For 100 years, rubber tires have been marketed to the driving public. These tires are meant to soften a vehicle's ride and provide extra traction as they roll down the highways and byways of the world. No matter the size, no matter the price, all cars, trucks and SUVs depend on these tires to stay mobile. In fact, even the world's most rugged and expensive off-road vehicles can be immobilized by a surprise tire puncture.
For this reason, tire upkeep is very important for every car owner. Proper tire inflation offers a full list of benefits, including:
Yet, while the benefits of keeping tires properly inflated are evident, many drivers still choose to procrastinate and ignore needed upkeep.
There is one additional profit center that carwash owners can install to remind their customers about the importance of proper tire care. Tire air machines make perfect sense at a carwash because of the built-in vehicle traffic flow. Customers are on-site cleaning and vacuuming, and providing a quarter-hungry air machine could provide a profitable "A-ha!" moment for carwash owners. Brenda Witte with the Jim Coleman Company took time to answer PC&D's questions about the newest generation of tire air machines and combinations.
Phillip Lawless: How long have tire air machines been popular in the carwash market?
Brenda Witte: Air Machines have been popular in the carwash market for about five years.
Phillip Lawless: How long have the combination vacuum and air machines been available?
Brenda Witte: The combination vacuum and air machines have been around for 15 years, and they are popular because they add another income generator to the site.
Phillip Lawless: What is required on-site for installation?
Brenda Witte: Requirements would be a 110 volt electrical line.
Phillip Lawless: How much upkeep is involved with this machine?
Brenda Witte: As far as maintenance goes, it is very similar to a regular vacuum. There's not much required at all.
Phillip Lawless: What type of security is available on these air machines?
Brenda Witte: High-security locks and bars across the cash box are available, as well as a meter door lock if [an owner] chooses.
Phillip Lawless: Air machines can be part of equipment combinations on carwash "islands." Tell me a little more about these islands and possible configurations.
Brenda Witte: Combination units have always generated more income that single units. So, having a combination "island" is a key to success. You can combine air units with vacuums, fragrance machines, shampooers, water and vending machines.
Phillip Lawless: Can you give me an estimate of the investment this machine would require?
Brenda Witte: The cost for an air machine is approximately $3,500 with installation.
Phillip Lawless: Why would a carwash customer use this machine, as opposed to going to a machine off-site?
Brenda Witte: A customer is already at the carwash caring for his or her car, so it makes sense that he or she would check the tires as well. Convenience is the key here. In addition, a carwash owner takes better care of his or her air machine than a c-store owner, typically.
Phillip Lawless: How can this profit center help carwash owners maximize profits?
Brenda Witte: Offering an air machine at your site adds another income-producing service, and it gives your customers another option of service. By having a combo air unit, your income should increase more than if you just had an air unit. Combo units have always generated more income.