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We're back to watching the numbers move up at the gas pumps — and they seem to move on a daily basis. Retail gas prices are well over $3 per gallon. Customers watching dollars flow into their gas tanks may feel they have little left for the finer things in life — like pampering their car at your carwash.
When times get tough, it's important to amp up the marketing of your wash. No matter how challenging your local market conditions are, there are always avenues to reach out to new customers, and to educate and upsell your existing customers on value-added services.
One great way to market your wash is to host charity wash events. Charity washes can be a lot of work, but they don't have to be. Done right, you can use the resources of the school, church, sports or other group to advertise the event (and your wash), and even to provide the manpower to make it a great success for them and for you.
Charity Begins at Home
Here's a success story from one carwash owner: a few years back, his son's 10th Grade Class was short $1500 for their class outing and picnic. A flyer went home to all parents to ask for donations. Instead of writing a check, the carwash owner picked up the phone and called the school. He offered to donate one dollar per car washed for an entire week, in return for support from the class. They agreed and put up posters at the school and local grocery stores, sent flyers home with the students, and even posted a 'crawling headline' on the school's cable TV channel. All items promoted the name and location of the carwash. All printed materials carried his very catchy carwash logo.
In addition, volunteers came to his wash on the Saturday of the week-long promotion. They manned the self-serve bays and helped people put money in the auto-cashiers for the exterior tunnel. While helping out, they were also able to gather additional donations from the people who were there that day.
The event was such a success that the carwash owner adopted the format for all his charity washes. He reports that he has seen double digit increases in his business starting in the second year of running these programs.
Good Works Can Mean Good Business!
There are many formats for supporting charity groups, including pre-selling carwash coupons at a discount and then letting the group go out and sell the coupons at regular prices, but the approach described here has the advantage of being very simple, easy to execute, and has high involvement from the group. The benefits are many:
The group raises needed funds for a good cause
The carwash is (rightly) seen as being involved and caring for the community
The Saturday event is fun and generates volume and buzz at the wash
The carwash gets very valuable, FREE advertising.
No doubt about it — it's a good feeling to "do well by doing good" — it's good for your business!
Laurie Sherman is Co-owner of Blendco Systems, LLC. Blendco manufactures a full line of detergents and waxes for the professional carwash industry. You can contact Blendco at: www.blendco.com.