Car Wash Industry
Like everything else, the car wash industry has changed dramatically over the years. From the
first "sponge and bucket" carwashes to the beginning of the conveyor wash, the industry keeps making it easier and
easier for us.
According to industry statistics, the average
carwash services 71,000 cars per year, but many do a lot more. 65% of all car washes are at gas stations and
convenience stores and 25% of all gas stations and convenience stores have car washes, although most of the are the
rollover type. Many oil companies today will not even build a larger convenience store without a car
Here is a great short video on the History Channel about the history of the car wash business.
Car washes are no different than any other
business in the sense that there is only two ways to make more money, increase revenues or decrease expenses.
Operators usually track the following:
Wash Volume - How many cars were
Gross Sales -
Dollars Per Car - What the average dollar spent per
Mix Of Sales - What percent purchase basic, middle or
After they've evaluated this information, this
is where you decide how to increase revenues or decrease expenses.
It is important for operators to know how many
of their customers are recurring customers or "unique" customers to see if they need to increase their marketing
efforts or changing their product or pricing structure. Now there is even software to take photos of license plates
and enter it into the compute system to know who are repeat customers and who is a new customer.
Depending on which statistic and which source
you believe, the majority of your business will come from 5-10 miles of your facility. Car washes are no different
than other business establishments. People like a clean environment and a friendly work force.
You have to ask yourself: "Why should someone
stop at MY car wash as opposed to any other?" Some will stop just because you are there. Many won't. We have always
been believers of having a "gimmick" or a "hook." What will be YOUR gimmick or hook? What will grab their
attention? If you are in a larger metropolitan area, how will you compete with a well established car wash
From a nuts and bolts point of view, any
borrower or buyer can put a business plan together. Anybody can go out and find traffic count, competition and
potential customers. Statistics are readily availably for potential revenues, cost of goods and expenses. But what
can YOU do to dominate and not just keep true to a statistic?
Crazy promotions? Spending more money and
having a totally unique looking facility? Undercutting your competition on price? What can you do to make them WANT
to come to your car wash?
When was the last time you went to a Planet
Hollywood or a Hard Rock Cafe? WHY did you go there? Was the food really THAT good? (Having been to many of them, I
can tell you the food is no better than any place else) You went there for the atmosphere and that is it. What type
of atmosphere could you create at a tunnel wash that would pique someone's interest? What additional profit centers
could you have there for additional sales?
Even the most stable of car wash facilities can improve. Even the oldest car washes can
increase revenues and/or decrease expenses. We hope to provide ideas to make your business more
Click CarWash TV to see a video of car washes in the past.