We all know that the goal for tunnel and in-bay carwash operators is to move cars through the wash as quickly as possible: more cars equals more money. Well, for self serve operators it may seem counter intuitive to say that we want to keep our customers in our bays as long as possible: because when it comes to self serve customers, more time equals more money!
In other words what we are selling to our self serve customers is time. The more time they spend cleaning their cars, the more money we make. The key then is make sure you have the types of services your customers want and that your equipment is functioning properly at all times.
So here are some tips for attracting more customers to your wash and maximizing your revenue per customer:
Make sure everything works
This may seem obvious but it is important to check every wash function in every bay frequently, preferably at the start of every day. Go through each function on the dial in every bay, especially the less frequently used presoak and engine degreaser, to make sure everything is working properly and that you don’t have an overlooked maintenance or repair issue that could cost you money from customers not being able to perform complete washes.
Don’t count on your customers complaining to let you know when something needs fixing, more often than not they’ll simply drive away.
Check your pressure
An often overlooked issue is worn high pressure nozzles. Nozzles wear out over time, which reduces water pressure and cleaning efficiency. Replace your nozzles at least annually and use high quality stainless or MEG nozzles, any extra cost is more than paid back in increased revenue from satisfied customers.
Nothing frustrates a customer more than having colored soap drip on their clothes or hands from leaky swivels, so make sure your swivels are not leaking and replace them as necessary.
Suck it up!
Think of loss of suction as loss of revenue when it comes to your vacuums. Common causes of loss of suction are leaky seals around the access door to the collection bag, as well as leaky seals around the vacuum motor itself, so check these frequently. Not only is it a a good idea to empty the collection bags frequently, but also wash the collection bags periodically to ensure proper vacuum function.
What’s that smell?
Self serve customers love foam, color and fragrance. The more of these that your chemicals produce the more time your customers will spend on their cars, and the more often they’ll return.
Make sure your presoak detergent and foam brush soap generate plenty of foam, color and fragrance. Also make sure each of your chemical services have distinct color and foam: when the customer turns the dial you want them to see a real difference in color and fragrance.
Making sure your equipment and chemicals are always working at their best will ensure that your customers spend more time on their cars and return more often.
So remember, when it comes to self serve customers, time is money!