How to handle the warmer months - Professional Carwashing & Detailing

How to handle the warmer months

By now, some of you may have put into place some of the product and marketing ideas I spoke of in the March issue. If you have, you are well on your way to a promising summer filled with great advertising tips to boost your sales this next quarter.

There are several topics I’d like to cover in brief for this May article. Let’s start with a brief overview of some of the last three of four topics I’ve covered in past articles.  Let’s try and wrap them up into a cohesive big picture which will point the way forward and will give the owner and manager alike a comprehensive overview of a good approach going into these lucrative summer months. I realize those of you on the East Coast are approaching  your slower months, but taking advantage of many of the same practices we follow in the dryer, less humid areas of the United States can benefit everyone equally.

Different packages, different customers

I had alluded to different types of detail packages that cater to the different climates and the different customer(s) respectfully.

For instance, on the East Coast many of the customers are going to be looking at interior detail and cleaning packages that address the problems of humidity, wear and tear on the undercarriage, wheel wells and the wheels themselves.  After months of salted roads and the like, build –up of corrosive type dirt and the need to clean this can easily be marketed to your customers through a variety of different methods. If you have started your tracking program, then you already have the product lines in place that the customers will be familiar with. Now, with a little help from your advertisers, you are set to begin your targeted marketing push.

Some things to ask yourself:

  • Do you know who your spenders are?
  • Do you know your demographic? (Female vs. Male)
  • Do you know what type of customer comes in on any particular day?
  • Is there an advantage to spreading out your sales?
  • Are your crew-members aware of the customer’s needs?
  • How many of your mid-week specials cater to only wash packages?
  • Do you really want to load up your weekend detail bays to overflow?

These and other questions are exactly what you want to be asking yourself as formulate a marketing strategy and promotion sweep for the early summer months. In the later months, a trend will have been set and word of mouth will help you as you tail off in to Fall.

Here on the West Coast; it’s wax season!

Most operators out here are ordering their buffing pads, refitting their extractors, and making sure to have plenty of signage out. ( In LA, we have had a cold and wet winter with many washes being quite slow or even closed )..

Typical marketing strategies for the West Coast summer involve supermarket coupons, direct mailers, and for the modern operator, a whole host of tracking methods designed to target specific groups, genders, demographics, and spending habits therein.

These types of marketing methods are extremely complicated and take a comprehensive and expensive advertising budget. If you would like to know more, I would be happy to explain them and you can contact me directly for that.

A few simple steps

Let’s look at some methods that are more easily explainable and that will give you great results with just a few simple steps:

First and foremost,

  • Are your ticket writers/kiosks properly coordinated with your signage?
  • Do you have the materials set up in your tunnel to indicate when the application process is being applied?
  • How many vehicles are able to take advantage of the extras? (i.e. paint finish, wheel configuration, etc. )
  • Are you running specials according to day of the week and/or the different time of day? Does your direct marketing reflect this?

By now you should start to be seeing the big picture and tie-in with all the on-site product development, distributer assistance, and marketing tools I spoke of in earlier articles of ‘Consultants Corner’.

To review, this is about a three to six month process that involves different stages of product awareness and application that goes in order with a specific end result in mind. I have tried to give you the best insider tips that are highly effective and also the most economical in many regards.

My next article will see the start of the different wash model separation and the presentation of this in the context of a single focus. And, we are able to re-gear and take advantage of the changes that loom ahead by identifying each individual customer and placing them in one wash model over another.

As of right now I am working on my first book due out next year that will talk about many of these topics plus much more and paint a very clear and concise picture of the industry past and present, and where it is headed in the future. It will be sure to have all the best investment strategies along with interviews and out-takes from the top experts as well!

Until next time,


[email protected]

Christopher C. McKenna of McKenna Assets LLC, based in Redondo Beach, CA, can be reached at 310-947-9711, or via email at [email protected]. You can also visit his website at

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