushes are made with pig’s hair, which is soft and safe for vehicle surfaces.
Colourful foam produced by some self-serve systems also adds to the customer’s total experience at the wash. The foam smells good and is pleasing for the customer to use.
For touchless self-serve bays, the theory is rather basic. The proper treatment of the incoming car wash water and chemicals will assure a quality touchless wash. While handwashing and brush washes were commonplace in the past.
Upgrading your existing self service car wash facility.
When looking to upgrade your self-serve car wash facility and / or location, there are various factors that should be taken into consideration such as:
- Water softness/hardness
- Water temperature
- Chemicals and detergents
New self-serve units can offer complete flexibility to wash owners by allowing them to choose which services to provide without adding additional costs.
The systems can be configured for the specific application and requirements in a bay, and standard wash services often include:
- Tire clean
- Engine clean
- High-pressure soap
- High-pressure rinse
- High-pressure wax
- Low-pressure rinse
- Spot-free rinse.
Surface protectant and shine treatment as well as undercarriage washes are now becoming more prevalent for self-serve car washes around Australia.
For customer interaction at the bay, both carwash control and the payment process can be provided by smart terminals. Certain systems now come constructed using stainless steel. These terminal ports are fully automated and provide customers with a convenient interface via a large LED display and a simple push-button design.
Let people know your car wash facility has been upgraded.
Once upgrades are complete and your car wash facility has been refreshed, it’s important you let customers (new and existing) aware of the changes.
Signage, banners and on-site messaging can be used to catch the eye of drivers in the area. Online advertising, social media messaging and e-newsletters should be utilised.
Special events have long been an opportunity for operators to reconnect with customers and reintroduce a location after site changes. Free food, live music and activities for children will always draw new visitors and families in the community. Appearances by radio stations or local celebrities can further boost response to a grand reopening event.
In the end, an owner must communicate the advantages of an updated self service wash clearly to attract new users and make the changes worth the investment.
Good luck and, 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.