- Message Boards
- Buyer's Guide
- Ask the Experts
Are you looking to do something different at your carwash? Perhaps adding a pet wash is for you! Self serve pet washes provide a convenient, affordable way to wash man's best friend. These pet washes are a cheaper alternative to dog groomers, plus they eliminate the mess that comes with washing your dog at home in the bathtub. While adding a pet wash can be profitable, it is a large investment, one that requires planning and careful consideration. Before making this investment, there are many things to consider.
Does your town already have a pet wash? Pet washes can be a novel idea in certain areas. In towns that do not currently have a pet wash, you can attract a lot of new dog-owning customers. The pet wash allows you to expand your customer base and attract people who may not have even known your carwash exists!
Do you have the space for a pet wash? Some operators convert a self serve bay into a pet wash bay. Others with larger sites are able to add it elsewhere. Wherever you decide to install the unit, make sure it is highly visible. Also, the climate you live in will help determine whether to install a pet wash indoors or outdoors. This also depends on what kind of unit you plan to install. Some units require an enclosure while others come fully assembled and enclosed in their own building.
What kind of revenue can you expect? According to Keith Caldwell, the Vice President of All Paws Pet Wash, monthly revenue from a pet wash can range from $800 in a slow month to $2000-$3000 in a busy month. As with a carwash, weather can greatly affect how much business you conduct each month. If the weather does not cooperate, you just won't have the necessary foot traffic for a high revenue month. Revenue also changes depending on how much you charge, whether it is $1 per minute or perhaps $5 for 6-7 minutes.
Do you have the labor? Although not required, it helps to have an attendant on duty to make sure the station stays tidy and to assist customers if there are any problems. The most important aspect of a pet wash is keeping it clean. A clean, fresh pet wash will keep customers coming back. Check with your chemical supplier for a pet station cleaner and deodorizer to keep the station fresh and clean.
How do you choose the chemicals and equipment? As with any other part of your carwash, you must find a reliable supplier for your pet wash chemicals and equipment. Many carwash chemical suppliers provide a full line of pet wash products as well so your current supplier is a good place to start. As for equipment, check out other pet wash facilities and speak to the operators to find out what they like and don't like about the equipment. Your peers are a great source of information!
How do you get customers? When adding a pet wash to your existing carwash, a big challenge is letting people know it is there. Add signs on site, hand out flyers at local dog parks, contact your local papers, promote it on your facebook page, etc. To encourage your existing customers to use the pet wash, you can run special discounts when they use both the carwash and the pet wash. You want to inform both your existing customers as well as new customers. Appeal to the pet-lovers who want the very best for their furry family member. Caldwell says he has attended local dog shows as well to gain new customers. It is also a good idea to promote the soaps that you use. People care a lot about their pets and want to know what chemicals they are using. Many people may not have used a pet wash before so you need to show them that their pets are in good hands. In the end, it's all about taking the best care of the pets!
Kelly Swope is the Marketing Programs Coordinator at Blendco Systems. Blendco manufactures a full line of detergents and waxes for the professional carwash industry. You can contact Blendco at: www.blendco.com.