The car wash industry is in a great place right now. In an IBISWorld Industry Report that examined the US Car Wash industry, annual revenue in this market has surpassed the $10-billion mark, with growth expected to continue at around 1.7% per year to 2021 and beyond.
However, this growth has seen a huge increase in competition, especially among smaller car washes. Today, there are over 80,000 wash locations across the country, a development that has been accompanied by an explosion in the numbers of express tunnels and small washes. Staying ahead in this competitive industry is harder than it seems, so here are some useful tips for transforming your car wash into a lean, mean, cash-printing machine.
Your place of business and its operations
Your business is your car wash, so this needs to be the first thing you look at. Does it look the part? Is it clean, safe for clients, clearly signposted and easy to navigate? These seemingly surface-level things are key for attracting customers. Use a good bay cleaner to make your wash spotless, make sure your wash is easy to drive to and through, and take care of potential safety and security risks.
Next, come your actual operations. Here’s a short list of ways you can optimize your car wash processes for maximum value:
- Scale your labor with demand: use tracking software to make sure you have the ideal number of workers in relation to how busy you are.
- Maintenance: figure out which day of the week is the least busy, and schedule maintenance, cleaning, and repair on that day.
- Each wash should be thorough but quick. Make sure your time-per-wash isn’t too long, and that you’re running the perfect car wash at every step.
Efficiency is key
Using lots of water and burning too much electricity isn’t just bad for the environment, it’s a massive sinkhole for your cash and operating margins. Fitting renewable energy systems and water treatment solutions can seem expensive at first, but they’re investments that pay for themselves over time.
Efficiency should be a priority in your business model. Now is the perfect time to check your systems. Your equipment must be properly calibrated to maximize both chemical and water efficiency. Overusing chemicals, or excessive rinsing, will add up to substantial costs in the long term.
Upselling your (unforgettable) products and services
While a thorough clean is important, we’ve found that a commonly neglected part of the wash is customer experience. A good clean is nice; but an awesome wash — filled with bright colors, mountains of foam, lasting pleasant fragrances, and unbeatable staff friendliness and service — is far more important in creating a lasting brand image and getting customers to come back.
This means your products shouldn’t only do the job well, they should be made with the customer experience in mind. Vibrant color and different scents are key components in an unforgettable wash — that’s why they feature so highly in our wide range of custom-made and self-mix chemical products.
Bonus points for interesting extra services and attractions, such as pet washes, picnic areas, or vending machines.
What good is great service if no one knows your car wash exists? Taking a hard look at your branding and marketing strategies is crucial for surviving this new competitive era of car washing (a Facebook page and Twitter handle simply don’t cut it anymore). Diverse marketing strategies — such as co-partnering, white-labeling, and data-driven multi-platform advertising — are all crucial parts to getting your name out there, and optimizing the returns on every dollar you spend on advertising.
At ChemQuest, we know car wash in and out. For over 25 years, we’ve specialized in being the expert consultant, business partner, and chemical supplier that car washes need to get ahead of the pack. To find out how our values of great customer service, quick turnaround times and reliable performance can help you thrive in this tough industry, get in touch with us and one of our experts will set up a one-on-one consultation.