Professional Carwashing & Detailing

A choice that counts

October 11, 2010

The time that a self-service carwash operator spends counting money, although enjoyable on the first day the location opens, is seldom held in high regard after months of counting money by hand.

When purchasing a currency counter you should make the best and most informed choice for time-saving and accuracy based on business needs.

Assessing your counting needs
Some self-serve carwashes are located in neighborhoods that create an urgent need to service, collect and replenish, with a minimum amount of exposure.

There are several questions a self-serve owner should consider before and while shopping for a currency counter including:

  • Are there only single, dollar bills to count?
  • Are there mixed bills to sort and count?
  • Who prepares the deposits?
  • Could the deposit preparation be delegated to an employee if the owner knew what the total was going to be?
  • Does the owner want to track daily bill changer activity?
  • Will the owner want to replenish the bill changer quickly?
  • How accurate can anyone be at 1 a.m. when counting and bundling bills for deposit when he or she is hand-counting bills?
  • Has the bank ever corrected a deposit on a hand count with an overage?

Convenience and availability
Looking at the first question — if a self-serve owner only has single one-dollar bills to count — the currency counter market is full of equipment choices.

When making a final decision it is imperative that owners take a close look at the manufacturer. Can the carwash owner get parts and service when they are needed?

Choosing a manufacturer that has a consistent record of quality service is important. Ask around to find out what other owners or operators think about the manufacturer you are considering.

It’s also important to examine the rollers. The rollers should be wide and equally spaced across the intake hopper so that the bills pull in with a minimum number of jams due to poor feeding.

There are several units that have been brought in from off-shore factories that may seem like a popular choice. However, be careful in this situation because a self-serve owner may be disappointed in the life and performance of the unit.

Plus, parts and service for a counter that is not readily available in the US may not be obtainable in a timely manner.

Maintaining your investment
A good high-quality piece counter currency counter could cost anywhere from $700 to $1,000.

Although this is not the most costly piece of equipment a self-serve owner will purchase, keeping the counter in tip-top shape will make the investment worthwhile.

It’s important to keep the unit clean to get years of service from it.

Customers visit a self-serve to clean their vehicles but they aren’t too concerned with keeping the equipment at the wash clean. That is the owner’s job, and it is one that should not be left undone.

For optimal cleaning, blow out the unit with canned air and clean the rollers with a head-cleaning card.

Self-serve owners should try to clean counters at least once a month to keep wear and tear to a minimum. A well-kept counter can last longer than most people expect.

Mixing it up
For the self-serve operator with mixed bills, the equipment is more expensive, but well worth the investment.

Again look for a known manufacturer who will stand behind the equipment with service and parts. Owners want a unit that has multiple modes.

That means a self-serve owner wants the unit to count total value without separating the bills. This feature is used to pull the bills from the bill changer and then replenish coins back into the bill changer without spending the time to sort and separate the bills to get that information.

Pre-bagged coins or tokens that are readily available to refill the bill changer will expedite the morning routine at any self-serve carwash location.

The second mode is the actual separating of the bills. Off sorting, or in some models, stopping when a stranger is found while counting and bundling the bills in deposit quantities is another feature.

The unit should count at a rate of 1000-currency-a-minute or more. Because the previous mode of value counting has been done throughout the accumulation period, an employee can prepare the deposit.

Cost will range anywhere from $2,400 to $4,000 for this type of currency counter.

The bill recognition currency counter can become a management tool that measures profits efficiently and reliably for the self-serve carwash owner.

A sound investment
A currency counter can provide a self-serve owner with the ability to improve cash control and ensure a higher rate of accuracy by lowering the chance of cash counting blunders.

With the right upkeep and maintenance any currency counter can last a long time and pay for itself in the long run.

Furthermore, an owner’s mind will be set at ease knowing that their currency counter is delivering precise numbers and saving valuable time.


Sharon Fox and her husband Jim, own ABC Coin Inc. located in Frisco, TX. ABC has provided basic supplies for all types of coin and currency processing products for over 30 years.