Demand for car wash services has been rising over the past decade due to its increased convenience and greater array of budget and luxury options, and with increasing environmental regulations prohibiting residential car washing, the industry’s customer base is expected to grow moving forward. Not only does adding a car wash to your existing business mean an increase in sales from the car wash itself, but also means increased traffic to your gas station or convenience store. By adding a car wash you are also making it more convenient for your loyal customer base, plus it has the potential to increase your loyal customer base. The benefit of adding a car wash to your existing business is undeniable, taking advantage of the added revenue it will provide for your business, while also being low effort to keep operational.
Additional Revenue Stream
According to U.S. Census Bureau data released in 2017, consumers nationwide spend an estimated $5.8 billion at car wash businesses every year. That total represents eight million vehicles being washed on a daily basis. According to a 2017 report from the research firm IBIS World, annual industry growth within the car wash market will continue through 2021 at an estimated 1.7% spike. Anyone with an established gas station or convenience store should really look into taking advantage of the demand for car washes. On average, at any given gas station car wash, there are about 20,000 cars going through a year, or about 50 cars a day. The average basic wash at gas station car washes is $5. This means your sales are going to be about $100,000 a year, assuming everyone gets a basic wash which is not the case. Many people will get an advanced wash at a premium price. Something that I recommend everyone to implement at their car wash would be a membership plan. Something like $20 a month for unlimited basic washes, this will guarantee revenue for your business and many customers will appreciate the convenience of not having to pay every time they want a car wash. This will also ensure that customers will be loyal to your business because if they are already paying to have unlimited washes, why would they go anywhere else? Additionally, you should take into account the boost in traffic and revenue your gas and convenience store business will achieve from adding a car wash. Overall, you will not only achieve bonus sales from adding a car wash to your existing gas station or convenience store, but will also see increased customer traffic, you will build customer loyalty, and have a higher rate of on-premise spending by customers.
How Much Effort is Required to Operate the Car Wash
A major reason gas station and convenience store owners incorporate car washes into their business is because there is not much effort required to keep the car wash operational. As a business owner, you know that a business is only as good as the employees who work there. With the types of car washes many gas station sites use today, such as the automatic drive thru car wash or the touch less drive thru car wash there really isn’t much work needed from the operators. This is because all of the washing and drying of the vehicle is done by the car wash itself, the only thing the operator of the car wash will need to do is collect the payment from the customers and assist the customers with any questions or concerns. Something to note is that many gas stations collect payment for the car wash inside the store, so in this case the operator of the car wash will not even need to collect payments or have any cash with him to return change, making it even easier for the employee running the car wash. 99 percent of the time you will only need one employee at a time to keep the car wash operational. This means there isn’t much overhead or training required because you will only need a few employees to keep your car wash manned throughout shifts. Compared to many endeavors, adding a car wash to your gas station or convenience store will not require much effort from you as the business owner, once the car wash is built and operational.
Different Options for Types of Car Washes
There are a few different types of car washes you could establish at your gas station or convenience store site.
A very common type of car wash gas station owners like to incorporate into their business is the Friction Automatic Drive Thru Car Wash. The downside of this type of car wash is that it has a chance of scratching paint and denting vehicles due to the spinning brushes rotating at a high speed. However, a benefit this type of car wash has is that it provides better dirt removal than touch less car washes due to the spinning brushes that come into contact with your vehicle. Additionally, the Friction Automatic Drive Thru Car Wash allows the customer to stay in their vehicle and the wash is quick and convenient. A huge benefit it provides to you as the business owner, is that this type of car wash is easily paired with a loyalty program, which could incentivize customers to give you repeat business.
The most common type of car wash found at gas station and convenience store sites is the Touch less Automatic Car Wash. The main difference between this and the Friction Automatic Drive Thru Car Wash is that there is no spinning brushes or any other type of cleaning device that comes into contact with your vehicle. The only thing that comes into contact with your vehicle is the pressurized water. The main benefit this type of car wash has is that it’s better for your vehicles paint and leaves little chance to ding your vehicle. Similarly to the Friction Automatic Drive Thru Car Wash, your customer does not have to leave their vehicle. A major downside of this type of car wash is that it doesn’t do as good of a job at removing dirt as other types of car washes. Because there is no contact from scrubbing, pressurized water alone won’t remove those hard dirt and grime spots from your vehicle.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits and downsides of the most common types of car washes, check out our other article, Deciding Which Type of Car Wash is Best for you Convenience Store or Gas Station in 2020.
Attracting New Customers
The definition of convenience is a thing that contributes to an easy and effortless way of life. This is exactly what adding a car wash to your existing business will do for your current loyal customers. Allowing your customers to get a car wash, while already being at your business, either to fill up their gas tank or getting a pack of Marlboro cigarettes. As long as your prices are competitive, your customers will be grateful that they don’t have to go elsewhere to get their car cleaned up. A great thing about adding additional services to your current business is it could drive more traffic to your current business. If your car wash is priced competitively, offers a better wash than your competitors, or both, this will obviously drive more traffic to your location. This drives new customers to your business, which in turn will boost your revenue by increasing gasoline sales, and sales within your convenience store. If you have some sort of loyalty program, you can easily take advantage of this new traffic and convert them to loyal customers that return to your gas station more often. Not only will adding a car wash to your existing business make your current customers happy, but it will drive new customers to you car wash, which in turn will drive traffic to your existing business.
Benefits of Having a Car Wash at your Gas Station
- Increased customer traffic, you will build customer loyalty, and have a higher rate of on-premise spending by customers.
- There is not much effort required to keep the car wash operational
- drives new customers to your business, which in turn will boost your revenue by increasing gasoline sales, and sales within your convenience store.
- The demand for car washes has been going up the past decade
- Added stream of income
Over the next five years the demand for car washes is only going up. Adding a car wash to your existing gas station or convenience store will not only give you another stream of income, but also boost the traffic and sales at your current business. In addition, you will be making it more convenient for your current customers to be able to have a one stop shop experience and you will also be able to attract new customers, who could turn into return customers. Any business capable of adding a car wash should take advantage of all the benefits it will provide. If you would like to read about other passive revenue streams you can add to your retail business, check out our other article How to Boost Revenue in Convenience Stores and Gas Stations in 2020.