How to Create Loyalty at Your Car Wash

Building a solid foundation of regular customers is crucial to maintaining consistency and longevity with your car wash business. You always want new patrons to visit your wash, but are you doing the right things to build a loyal customer base that keeps coming back? What products, services, and business practices create loyalty?

Products that Help Build Loyalty

Car Wash Tokens


Using tokens, especially custom ones, is an excellent way to get customers to return to your car wash. Once tokens are paid for, customers are committed to that purchase. Token buyers often have a couple left over after their done washing. Chances are very high that they will return to use them. With custom-branded tokens, there’s no chance of mistaking where they can be used. It acts as a constant reminder of your car wash. Tokens are a great tool for getting patrons back to your business!

custom car wash air fresheners

Custom Air Fresheners and Other Promotional Items

The “rule of reciprocity” is a tendency for humans to to repay a positive action with one of their own. It’s a frequently used tactic in sales and negotiation. Promotional giveaway items act as a physical illustration of this idea.

Beyond functioning as a moving advertisement, a branded promotional item also creates a link between business and customer. With car washes, the most common item for this purpose is a custom air freshener. Giving away a free air freshener with your logo or car wash name might be the subtle motivator for a customer to choose you again for their next wash.

Courtesy Towels

For drying and tiny touch-ups, courtesy towels can be the difference maker that brings people back to you. Many customers don’t want to deal with bringing in their own towels, and thin paper towels and vending towels aren’t always enough. By providing customers real cotton or microfiber towels that they can either toss in a laundry bin or throw away, you’re providing a premium experience that they won’t forget. Concern for the customer experience is an excellent loyalty builder!

Services, Programs, and Other Efforts that Take it to the Next Level

Those products are all great marketing tools to spark a connection, but what are the next steps you can take in that relationship? How do you become a regular part of a customer’s weekly or monthly routine? How do you develop an attachment so that your business becomes more than just “a” car wash – you’re now “their” car wash.

Memberships and Rewards Programs

everwash logo

Membership programs are one of the most effective ways for customers to become committed to your car wash. Customers love the value, and you’ll love the regular payment structure. This requires time and calculations to determine the right price points for members. Read our Setting Your Prices and Keeping Them Updated blog post for general tips on pricing, including discussion on memberships. In addition, we highly recommend EverWash to assist you in creating a membership program. EverWash uses a “pay-for-performance” model in which they sre paid only when you’re successful!

Loyalty rewards programs also produce repeat business, but by slightly different means. You might choose this option because more customers are open to a non-committal rewards program versus repetitive monthly or yearly fees. Engage customers by developing a clear, understandable program with attainable reward goals.

Gauge your market, talk to your customers, and consult other operators to see which method will work best for you. Either way, being proactive in creating a plan to secure those regular customers will pay dividends.

Community Involvement

At Kleen-Rite, we talk to a lot of car wash owners. Very often, our most successful customers say that becoming involved in the general community is how they took their business to the next level. This can take many forms, but with some genuine effort and involvement, it might be how you build the future of your car wash business. You might donate to charity events, sponsor local sports teams, or allow fundraising car washes to be held at your facility. Being active in those types of things plants the seeds of loyalty and may turn your simple car wash into a local institution!

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