What Does It Take To Succeed In A Car Wash Business?
Does it take just guts, money or passion to succeed in a car wash business? Do you need all three to beat the competitions? There may be a lot of car wash businesses today in the market, but we’ll focus on one. Here are some kinds of a car wash business…
1. Hand car wash business – the company hires employees to manually clean cars using their own hands applying car shampoo and buffing.
2. Self-Service car wash business – generally, these are coin operated and car owners usually clean their own units.
3. In-bay automatic – vehicles are stationary and a certain automated machine goes back and forth to clean the cars
4. Tunnel car wash business- the car is loaded to a conveyor which goes to a tunnel full o cleaning facilities and mechanisms
5. Steam car wash business- Mostly known in some parts of Asia, the Middle East and Europe. It uses a jet of steam and microfiber towels to make it easy on the car’s paint
6. Mobile Car wash business – normally seen on malls where staffs carry mobile detailing systems with pressure washers and plastic mobile tanks. Some have generator sets to run vacuum and other detailing facilities. Car shampoo, tire black and other chemical cleaners also apply.
7. Waterless Car Wash business – using a special chemical. It envelopes the dirt and grit and suspends it away from the car’s surface. Wiping and buffing follows once it dries out. No need for car shampoo in this one.
Of these types of car wash businesses, we’ll refer to the first one – the hand car wash. Though a variation of this is Bikini car wash, we’ll not actually dwell on it since it really doesn’t apply to the majority.
Having a hand car wash business doesn’t mean you wouldn’t need machines or equipment in the business. You still need to invest on high pressure washers, vacuum cleaners, buffing machine and probably a few more. Many of your existing or would-be competitors would have the same investments. But what’s really important in a car wash business is your customer service. After all, car wash business is all about service. Here are a few tips to succeed in the business.
a. Make sure you know what you’re doing. You need to cascade to your employees, especially those who’ll do the car washing themselves, the right way of foaming, rinsing, buffing, vacuuming or driving your clients’ cars. They have entrusted you your valued assets and for that hour or so, it’s your responsibility to make it look better and shinier without scratching or destroying anything in their cars.
b. Invest on a lounge. Many car wash businesses have structures that would look like it’d fall apart when accidentally hit hard enough. Have a comfortable compartment for the car as well as the car’s owner. Car owners would be happy to become your patron if they have a great place to stay while their cars are being washed. It’s not really necessary to be tremendously luxurious. If you can afford a splendid air-conditioned lounge, that would be a distinguishing factor.
c. Add values to your services. Over-delivering, but not necessarily too extravagant, can make a difference. If some are offering $1 for an ordinary car wash and yours is $.5 more, then expect to have more loyal patrons if you have a comfortable lounge with free drinks, courteousness and smiles from staffs.
d. Research continuously. Once you have operated your business, your homework shouldn’t stop. You have to ask yourself this question –what can make me fail in this car wash business? It is also important to scrutinize the other side of the fence. Simulate scenarios that may possibly drag you to failure and find remedies to them even before they happen. Just in case they do, you already have an answer. You can’t sit on your laurels when things are working positively for you. That is actually the best time to explore on new ideas and competitors’ weaknesses.
e. Have an online presence. Websites these days are not as expensive as 2-3 years ago. You can even make one with minimum investments for domain registration, hosting and probably on graphics and contents if you decide to outsource them. You can have a 3-5 pages for your business for less than $100. Thus, there really is no excuse for you not to be online. It is also one great way to ask for your customers’ feedback. You can even create a Facebook fan page for free if you don’t want to have a site of your own.
f. Have your finances checked and rechecked. Needless to say, you need to make good in your finances. If comprehensive computer programs are still not in your radar, at least have a spreadsheet file to record you daily figures. Create charts and graphs for better visibility. Bottom line, you need to analyze your data. Your decisions must be anchored on what data you’re getting daily.
g. Maintain good suppliers. Your consumables are important. Car shampoo, tire black, all-purpose cleaner, chamois, etc. comprise the other side of your business’ equation. You can’t afford to lose the good credit terms given by your suppliers. Your operational expenses run around these so keep them afloat. By ordering and paying them on time, you’ll definitely create a lasting working relationship with your suppliers.
With these, you can be certain that you’ll have a better road ahead. In fact, you’ll never run out of cars.