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In these tough economic times, money is tight, and car wash owners are, understandably, looking for every way to save money. Let me give you some advice: DON'T MESS WITH YOUR PRESOAK! If you have already changed to a "cheaper" presoak in your Automatic, you may think you are saving money, but you are also losing your customers. This isn't happening just because the economy is struggling and gas prices are high (though you may be telling yourself that that is the only reason). You are losing customers because you have lowered your quality. Your loyal customers will notice the change AND that the presoak isn't cleaning like it used to. They will be inclined to look elsewhere for a better deal and a better quality wash. Would you notice if your favorite restaurant changed your favorite meal to a low quality alternative? You bet, and you might not complain and just go somewhere else to find a restaurant that is giving you your money's worth.
If your presoak isn't producing a clean, shiny car, this is the time to change to a higher quality presoak and let your customers know you care about their business and will reward their loyalty.
Your detergent is only a small percentage of your total wash's cost, but it leaves the most lasting impression on your customers. Have your Automatic wash produce a clean, dry and shiny car that you can be proud of. If you need to save money, look to other areas that do not directly impact the customer's car. Is your water being used as efficiently as possible? Are you storing and reusing your spot free waste water? Is your lighting in need of an upgrade to lower energy, high output lighting or motion sensor lighting? Are you turning your hot water down during the hot weather months? These are just a few ways to save money without impacting the quality of your wash. For other suggestions, talk with your distributor or find one that carries a high quality detergent. Go to the auto care forum or your local car wash association, and you will find many car wash owners that have come up with ingenious ways to save money at their washes. Tap their knowledge and keep cleaning cars! Your customers will love you for it.
Malcolm D. Acton — Blendco Regional Manager and International Service Tech.
Blendco manufactures a full line of detergents and waxes for the professional carwash industry. You can contact Blendco at: www.blendco.com.