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Marketing Strategies for New Car Wash Businesses

Marketing Strategies for New Car Wash Businesses

People spend a lot of time & money setting up their new Car Wash site but don’t always spend equal time thinking about the marketing strategies for their new car wash businesses.

It’s really important not to forget that at the SAME time you’re building the physical foundations for your site that you should also be starting to market your car wash to the public. There’s quite a lot of info in this post that both new & existing operators should find beneficial. Buckle in – it’s worth your time to read this in full!

new-car-wash-business-australia

Pre-Opening – Build

This is a critical time to start letting the public know that a new offer is coming their way. Get potential customers excited about what you’re building – let them know EXACTLY what is happening on your block of land as you’re starting construction. Tell them how your business is going to benefit them.

Action Points:

Put banners up during the build process (see below for content ideas).

Approach local communities, clubs & businesses. Spread the word about the upcoming car wash. Give out some free washes to generate community excitement.

Create a discounted foundation wash club membership offer  – if applicable.

Start a Facebook page – share progress images, explain your offer & convey services.

Laserman – this is an option for CWW customers where available. You really can’t miss him!

laserwash-360-plus-laserman-carwash-worldBanner Ideas:

New Car Wash Opening Soon!

Laserwash Car Wash Coming Soon!

No time to wash your car? Car Wash Coming Soon

Advertise EXACTLY what your offer is: Touchless Automatic Car Wash – Self Serve Bays – Dog Wash COMING SOON!

Clean your dirty car here soon – Opening November!

(I can supply images & logos to all Carwash World customers to help with this).

Advertising Options

This all depends on your area & your demographic but you may wish to look at the following options to incorporate them into the marketing strategies for your car wash business.

However you choose to target people there’s one main thing to consider. You need to have a compelling offer. A compelling offer has a CTA (call to action) – get people excited to try your car wash. Your offer will depend on your entry system but discounted foundation wash club memberships & free wash days for the first days you are open work very well.

Car Wash Marketing Tips

Also ensure you explain to customers why you’re better & different. Talk about your Automatic car wash. People would like to know it’s a touchfree Laserwash, has no friction & is safe for car paint. Explain the types of waxes or chemicals you use, tell them how you protect environment using recycled water.

Action Points:

Print medium – potentially a flyer drop or brochures to hand out. Leave on cars in car parks etc, leave with local businesses & groups.

Radio advertising – advertise free wash days if applicable (see below) or a $10 introductory pricing offer.

Social Media – this is an inexpensive way of promoting your new business as well garnering interest in your upcoming offer. Start your Facebook page – Coming Soon. Advertise what your offer will be, talk about soaps, waxes, why washing at a car wash is better for the environment (see ACWA’s driveway to waterway initiative to encourage customers to think more about where chemicals go).

Grand Opening

We recommend a minimum of 2 days FREE washing. This is your opportunity to test the equipment – gets as many cars through as possible. It’s crucial for new owners to get a feel for equipment, adjust chemical delivery & train staff. It gives us & you the opportunity to work together to tune the equipment making sure we’re producing the highest quality clean. CWW keeps a technician on site for 2 days to work through this with you.

Actions Points:

Ensure the staff on these 2 days are approaching people pulling into the self serve bays & encouraging them to try the new automatic car wash for free instead.

Ongoing Promotion

Once you’ve been open for a while you’ll get a feel for how the business is tracking. You’ll want to then think about driving sales during your slower periods. For example, if Tuesday afternoons are quiet, run a promo.  Some suggestions are ladies day, pensioner day or if your name starts with a letter of the alphabet, get free vacuums with any Laserwash purchase.

Action Points:

Create Seasonal & Event Calendars – set up a marketing calendar that focuses on seasonal events such as Mothers Day, Easter, Fathers Day & then make sure you document local events such as fairs or car rallies that could encourage ways to promote your car wash.

Car Wash Marketing Ideas

Partake in community events & fundraisers – sponsor a local sporting team. Show that you’re active within the community – this gets buy in from the locals & in turn they help advertise/support your business.

Digital Advertising

Create a simple website – even a single page website for google ranking. Advertise your services, location & contact details.

Social Media – Facebook is the most critical SM platform. You can boost posts & promote your business directly to a very refined target audience. For example, you can promote only to people who live within a particular kilometre radius of your business, who have an interest in new cars & are between the ages of 25-65.

Set up a Google Business Listing – this is CRUCIAL. This is where your business shows up on the right hand side of a google search page. People can also leave reviews here & whilst some reviews could be negative, you need to see it as an opportunity to get better.

Sign up to free local business directories – this helps with Google ranking & helps customers find you.

Complaint Handling

The greatest asset your car wash can have is superior customer service. Every customer is an opportunity to grow your business. How you deal with issues or problems is critical. Always look at things from a customer’s perspective. If it’s confusing, difficult to use or just not up to standard – fix it right away. Reply to reviews & complaints with empathy, offer to fix the issue as best you can & assure the customer you want a positive outcome for them.

Actions Points:

Train your staff. Every customer should be acknowledged. This is simple retail, yet is often forgotten by businesses. Your staff should have a desire to ensure your customers know how to use the equipment & are getting a quality clean.

Respond to reviews & complaints immediately. Often unhappy people are placated instantly when you offer them a solution.

Have your out of hours contact phone number clearly posted on site. Sometimes things go wrong, often when the attendants are not working. Don’t make it hard for customers to contact you about an issue.

If social media is all rather new to you – here is an older blog post that has some tips for car wash owners:

https://carwashworld.com.au/managing-social-media-for-your-car-wash/

If you have any other questions – feel free to Contact Me: sarah@carwashworld.com.au

 

 

 

 

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Using a trained technician to service your car wash equipment

Benefits of using a trained technician to service your car wash equipment

Your equipment is the lifeblood and income generator of your business so there should be major importance on using a trained technician to service your car wash equipment. If I asked you, do you service your own car? Most of you would reply with ‘of course not’. Yet a lot of car wash sites are servicing their own equipment without the proper equipment knowledge. Worse still is that some car washes are not servicing their equipment at all!

I read a fabulous quote online the other day. It’s a great reminder to any business owner who fails to see the value in maintaining their machinery.

qualified-car-wash-technician-australia

 

You may have staff at your wash sites who’re mechanically minded. Perhaps you’d consider them pretty well versed with your equipment. You’re possibly still on the fence as to why you should be using a trained technician to service your car wash equipment.

Here’s some things to consider as to why your car wash business will benefit from using a trained car wash technician for both service work and troubleshooting.

 

trained-technician-to-service-car-wash-equipment-adelaide-nsw

Let’s go into a little more detail:

  • If a technician services your equipment regularly they will be very familiar with your business. That means equipment, site set up, plant room etc, should you be having issues.
  • Service work can be booked in advance. This gives you time to ensure you have the funds allocated when the time comes rather than forking out for a surprise breakdown!
  • Technicians are factory trained to identify, diagnose and solve issues. This means making adjustments during routine services to ensure your equipment is running to its full capacity and avoiding unnecessary breakdowns.
  • Owners & staff are generally time poor. Their emphasis is on customers and the needs of the business. Owners and managers should assess whether that time could be better allocated to dollar producing, customer attaining and retaining tasks.
  • Technicians can solve issues faster. Their intimate knowledge of the equipment means you’ll be up and running much faster than you trying to do it yourself.
  • Sometimes technicians have the ability to dial in remotely to assess and troubleshoot any issues you’re having. Often techs can fix an error without the need of an on-site visit.
  • Carwash World techs offer phone support for errors and breakdowns. Perhaps you’re encountering an issue and you’re unsure of its severity. Just give us a call. The first 2 phone calls regarding a single incident is free of charge & any calls thereafter are charged.

The expert service you receive when a qualified Carwash World car wash technician maintains your equipment will give you piece of mind that your equipment is fully maintained and operational. In the event of mechanical issues our team will have you up and running as quickly as possible with a goal for a first-time fixed resolution.

Carwash World has technicians on the ground in New South Wales & ACT as well as South Australia. If you’ve got questions about servicing your equipment Contact Us today, we’re here to help.
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What are the set up costs for a new car wash business?

Need to know info – the set up costs for a new car wash business

cost-of-setting-up-a-new-car-wash-site

Love the idea of a car wash but have no idea of the set up costs for a new car wash business? To be honest there is certainly no fixed, one-size-fits-all, dollar figure for this type of thing. There are so many variable factors depending on what sort of car wash you want to set up. We will cover some very broad numbers to get your head around the finances.

Setting up a brand new car wash business from the ground up is probably more expensive than most people anticipate & it can be a fairly lengthy process. A typical site of one Automatic In Bay Car Wash & 3 Self Serve bays will cost anywhere around the $700,000 mark to build & approximately $350,000-400,000 in equipment costs.

These numbers include everything from building & construction, plumbing, wiring, installation, soaps, softeners & more. Basically everything you would need to trade from opening day.*

The costs above might sound a little confronting to those who have little knowledge of the industry. So where do all these costs come from?

Construction, Council Regulations & DA’s

Cost-to-set-up-new-car-wash

Construction costs are your biggest overhead in the set up costs for a new car wash business. It’s just not as simple as hooking up to the water supply & washing cars. Check what’s in your DA & engage a designer who specialises in designing car wash sites, as their knowledge will be invaluable during the process. We recommend Tracey from TMC Design Group. Tracey has been designing car washes since 2004. She has a clear understanding of what makes a successful wash site & how to avoid lengthy delays & building variations.

You need to manage your design & construction right from the start. Building costs & council requirements can blow your figures out if you’re not dealing with people with actual industry experience. Car washes require underground pits to deal with the water requirements from local authorities. All of the contaminated run off & sludge has to be collected & disposed off so as not to pollute the stormwater drains. Whatever you do, seek advice from industry professionals. We’re happy to give you some guidance & advice – you can contact us here.

We also have some tips below on how to reduce costs when setting up your new car wash business.

How long does the process take?

As a rule this process should take around 12 months IF you have a motivated architect. Your design must have accounted for all council stipulations & your builder needs to be reliable. Over the years we’ve seen set ups completed as quick as 6 months. Others have spanned out to the 2 year mark. If you use someone who is well versed in car wash design the process will be much shorter than going in blind.

So is a car wash business profitable?

Yes of course (we even own our own car wash sites so we know this for a fact). A well-designed site with high quality equipment, in a good location is, in our opinion, going to be successful. Since Carwash World started in 2005 & we are witnessing steady growth for all of our customers.

IBISWorld reported that the Australian carwash industry is now forecast to be worth approximately $585 million by 2020. Between 2010-2015 the industry saw 2.5% growth. In the IBISWorld, report, the article stated within the carwash market, automatics account for 46.5 percent, & self serves for 37.6 percent with the remainder hand washing. Environmental concerns & higher density living is making services such as car washing much more popular. Car owners love the convenience of a drive in, drive out option.

How can I save money in the set up for a new car wash business?
  • Take over an existing car wash. This is an excellent way to avoid all of the build & set up costs. You’re simply buying the business at market value with an aim to grow it. You can then retrofit with new & updated equipment without the need to spend on construction.

Car-wash-self-serve-retrofit

  • Don’t over engineer the build – we see a lot of wasted money spent needlessly on elaborate designs when a simple construction would suffice.
  • Get quotes for a fixed price build.
  • Know your council & DA requirements or have someone on your team that does. We cannot stress enough the importance of an educated team assisting you in this process. A great example is a designer who misses the fact that some councils require doors on automatic car washes – this alone would add between $15,000-30,000 to your budget.
  • Shop around on things like LED lights & alarm systems etc. But BEWARE, cheaper is not always better. As we know when it comes to car washing equipment, opting for the cheapest option can cost you more down the track. We encourage you to speak to other car wash owners about what works for them.
  • Something that is not an immediate saving but certainly a long term one is adding Recycled Water to your car wash site. The initial expense will save you from purchasing 200 litres of fresh water every time a car goes through the automatic. It will also enable you to continue to trade if we encounter water restrictions again.

Car Wash Water Recycle System

  • There’s also loads of other cost saving options we know of, like putting your automatic on a frame instead of being load bearing, opting for prefabricated items such as sewer pits & using lucabond panels instead of tiles on self serves bays.

For further advice on a car wash business your planning or for more tips on how not to over-capitalise we welcome you to contact us here.

 

*this can vary depending on your individual site requirements