While the increased traffic generated by monthly pass customers is valuable in and of itself for the revenue it generates, we believe that it also offers high volume operators two “hidden benefits.”
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1. Locking In Market Share: When a carwash with a monthly pass plan has a volume of 200,000 or 300,000 it is taking that much traffic out of the market for its competitors. Monthly pass customers may change carwashes, just as gym members sometimes change fitness clubs, but neither is likely to do this often. Monthly pass customers are less impulse driven than other carwash customers. Since they’ve already sunk an investment in to “their carwash” they aren’t prone to stop at a competitor on their way home from work or visiting their mother-in-law. So, in effect, a carwash with a large number of monthly pass customers is making the local market smaller for its competitors.
2. The Busy Site Magnet Effect: Did you ever go to a new town and try to decide where you want to grab dinner? Are you going to go to the restaurant with an almost empty parking lot or the one that looks busy? Customers apply the same logic to selecting a carwash. Many operators have told us that their traffic from non-pass customers increased after they began selling monthly passes, because their busier sites look more attractive to newcomers. Dave Jenkins, the Wash Works owner, reports that his non-monthly pass traffic increased by roughly 9 percent after he began selling monthly passes.