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2006 Conveyor Survey

October 11, 2010
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In this year’s Conveyorized Benchmark Survey Report, there is an interesting entry under the question of computer-controlled tunnel operations – 100 percent of the respondents who operate full-service carwashes said “yes.”

Last year, “just” 92.5 percent of the responders said their tunnels were controlled by a computer.

Exterior-only operators are putting their computers where their money is. A full 10 percent more (69% to 79%) operators now have computer controlling point-of-sale operations. On the full-service side, 77 percent have cash management systems controlled by a computer, a five percent increase over the 2004 survey.

All this is a far cry from the 1995 survey, which didn’t even ask about computer controls.

And since we were already rummaging through the 1995 survey results, we decided to look at a few other differences and technology trends.

Ten years ago, 56 percent of the carwashes which responded did NOT recycle water. In the 2005 survey, 56 percent of full-service and more than 58 percent of the exterior-only operators ARE recycling.

More than half of the exterior washes now have a spot-free/ reverse osmosis system and just over a quarter of the full-service operators use such a system.

Labor costs
Showing a big increase from the 2004 survey were on-line labor salaries for full-service washes, up about 28 percent, from $206,773 to a 2005 level of $264,724.

The increase can be explained by the average crew size, which grew about 40 percent, from 11.9 in 2004 to 16.6 in the new survey. A decade ago, the average crew size was at 21.3, being paid an average total of $179,665.

There was also a dramatic shift on the exterior side, but a shift downward. On-line labor salaries in the 2004 survey were pegged at $160,651 and dropped to $67,031 in this new survey – a cut of more than half, and about the same cut as crew size which dropped from 10.5 to 5.1.

By way of comparison, crew size in 1995 was pegged at 8.5 with an average on-line payroll of $57,752.

Wash prices and volume
Volume grew for most carwashes, with about 62 percent reporting an increase and 28 percent showing a decline over the year before.

And while exterior-only prices climbed slightly – up 11 cents for the average basic wash – extra services revenue per car dropped from an average of $5.97 in 2004 to $3.71 in the 2005 survey.

Full-service showed an increase in both the average basic wash price, which rose to $12.36, and the extra-services revenue which went up nearly $2, from $5.65 to $7.64.

The survey is made possible by the owners/operators of the carwashes who took the time to answer the on-line survey which was e-mailed to them.

To purchase the Professional Carwashing & Detailing® 2006 Conveyor Survey, click here.

*** The 2006 Conveyor survey printed in the July 2006 issue of Professional Carwashing & Detailing® magazine contains an error on Page 50. The chart in the lower left corner of the page contains the correct figures, but the colors are reversed. Ownership of those who responded to the survey was 94.1 percent male and 5.9 percent female.

Zogby International conducted the on-line poll from 3/16/06 through 4/13/06. The margin of error is 9.9 percentage points. The margins of error are higher in sub-groups.