Professional Carwashing & Detailing

The attraction of self-serve carwashes

January 16, 2014

While tunnel and in-bay carwashes attract on-the-go, busy drivers there is still a lot of traffic at self-serve carwashes across the country. And, according to Professional Carwashing & Detailing's 2013 Self-Serve Benchmarking Survey report, revenues were up at over half of the self-serve carwashes compared to the previous year. So, what is it about self-serves that keep customers coming back for more? According to Aaron M. McCoy of Hydro-Spray Wash Systems Inc., it has to do with the allure of being in the driver's seat.

"There is a feeling of control, customization and attention to detail enjoyed by those who use a self-serve car wash that just can not be replicated in an automatic or tunnel style carwash," McCoy said.

Therefore, when it comes to marketing your self-serve to your loyal and potential customers, be sure to emphasize the fact that customers are in control of their car cleaning experience.

With the myriad of services offfered in a self-serve, such as pre-soaks, spray waxes, tire/engine cleaners, spot-free rinses, underbody cleanings, vacuums, air machines and foaming brushes, let customers know they pick and choose their own washing menu and spend as much, or as little time as they want on a particular part of the vehicle.

The aforementioned underbody cleaning is something somewhat new to the self-serve industry according to McCoy. It is a boom which is designed to roll under the vehicle."Undercarriage cleaning, a nontraditional self-serve cleaning option, is a new and exciting service operators and customers have been enjoying this winter," McCoy said.

Along with attracting customers through the customization options, customers are also drawn to a self-serve that is well maintained and appears safe and well lit. "Presenting a professional, clean and well-maintained carwash gives many operators a leg up on the competition," said McCoy.

According to the survey report, 46 percent of those surveyed said zero crimes occured at their wash (39 percent said some sort of vandalism occured). And, while that is an impressive number, the reason might be in that 73 percent of those surveyed said they have surveillance systems installed on their sites.