Over the past five years, steady increases in disposable income have allowed consumers to spend more on discretionary services, which is welcome news for carwash operators.

According to a recent market research report from IBISWorld, that growth is projected to continue through 2020. The report also notes that local bans on residential carwashing are becoming more common and that the total number of cars in use in the U.S. is expected to rise steadily over the next five years. Both of these projections bode well for carwash owners and operators.

Here are a few ideas to help your business bring in even more money during this welcomed time of economic security.

Add-ons

One way to boost your average sale price is to offer add-on services. Some common add-ons include the following.

  • Car waxing – The type of wax used in a carwash is much different from the wax you apply by hand. Carwash wax not only works on the painted plastic and metal surfaces of cars, but also on glass, chrome and rubber.
  • Spray-on paint protectant – Paint-protecting spray films guard a vehicle’s finish against rocks, insects and other road hazards.
  • Carpet cleaning – There are three basic types of carpet cleaning: Keep up, Catch up and Disaster. Keep up cleaning removes the top surface of dirt from carpeting, while Catch up cleaning involves hard brushes, rotary brush shampoos, soil extraction and steam cleaning. Disaster cleaning is used in extreme cases such as car flooding, spilled beverages, animal urine, etc.
  • Vinyl, leather and rubber treatment – Customers can protect the interiors of their vehicles and their tires with vinyl, leather and rubber treatment.
  • Air sanitation – This process sanitizes the air conditioning system to kill odor-causing bacteria.
  • Pet hair removal – Specialized brushes are used to remove all signs of pet hair and dander from pet owner’s cars.
  • Mold removal – High-pressure steam cleaners kill and remove mold from interiors. 

Offering additional products to customers is another method to increase profits. Some products commonly found at car washes include:

  • Car soap
  • Interior treatment/cleaners
  • Car mats
  • Seat covers
  • Sponges
  • Air fresheners

With the right marketing campaign, add-ons and additional products will ensure your profits remain strong and your customers stay happy.

Point-of-sale systems

Point-of-sale (POS) systems are essential for modern carwashes. They are designed to provide owners with data to keep track of the success or failures at different points in their business

POS systems help carwash operators in a number of ways. They track the successes or failures of different aspects of their businesses. They provide statistics that show which packages and add-on options customers are using and they let operators know when something goes wrong. They can even send instant messages to let operators know where and when the problems occurred.

POS systems can also help keep track of employee hours and which employees are performing well — including sales numbers. The data can be used to identify peak times so operators can be sure to schedule their best employees accordingly.

POS systems provide great benefits for customers in addition to consistent user experiences, and they give customers chances to choose add-ons.

Additionally, POS systems give customers more payment options than a traditional cash register. Besides credit cards, some systems allow use of Apple Pay, which lets iPhone 6 and Apple Watch users pay securely and conveniently without taking out their wallets.

Nothing is more detrimental to the success of a carwash then inefficiency. A good POS machine will ensure your business runs smoothly and effectively.

Final words

The U.S. economy has finally turned the corner from the recession, and savvy carwash owners can expect to reap financial rewards. Offering additional services like waxing, carpet cleaning and odor control can dramatically increase your business’ profits, while modern POS systems will make sure your business is running smoothly and that your customers have pleasurable experiences that will keep them coming back.

Nick Phillips is managing editor of our sister publication, Processing magazine. He can be reached at nphillips@grandviewmedia.com.