Losing Sleep Over Lost Towels?

The Exterior Express archetype is the fastest growing business model for car washes. Customers like it and it works. Who would ever have thought that the consumer would pay to share in the work at a car wash. It is brilliant. The patrons now vacuum and dry the car and they like doing it! However, there is a catch. What about the towels? Fortunately, the customers rarely run off with the vacuuming equipment, but what about the towels? One guy in Phoenix told me “towels evaporate faster than gasoline on a hot day.” The lost towel phenomenon can be a problem and yet, it also offers great opportunities for you.

Preventing Lost Towels

Kleen-Rite’s custom signage can help-out with towel control messaging. Customers tell me signs like: “Please help keep our prices low. Return used towels here,” and “Smile you are on camera,” or “Towels are programed to self-detonate if taken from this location,” all seem all seem to help to reduce theft. 

Doctor Joe can also print this same missive on your towels and / or your towel’s label. One customer with multiple locations printed “Thou shalt not take our towels. Please return ‘em.” The same towel displayed the wash’s name and logo. How about: “Do not take the towels home. Your wife will prefer flowers.”

I actually visited two car wash chains that had the same label: “Warning. This towel is equipped with a security tag. Please do not steal.” It must work!

Printing Messages On Towels

There are minimums, but you can have beautiful custom towel labels for FREE from Doctor Joe.  What about printing on the towel? Newer printing technology is less expensive. The images are dyed on the towel. The printed surface is as soft as the towel itself and is long lasting.  There are reasonable minimums on this as well. You can have it done for only .12 to .15 per towel. This option also helps with branding. If the towel disappears, it becomes an advertisement!  Please call the good doctor for more details at 1-800-233-3873 x136.

What are the other ways Doctor Joe can help you? You can go cheap and buy a less expensive towel. Towels often vanish before they wear-out anyway. Go with DJMF8300-BK, a 16×16, 200 GSM black towel. Or DJMF4000-BK which is a 12×12, 280 GSM black towel.  If you drift down market, the more they steal the more you save!

Once your competition starts providing towels for their customer’s use on premises, you need to provide the same service. If you holdout you lose market share. Likewise, once you start it is difficult to stop. It is like a government benefit; it never goes away.

Sell Towels for Extra Profit

However, there is hope. Express Exterior Washes are continuously expanding and adding stores. In the new locations, you can make a paradigm shift and do something different. How about selling towels? When the customer pays at the kiosk, a message can come up “How about a microfiber towel for $1.00?” Or you can sell three (3) for $2.00. The attendant at the entrance will deliver the towel (s) to the customer. The only downside is enjoying a twofold return on your investment.

This is where “Doctor Bulky” (DJMF4500-XX) comes in. This is a new line of lavish 16×16, 300 GSM microfiber towels available in Black Onyx, Gold-Leaf, Sky Blue, Deep Orange, and Royal Blue. You will more than double your money. Turn a towel loss into a profit center. You will stop losing sleep and more importantly, stop losing towels!

Custom Car Wash Towel
Branded Car Wash Towel Sample

Use Lost Towels to Advertise Your Wash

Another version of this is to advertise your brand with a packaged microfiber. Your name, logo, and message can be attractively printed on the package. Here again, there are reasonable minimums. You will be able to sell DJMF1616-XX 260 GSM, 16×16 microfiber towels, in the colors of your choice (Blue, Green, Yellow, Red, and Orange ), in a stunning package with your name on it!

Start a Towel Replacement Program

An additional way to go is start a “Towel Replacement Program.” This is also called a “Customer Loyalty Program.” A unique plush towel is sold to a regular customer or given to a client who signs-up for the Top Wash monthly program. The towel is purchased one time. On each return visit the customer returns the soiled towel. They are then given a clean towel for FREE. This works best if a deluxe 400 GSM towel is used. Doctor Joe’s DJMF8500-XX 16×27 in dark colors or DJMF8600-XX 16×16 also in dark colors are the best selections for this program. They are luxurious towels that suggest quality and value. You do not want to be known as the car wash with the “Dollar Store Towels.”

Offer Free Inexpensive Towels

How about “throwing-in the towel.” You can give a towel to your clients with each wash. The good doctor has an inexpensive line of soft Pop-Up Microfiber Towels (DJMF1150-XX). These towels come in a convenient dispenser box and are both portable and affordable. They are available in a selection of five colors: black, red, yellow, green, blue, and white. The attendant simply gives your customers a small towel at the entrance to the tunnel. There are also great discounts available for full-pallet purchases. That way lost towels won’t dry up your profits.

Finally, we also do “basic black.” Henry Ford once quipped about the Model-T Ford: “you can have any color you want as long as it is black.”  Doctor Joe holds significant inventory of black microfiber towels in each of Kleen-Rite’s four regional distribution centers. The most popular items are bulk-packed: DJMF4500-BK the traditional 16×16 black microfiber, DJMF4200-BK the soft knitted terry 16×16 black microfiber, and DLMF4000-BK black 12×12 microfiber.

We can supply you with good quality regular towels until you chose to Segway into one of the private branded towels offered above. Printed towels and private labeled towels do take a little time to get, but the wait is worth it. It also help reduce the amount of lost towels.

How Do I Get Custom Towels?

“It all sounds great, but how do I get started?” Well, the good news is Towels By Doctor Joe® and the Kleen-Rite Corp. make it easy to have towels your way. We have broken down each Exterior Express towel option into one easy step: you just make a call to 1-800-233-3873.

Winding things up, you will like this story. I asked an Exterior Express Wash customer if he had a problem with lost towels? He answered: “Yes. Providing towels was one of the best things I have ever done. My business has grown significantly. We are thought of as the best car wash to get a good towel.”

This article was written by Joe Gartland, from Towels By Dr. Joe. It was originally published in Kleen-Scene Magazine issue 37.

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