When you consider the marketing budget for your carwash, make sure that a substantial portion is directed at marketing the wash… at the carwash site itself. After all, you have probably located your wash in an area of good visibility and good traffic flow. Good carwash signage telegraphs important messages to the customers you are trying to attract — it could be a message about quality, about convenience, or perhaps about price. Whatever your message, some of the most effective marketing dollars you will ever spend will be on effective signage on site.

Another reason the signs at your carwash may be your best marketing tool is that ‘getting the car washed’ is often an impulse decision. Much as we’d like to think that our customers carefully plan their day around a stop at the carwash, it’s more often the case that our customers get the car washed on the way to or from other errands.

There are two main categories of signage to consider: first, signs to attract traffic onto your site, and second, signs that ‘talk to’ your customers while they are on-site using your services. Think how very different these two types of signs are. The signs used to attract traffic to your site must be large and clear to allow drivers to make the decision to stop in for a wash and to safely execute on that decision (slow down the vehicle, perhaps in fast-moving traffic, and safely navigate your entrance). That means they must be able to see and absorb the message of your sign far enough in advance to allow 5 seconds or more for them to respond. Meanwhile, the signs on your site have the luxury of entertaining your customers while they wait in line for a wash or are moving about your lot at a very slow speed. Here your challenge is to attract the eye and capture attention. The use of color, pictures, humor all can effectively come into play here.

The two types of signage are very different but should share color markers, company logos and so on for a consistent brand message.

So what makes for ‘effective signage’? Consider using the following criteria for your signage:

  1. The sign very clearly says: “CARWASH”!

  2. Visibility

  3. Use of Color

  4. Clear, easy to understand logo

So step back and take a critical look at your signs. What are they saying about your wash? Make sure they are saying something good for your business!

Laurie Sherman is Co-owner of Blendco Systems, LLC. Blendco manufactures a full line of detergents and waxes for the professional carwash industry. You can contact Blendco at: