Buying a car is a huge investment, regardless of the price one pays for it. Some agree that, apart from a home, it’s one of the biggest investments people make over the course of their lives. Sadly, no sport utility car, truck or minivan preserves its value. The moment one buys a vehicle and leaves the dealership lot, it begins depreciating. Of course, this doesn’t mean that a newly bought car doesn’t have value. Sure it does. However, to preserve it and maximize its resale value, one has to keep it clean and working properly every day. This is where you, the carwash owner or detailer, comes in.

In time, a dirty exterior may lead to corrosion and a dirty interior may lead to faded carpets, permanent stains and damaged seats. You can market this knowledge to customers: Rather than risk seeing their car’s performance decrease, they should have it thoroughly cleaned every three months.

Increasing resale value

No matter how hard a customer tries to keep his or her car in excellent condition, not all models are equal. Some are known to keep their initial value more than others. It might be a good idea to get to know more about cars and learn which ones preserve their value of the years before making an investment. The Used Car Information Center website compares prices for both new and second-hand vehicles. Import brands dominate the market, with Toyota getting a top spot. In the luxury category, Porsche takes the lead.

As a carwash owner or detailer, you can market this information to customers, especially high-end ones, to get them to come in for regular washing and detailing services. Make sure to note that customers can get more money when they trade in or sell their used vehicles if their vehicles are in excellent condition when they sell them.

Related: Upselling high-end customers

How to limit depreciation

Experts advise buyers to avoid investing in cars meant for fleet service, if they plan to sell in five years. Ford Taurus is an excellent example; the market is packed with such models, thus decreasing the resale value. As such, these marketing services might be better targeted towards regular customers rather than fleet accounts.

Furthermore, if customers choose to invest in a car and then sell it in a few years, they have hopefully steered clear of an odd color. Dark blue, black, white and silver are classic colors, and if a car needs a new paint job before being sold, you can offer that service.

In addition, the first thing people look at when buying a used car is mileage and maintenance, so while you can’t do anything about keeping mileage down, advise customers to come in for regular maintenance.

Cleaning the interior often

A clean interior that smells fresh shows a potential buyer that the vehicle has been properly taken care of. But then again, you should steer clear of masking bad odors with air fresheners. Convince customers to come in for weekly vacuuming and cleaning stains; it’s also best to tell them that not smoking or eating inside the car helps preserve its value. It may not seem much, but it matters a lot. If there are lingering used car odors, you can use a variety of tactics to remove them.

Last but not least, advise customers to strip the car of personalization. Personalizing a vehicle is tempting, but a potential buyer may not like that they’ve changed out the wheels or something else. Customization may actually decrease the value rather than increase it, especially if it is exaggerated with the added accessorizing. You can help customers replaced personalized parts and bodywork with more standard options.


Christopher Austin is a frequent blogger and writer. He loves to write about the environment and cars. Austin also works for the website, www.design911.co.uk, which offers Porsche spare parts and accessories. He can be reached at [email protected].