Car wash security is an important part of running your car wash business, successfully. Failing to provide the best in security can endanger your customers, your workers, and your investment. Skimping on security can leave you vulnerable.
So where do you start? Security is not something we often talk about. We love to discuss the best brush heads, or the coolest tunnel effects. Security can be boring. But it’s a must! So what should you do to make sure your car wash is as safe and secure as possible?
Performing Risk Assessment
A risk assessment of your property for security purposes means taking into account all the physical and non-physical security worries. This includes hidden areas, hard to observe areas, unfenced or unsecured areas, money storage, information storage, and so much more! It’s the first step towards creating a comprehensive security and safety plan. Sometimes, security steps can include tasks as simple as trimming back trees and bushes to eliminate or removing hiding places, or blind spots for your cameras.
Unfortunately, it’s not just a risk assessment of your property and systems that you need to undertake. Everyone you hire needs to be subject to a level of risk assessment as well. How reputable are they? Do they have good recommendations? What’s their employment history like? This isn’t to say someone with a short employment history is a risk. In fact, some of the best car wash employees don’t often have the best employment history – maybe they just haven’t found the right spot yet? Making sure you do your due diligence on personnel provides internal security.
Practical Physical Security Solutions
Sometimes the best ways are the most tried and true ways. Physical security solutions are clear, both to the customer and the potential offender. They act both as piece of mind and deterrent.
Physical Building Conventions
Simple design of your lot and wash plays a big part in your security. Are your vending machines and bill breakers in an open location, or in a lockable, contained location? As mentioned above, is your lot overgrown, do bushes and buildings provide for hiding spaces? Are your windows low and easy to open or break, or are they higher up? In addition, have you used reinforced, hard-to-break glass?
You will make your facilities difficult to get into when locked down by using physical barriers. Every barrier between the thief and the target is another chance to make them walk away. Consider putting your bill breakers, change machines, vending units, and your ATM (if you have one) inside a lockable vestibule. Use reinforced glass where possible. Put numerous barriers and lockable doors between your money room and the outside. Above all, your best defense against thieves is a building designed with safety and security in mind.
Often the best solution is one that has been used for centuries – simple locks. Many thefts and burglaries are crimes of opportunity. Time and time again, it’s been demonstrated that thieves will get frustrated and walk away when thwarted in the first minute or two. Sure, you’ll have your persistent ones, but many are deterred by the presence of a lock.
Disc locks and padlocks are excellent and highly visible deterrents to potential thieves. They can be used to secure doors, coin boxes, bay doors, equipment sheds, or any other area you don’t want customers or thieves getting in to.
We carry a wide variety of anti-theft devices for your machines and coin boxes – and for good reason. They’re worth the investment! Security frames prevent the casual thieves from trying to grab product from your vending machines. Box covers and lock bars for your vacuum and in-bay coin boxes provide an extra layer of resistance, on top of the integrated cam locks and plug locks that most of these boxes feature! Even bill changers have available security options, like the Rowe High Security Steel Trim!
Many pieces of equipment feature high-security options as an integral part of the equipment. For instance, the Short-Hull High-Security Coin Box offers thicker than normal steel, reinforced housing, plug locks, and other features to protect funds. Most vending machines feature a ton of security features already, but you can go one step further by protecting them inside a Free-Standing Security Enclosure that makes them even more impenetrable! If there’s a piece of machinery or equipment that needs securing, we’ve got a solution for it!
Lights, Cameras, Action!
The more advanced security solutions offer advanced protection. They add peace of mind for the customers, and for you as the owner! These may involve a bit more capital outlay on your part. However, they stand to protect your business above and beyond the basic security measures.
This is perhaps the most important part of car wash security. A well-lit lot, observable from the outside – think passing police or a neighborhood security patrol – is a less attractive target to potential security risks.
One of the most cost-effective solutions for owners are photocell-controlled floodlights. These lights turn on and off to compensate for lighting, meaning you don’t have to worry about someone forgetting to turn them on when night comes. They also go off automatically when the sun rises, so they don’t draw electricity all day. Our Lithonia Lighting OLF LED Security Floodlights are a great choice for this.
Wall lighting for the perimeter of your building helps to highlight the immediate area around your bays and vacuums. Products like the Hubbell Perimaliter or Jarvis Wall Pack provide great illumination. You can control these through wall switches or wired to a photocell for automatic on/off lighting.
You’ll also need to illuminate away from the building, at vacuum islands and other stations. In this case, pole-mount lights will generally be your best choice. Cree LED light fixtures are highly flexible for placement – great for walkways as well – while Jarvis pole mount lights offer perhaps the largest selection for use across your carwash lot.
Finally, landscape lighting can take away potential hiding places. LSI Flood Lights are useful around buildings and bushes, along walkways, to highlight signage, and to cast light on the building from the lot perimeter.
A well-lit lot is perhaps the best two-fold improvement for your lot. In addition to the security it offers, good lighting makes the customers feel safer. If you are looking for an upgrade that will aid security and perhaps entice more customers, this is the one to make!
Security Cameras and Surveillance Systems
Connecting everything together is important. You can’t be on call and observing everything, every day – you’ve got a business to run! A ready-to-install system like those from Turbo Wash incorporate cameras, a DVR, and wiring into a ready-to-install package that will set you up for a secure property! While the basic 4-Channel DVR Security Camera System is a great starting point, especially for smaller washes and lower budgets, the 16-Channel Premium Security Camera System is the Rolls Royce of systems, the best your wash will find!
We also offer the components needed to build out and expand a system, repair a system should components break down, or even piece your own together. That being said, we recommend starting out with a plug-and-play system. These ready-to-go combinations already have all the kinks worked out. From there, it’s easier to expand if needed – or take notes for building a system for a second or third location, or a centralized office!
In the modern world, information security is just as important as physical security. Everything from keeping membership records safe, to preventing credit card skimmers from attacking your bill breakers, to stopping coin fishers and the like. As we continue to incorporate online and mobile payments, use point-of-sale software, and rely on customer management software to give us a leg up, we offer access points for hackers and other cybersecurity breaches.
Our recommendation is to partner with membership programs, POS providers, and payment processors with high reputation for cybersecurity. We’re not IT specialists, we’re car wash owners and workers! Use the best resources for the job. Membership programs like EverWash offer high security while providing easy membership management. The CryptoPay options for your vending machines, vacuums, and more protect the customer’s financial data. At the same time, they make sure you get paid, at affordable prices!
Reaping the Benefits of Safety and Security
Customers love safety and security. They want a wash they are comfortable at. At the same time, you want everything you have worked so hard for to be safe and productive. A safe, secure lot does both! Customers are highly unlikely to keep returning to car wash locations that feel unsafe. They won’t use machines that they are worried might skim their credit card data, or vacuums with nearby dark spots where animals or crooks could hide.
At the same time, your investment of time and money into a security system is likely to save you time and money in the long run. It will deter criminals or provide evidence should they try to proceed. In fact, security systems can even pull double-duty and allow you to monitor and evaluate everything from staffing to prim maintenance times!
In conclusion, a smart security set-up for your carwash is invaluable, and Kleen-Rite is here to help you do it! With our expertise and our business partners, we will help you make your car wash as safe and secure as possible, offering you piece of mind and great profits for the future!