Vending Maintenance with Dave from Hamlin Highway

The work of maintaining and improving a car wash is never-ending. It’s usually not a question of IF an owner will be taking time out of their weekend to deal with car wash issues, but rather HOW that time will be spent. Recently, Dave Edwards from Car Wash on Hamlin Highway gave us a glimpse into one of his weekends at the car wash. He decided that it was time to devote some energy towards their glass-front spiral vending machines and vending products.

Dave’s Vending Maintenance To-Do List

  • Clean the rows/troughs on his vending machines.
  • Spray dry silicone in each row.
  • Double-check the push spring and retainer tabs
  • Update the lighting in each unit.
  • Check the PEX tubing placed in each row
Tubes in vending machine spirals

The first four tasks are pretty straightforward, but you might be asking, What’s up with that last one? Edwards was nice enough to share a helpful trick he uses with his spiral vending machines to improve reliability. He told us, “We found that product swims in the rows, as one size doesn’t fit all, and yes, the occasional (product) didn’t drop. So, necessity is the mother of inventiveness.”

To combat the issue, Edwards began placing various sizes (and colors) of PEX tube sections into the vending machine rows. The tubing keeps product aligned, taught, and facing towards the customer.

There’s nothing like the moment when you realize you found an easy, low-cost solution to a problem at your car wash!

Keeping Vending Maintenance on Your Radar

Obviously, having properly functioning wash bays and tunnels is priority number one for owners. You can’t be successful without making sure your customers are getting the best wash possible in terms of value and performance. After that, though, Edwards encourages operators to have vending maintenance close to the top of your priority list. That doesn’t just mean restocking (although that’s definitely important), but also making sure machines are dispensing properly and not ruining the customer experience.

“I find in my travels that car wash vending machines at some self-serve sites may be the most neglected venue. Myself included, from time-to-time.” Edwards continued, “So, it was time for me to study the mechanics of the machines, be creative, and look to stock the machines with the ‘staples’ of products, and maybe a few items to expand the customers’ cleaning experience.”

A Great Time to Strengthen Your Vending

A bizarre 2020 made many business owners step back and view their business models and strategies from a different perspective. Customer behavior and buying habits changed under the constraints of a pandemic. Largely, car wash owners we spoke to did not see as many negative effects as other business owners. Still, it’s inevitable the car wash industry will feel the ripple effect of a changing economy.

Sign with vending products

Edwards shared, “At each of our sites, we have grappled with increasing wash prices. Yet, in this year of uncertainty, we will hold off. Instead, we have looked to improve the accessibility of products, opportunities, and amenities for the consumer to select and choose on their own to spend another dollar or two.”

Aside from improving the vending experience itself, it’s also important to make sure customers are aware those vending products are available. That’s especially true when revamping your product selection.

Since he put in the effort to improve vending, Edwards wanted to actively promote their products. “We printed and installed 24” x 18” graphics in each bay and tunnel with some of the selection at the vending machines.”

Reacting and adapting will be the theme for business owners in 2021 and beyond.

Edwards’ message to us was a great reminder about the importance of vending maintenance. We are constantly impressed with the ingenuity of our customers, and the tube-in-the-spiral vending idea is a perfect example of it. His vending machines look fantastic, function at a high-level, and are now well-stocked with products that customers are sure to enjoy. HAPPY VENDING!

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