Professional Carwashing & Detailing

How to market your wash's interior cleaning service

October 11, 2010

Many full-service carwash customers want to detail their cars but can’t leave it for an extended period of time, or the customer doesn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a detail.

A carwash combined with an express detail service will get the job done.

Express detail costs less, cleans the car thoroughly and provides owners with the opportunity to capitalize by giving the customer a better looking car in a shorter time span.

To advertise express: Educate staff and customers

It’s important to teach your wash staff the benefits of express detailing; then make a concerted effort to educate customers — teach them why they need to, and should, have their cars express detailed.

Use signs, handouts, and advertising combined with a great deal of enthusiasm from staff and greeters.

When you first introduce this offer, keep the price at a hard-to-refuse level until a few hundred cars have elected to have the service and everyone understands how the program works.

Then offer the service for a higher price in conjunction the wash of their choice.

Educate customers on the importance of repeating this process every three months and tell them that they should sign up for the every three month express cleaning program.

Reward them with one free detailing service for every four they complete in a calendar year.

Use a database marketing program either manually or by computer to remind customers that their scheduled service date has arrived.

Personal mail, email or phone reminders are used to reinforce the three month program.

When, where and how to market it

When initiating the program, try to promote and market it at the exit end of the carwash.

Usually there is not sufficient time to educate and demonstrate the service and program at the entrance end, where production would be held up.

It is harder to sell express detailing than other services offered, particularly since the customer is usually anxious to leave the wash as soon as possible.

But, it will be well worth the effort if the customer elects to have the car express detailed right then, while still at the carwash.

Staffing standards

Always have one person designated to inspect the car before it leaves the premises.

Have the designated person sign an inspection paper to ensure that the job was properly completed.

Also have them leave a "Thank You" card from the attendant in the car with a reminder date of when they should return for another treatment.

Appoint one person to be responsible for the entire express detailing program, and make sure that the department is properly managed.

A program that pays

When a customer is sold on the value of the express detail program, they have potentially been sold on maintaining their car’s appearance by returning for additional visits.

If 1,000 customers are in the program, there is a potential for 3,000 additional treatments.

Since most homes today have two or three cars, polishing one of the cars can lead to having the others polished as well.

Have a special coupon printed that gives a $10 discount if the customer brings back another car the same day for the express detailing service and present it to the customer upon completion of the service.

Goal setting

Set a goal of how many express detailing jobs should be completed and offer a financial incentive to the management staff to reach that goal.

Inform everyone involved in the program of the day’s goal and be sure to have daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual goals.

The next step is to begin to emphasize speed in performing this service. Go as far as timing the job with a stop watch to stimulate the completion of an express cleaning in the shortest period of time.

Does it hinder professional detailing?

Express detailing does not hurt professional detailing. On the contrary, this program actually exposes customers who may never have considered detailing to the advantages of professional detailing services.

Happy express detail customers could be enticed to try one of the higher priced, full detailing services.

Ira Feinberg is a carwash consultant, operates a full-service carwash in North Arlington, NJ, and has been serving the carwash industry for over 33 years. Feinberg can be contacted at