Along with the obvious use of tokens, such as they enhance security, are saved as souvenirs, and owners and operators don’t have to deal with lots of change, there is also a lesser-known advantage in that they can be used to cross-promote other services at a carwash.

Easy transitions

For example, at the express tunnel Moo Moo Car Wash in Columbus, OH, customers are offered everything from a “fat free” basic wash to a “whole” milk everything-included wash to oil changes to tire rotations. In an effort to cross-promote services, a free carwash is given away with the purchase of an express lube oil change. To help make it easy for both the business and the customer, Moo Moo decided to use tokens.

Moo Moo Car Wash Operations Manager Michael Kolb said a customer is given one of two tokens, each with a different value, depending on what kind of oil change was purchased. The tokens, which display the carwash’s website as well as the slogan, “In moo we trust,” are initially for a “Fat Free” $5 wash; or they can be upgraded for a “Low Fat” $8 wash, which includes a spot-free rinse, a triple foam bath, a wheel blaster, underbody spray, and a clear coat protectant; or a “Whole” wash token, valued at $10, which includes a tire shine and Simoniz® Double Bond polish to the services. Customers can pay the difference for a higher-valued wash with cash or credit, or they can use an additional “Fat Free” token that they have saved from a prior visit.

“This system works great because it allows customers to be self-sufficient without having to wait for a staff member” according to Kolb.  “The tokens read perfectly each time, and because we went with a high security coin, there is no crossplay, meaning nobody else’s tokens are accepted, so we’re not giving away washes.”

Keeping things secure

To keep things easy and simplified for the staff, Moo Moo chose to offer two different tokens so that each carwash offering was represented. A smaller .901” golden colored metal alloy token is used for the “Fat Free” wash, and a larger .985” bi-metal token (which offers more security) is used for the more expensive wash.

The tokens, minted by Van Brook of Lexington, Inc., have unique metal signatures, and are tested through the coin acceptor (X-Mark X-10), and perform an optical inspection of the coin face and diameter read. This ensures that other tokens cannot be used.

Economical opportunities    

Kolb purchased 10,000 tokens in total, 5,000 for the “Fat Free” wash and 5,000 for the “Whole” washes, and they can be used at all of the Moo Moo locations. Kolb said approximately 30-60 tokens are given away daily to customers, most of which eventually make their way back to the carwash kiosk. While their primary usage and idea behind the tokens was to encourage quick lube oil change purchases, managers are using them as promotional tools.  

“I usually have tokens in my pocket at all times,” Kolb said. “If I’m talking to a customer that says ‘Oh, I just love the Moo Moo!’ or ‘I’ve seen those but I’ve never been to one’ then I’ll give them a token.  So we use some for promotional uses too.”

Kolb also likes the fact that the tokens are economical. The tokens last forever, Kolb said. And the ability to re-use them repeatedly makes their per-use cost essentially zero. 

Also, the tokens, according to Kolb, are helping Moo Moo Car Wash to build volume on both their auto services as well as their carwashes.