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How to Make a Car Wash Successful

The car wash industry can provide plenty of new business opportunities, but starting up a new car wash isn’t easy. From the equipment that you use to finding the perfect location, many factors contribute to starting a successful car wash business. Careful planning and attention to these key elements can increase your chances of building a sustainable, successful business.  

Determine your services and business model.

Before you start scouting out sites and choosing equipment, it’s important to work out the details of your car wash business. One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is determining the type of car wash that you’ll run. 

Automated car wash options are highly popular and can appeal to customers who don’t want to get out of their vehicles. An automatic car wash does have some downsides, and some units might cause damage to cars or leave behind streaks and spots. 

You might decide that a self-service car wash is a better way to go. Self-serve units can be more time-consuming, meaning you’ll be able to accommodate fewer customers per day. If you want, you could also build out the business to have more bays if needed. Self-serve units are significantly more affordable to build than automated car washes, so your budget might play a role in your decision.

In addition to your car wash systems, you might want to add on other car care elements. Car detailing, clean car scent options, and other add-ons can increase your profits and help you to appeal to more customers. It’s also important to consider your customer demographic when deciding which options are right for your business.

As you determine these details, write out a business plan. This business plan will help you to stay organized, and if you need to apply for business financing, potential funders will want to see a detailed, well-thought-out plan. Your business plan can help you to identify start-up costs, perform a cost analysis of common expenses, and identify appropriate pricing. 

Carefully scope out your location.

A great location will have important characteristics. You’ll want to find a location that’s in a high-traffic area, so your car wash will benefit from plenty of people already passing by. Look for a location near a shopping center, grocery store, or other destination that people will travel to. As they’re heading by, your car wash will be conveniently located and easily accessible, so they can check off multiple to-dos while they’re out doing errands. 

The location also needs to be sized well and designed to allow for easy in-and-out traffic. A car wash that’s located close to a busier road can provide great opportunities for eye-catching signage. The car wash also needs to be positioned so that vehicles can immediately get out of the road, even as many cars line up. Look for a site that can accommodate all sorts of vehicles, including large trucks. 

You can also design your car wash so that you give customers extra incentive to stop. Pairing your car wash with a gas station or convenience store can help to bring in customers while also giving you additional revenue streams. 

As you determine your ideal site, be sure to check into local zoning regulations, including any signage restrictions. You’ll also want to identify local competing car washes that could detract from your business. It’s best to locate your business in a place with minimal competition.

Choose the right products.

Your car wash equipment and products that you use are part of what will build your car wash’s reputation – and they’re what will result in happy customers who want to return again and again. Eco-friendly products can help you to appeal to environmentally-conscious customers, setting you apart from other businesses. Offering add-on products like premium finishes and waxes can help increase your sales and profits, too. 

Investing in high-quality products not only ensures a great customer experience but can also help you to monitor your expenses. White Water Solutions’ tracking system helps a car wash or dealership to monitor just how much solution you’re using per car washed.

Establish a loyalty program.

A loyalty program can help to turn new customers into returning customers. Loyalty programs can be as simple as a punch card that customers use to track their washes before getting a free car wash. These programs are easy to implement, cheap to run, and highly effective. They can result in current customers washing their vehicles more frequently, increasing the lifetime value of that customer. 

Loyalty programs also have the benefit of encouraging a first-time customer to return. By converting a new customer into a recurring sale, you’ll be building up a bigger customer base and seeing a better return on your customer acquisition costs. 

Work with White Water Solutions! 

If you want to set up your car wash for success, you need to choose the right partner. At White Water Solutions, we can help you from start to finish. We can do a site analysis, help you choose the right equipment for your facility, and then help you pick out the best high-end waxes and industry ceramic coatings. With these top-quality components, the cars coming out of your car wash are sure to shine brilliantly, and you’ll be hearing compliments from happy customers. 

While we’ll help car wash owners to get set up correctly, we’re also here to help you service your equipment. Think of us as your business consultants. From social media marketing strategies to best practices when saving water, we can help you with all of those details that make your business bigger and better. 

Ready to get started with your new car wash business? Contact us at (775) 358-3122!