The 2012 State of the Industry Survey - Professional Carwashing & Detailing

The 2012 State of the Industry Survey

One of the best ways to gauge your path to success and longevity is to compare notes with others in the same exact field. In an ideal situation, you could visit your competition and ask them a list of questions. But, since that probably isn’t probable, we have done the dirty work for you. The following are the answers to a recent survey that went out to all of our subscribers. Some answers could provide you with ideas on what you can do improve your business (a.k.a. Should I be open on Sundays?) while others could let you know not to steer down a certain path (Is everyone else doing Groupon?). A few of the answers have changed since last year’s survey. For instance, according to those who responded, less companies are using Facebook, but more are using Twitter. Drug testing on employees is also up since last year. What might not be too surprising, and a sigh of relief for owners and operators, is that when asked if the volume of customers has gone up since the year before, more people this year said that it has, compared to last year. However, 23 percent of you admitted that you are in fact worried about staying open.

Please note that the survey is not a scientific study and Professional Carwashing & Detailing conducted and produced the survey using Zoomerang online survey software during August of this year.

To view the digital version of this survey, please visit the Professional Carwashing & Detailing digital site.

1. What type of business are you? If you have more than one type of business on site, which one is your largest profit center, in terms of revenue.

Conveyor carwash                                                                                                                        35%

Self serve                                                                                                                                          7%

In-bay automatic                                                                                                                            12%

Detail center                                                                                                                                   12%

Full serve                                                                                                                                           8%

Conveyor/Self serve                                                                                                                         1%

Conveyor/In-bay automatic                                                                                                             0%

In-bay automatic/Self serve                                                                                                            6%

Conveyor/Detail center                                                                                                                    6%

In-bay Automatic/Detail center                                                                                                       1%

Conveyor/In-bay automatic/Self serve                                                                                          1%

Enter an answer                                                                                                                               1%

Other                                                                                                                                            9%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

2. Are you open on Sundays?

Yes                                                                                                                                                   79%

No                                                                                                                                                     21%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

3. What is your busiest day?

Sunday                                                                                                                                              2%

Monday                                                                                                                                              2%

Tuesday                                                                                                                                             1%

Wednesday                                                                                                                                       4%

Thursday                                                                                                                                            3%

Friday                                                                                                                                                23%

Saturday                                                                                                                                           64%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

4. What is your slowest day?

Sunday                                                                                                                                               6%

Monday                                                                                                                                            27%

Tuesday                                                                                                                                           45%

Wednesday                                                                                                                                   16%

Thursday                                                                                                                                            2%

Friday                                                                                                                                                  1%

Saturday                                                                                                                                             3%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

5. What is your busiest season?

Spring                                                                                                                                               27%

Summer                                                                                                                                           32%

Autumn                                                                                                                                               5%

Winter                                                                                                                                               37%

Total                                                                                                                                          100%

6. Do you do drug testing on your employees?

Yes                                                                                                                                                   31%

No                                                                                                                                                     69%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

7. Do you do employee background checks during your hiring process?

Yes                                                                                                                                                   54%

No                                                                                                                                                     46%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

8. Do you use Groupon?

Yes                                                                                                                                                   23%

No                                                                                                                                                     77%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

9. Do you use LivingSocial?

Yes                                                                                                                                                   12%

No                                                                                                                                                     69%

Not yet                                                                                                                                              18%

Total                                                                                                                                           100%

10. Do you use a form of social media?

Facebook                                                                                                                                      53%

Twitter                                                                                                                                            22%

No                                                                                                                                                   40%

Other, please specify                                                                                                             8%

Other forms of social media mentioned:






Text alerts

11. What are some of the green initiatives you have in place at your business?

Water reclaim                                                                                                                                41%

Rain barrels                                                                                                                                     5%

Solar panels                                                                                                                                     5%

None                                                                                                                                                38%

Other, please specify                                                                                                                    11%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

Other green initiatives mentioned:

Eliminating plastic bottles and

Eliminating trigger sprayers

Using a solid separator and an oil separator

Using VFDs

Using smaller nozzles

Implemented water reduction techniques

Using biodegradeble solutions;

Eco-friendly/LED lighting

Using waterless carwash spray

Using timers

Using soft start motors

12. Do have surveillance cameras set up at your business?

Yes                                                                                                                                                 70%

No                                                                                                                                                      30%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

13. If you said yes to the question above, how many cameras do you have set up?

1                                                                                                                                                          0%

2                                                                                                                                                          6%

3                                                                                                                                                          4%

4                                                                                                                                                          7%

5+                                                                                                                                                      83%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

14. Have you had a crime occur at your business?

Yes                                                                                                                                                   61%

No                                                                                                                                                     39%

Total                                                                                                                                           100%

15. If you said yes to the question above, please answer what type of crime occurred?

Theft                                                                                                                                                  63%

Vandalism                                                                                                                                       26%

Fight                                                                                                                                                    0%

Drug deal                                                                                                                                           3%

Other                                                                                                                                                   8%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

16. Do you have a website set up for your business?

Yes                                                                                                                                                    63%

No                                                                                                                                                      37%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

17. What additional profit centers do you have in place?

Vending machines                                                                                                                       55%

Pet wash                                                                                                                                           5%

Quick lube                                                                                                                                         8%

Gas station                                                                                                                                       6%

C-store                                                                                                                                            10%

Laundromat                                                                                                                                      0%

Ice Vending                                                                                                                                       5%

Coffee                                                                                                                                                 9%

Lobby sales                                                                                                                                     21%

None                                                                                                                                                  27%

Other                                                                                                                                                  12%

Other additional profit centers mentioned:

Detail services

Restaurant, yogurt shop

Window tinting/windshield repair

Auto Body/Collision Shop

Floor mats cleaning

Wheel covers

Headlight restoration

ATM machine

Propane tank refill station


Motorcycle bay

18. What equipment are you looking to install in the next year?

Tire shiner                                                                                                                                    15     15%

Reclaim equipment                                                                                                                    15     15%

None                                                                                                                                              45     46%


Other equipment mentioned:


Pet wash,


Wheel brushes

Ozone machine

Steam cleaner

Wax arch

Natural gas HOT WATER pressure washer

High pressure prep

Floor mat cleaner

Credit card readers


Simoniz Bubblizer Units

Security equipment

Carpet extractor

Buff and dry machine at end of tunnnel

Wheel blaster

New tunnel

Pump replacements

Water heater


Top washer

Combo vacs

Rug shampooer


19. Is the volume of customers up at your business since last year at this same time?

Yes                                                                                                                                                   58%

No                                                                                                                                                    20%

The Same                                                                                                                                       21%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

20. Are profits up at your business since last year?

Yes                                                                                                                                                    58%

No                                                                                                                                                      29%

They are about the same                                                                                                              13%

Total                                                                                                                                                100%

21. What is your most critical issue as a business owner?

Hiring good employees                                                                                                               33%

Crime                                                                                                                                                 3%

Water regulations                                                                                                                            4%

Water fees                                                                                                                                         5%

Electricity fees                                                                                                                             6%

Weather                                                                                                                                           29%

Equipment problems                                                                                                                      5%

Beating the competition                                                                                                                15%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

22. Are you worried about staying open?

Yes                                                                                                                                                   23%

No                                                                                                                                                     70%

Undecided                                                                                                                                         6%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

23. Have you had an incident in which a Jeep or SUV (or other type of vehicle) sudden accelerated while at your place of business?

Yes                                                                                                                                                   13%

No                                                                                                                                                     87%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

24. If you answered “yes” to the question above, did the incident cause an accident?

Yes                                                                                                                                                   40%

No                                                                                                                                                     60%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

25. Do you monitor your carwashing using a….

Mobile phone                                                                                                                                  13%

iPad                                                                                                                                                   44%

Home computer                                                                                                                             11%

All of the above                                                                                                                                31%

I don’t monitor my carwash remotely                                                                                          36%

Other                                                                                                                                                   5%

Total                                                                                                                                               100%

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