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So what’s the real story here? Crime. It’s costing self-serve operators more and more. One year ago, our survey respondents reported an average net loss of $891.43 to crime. This year? $1,545.96!
Not only that, but the maximum reported loss this year was $9,999. In 2005, that number was $5,000.
The silver lining in all of this is that the number of carwashes being victimized seems to be declining. Nearly 40 percent of you reported no cash losses, which is a large increase from the 29.1 percent of you that had the same pristine record last year. However, it seems the crooks are getting away with more money – so it’s not exactly a win-win situation.
So what are self-serve operators doing about it? Doesn’t look like too much. Only 50 percent of you are using a security camera system, and if you’re an operator with an in-bay automatic – it’s even worse. More and more of these operators are choosing to have their washes attended less and less hours per week. The largest segment (25.6 percent) of self-serve/IBA operators have an attendant at their wash only 6-19 hour per week!
Locations with self-serve bays fare much better. A great deal of these washes (27.5 percent) choose to have an attendant at the wash more than 40 hours per week. And in other promising news, it seems a lot of operators are waking up to the dangers of unattended washes, 29.8 percent of you have put in surveillance cameras within the past year.
As far as other numbers, the typical self-serve now generates more money per self-serve bay. In 2005, a self-serve bay pulled in about $1,455.21. In 2006, that revenue fluctuated to $1,521.06. The bad news? Automatic bay revenues are down – significantly. Operators now generate about $5,315.20 per month in automatic bay gross revenue, a sharp decline from the $8,397.68 they were making in 2005.
Professional Carwashing & Detailing® thanks self-serve operators nationwide who contributed valuable information to this report, and Carolina Pride of Roxboro, NC, for its support of the research.