Setting realistic goals for your carwash
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Setting realistic goals for your carwash

Listen, we all do it. We set a goal to tackle a huge project and we get nothing done. For instance, I want to upgrade my entire wash experience — new signs, new colors, new paint, brighter lights, new menus, new pricing … new everything. A year passes, but nothing has changed. 

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We write list after list and have a million things to do, yet no progress is made. 

 The best way to overcome this is to break a large goal into much smaller, achievable blocks. Ask a child what he or she wants to do in life. Regardless of the answer, they aren’t children one day and professionals the next. The next step is pre-school or finishing elementary school, middle school, etc. 

First steps

Take a look at your site. From a customer experience standpoint, what do you need to do? What do you want to do? See what I did there? Needs and wants are two completely different things. The needs should usually be of higher priority than the wants. Often, it gets flip-flopped. What you want is probably not what you need in that very moment. Consequently, there still is nothing done. 


Studies have shown that people perform better when they write down to-do lists and ordered tasks. The list, in theory, is your answer — your gameplan.

Going back to the needs versus wants discussion above, you will need to step back and jot down everything you want to do to improve your on-site customer experience. Don’t prioritize, just jot it down.

Look at your driveway. Are the signs selling memberships? Top packages? Are the colors faded? 

Does your pay station help guide customers quickly through a simple buying process to achieve your profit
goals? (Did you know there is a logic to pay station screens depending on your objective?)


How about the entrance to your tunnel? Are the signs welcoming? Is there excitement with lights? Are any of your lights out? 

What about the exit? Do you have a sign saying, “Thank You” or “Come Again Soon”? 

How about your vacuum area? Is it clean? Are signs helping your customers see the value? What do your canopies look like? Do you need canopies? Are people sweating and if so, is shade needed?

Prioritize and plan

While it’s nice to do everything at once, sometimes there are limitations to what you can actually do. If you haven’t found a money tree on your property yet, finances may be an issue. For example, you have a vacation that you want to go on (imagine that), but don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. Rather than doing the whole site, you just want to focus on the driveway or exit. 


Finally, one of the most important factors to be realistic about is time. How long it will take to do each section of your plan. I’m sure we have all raced the GPS lady telling us where to go and how long it will take. You know, the one that says you will get to your destination at 2:10 p.m. but you know you’re going to get there at 1:59 p.m. (and you do). The realistic arrival time is 2:10 p.m. but
being the overachiever that you are, you got there at 1:59 p.m. (without breaking the law and being risky, of course). 


Food for thought

Setting realistic goals and prioritizing will lessen your anxiety. The chaos and priorities of the day won’t detract you from your goals. It will give you structure and a plan you can stick to. When you look back on your list, you’ll see progress and check marks. You’ll have that feel-good moment of “we’re finally getting stuff done.”

 Jim McClimond is the senior vice president of Sonny’s CarWash Signage and the founder of Mr. Foamer.

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