Additional profit center: rust removal

Additional profit center: rust removal

Should your carwash offer a rust removal and prevention service?

Cars bring a sense of pride and joy. Your customers want to take care of their sedan, truck or SUV as much as possible, but they don’t always have the time or money. Tasks like washing are essential for maintenance, but people often overlook services like rust treatment.

Should your carwash offer a rust removal and prevention service, or would it be the wrong decision? You should ask yourself these questions first.

What other services do you offer?

Consider what other services your carwash or detailing shop offers. It may provide the typical wash or wheel cleaning or oil changes and similar tasks. You’ll want to account for your employees, what they can do and how efficiently they work. The last thing you want to do is stretch them thin and overwork them, leading to backlogs and a lack of productivity.

Can your employees perform rust removal?

Rust removal and prevention is an essential service for your clients, but it’s not something you can begin doing tomorrow. Employees need training for this process because it can be tedious. Even experienced workers should receive coaching because of how vital this service is for customers.

How will the supply chain affect things?

An unfortunate reality many businesses have to deal with is disruptions in the supply chain. The pandemic and other global events have led to supplier backlogs, worker shortages, inflation and other factors that have hurt businesses.1 Adding rust removal and prevention services would be another element you must consider.

Supply chain disruptions have hit the carwash industry with rising prices. Fewer entrepreneurs feel like they can enter the market because the operating costs have risen. You must also account for your ability to hire the best employees. Qualified workers are hard to come by, so business owners face another challenge.

Finding a reliable supplier is key to introducing rust removal and prevention services. Try to partner with a company that will be reliable despite the uncertain times. Reliability in the modern supply chain comes from communication. You’ll want the supplier to communicate punctually via email, phone or other forms of contact. You’ll also want them to provide consistency with purchase orders and delivery.

What are your competitors offering?

When contemplating additional services, you should look at what your competitors already offer. You’ll have more leeway in your decision if your carwash has no direct competition. However, if other carwash and detail shops offer rust removal services, you may want to gauge what you can do to stand apart from them. If nobody else provides these services, it could be your time to shine and take advantage of a new opportunity with your customers.

What is your location’s climate?

Another factor to consider for rust removal services is the location of your carwash or detailing business. Do your customers live near the ocean? The water and salty air can combine to create rust on cars, no matter how old. Rust treatment will make sense if your facility is in a city on the east or west coast. Rust often comes from exposure to elements like snow, sunshine and rain.2

Your carwash could also benefit from rust treatment if it’s in a place where cold weather is typical. In the winter, many cities will salt the roads to aid drivers when snowfall occurs.3 It lowers the freezing point by about 12 degrees, which can make a difference in these communities. However, salt causes rust on cars. You’ll often see this in Rust Belt states, including Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.

Cities that face snow and salt, either from roads or the ocean, will likely have a higher demand for rust removal and prevention services. However, areas with low humidity and away from the sea may have less prevalent rust problems.

What kinds of cars do your clients drive?

The next question you should ask is what vehicles your client base drives. The answer matters because the amount of rust on older cars is likely to be much greater than on newer ones. Vehicles from the last century are especially prone to rust, so if your client base drives classic and antique cars, consider offering rust removal and prevention services.4

Older cars tend to build up more rust because manufacturers used to use steel more often than now. Over the years, automotive companies switched to materials less prone to corrosion, such as aluminum and carbon fiber. They rust much less and are lighter than steel. Some automakers use galvanized steel by coating the metal with zinc to protect it from corrosion.

Can you persuade your client base?

Carwash owners or professional detailers can see the importance of rust removal and prevention services. Now you have to transfer that knowledge to your customer base. If you introduce this service, how will your clientele respond? You should use persuasive talking points to sell your new offer. Some of these lines could be:

  • Better aesthetics: You can start with why your customers come to you in the first place: the aesthetics. Rust removal helps cars shine brighter, along with the typical washing and detailing services.
  • Longer car life: Rust buildup can cause significant damage to a vehicle’s exterior and structural integrity. It may take a few years to see extensive rust damage, but any exposure to water and oxygen can begin the corrosion process.
  • More eco-friendly: The environment has become a higher priority for consumers.5 Rust removal supports eco-friendly initiatives because you can recycle rust-free cars. Recycling plants can repurpose the metal components inside the vehicle, thus reducing waste.
  • Improved resale value: Car values depreciate pretty quickly. The drop depends on the make and model, but your customers can expect a 15%-35% decrease in value in the first year alone.6 Rust removal and prevention won’t recover all this, but it can preserve the exterior and interior and help if a customer decides to sell their car.

Adding rust services to your shop

Are you considering adding rust removal and prevention services to your carwash or detailing business? This opportunity can be challenging but exciting. You’ll want to examine these seven questions to see if this service would benefit your operation. Location, supply chain and customer demand will be just some factors you want to consider when expanding your offerings.


Oscar Collins is the founder and editor-in-chief of Modded, where he writes about cars, car trends and auto news. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for frequent updates on his work.

Sources:

1https://www.whitehouse.gov/cea/written-materials/2021/06/17/why-the-pandemic-has-disrupted-supply-chains/

2https://www.generalspringkc.com/blog/how-to-remove-rust-from-your-truck-frame/

3https://apnews.com/article/429948799bbc40bea536c96521dd1334

4https://modded.com/how-often-should-you-drive-a-classic-car/

5https://www.firstinsight.com/white-papers-posts/the-sustainability-disconnect-between-consumers-and-retail-executives

6https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/everyday-money/buying-and-running-a-car/car-depreciation-explained

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