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Travis Walker wants carwashes to succeed. He knows how hard it is to run one, keep one open, keep employees and keep it going. He knows because he used to own one himself, and today he is the founder and managing partner of Car Wash Profits, a company that educates owners and operators on how to substantially increase profits even during tough economic times.
Walker recently spoke with Professional Carwashing & Detailing and discussed his company’s history, the industry’s present struggles, and what carwash operators can do to ensure a successful future.
Professional Cawashing & Detailing: How did Carwash Profits come about?
Travis Walker: Car Wash Profits was born from an issue I found a couple of years ago when I was looking into getting back into the business as an operator. I was looking for an existing facility to purchase, and when I found out that lending was completely unreasonable because of the economy, I started to look at partnership opportunities because of my background as a successful operator.
During this time I found out that many of the issues I faced as an operator were still not addressed, i.e. there were no focused marketing plans on how to increase sales. There were companies that offered one or two components, but not complete marketing packages with an explanation as to why and how certain things work. As an operator, I had to figure this out the hard way, but once I figured it out, my business went through the roof.
My plans to once again be an operator were put aside, and I instead put together a free email marketing course which went over the basic principles behind my success, and I called it Car Wash Profits.
PC&D: How does your company work exactly?
TW: The entire concept has evolved and has now become a combination of my proven marketing principles along with a unique partnership with a web development company focusing on web development for the carwash industry. The latest product offering from us, in addition to our free marketing mini course, is a set of audio interviews with top carwash industry experts, with transcriptions, of exactly how to build a successful, thriving carwash.
PC&D: What advice do you have for those carwashes in terms of not giving up?
TW: Now is the time to invest more time, energy, and resources into marketing. While most people are scaling back on marketing because of these concerns, smart business owners are capitalizing on it by being the business that now stands out.
Because so many businesses are scaling back on marketing and because less people are advertising, your message will stand out more. It’s very similar to the story of the Marshall Fields department store and how it, along with several other merchants in Chicago, burned to the ground in the early 1900s.
Most of the other merchants left and threw in the towel, but Marshall Fields rebuilt and started marketing more than ever before. They grew into a massive business that’s still around to this day.
Success in anything means being willing to do what other people won’t do, so you can have what other people can’t have.
PC&D: Do you think carwash owners and operators need to rethink their marketing strategies?
TW: Simply, if what you’re doing isn’t working, then you need to tweak it or try something else. Think outside the box. For example, many business owners, particularly carwash operators, think they need to focus on discounts. This is a huge mistake.
Operators need to think more about value and then train customers to think in terms of the same. Anyone can offer a discount, and most do, but not many are creative enough to create value through premium offers, which gets the customer to pay more and most often gets them to become extremely loyal at the same time.
It’s about standing out. Instead of marketing an immediate discount with a list of features and a picture of their facility (a really bad marketing piece by the way) you need to come up with a premium and compelling offer that bundles many services and/or products together into an irresistible offer. Don’t talk about features … talk about the benefits of those features, which is what people really care about. Offer something for free in exchange for their email address, like a digital ebook that goes over why a particular service can lengthen the life of their car, or something similar that costs you little, but will be of tremendous value to the customer. You then have an email address that you can use for free any time you want.