Serving man’s best friend

Serving man’s best friend

What to consider when adding a pet wash bay.

A number of additional profit centers exist that allow carwashes to appeal to more customers and grow revenue. Offering more products and services can attract new and different patrons to your business and help an owner cultivate a more diverse and successful wash.

Draw in customers

For Keith Caldwell, vice president of All Paws Pet Wash, pet washes are a natural attraction for customers that have found a niche in the carwash industry.

“Pet washes have been found to be unique and practical add-ons for carwash owners,” he says.

Caldwell believes pet washes generate a different type of buzz than other profit centers because of people’s general love for pets. Other profit centers are important and useful, but pet washes can garner a different type of attention to help boost business.

“Pet wash owners rave about the publicity they receive in the form of social media tags of happy customers and their ‘tail-waggin’ friends,” notes Caldwell. “This type of attention is music to carwash owners’ ears.”

In addition to the positive attention pet washes can attract, they can also bring a new clientele to a wash. “Suddenly, your carwash location becomes a one-stop shop: carwash and pet wash. Placing a pet wash at a carwash location instantly fills a void long left between expensive pet salons and washing in the bathtub,” states Caldwell.

Consider your space

Pet washes can often be added to an existing carwash with little effort, depending on the brand and type purchased, believes Caldwell. Some types of pet washes can be placed inside a bay, while some require a little more space to function properly.

“A streamline flip-model pet wash can simply be placed in an existing carwash bay, taking up no additional space,” says Caldwell. “A modular pet wash is typically tied into existing utilities at a carwash location. This type of pet wash typically requires about a parking stall’s worth of space.”

Carwash operators should also consider any requirements by governing bodies. “Most building and zoning departments now require that pet washes meet or exceed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements,” Caldwell shares.

Owners and operators should be sure to consider how the pet wash will be delivered. Some are fully assembled while others arrive in kit form and need to be put together, possibly necessitating professional setup.

“Labor and installation costs are worthwhile considerations to the overall cost of a pet wash project,” notes Caldwell.

Add-on extra services

A pet wash itself is an added service, but extra options can also be included for even more profits. Caldwell states that while not necessary, add-ons will give customers chances to spend more money with your business.

“In our experience, pet treats are a valuable vending option,” notes Caldwell. “Other vending options include extra disposable hand towels and disposable aprons.”

Pet owners will be happy because their dogs are clean, and pets will be happy to receive the treats, adds Caldwell.

Keep it clean and functioning

Caldwell recommends daily inspections for pet wash cleanliness, and he says cleanings usually only take a few minutes. Over time, this could decrease even further.

“In our experience, the longer a pet wash is in a location, the cleaner it stays,” he states. “Customers become more familiar with the process and make better use of their time.”

These units should also be kept up to ensure they operate consistently well. “Much like a carwash, a pet wash is a mechanical functioning unit and will require normal upkeep and maintenance,” explains Caldwell.

Upgrades can also be done to make pet washes more attractive and easier to use. According to Caldwell, “The most common upgrades include credit card readers, token acceptors and overall customization — color, shape and graphics.”

Caldwell says carwash operators should assess their needs when adding a pet wash facility. “If upgrades such as credit card readers, cameras, vending, etc., fit within an operator’s business format, then they may be worthwhile considerations,” he adds.

As a final consideration, Caldwell encourages operators to use a reliable manufacturer. “It is wise to choose a reputable pet wash manufacturer who has viable history in the industry,” he concludes. “There seems to be a growing trend of small-shop pet wash manufacturers who may have a history in building similar products, but do not have the experience or understanding of the pet wash industry as a whole.”

Research and ask around to receive the best possible product and make your wash even more successful.

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