Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Clean mats = Happy customers

Car care businesses need to gear up for one of the messiest times of the year.

January 27, 2014

Carwash and detail center owners looking to make more money, and satisfy customers, should take note of this time of year and the side effects of the winter and spring seasons. The wintery weather can bring along wet boots, caked with dirty snow, salt and debris. The spring weather isn’t much better. Known as the “muddy” season in many areas due to the amount of rainfall, it can often mean shoes, boots, galoshes, and any other kind of footwear can leave vehicle owners with messy vehicle floors.

Messy car floors can lead to foul interior odors and unhappy drivers. A mat cleaner, which can thoroughly clean, dry and vacuum the mats, offers an attractive service to customers with little manual labor. So, if you already own a mat cleaner or are thinking of purchasing one, now is the time to market it to your customers and make sure they’re running efficiently during what will be a messy time of year.

Properly promote

In your signage, in your advertisements and in all forms of social media, let customers know you offer top-notch floor mat cleaning. According to Bud Abraham, president of Detail Plus Car Appearance Systems, the biggest mistake car care owners are making today is, “not owning a mat cleaning machine and not marketing the service to their customers.” Therefore, put in your marketing message you’re your mat cleaners offer the following:

  • A washing and extraction; or
  • A shampoo and extraction; or
  • A dry brush and vacuuming.

Many customers still think they have to shake out their mats, hit them against a hard surface, or scrub them by hand to remove any debris. So, let them know you take the labor out of mat cleaning. Put in your marketing a picture of a dirty mat next to a picture of a clean one.

Advice for self-serve machines

If you have a self-serve wash, let the customers know that they can thoroughly clean their floor mats themselves with little labor involved. These machines can be profitable as sometimes customers will stop in just to clean their mats and might even do this more than once a week when it’s especially messy out.

“Express Exterior operators who have our machines are finding their customers who use the self-serve or free vacuums are enjoying excellent profits from the mat cleaners,” Abraham said. “In fact, several multiple wash owners buy several machines.”

Also make sure your machines are equipped with both a U.S.-made PCB (printed circuit board ), a coin-mechanism and bill acceptor. As for pricing, anywhere from $1 to $2 pet mat washing is appropriate, according to Abraham.

Advice for full-serves

Full Service operators must offer the floormat cleaning service, either for free or as an add-on service, according to Abraham. “And what better to perform the service, but automatically through a machine,” he said, adding that employees can spend their time and energy on other tasks.

Automatic cleaners do not take long to clean a mat therefore employees, will be able to clean multiple mats in less than five minutes.

As for pricing, a full-service carwash should charge between $1 to $4 depending the machine’s capabilities, according to Abraham.

What kind of maintenance is involved?

Along with there being practically zero labor, there is also not a lot of maintenance involved with the machines. However, there are still a few steps that need to be followed.

Not much needs to be done to keep the machines looking nice. Most are made of stainless steel which keeps the machines from rusting, which is important in in areas where salt is used on the roads to melt ice.

As for self-serves, be sure to check the bill acceptor for any jams. According to Abraham, his machines need to be cleaned out daily, to remove the days’ worth of dirt from the machine.

“Excess dirt can wear the rubber rollers and cleaning brushes,” Abraham said. “Some operators do not clean their machines for weeks at a time.” Therefore, for maximum efficiency, “Just clean it daily and replace a roller catch roller when worn.”