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Operations and Management

Pick a Partner or Two and Peak Your Profit

Car wash operators are always looking for new ways to increase their revenue and drive more business into their sites.

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Car wash operators are always looking for new ways to increase their revenue and drive more business into their sites. While most of these initiatives come from within their property lines, there are opportunities that exist down the street or maybe even right next door. Cross-marketing with an outside business is a unique method to generate extra income while at the same time exposing your car wash business to a new group of customers. Partnering with a C-store, lube bay, or a car dealership can be an easy and effective way of spreading the word about your car wash.

Of the three outside sources mentioned above, and there are more, the best fit may be collaboration with a C-store operator. By tying into the gasoline pumps at the C-store, the car wash operator gains the services of the best wash salesmen in the business. Every time a customer inserts their credit card into the pump they are asked if they wish to purchase a wash, a 100 percent plus sale rate. One of the biggest advantages that C-store operators who have washes of their own is that they have a built in audience of customers who come to their stores to purchase fuel and store merchandise. Washes purchased at C-stores become more of an impulse item and allow the customer that all important one stop shopping factor. Cross-marketing with a C-store provides benefits not only for the car wash but also for the store itself. Since these agreements usually come with a commission paid to the store for each wash sold, the store makes money for doing nothing more than allowing the wash to tie into their pumps.


As a former car wash category manager for a large oil company, I would cross-market with washes in areas where the company stores did not have their own wash. Whether next door or down the street these partnerships proved valuable to both parties and generated extra income for the store and the wash. Volumes varied from site to site with wash counts ranging from 15 a day to over 60 a day. Sites that are adjacent to one another can be connected through an electrical source while remote access code boxes can be used for sites that are further apart. The store would then collect the money and settle with the wash operator on an agreed upon schedule. A simple contract can be written so that both parties are aware of the set procedures. The C-store operator should allow the wash to advertise with pump toppers and other informational sources to inform the customer of the wash’s location and menu offerings. In the long run, this partnership will provide the following advantages to both parties.

  • Extra revenue for the C-store operator
  • Provide the C-store customers with another service as well as bringing in new customers
  • Increase the car wash operator sales force with pay at the pump offerings
  • Increase the exposure of their wash without costly advertising
  • Car wash operator can sell washes even on days when the wash is closed due to weather
  • Car wash operator can add revenue with little out of pocket expense

Cross-marketing partnerships between car washes and C-stores have proven to be a very effective, low cost method of increasing awareness and sales of one’s car wash. Check it out, it may be the extra boost you’re looking for.


By: Larry Taylor, Lustra™ Key Accounts

For more information go to Lustrabear.com.

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