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Business Operations

From the looks of things

October 11, 2010
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With all the competition in the carwashing world today, owners and operators are looking for every advantage they can find. Since one of the biggest marketing challenges of any business is luring the customer inside the door, one advantage often overlooked is the overall appearance of the wash. Customers will judge your business based upon how safe and stable it looks.

No one opens a wash intending to make it unappealing to customers, but every now and then owners must re-evaluate the appearance of the carwash. Here are some easy tips to improve the appearance of your wash.

Sign me up
A distinctive sign in front of a carwash is one of your most effective advertising tools, often the first thing a potential customer notices and is a one-time cost.

Among questions asked when first deciding to put up a sign are:

  • How big should it be?
  • What colors should be used?
  • What style should the lettering be?
The first answer is easy. Most cities and many towns have sign regulations for businesses. These regulations set up criteria for the square footage, as well as for how high the sign can be and whether it can have lights and movement. Be sure to find out what your municipality allows and what, if any, possible appeals can be made.

As to colors and style, Robert Burns, sales manager of Sand Blasted Signs in Roswell, GA, said using contrasting colors and an easy-to-read font are the best mixture for a sign in front of a business.

Make sure to include the company name on the sign as well as the business address, phone number and even the hours.

Signs typically cost less than $5,000, including delivery, and are a great asset and addition to any business, especially a carwash that relies on drive-up customers for the majority of its revenue.

Let there be light
After considering your signage, turn your eye to the carwash’s lights. Is the light being used in the most effective way?

Lighting can showcase your products, enhance the appearance of the carwash, provide security and safety, and improve employee and customer attitudes.

According to SRP Lighting Solutions in Phoenix, indoor lighting can be a crucial component in the marketing, promotion and operation of a business. Customized systems can enhance the environment and atmosphere of the wash and bring ambiance to your property by offering varying accents to the different rooms and areas.

In a retail business or convenience store, customized interior lighting boosts customer attitudes and improves color rendering of your displays; highlighting your products. Expert indoor lighting also provides a pleasant atmosphere for employees.

High-quality indoor lighting im-proves occupant productivity and comfort, with enhanced appearance of facility common areas.

Landscape designed with safety principles in mind will enhance your businesses appearance and appeal to a broader and potentially more affluent customer base, according to Randall S. Baker, a landscape architect with Land Art Landscape Architecture in Orlando, FL.

An effectively installed and maintained landscape will give the appearance of stability and pride in place. It will create a higher sense of value for the customer and instill pride in neighborhood with other business owners and residents.

Properly designed, installed and maintained landscapes can give an increased perception of property value of approximately 15 percent, Baker said.

Customers have a heightened sense of security at a business which possesses a well-maintained appearance. It will entice customers who might have passed by, to stop in and use your services, effectively increasing your business.

Graphic material
Graphics are a great way to improve the appearance both at the store and by pushing your name around the community.

A graphic on a store window makes the business look professional and creates a visual to identify the carwash.

Graphics on vehicles allow any company, large or small, to get its message before the public in a cost-efficient manner. A vehicle graphic puts a company name before every demographic group in the community at the same time, and doesn’t require the company to do anything except travel around.

“Businesses should view their vehicles as rolling billboards or advertisements,” said Kevin MacVittie of DI Graphics, a graphics advertising company in Wheat Ridge, CO.

According to DI Graphics, 91 percent of people said they notice words and pictures on fleet vehicles, and 76 percent said they develop a favorable impression of a company when vehicle graphics are used.

Furthermore, 29 percent said they would base a buying decision on these impressions.

Lights, landscaping and graphics. By putting your best foot forward, you set a public posture. It’s appearances for business sake.

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