Car wash owners are re-examining their business models and finding new ways to increase profits without large construction expenses or permit delays, due to the sagging economy. Some self-serve car wash owners are finding that one or more of their self-serve bays just aren’t delivering the volume that they used to, or that was expected. Operators are starting to address this issue in a variety of ways, some with help from consulting companies, and others simply by using their imaginations. Naturally, manufacturers and sellers of car wash supplies and equipment are also getting in on the trend, offering products which are perfect for converting one or more under-utilized bays into mini-profit centers.
At one end of the spectrum are owners who convert existing self-serve bays into mini tunnel automatics. While compact systems are being manufactured that can be installed in tunnels as short as 30 feet, this solution is a higher-end option, expenditure-wise. Other owners are choosing to add different services, such as hand detailing, water purification spot-free systems, or small convenience shops and large banks of machines to sell additional car wash vending supplies, snacks, and beverages. Car wash operators are also looking into paintless dent removal to provide a low-cost, time-saving alternative to a body shop for customers with small dings and dents. Still other operators are attracting a different group of customers by installing a dog wash or two in a bay, or converting a bay to a motorcycle wash.
If you think any of these ideas might work for you, be sure to do your research, and if you decide to build your own mini profit center, be sure to commit to marketing your new services and generating customer interest. Large, visible signage is just one part of the customer engagement process: customers already coming to the car wash should be aware of the new service, and potential customers can be attracted to the new services with promotions and advertising.
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