The Art of Up-Selling - Professional Carwashing & Detailing
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Operations and Management

The Art of Up-Selling

“Do you want fries with that?” “Would you like the extended warranty?” “Do you want the meal deal?”

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“Do you want fries with that?” “Would you like the extended warranty?” “Do you want the meal deal?” “Would you like a double for $2.00 more?” “Can I start you off with an appetizer?”

Up-selling, a method of suggested selling, is everywhere. No doubt, most of us have taken the cue and spent extra for something we may not have originally intended to buy. This works because it carries a value to the customer. In the scheme of things, for just a relatively small amount of money, you are getting something better. And better is just that, better. You feel good that you took that extra step; you got more for just a little more. You made a smart decision.


Up-selling can be a very profitable technique that will add to your bottom line and make for satisfied customers. In the examples above, merchants have made a conscious effort to pick the right phrases and to train their employees to consistently ask that leading question every time, to every customer. And it works.

Up-selling in a car wash can be just as effective but is a bit more complicated than asking a simple question. For example, to ask if a customer would like to upgrade to the top wash for a dollar or two more, requires the attendant or cashier to have the product knowledge necessary for them to speak about the features and benefits of the package’s added offerings. They need to explain the value.


Hiring personable and outgoing employees along with providing the right training in up-selling and product knowledge is important to the success in gaining added revenue. Customers want to understand what they get for what they give. They want to make an informed decision.

Selecting the right offering from package to package is also important in getting the customer to make that upgrade. Your top package must have compelling offerings over the next lower package. Offering one or two additional applications like bug prep, tire and wheel cleaning, a double pass of presoak or a premium sealant, adds value over the lower cost package which encourages the customer to pay the extra price. Make sure each “better” package offers added value over the lower package to justify the higher price.


Point of sale marketing becomes very important in a facility without personnel to assist the customer in selecting a package. Signage is your silent seller. It must provide clear and understandable information that compels the customer to want to purchase the higher priced package. It should describe each offering in short, to the point phrases that describe the value. Here are a few examples: “Super Sealant with UV Protection” “Underbody Flush with Rust Inhibitor” “Wheel Protection with Brake Dust Repellent”.

Up-selling is a great way to bring in additional revenue. With a thoughtful plan, great training of high performing employees and compelling marketing materials you can be on your way to an improved bottom line.


Mark Brock, Vice President of Marketing,
Lustra Professional Car Care Products

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