Marketing a car wash requires looking at the value you provide to customers. If you have a competitive market and everyone is at the same price, what is going to make a customer loyal to your establishment? What value do you offer to the customer to entice them spend their money with you, rather than the competition. In the car wash business, you have a few options for marketing a car wash for differentiation:
- Convenience – location close to the customer’s route, ease of access to the wash, good equipment
- Quality – nicer/fancier/cleaner location
- Price – being the cheapest location can bring in more traffic, but often a losing strategy as the competition can quickly copy and bring down revenues for everyone.
Customer satisfaction is known to create customer loyalty. As you know, there are a lot of things at a car wash that can cause customers to be dissatisfied other than price; poor wash quality, pit odor, poor vacuum suction, dirty parking lot, lack of product selection (one size doesn’t fit all), poor customer service, waiting lines, dark dingy looking tunnel, not getting what they paid for, etc. Focus on making the experience positive and the customer comes back.
There are lots of tactics to advertise a car wash, but the process is always the same. First, you have to create awareness. That leads to trial. Once a customer, then there are only two ways to grow their business and it is to change behavior. Either increase frequency or increase volume.
A few tested advertising ideas to improve sales at a car wash include:
- A monthly program to secure your best customers. The most cost effective way to get volume increases at a car wash is from the existing customer base and get them to come to the car wash more frequently or spend more per occasion. This effort will give new and existing customers a reason to come back.
- Fundraisers car market your car wash to all the local youth group, churches, high school programs, and girl scouts. Set it up where the charitable organization will meet their fundraising goals which in the end will help your car wash increase sales. By having these organizations sell coupons to your wash it is a guarantee that some of your competitors customers will be passing through your bays.
- Extend special offers to the business community through larger businesses Human Resources departments. You can offer every employee a corporate card with special discounts. One popular way to use this is to provide a discount for a slow day of the week, which is usually Tuesday. (many restaurants use this type of promotion as well). This way you can spread out demand and make more money.
- Coupons provide an immediate call to action and are an effective car wash advertising method. With popular mailers such as ValPak, you can give a free exterior carwash. It will bring in about 2.5% to 10% depending on the area. With self service you will have to have someone there to give them free tokens for one cycle at the self service washes. You will never get anywhere near the response from any other kind of advertising scheme that you get from a free car wash. And even if some of your existing customers use the free car wash, great a good customer experience, this customer will likely be loyal forever. Be sure to provide a great customer experience because when customers come in and try your car wash, the free coupon may confirm that they never want to come back.